Adds Sitemaps Autodiscovery Support

It appears that is now implementing support for the Sitemaps protocol that they got behind back in April.

One of our readers commented here notifying us that added a pinging service for autodiscovery. Checking further, I found the details on how to ping is its Webmaster Help documents. In addition, try this link you can see how an example pinging attempt looks.

How does it work? From Ask’s help files:

Once you have prepared the sitemap, add the sitemap auto-discovery directive to robots.txt as follows:

SITEMAP: http://www.the URL of your sitemap here.xml

The sitemap location should be the full sitemap URL. Alternatively, you can also submit your sitemap through the ping URL: URL of your sitemap here.xml

Please note that sitemap submissions do not guarantee the indexing of URLs. To learn more about the protocol, please visit the Sitemaps web site at

I don’t know exactly when launched this support, but I’m checking on the date.

Now, my only question is, when will Microsoft implement Sitemaps autodiscovery?

Postscript Barry: Vivek Pathak, Infrastructure Product Manager for, has given me some dates on this release:

– autodiscover: downloading and processing began on April 18, 2007 – manual submit: setup of ping URL on April 10, 2007 at 5pm

Related Topics: Ask: Web Search | Channel: SEO | SEO: Submitting & Sitemaps


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Joel Downs

    Anyone know if the syntax is the same to point to a sitemap index file as it is to point to a regular sitemap file? I assume I don’t have to list out every sitemap file individually…

  • Michael Martinez

    This is welcome news indeed. I’d also like to see the search engines agree on a unified site authentication protocol. I really don’t want to have to embed a different file or meta tag for each search engine in every site.

  • Baby
  • beatngu

    Never refer to your xml sitemaps, not on your website, not even in your robots.txt. instead, use strange namespacing for them, and use f.e. google webmaster tools to discover the sitemap.
    unless u want to be open to content hijacking.

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