Take the 2-minute tour ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is it possible to design my sitemap hierarchically?

My site is laid out hierarchically into

World=>Continent=>Country=>State=>City=>Articles 

Can I design my sitemap xml like this? Is there a benefit?

share|improve this question
2  
If you want to indicate hierarchical layout, use Breadcrumbs Rich Snippets support.google.com/webmasters/bin/… –  YardenST Aug 16 '12 at 13:24
add comment

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is not possible to define any hierarchal structure in your XML sitemap. The XML sitemap is a straight forward list of all your pages. Any hierarchal structure to your pages will be determined by Google when it crawls your site.

The hierarchal structure is more relevant to your users. So, your HTML sitemap (if you have one) could be defined in this way. Perhaps using a series of nested lists.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Sitemap is essentially an unordered set of URLs, each of them with information about priority, last change, and expected frequency of change. We could imagine the priorities as a kind of linear ordering of the URLs, but that would be the only "layout" possible.

If the site contains too many URLs, it can be split into multiple Sitemaps, linked from one Sitemap Index. It may seem like a hierarchy, but it is not -- it is just a way to split one long file into multiple files, so that google does not have to download too much data together; but in the end, the data are joined into one big set.

If you want to somehow support your hierarchical structure by Sitemap, you could assign various nodes priorities depending on their depth in hierarchy. For example the "World" could have priority 1.0; each "Continent" 0.9; each "Country" 0.8; each "State" 0.7; each "City" 0.6; and you could still use numbers from 0.5 to 0.1 to prioritize different "Articles".

The benefit of doing so is that when people search for some keywords, they will find the most general page relevant to this keyword. For example if you provide the same text in the description of Europe, France, and Paris, the google results will put Europe first. Which may or may not be what you want.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Sitemap index file can list multiple sitemaps see sitemaps.org.

share|improve this answer
1  
Does this indicate a hierarchy though? –  paulmorriss Sep 7 '12 at 15:15
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.