Google, Yahoo, MSN Standardize Site Maps
Industry watchers say that the unlikely partnership between the three search companies should simplify search engine optimization efforts, which up until now have required different techniques for each engine. "There's a sense that search optimization could get a little easier," said David Berkowitz, director of strategic planning for search engine marketing firm 360i.
The home page for the site maps partnership, Sitemaps.org, outlines how site owners should create and submit site maps--XML documents that tell search engines which URLs to index, how to prioritize them, and what metadata should be associated with each page.
Chris Copeland, managing director of search engine marketing firm Outrider, said that the collaboration between the three largest search engines hopefully will lead to standardization of other aspects of search engine optimization. He suggested that search engines' use of Robots.txt files--which tell search engine crawlers what pages of sites not to index--also should be standardized.
Berkowitz agreed that search marketers would like to see Google, Yahoo and MSN standardize other aspects of their indexing methods. He, too, said that people have complained about how the different engines treat Robots.txt files. "This partnership could help pave the way for clearing some of those headaches that marketers and site owners face," he said.