Webmaster Level: All

Sitemaps are an invaluable resource for search engines. They can highlight the important content on a site and allow crawlers to quickly discover it. Images are an important element of many sites and search engines could equally benefit from knowing which images you consider important. This is particularly true for images that are only accessible via JavaScript forms, or for pages that contain many images but only some of which are integral to the page content.

Now you can use a Sitemaps extension to provide Google with exactly this information. For each URL you list in your Sitemap, you can add additional information about important images that exist on that page. You don’t need to create a new Sitemap, you can just add information on images to the Sitemap you already use.

Adding images to your Sitemaps is easy. Simply follow the instructions in the Webmaster Tools Help Center or refer to the example below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"

We index billions of images and see hundreds of millions of image-related queries each day. To take advantage of that traffic most effectively, take a moment to update your Sitemap file with information on the images from your site. Let us know in the Sitemaps forum if you have any questions.