I was delighted today that the Google and Yahoo search engines announced at PubConÂ that they would jointly support and collaborate upon one protocol for webmasters to use for submitting their site URLs for potential inclusion. View the video of the announcement here . MicroSoft has also apparently agreed to use the same protocol as well.
To support this initiative, they will jointly support sitemaps.org . If you recall, “sitemaps” was the product name that Google had been using, and which became deprecated just a few months ago in favor of “Google Webmaster Tools”. Obviously, the wheels had already begun turning to repurpose the “Sitemaps” brand name into a jointly-operated service.
Now when Sitemaps are generated to follow the common protocol, webmasters will still need to submit the link feeds to each of the SEs via their existing managment tools such as in Google Webmaster Tools and in Yahoo! Site Explorer.
If you recall, I was one ofÂ a number ofÂ webmasters out there who had requested that they collaborate on a common protocol, such as in a blog post I wrote back in September :
“Hopefully each of the major search engines will try to employ identical or compatible formats for site URLs, because it will be a hassle to have to keep up with multiple formats. This is an area where the SEs really ought to cooperate with one another for â€œpro bono publicoâ€? – for the common good. Currently, Yahoo seems to be just defensively immitating Google in this arena, and no oneâ€™s showing signs of collaborating.”
Kudos to Google and Yahoo for overcoming traditional corporate competitiveness to do something that mutually benefits website owners as well as the search engines!