SEO Basics – Sitemaps

There’s a kaleidoscope of steps, styles, methods and opinions about the right way to implement search engine optimization (SEO) for your site. But, there are a few points which are generally accepted. Points such as:

  • Quality content is extremely important
  • Working actively to accrue quality links and backlinks is also paramount
  • Apply K.I.S.S. to your site

One of the most overlooked steps, which should be mentioned more often is having an accurate, up to date sitemap for your website. You can think of a sitemap as the formal written index of your web pages. Up until recently, multiple sitemaps were needed if you desired to have all of your content listed easily. Be it images, text, videos, your geo location, and a news section. An individual sitemap for each was required to speed up the indexing process of those assets. Google introduced the XML sitemap 5 years ago, and have just recently changed the game a little.

Instead of multiple sitemaps, webmasters can now submit one XML sitemap to include all of your websites features. From Google:

With the increasing number of specialized formats, we’d like to make it easier for you by supporting Sitemaps that can include multiple content types in the same file.
An example:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″
xmlns:image=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1″
xmlns:video=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1″>
<url>
<loc>http://www.example.com/foo.html</loc>
<image:image>
<image:loc>http://example.com/image.jpg</image:loc>
</image:image>
<video:video>
<video:content_loc>http://www.example.com/videoABC.flv</video:content_loc>
<video:title>Grilling tofu for summer</video:title>
</video:video>
</url>
</urlset>

The idea of the inclusion for multiple content types within one sitemap was to streamline the entire process for webmasters and their clients.