Creating a Robots.txt file allows search crawlers to accurately find and identify the website's sitemap while also reducing the potential workload to the site. If a Robots.txt file is not included, the sitemap will need to be submitted manually to the search engine directly.
Multi-language sites include the hreflang attribute in the URL tag for all storefront webpages, sitemaps, and pages. This attribute identifies the specific language on the page for search engines, thus enabling search engines to serve relevant language results to users searching in that language.
Submitting your sitemap via the search engine's submission interface
To submit your sitemap directly to a search engine, which will enable you to receive status information and any processing errors, refer to each search engine's documentation.
Specifying the sitemap location in your Robots.txt file
To specify the location of the sitemap using a robots.txt file add the following line, including the full URL, to the sitemap:
- Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml
Because the directive is independent of the user agent-line, it can be place anywhere in the file. If a sitemap index file exists, its location can be included in the file. Each sitemap does not need to be included into the file. However, if you want to specify more than one sitemap per robots.txt file, add the following URL to the file.
- Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap-host1.xml
- Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap-host2.xml
Submitting a sitemap via an HTTP request
HTTP requests perform an action on a specific server resource. Submitting a sitemap request via a HTTP request ensures that the site will be index by the search engine.
To submit a sitemap using an HTTP request replace <searchengine_URL> with the URL provided by the specific search engine.
To issue a request <searchengine_URL>/ping?sitemap=sitemap_url
For example, if a Sitemap is located at http://www.example.com/sitemap.gz , your URL will become:
URL encode everything after the /ping?sitemap=:
The HTTP request can be issued using wget, curl, or another content retriever. A successful request will return an HTTP 200 response code; if you receive a different response resubmit your request. The HTTP 200 response code indicates that the search engine has received the sitemap. However, the returned HTTP 200 code does not validate the sitemap or the URL. To ensure validation to set up an automated job to generate and submit sitemaps on a regular basis.
If submitting a sitemap index file only one HTTP request that includes the location of the sitemap index file needs to issued. It is not necessary to issue individual requests for each sitemap listed in the index.