Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Google XML Image Sitemap – Hit & Miss

When and most likely if you get around to submitting a sitemap-image.xml for your website, you’ll probably see lots of different versions of how to…

The image sitemap is pretty similar to the standard sitemap.xml that is: in its protocol as well as its mistakes. You see so many website owners think that simply running their site’s URL through a sitemap creating tool and submitting it will do the job, this is far from the truth, both sitemaps need optimising – but I’m not here to talk about standard sitemaps.



Above is the standard coding required for an image sitemap, that’s all pretty straight forward, all you need to do is insert this at the top of your notepad or whichever web editing document you prefer. Now we’ve got to insert the URL of the page:




Quite easy, add your URL, followed by the change frequency of the page and then the page’s priority – '1.0' will be for the homepage. Next we need to add the image location:



Simply add the location of the image from your website's root folder, then a clear title followed by a picture description – not forgetting to close the whole lot off at the end of the document.

All seems pretty straight forward doesn’t it, but try getting all that lot automated for you – not easy. It helps if you’ve already appended titles to your images, but otherwise you could have quite a laborious job ahead of you.

Now is it worth it, this is the hit, I’ve tried this on a few sites, primarily because they had no images appearing in Google image search, and I had excellent results, the first site now claims 1st and 2nd place in Google Image Search, the second site squeezed images on to an already crowded 1st page and a third site gained an image link on the 1st page of Google Search and Google Image Search.

The miss, before optimizing the images within the image sitemap there wasn’t much improvement.

So, with a little hard work you can improve the ranking of your images in Google Search by submitting a sitemap-image.xml, this is something I don’t mind, but will other SEOs out there enjoy...