Create Image Sitemaps with XML Sitemap Generator

Learn how to create image sitemaps for your websites using A1 Sitemap Generator.

Note: We have a video tutorial:

Building The Image Sitemap

If you run a website that has lots of content in the form of images and pictures, you will want to create an image sitemap.

The good news is that creating image sitemaps for Google and other search engines is much like when you create standard XML sitemaps - in fact image sitemaps is one of several Google extensions for XML sitemaps.

A1 Sitemap Generator comes with various configuration presets that sets all options for image sitemaps:
  • Quick presets | Google image sitemap
  • Quick presets | Google image sitemap - website has images hosted externally

Which to choose depends on if you host images on external subdomains/domains or not.

scan website image sitemap.webp

After this you can start the website scan:

xml sitemaps website scan

When the website crawl has finished, all you need to is to build the actual image XML sitemap file for search engines like Google.

Do this by first selecting the image sitemap file type in the dropdown. Then click the Build selected button:

build google image sitemap

You have now created your image sitemap. This process will work for most websites with only very few needing further configuration.

Avoid Excluding Folders with Images in Robots.txt

Note: As the default configuration in our software is to obey disallow instructions in robots.txt files, you will want to make sure you are not excluding it from accessing image folders in your website. If unsure, check the following help page for an in-depth explanation regarding the robots text file.

Optimize Options for Improved Image Sitemaps

Even when using the preset button, you can sometimes still benefit from fine tuning options yourself aftewards.

In output filters you can configure the following website scan options:
  • Exclude pages and images you do not want to influence your image sitemap. This is useful if many pages use the same image.
  • If you use non standard image file extensions and MIME types, you can add these, so the crawler can recognize them during the website scan.

You can also control how the image sitemaps are built using options:
  • Create sitemap | XML sitemap extensions | Google image sitemaps | Ensure each image is only listed once

Submit Image Sitemaps in Google Search Console

After submitting to Google Search Console, you will often have wait a few days for Google to start indexing images. You can view image sitemap details in Google Search Console by clicking on the image sitemap. See the example shown in the screenshot below:

google tools image sitemap

Do note that Google Search Console has had quirks in the past where it reported the count of <loc>...</loc> and not the actual number of submitted images in <image:image>...</image:image>.

While this problem originates back to 2011, situations like this is easy to verify by creating an image sitemap of one URL containing two images. Google Search Console would at the time only report one URL. It would not report the number of images. Here is an example:

<?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">
      <image:title>image 1 title</image:title>
      <image:caption>image 1 caption</image:caption>
      <image:title>image 2 title</image:title>
      <image:caption>image 2 caption</image:caption>

Some sitemap generator tools (not A1 Sitemap Generator) will try to artificially increase the reported number of URLs in Google Search Console for image sitemaps by simply inserting lots of page URLs <loc></loc> with no associated images <image:loc></image:loc>.

Therefore, to compare image sitemap tools and the number of included images, you can try perform a search/replace of <image:loc> in the generated XML image sitemap files. Most text editors gives you a count of found/replaced text items.

Note A1 Sitemap Generator tries to leave out images used as part of the website layout. It does so to obey Google guidelines for image sitemaps.
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