Google sitemaps has been a boon to large websites, it has enabled site owners to submit an xml structured document of all of the pages in a website and receive reports about the indexing and compatibility of the site.

In a surprising development, Yahoo and MSN combined with Google and announced that the sitemap protocol would be accepted at, where one submission will go to all three of the major search engines.  This is surprising in that Yahoo has always maintained a paid page submission program.  Yahoo’s paid submission program Guaranteed that site owners could submit pages to the Yahoo index and have them spidered frequently.

This development eliminates the need for site owners to pay for page submission and inclusion, although it is not yet clear if Yahoo will still maintain the paid site submission program.

The advantage of this service is significant to large websites that are powered by content management systems.  Typically, these sites do not allow search engines to naturally crawl the links and find all of the content and pages that are available.  Page links that carry too many variables in the URL and are too long tend to be ignored by the search engines.  While the programming could be improved to allow for a natural indexing by a search engine spider, the sitemaps program allows many large sites to have their pages in the search index.