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How-to 7 min read September 5, 2019

How to create an XML image sitemap

XML Image sitemap is a sitemap for images. Creating a Sitemap is required to correctly scan and index images on a website.

Why you need an image sitemap

If you do not create an image sitemap, some of them will not be indexed or will create errors in the main sitemap. Please note that content downloaded via JavaScript cannot be found by Google.
Why you need Google sitemap
If the Google Search Console returns errors of the sitemap, the point is a potential error that will underestimate the website ranking in the search results. Map indexing for pictures can be seen in the Search Console panel next to the main sitemap:
Sitemap analysis in search console
In addition, users often search for images. When they find the right one, they visit the website. To increase your chances of getting into Google search on images, you need to create an Image Sitemap. And fill in the title and alt attributes correctly. They have a positive effect on image ranking.

Creating an XML Image Sitemap

Create a separate file for the pictures that organizes the information about them. Thus, they are more likely to get into the index. Or edit the existing sitemap.xml file of the website by adding the appropriate tags to the root of the website.

Manual creation of the sitemap

Image sitemap is using the following syntax:
sitemap syntax for images
Thanks to this rendering, you can specify information about up to a thousand images on one page. As you can see, only HTML tags are used, and not links that are used when creating a normal sitemap. The tag information that we use can be easily found in the support section:
Image tags in sitemap images
If you are creating a separate image sitemap, provide a link to it in the robots.txt, as in the example below. Or specify the image sitemap in the overall sitemap.
User-agent: Google
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /wp-includes
Disallow: /wp-login.php
Disallow: *?
Disallow: /tag/
Disallow: /trackback/
Creating a map manually is only cost-effective if the website is small, and the number of images is not changing. In all other cases, use automatic solutions.

Automated generation of the sitemap

Most services that can create an image sitemap are paid. Among the free ones, there is All that is required is to insert a hyperlink to your website in the field:
Free generate a sitemap
After a few minutes, the map will be ready and displayed in the field below:
XML site map for images
Copy the resulting XML to a text file on your computer; it is more convenient in Notepad. Name your file sitemap-image.xml or use any other name you understand:
Saving site map for images
Save the document in the All files format:
Saving images sitemap
When you're done with the previous step, upload the file to the root folder of the website. If there is no common map for sitemaps, edit the robots.txt file by placing the image sitemap next to the main sitemap. To speed up processing, you can add a sitemap to Google Search Console:
Add sitemap to Google Search Console
The tool for working with sitemaps is located on the main page of the panel. Click on it and go to the working area.
Search Console Sitemaps
Your map will be processed by the search and displayed separately in the working area of sitemaps.

Netpeak Spider

Netpeak Spider is conducting a comprehensive website audit. In addition, with the help of this tool, you will generate an image sitemap. The tool is paid and provides a 14-day trial period. This will be enough to create a sitemap for free. Download software through Netpeak Launcher and log in to your account. To get a sitemap, you need to configure several parameters. Check out the video to find out how to set them up:

In the upper panel, select Tools and Sitemap Generator, as shown in the screenshot:
Sitemap Netpeak Spider Generator
Set up the image sitemap:
Setting image map in Netpeak Spider
You will obtain a file that will contain links to all images. If there is no image on the page, the link to such a page will not be added to the Image Sitemap. In addition, there are plugins for CMS that automatically generate all the sitemaps and the website tree. For example, for WordPress, there are Yoast, Udinra, and others. The Yoast plugin automatically includes an image sitemap when generating the overall sitemap.
Site Map in Yoast SEO Plugin
Undira also generates an image sitemap automatically:
Undira site map generation
Choose a tool carefully, starting from which plugins are already installed on the website in order to prevent the plugin conflicts.


An XML image sitemap is created in order to increase the chances of getting in the search results of Google images. The subject of your resource is the key factor. Thus, if your website is dedicated to writing terms papers, then the image search is irrelevant for it. The opposite thing applies to a clothing store, on the contrary. The subject of your website should be "relevant".

If your website has a relevant subject, the image search may generate additional traffic.

How to make a sitemap manually? Google Technical Support lists all tags which are required for this. However, it's easier and faster to use automatic generation. We have described among the free tools. This system independently creates a file that you need to rename and save in the All Files format.

Another tool that helps to automatically generate an Image Sitemap is Netpeak Spider. The tool provides a trial version for 14 days. Download and install the software on your computer and go to the generator section.

Upload the created document to the root folder of your website. Do not forget to register its presence in robots.txt or create a link in the sitemap. To accelerate the document indexing, you should additionally upload it to the Search Console.

This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
Checklist at Serpstat
Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
Try Checklist now

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