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Yahoo! Sitemaps: Text or XML Format?
By Derek Jones, Owner of: Mirage Home Business Systems

Back in September 2005, I published an article titled "Introducing Yahoo! Sitemaps" which explained how to submit a complete list of your URL's to Yahoo! using a standard text file.

Recently however, I've received a couple of emails plus heard a few rumours stating that Yahoo! does not recognize a standard text file (e.g. sitemap.txt) containing a list of your site's URL's. These emails and rumours suggest that this file should be in HTML, XML or contain Tags.

Just to clarify...

Unlike Google Sitemaps which accepts Sitemaps in XML (Extensible Markup Language -- a widely used standard for textual information exchange between applications on the Internet), Yahoo! uses a simplified version... a text file that contains a list of your site's URL's. Google also accepts this format in place of XML.

When creating this file, it should contain ONLY a list of your URL's, with one URL per line... nothing more. If you have a site with hundreds or even thousands of pages, Yahoo! also recognizes compressed versions of this file (e.g. sitemap.gz).

So for example, the contents of your text file will look like this:

http://www.yoursite.com/
http://www.yoursite.com/page1.html
http://www.yoursite.com/page2.html
http://www.yoursite.com/page3.html
http://www.yoursite.com/dir/page1.html
 

Where I think the confusion stems, is that Yahoo! now allows you (via their submission page) to submit your feeds in a variety of formats (RSS 0.9, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 and Atom 0.3). The way this works is that their crawler will extract links and find pages not already discovered within your feeds.

These files will be in XML and if your feed contains a complete list of the URL's you want indexed, then a text file is not required. However and if you want Yahoo! to know about all your pages, then a standard text file should be used, containing nothing more but a list of your URL's, with one URL per line.

Hopefully and with Yahoo! now allowing the submission of feeds, it shouldn't be long before you're able to submit XML Sitemaps, just as you do with Google. In fact, submitting a XML Sitemap to Yahoo! may even work, although there is no proof to support this theory...

... In the meantime however (especially if your site is not feed enabled or if your feed does not contain all your site's URL's), it looks as though that you'll have to continue to use a standard text file if you wish to submit a complete list of your site's URL's to Yahoo!

For more information plus to submit your site, sitemap or feeds to Yahoo!, log into the Free Submit page with your Yahoo! ID and Password at: http://submit.search.yahoo.com/free/request

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