My company owns several domain names. We also host websites for our users at their custom domains.
Currently, we host XML Sitemap files at the root of all of our users' websites (e.g.
http://www.user1.com/sitemap.xml). These sitemap files contain all the URLs of that user's website.
To possibly improve the search engine indexing of our users' websites, we would like to start hosting a high-level, sitemap index file at the root of
company.com which lists all of our users' (and preferably our products') websites'
So something like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"> <sitemap> <loc>http://www.company.com/sitemap.xml</loc> </sitemap> <sitemap> <loc>http://www.product1.com/sitemap.xml</loc> </sitemap> <sitemap> <loc>http://www.product2.com/sitemap.xml</loc> </sitemap> <sitemap> <loc>http://www.user1.com/sitemap.xml</loc> </sitemap> <sitemap> <loc>http://www.user2.com/sitemap.xml</loc> </sitemap> </sitemapindex>
According to the Sitemaps documentation on index files, it isn't possible to have a sitemap index file references sitemaps files outside of it's own domain.
Note: A Sitemap index file can only specify Sitemaps that are found on the same site as the Sitemap index file. For example,
http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap_index.xmlcan include Sitemaps on
http://www.yoursite.combut not on
In a different section of the same documentation, it says that it is possible to have regular sitemap files (not sitemap index files) reference URLs outside of the domain which hosts the sitemap file.
Sitemaps & Cross Submits
To submit Sitemaps for multiple hosts from a single host, you need to "prove" ownership of the host(s) for which URLs are being submitted in a Sitemap.
By default, this will result in a "cross submission" error since you are trying to submit URLs for www.host1.com through a Sitemap that is hosted on www.sitemaphost.com (and same for the other two hosts). One way to avoid the error is to prove that you own (i.e. have the authority to modify files) www.host1.com. You can do this by modifying the robots.txt file on www.host1.com to point to the Sitemap on www.sitemaphost.com.
- First of all, Can this 'workaround' for cross-submits work with sitemap index files as it does with normal sitemap files? I don't want to go through the effort to implement it without knowing it is even possible. Unfortunately, the documentation doesn't say either way.
- Second, is what I am attempting even a good idea? We want to boost SEO for all of the websites we manage. We think linking the sitemaps together will help but we are not sure. Does anyone have any experience with complicated sitemaps and index files who are willing to share their experience?