What is image sitemap

What is an image sitemap?

Google Image Sitemaps provide Google with about the images contained on a website. Visitors can do an image search on Google. Using Google image extensions in Sitemaps provides the search engine with additional information about the images on the website.

The inclusion of image and video content in an XML sitemap can also help Google find out that content that could possibly be included in the search results of image and video search results. This can help Google discover images that it may not find when crawling. For example, images that are called up using JavaScript forms.

XML sitemaps are a convenient way to share page information with search engines like Google. Submitting a sitemap does not guarantee that a page will be indexed, but it does not harm the rankings. As a result, it is a practice of search engine optimization to submit an XML sitemap.

Other Guidelines Related to the Sitemaps:

  1. What is HTML Sitemap
  2. What is XML Sitemap
  3. How to Submit a Sitemap
  4. What is News Sitemap
  5. What is a Video Sitemap?

What Does an Image Sitemap Consist of?

A typical image sitemap contains the URL and other information about the specific images that Google, Bing, and other search engines should index. In summary, the standard XML tags used for sitemaps can be described as a schema and are used by all major search engines.

In order to provide Google with information about images on the website, the website owner must add relevant details to the standard sitemap. This includes the type of image, the subject, the caption, the title, the geographical location, and the license.

The process enables website owners to determine which images are most important on each page.

You can see an example of image sitemap below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns:image="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1">
    <image:image>
        <image:loc>https://www.holisticseo.digital/image-1.jpg</image:loc>
        <image:caption>Everything you need to know about Images</image:caption>
        <image:geo_location>London, United Kingdom</image:geo_location>
        <image:title>Image Sitemap Example</image:title>
        <image:license>Creator:HolisticSEO.Digital, Credit Line: HolisticSEO, Copyright Notice: Free to Use</image:licence>
    </image:image>
</urlset> 

In this example, we have only one image in our Image Sitemap. It has a caption, title, license information, images’ geographic location and also its URL information. If a for a web site the image traffic is important, using an image sitemap can help for the better Image SEO Rankings and Projects.

Also, the “xmlns:image=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1” section is for telling the sitemap’s structure to the crawler.

How to Include Images in a Normal Sitemap?

In 2010, Google has published an official statement related to the sitemaps. According to the statement, webmasters and developers can contain the images in their regular sitemaps.

Image Sitemap’in veya Image’leri normal bir sitemap’e eklemenin en büyük faydası ise görsellerini Javascript ile çeken web sitelerinin, görsel içeriklerini daha hızlı ve rahat indexletebilmeleridir. Google’ın Javascript temelli siteleri tararken bazen bir sıkıntı yaşaması veya Rendering Budget (Crawl Budget Kavramının bir alt birimi) sorununun web siteleri için mevcut olması, bu durumu daha avantajlı kılmaktadır.

Ayrıca, bir URL içindeki text contenti en iyi tamamlayan görsel içeriğin de böylece sitemap üstünden çekilebilmesi sağlanabilmektedir.

Image Sitemap
Google’s Official Statement Related to the Images in Sitemaps.
Source: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/04/adding-images-to-your-sitemaps.html

You may find an example of showing the Images in a regular sitemap below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" 
    xmlns:image="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1">
    <url>
        <loc>https://www.holisticseo.digital/image-sitemap</loc>
        <image:image>
            <image:loc>https://www.holisticseo.digital/image-1.jpg</image:loc>
        </image:image>
        <image:image>
            <image:loc>https://www.holisticseo.digital/image-2.jpg</image:loc>
        </image:image>
    </url>
</urlset> 

Here, we have two different XML Name Space (xmlns) section. One of them shows the code structure and context of the URL in the sitemap while the other one is showing the image URL’s context and structure. The content URL is holisticseo.digital/image-sitemap and it has two different images that describe the content in a better way according to the other images on the same web page, these are holisticseo.digital/image-1.jpg and holisticseo.digital/image-2.jpg assets.

Giving image content in sitemap is saving the crawl budget and also helps the Googlebot to understand the web page in a better context.

Tags in a Image Sitemap

Image sitemaps have unique tags can be used for giving more details about the images. You can find all the images tags in images sitemaps below:

TagRequiredDescription
<image:image>YesIt includes all the necessary information for the images in the image sitemap. Each <image:image> tag can contain 1000 URL.
<image:loc>YesThis section has all the URL of the image. An image URL doesn’t have to be on the same server with the actual site. In these kinds of situations, the domain address which includes the images should be verified via Google Search Console. Using a Content Delivery Network may speed up the images’ download time but checking its crawlability by the Search Engine Crawlers is important. So, make sure that your robots.txt file doesn’t disallow the crawling of any content in your Content Delivery Network.
<image:caption>OptionalA caption is a textual content for the images. It is actually the message of the image. It can be inserted into the images or it can be also in the image sitemap.
<image:geo_location>OptionalThis information shows the geographic location of the images’ visual content. Such as, <image:geo_location>London, United Kingdom</image:geo_location>.
<image:title>OptionalThe title of the image is also similar to the Alt Tags. It should describe the images’ contribution to the article or general content.
<image:license>OptionalIt includes image metadata such as Creator, Credit Line, and License Type.

Last Thoughts on Image Sitemaps and Image SEO

Using images with high quality and 1200px width can help to take visibility on Google Discovery. Google Image Search is getting more traffic and engagement every year for e-commerce search along with a visual content search. Using image sitemaps can increase the images’ crawling and indexing efficiency and it creates a comprehensive vision for the Google Search Algorithms. If Google or another Search Engine can’t index your images, it can give the necessary quality points or visual relevance for your web pages because of the images are missing in the indexed version of every indexed web page. It can cause millions of clicks and revenue lost. Image Search and Image SEO are important terms for Holistic SEO.

Thanks to Image SEO Components and Google’s improving AI for visual queries, image sitemaps, and adding images into the regular sitemaps are getting more important according to before. Thanks to images in sitemaps or image sitemaps, creating more relevance and contextual confidence along with expertise and authority can be easier. Giving all relevant visual content for a URL to Google with more detail in a brief time will increase the quality degree of the web site in the eyes of Google.

To learn more about Image SEO and Visual Content’s Importance for the Search Engines, you may read our guidelines.

We will continue to improve our image sitemap guideline with time.

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