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Why It's Important to Include Images in Your Sitemap

By Titan CMS Team
December 9, 2021
3 Minute Read

Many sitemaps now automatically include images. Yours may, as well, but it’s always a good idea to double check. Here’s why.

First, What Is a Sitemap?

A sitemap is a list of website pages that are accessible to search engine web crawlers, such as Google’s. It is usually generated in XML format and includes a hierarchical list of the URLs on your website. Your sitemap helps search engines discover what content is on your site and where to find it. Google and other search engines will automatically crawl your site, but having an XML sitemap in place speeds up the process and ensures accuracy.

If you do not have a sitemap or want to create a new one, there are many free XML sitemap generators available. WordPress offers several free plugins to generate sitemaps including Yoast. For non-WordPress sites an easy introductory tool is XML-Sitemaps .

Why Add Images and Videos to Your Sitemap?

Adding images and video to XML sitemaps isn’t new; however, it is something that’s often overlooked. Your site’s content – written with your users in mind, of course – is still king when it comes to search success, but indexing your images and/or videos is vital to boosting traffic from sources you could be missing. Google alone receives billions of image searches daily.

In a dream world, sites would be designed to be easily crawlable and have plenty of external links to draw users back. But sites have become increasingly rich, large, and sometimes disorganized.

In the case of businesses where imagery is critical to driving business, such as a real estate company, by including images in your sitemap, you are signaling its importance to Google. This then increases the chances that it will be crawled and indexed. Indexed images will show up more often in Google image or video searches.

Another example of the importance of images is with product sites. Product sites often contain a wealth of high-quality images, but sometimes the product pages themselves don’t contain much content. In these cases, adding images your sitemap becomes even more important.

Titan CMS XML Sitemaps

Titan CMS creates XML sitemaps for all data sites, file piles, and content sites. The data site and file pile XML sitemaps are not submitted to Google automatically. This is because there are typically several of each, and not all of them may be important for search. Some might be relevant with public-facing content, and some might be internal-facing only. The file piles can also be used across domains, so submitting for the domain you wish them to appear for is important to do manually. You can submit sitemaps manually following Google's instructions.

Does Having Images in My Sitemap Improve SEO?

Submitting or not submitting an XML sitemap does not impact your SEO ranking. However, when it comes to large sites, submitting a sitemap will help Google find and crawl your pages. Keep in mind, though, that Google will only index them if it considers them high quality.

If your site has 500 pages, for example, but only half are high quality, submitting just those high-quality pages will keep Google focused on your key content. This will increase the chances that those pages will get indexed.

Final Thoughts

No matter if your site is large or small, if you have images or videos, it's important to review your current site map to ensure they’re included. When it comes to the highly competitive search landscape, every little bit can make a difference.

If you have questions about sitemaps or need assistance, our team is here to help! Contact us today.

By Titan CMS Team

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