Sitemap and Google questions

I'm trying to figure out sitemaps.
It seems that ZenPhoto's sitemap feature includes links to the images (as albums actually, which is interesting.)

Here's my problem: I'm using ZenPhoto as a real CMS. I'm putting descriptions on each image so it's like a reference site or encylopedia, and ZenPhoto makes it very easy to do this and organize the info in albums. But the sitemap isn't picking up any of the image description, only the image. Maybe I'm expecting too much from Sitemaps?

I'm just wondering how I can get Google to see the image descriptions. Does the googlebot pick that up when it roams the site? Maybe the sitemap is ONLY a map and the Googlebot picks up even more information when it visits those pages?

The trouble I see is that when I click a sitemap link to an image, it only brings up the JPG and not the whole image page. Which is upsetting since the image page has a lot of information on it.

I'm doing the best I can with metadata. Trying to get this down so Google will actually FIND me, that would be nice - since this is supposed to be a helpful WIKI type of site (only with more pictures than a Wiki.)

I wonder if I should put the descriptions for each image IN the ITPC data, such as the Caption field? Would that work better, or is it unnecessary or too much load on the computer to handle that much metadata...

Maybe the image description is being lost from Google altogether, that's what I'm afraid of.


  • acrylian Administrator
    First, Zenphoto is a real CMS as it manages content..;-)
    It seems that ZenPhoto's sitemap feature includes links to the images (as albums actually, which is interesting.)

    I don't understand this. Zenphoto's sitemap plugin generates several sub sitemap files for images and albums and possible Zenpage items. A sitemap is a list of links so a search engine can find them more easily. Google itself has some info about that.

    There is no guarantee that it will index everything. This is a quite complicated matter what Google thinks is important to be listed where. The best is always to have content real people are interested in so they refer to your site.

    There is a whole SEO/SEM industry trying to figure that out whenever Google changes something. We really cannot provide this services here.

    If you are concerned about that you should open a Google Webmaster account and let that tell you a few more details about your site in Google's index. All also depends of course on the theme used and how that is setup, valid html, Js stuff hiding something etc.

    If you are on an older Zenphoto release you should try the 1.4.3 beta as the sitemap plugin has some bug fixes in there (if I recall right)

    (I hope you are not talking about the site linked in your profile as that does not use Zenphoto at all. just asking....)
  • I think I need to deal with the SEO features more because the sitemap isn't picking up ANY images. Zero. So maybe the .htaccess and urls aren't being written properly. Maybe what I'm looking for is supposed to be on that images sitemap that's empty.

    I don't know what site is linked to my profile. I have a dozen websites that I maintain for myself or family. I'm using all the Google webmaster tools now but only started using them a few months ago and it's a learning curve for sure.

    This is the site I'm working on currently.

    and I know I need to fix the SEO urls and the .htaccess stuff.
    The sitemaps are coming up empty for images even though there's 12 of them online so far. If I fix the SEO features maybe it will fix the sitemaps. I was discouraged when I finished up last night, which was very late. Because nothing seems to be wrong with the site or the settings but the sitemaps are no good. But I found a note on the forums here that getting the SEO urls fixed also fixed the sitemap problem somebody was having.
  • acrylian Administrator
    You will surely understand that we cannot provide detailed help on this.

    You need first to check if your items are published (unpublished is default since you can upload via FTP as well) so the sitemap of course does not list those or protected ones. Remember as the logged in admin with appropiate rights you see all those.

    That site does not use modrewrite/htaccess at all.. You might also need to adjust the standard robots.txt file as that is set pretty strict.

    Also Google does not come to your site by itself. You need to tell it and even then it might take a few days or weeks until they index. Same of course on changes.

    You should read a little on googles info pages about SEO. And don't focus on technical things but on content.

    (Sidenote although really not my concern: That illustrator died 1971 so be sure your are allowed to use those images...)
  • Wow, you're thorough! Yes, I checked to make sure everything is published: images and albums.

    The last site I launched was on Google within a week so I've learned to jump thru the Google hoops pretty good. I have a sitemap generator that I've been using but on my ZenPhoto site I want to learn how to use your sitemap tool.

    Yes, that website needs a lot more content and I've got it. That's not a problem.

    Yes, I'm using her early work and it's OK to use it. I've checked all that out. I'm not using anything after 1950, basically, but even for 1940's and 30's you have to doublecheck on the Govt's copyright site.

    And I do realize that ZenPhoto is a dandy CMS. What I'm saying is that I really want to USE it as a CMS. Most of the sites I've visited are just posting pictures and not saying much about them and not using ZenPage. Maybe some people are maximizing ZenPhoto's potential, I just haven't come across an example of that yet.
  • acrylian Administrator
    You have to make sure that the sitemal files are generated (/cache_html/sitemap) and that the files actually contain something. If not you should also look at your server's error log.

    There are a lot of sites in the showcase that use Zenphoto a little beyond just an image gallery of course. But we also feel that sometimes it is not used to its capabilies..;-)

    (Sidenote: I am not familar with US copyright in detail but as far as I know it is quite similar to our European. Here all is protected 70 years after the death of the creator, no matter when it was published (of course our right focusses more on intellectual property that actual copyright). So her illustration would enter public domain in around 2041 over here).
  • Our govt was slow to join or comply with the Berne Convention, so our copyright laws advance in stages (1923, 1964 and 1977 basically) and it's very complicated. As of 1977, the law is the same as yours I believe, or close to it. But only since 1977.

    This is the best summary of it.
  • acrylian Administrator
    Ok, always forget that these changes don't apply backwards. Anyway. not really the topic anyway here..;)
  • I had time, now, to fiddle with .htaccess and the seo plugin. The site crashed every time I uploaded the .htaccess so I turned the SEO plugins off. It's not that important to me anyway to have the clean urls. I read an article somewhere that Google doesn't actually care, it's not that much of a problem as people think so why get a migraine over it.

    I did see some problems with various settings, so now that I cleaned up the mess I made last night, the sitemap is working beautifully and the content that I really wanted is THERE!! on the Sitemap so I'm VERY HAPPY.

    The more I work with ZenPhoto the more I really really love it. I don't think people realize all it can do.
  • acrylian Administrator
    Great you sorted it out. I personally prefer the modrewrite urls as they are more easily to read and for people to recognize (they are also shorter). Yes, Google nowadays does not care that much anymore but in older days it did. A personal thing probably but we primarily test with modrewrite.

    If it all breaks on your server it might not support htaccess/modrewrite at all. Did you check that?

    Well, feel free to spread the word about Zenphoto's capabilites..;-)
  • I can't tell, from cPanel, if mod-rewrite is turned on or not. (Apache version 2.22.2 or something like that.) I've bothered my server manager enough this week so I think I'll settle for the SEO cleaner, which does a nice job. :)

    I did get an XML error when I submitted the sitemap:
    Missing XML tag. 
    This required tag is missing. Please add it and resubmit.

    But I learned that Google doesn't like empty sitemaps so I cleaned up the sitemaps, deleted two of them that had no URL in the URL tag, and re-submitted. I hope that does it.
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