Image Sitemaps

With image search, just as with web search, Google's goal is to provide the best and most relevant search results to our users. Following Google's Webmaster Guidelines and best practices for publishing images can increase the likelihood that your images will be returned in those search results. In addition, you can also use Google's image extensions for Sitemaps to give Google additional information about the images on your site's URLs. Doing this can help Google discover images we might not otherwise find (such as images that are reached via JavaScript forms), and also enables you to identify the most important images on a page. For example, if your site uses templates, every page might feature a boilerplate image. By not listing this image in your Sitemap, you're telling Google that it's less important than the images you have included. However, Google doesn't guarantee that we'll index all of your images or use all of the information in your Sitemap.

To give Google information about images on your site, you'll need to add image-specific tags to a Sitemap. (You can also update an existing Sitemap.) You can create your Sitemap manually, or use one of a number of available third-party tools that can help you generate Sitemaps. You can use a separate Sitemap to list images, or you can add image information to an existing Sitemap. Use whichever method works for you.

For each URL you list in your Sitemap, add additional information about important images on that page. The following example shows a Sitemap entry for the URL http://example.com/sample.html, which contains two images. (You can list up to 1,000 images for each page.)

<?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>http://example.com/sample.html</loc>
   <image:image>
     <image:loc>http://example.com/image.jpg</image:loc>
   </image:image>
   <image:image>
     <image:loc>http://example.com/photo.jpg</image:loc>
   </image:image>
 </url> 
</urlset> 

Image tag definitions

Tag Required Description
<image:image> Yes Encloses all information about a single image. Each URL (<loc> tag) can include up to 1,000 <image:image> tags.
<image:loc> Yes The URL of the image.

In some cases, the image URL may not be on the same domain as your main site. This is fine, as long as both domains are verified in Webmaster Tools. If, for example, you use a content delivery network (CDN) to host your images, make sure that the hosting site is verified in Webmaster Tools OR that you submit your Sitemap using robots.txt. In addition, make sure that your robots.txt file doesn’t disallow the crawling of any content you want indexed.

<image:caption> Optional The caption of the image.
<image:geo_location> Optional The geographic location of the image. For example, <image:geo_location>Limerick, Ireland</image:geo_location>.
<image:title> Optional The title of the image.
<image:license> Optional A URL to the license of the image.

After you’ve submitted your Sitemap, it’s best to wait up to 5 days to make sure there’s been enough time to index it. Troubleshooting Sitemaps.