Microsoft’s Ken Moss at Live Search’s Weblog:
Today, we are excited to announce that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! are coming together in support of the Sitemaps protocol. The goal of this effort is to improve search results for customers around the world. This protocol enables site owners everywhere to tell search engines about the content on their site instead of having to rely solely on crawl algorithms to find it.
Interested in the gritty details? Read more about the Sitemaps protocol at the official website: http://www.sitemaps.org. If you have any comments, please let us know by leaving a comment.
This may seem fairly arcane to many readers, but the basic idea is to create an XML website map to “help” search engine crawlers find the content. In the old days of sites with static Web pages this wasn’t necessary, but today’s dynamically generated websites (like this weblog) make the crawlers’ job much more difficult. As a result, Google developed the Sitemaps protocol for webmasters to use and Microsoft and Yahoo have now signed on to support it. The protocol is available under a Creative Commons license. Danny Sullivan has more details and the history here.