What are sitemaps? The easiest definition of sitemaps as defined by www.sitemaps.org is that ‘Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling.’
Essentially a sitemap is a list of all URLs on the site enlisted with metadata for better indexing of a website.
In this multi part back-to-basics series, we will cover different types of XML sitemaps. In this article we will explore News Sitemaps in greater detail.
What are News Sitemaps –
For any news based website, which is updated on a daily basis, or for that matter is updated multiple times a day, it becomes crucial that your updated feed is submitted to Google, to ensure that the latest stories are picked up and ranked in Google. Having a News Sitemap on your website will definitely help your cause.
However, before you create the sitemap, ensure that your website is included in Google News.
How to create a News Sitemap –
A News sitemap is very similar to a regular XML sitemap, but it contains additional news specific attributes or tags!
The additional tags can be further categorized under required and recommended –
- Required Tags –
The <publication> tag specifies the publication in which an article is published. It has two required child tags –
The name of the publication. (It must exactly match the name of the article as it appears in Google News)
The language of the publication. (It should be in the ISO 639 Language Code format)
If the article is accessible to readers without a registration/subscription, then this tag should be omitted.
This is a comma-separated list of properties characterizing the content of the article, such as “PressRelease” or “UserGenerated.” (Refer to the entire list here – Google News content properties)
The article publication date should be mentioned in the “complete date” format (YYYY-MM-DD) or the “complete date plus hours, minutes and seconds” format with time zone designator (YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssTZD) format. (Refer to the W3C date format)
- Recommended Tags –
The title of the news article (Don’t include the author name, the publication name, or publication date as part of the title tag.)
This tag is especially useful if you have a section of your site dedicated to coverage of a specific location
This tag is for including a comma-separated list of keywords describing the topic of the article.
This tag allows the inclusion of a comma-separated list of up to 5 stock tickers of the companies, mutual funds, or other financial entities that are the main subject of the article.
Points to remember –
- A News Sitemap should only contain URLs of articles which have been published in the last 2 days
- A News Sitemap should not contain more than 1000 URLs
- In case you have more than 1000 URLs, split your sitemap into parts and create a Sitemap Index
- Always remember that any XML sitemap cannot contain more than 50,000 URLs, hence always split the sitemap as needed