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mjau-mjau
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X3 Images Sitemap Creator

08 Sep 2023, 04:20

Introducing a new images sitemap creator for X3. This script will be included in the forthcoming X3 release, but since it's an independent script, it can be downloaded and used already now.

Why?
There is evidence that Google search may fail to find full size images and "image landing pages" in X3 websites.
  1. Google can't necessarily find the full-size image (because it's opened by Javascript).
  2. Google doesn't know that there is an "image landing page" dedicated to the image, because the popup javascript will override the link to the image landing page (which is preferable from a human perspective).
What does it do?
The new sitemap generator creates a sitemap.xml from all pages and all images in your X3 website. It will also include links to each "image landing page" as container page for each image.

Benefits
  • The generated sitemap will definitely allow Google to find full-size images.
  • Images are linked inside their corresponding "image landing page", which provides Google with more info about each image (titles, descriptions, date, iptc, comments etc). As stated by Google, " ... the content and metadata of the pages where an image is embedded can have a great influence on how and where the image may appear in Google's search results.".
  • The "image landing pages" are then used by Google when linking to each image from Google image search, which offers a much more related link target than the gallery page that contains the image (and many others).
Should I use this script?
If you are interested in improving the visibility of your images specifically for Google image search (search in Google, then click "images" tab), then this should be beneficial. Keep in mind, there is no benefit for normal page search, because Google is already fully aware of all your X3 pages. This script is only beneficial for specifically indexing images in Google search.

Instructions
  1. Download create_image_sitemap.php
  2. Upload to your X3 website /panel/create_image_sitemap.php
  3. Make sure you are logged in to the X3 panel, and access url in browser /panel/create_image_sitemap.php.
Interface
You will see an interface that allows you to 1. Create new sitemap.xml, 2. Preview sitemap (before creating), and 3. View current sitemap (if any). Furthermore, you will be able to view, search and sort the generated sitemap. You will also find buttons for [delete] (sitemap.xml) and [submit to Google].

Image

What pages and images are excluded?
The sitemap generator will exclude the following pages and images:
  • Hidden pages (and the page's images).
  • Password protected pages (and the page's images).
  • Pages that are assigned as links  (and the page's images).
  • Images in pages where the gallery is hidden.
  • Images that are hidden.
  • Images that are assigned as links.
What is "image landing page"?
Some of you may be wondering what I mean by "image landing page", so let me clarify. In X3, you will typically have a gallery page that consists of several images like /galleries/landscapes/. When clicking each image, they will open in the X3 popup, which is the best way for humans to view images. However, if you ctrl/cmd-click images, you will see the image's "landing page" /galleries/landscapes/antarctica/ open in a new browser window. This is a unique page for each image, that contains all/extended meta data related to each image. With the new sitemap creator, we are including all images, linked inside their own image landing page.

How image indexing currently works
If you search Google specifically for an image in an X3 website site:demo.photo.gallery cone, indeed Google can already find the image from a gallery page (because Google can identify images by name as well as the actual content of the image).
Image
However, there are two issues here:
  1. The image source is not necessarily the full size image, but could be a resized version from the gallery page.
  2. The link to the image goes to the gallery page that contains the image, which is not specific for the image.
With the new images sitemap creator, full size images will be known to Google, linked inside their corresponding "image landing page". Google then has a larger image (+SEO), and knows more about the image from the "image landing page (+SEO), and the link to the image will display meta data directly related to the image (better for Google and humans).

Exclude image landing pages?
Some may want to exclude "image landing pages" if they believe they are pointless entry points for their website and/or cause unnecessary page indexing on Google. Image landing pages can be disabled from the sitemap creator script, although this makes the script almost pointless. There may still be some benefit, because you are still announcing the location of all full size images to Google. Open create_image_sitemap.php in any editor:
Code
define('IMAGE_LANDING_PAGES', TRUE); // <-- change to FALSE
With 'IMAGE_LANDING_PAGES' disabled, all images will instead be linked inside the corresponding gallery page that owns them. This is how image indexing already works by default (see above section), but at least Google will know the location of full size images.

Do I need to run this script manually?
The short answer is yes. We can't make this script run automatically every time you change any small setting in your X3 website. It's a heavy process that needs to loop through all folders and images, and most users have no use of the specific "images" sitemap. If you decide to use it, you certainly don't need to re-create the sitemap every time you make small changes, but it could be done occasionally after major changes. It will be weeks between each time Google re-indexes your website based on any sitemap.xml anyway.

Notes
  • Google ignores <priority> and <changefreq> values [ref], so these are not included in the sitemap.
  • Google uses the <lastmod> value only if it's consistently and verifiably (for example by comparing to the last modification of the page) accurate [ref]
  • It was previously suggested to include tags <image:caption>, <image:geo_location>, <image:title> and <image:license>, but these tags are now deprecated (not used by Google) [ref].
Image sitemaps was discussed in these forum topics: Google sitemap XML references
 
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mjau-mjau
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

08 Sep 2023, 06:04

ed_f wrote: I did as you wrote, but https://architekturfoto.de/panel/create ... itemap.php just shows a white „page“.
Apologies, please re-download:
https://www.photo.gallery/download/?cre ... ge_sitemap

There was a bug in the XML that confuses the PHP interpreter when PHP opening tag "<?" is allowed ...
 
ed_f
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

08 Sep 2023, 12:50

does this only map the images name (like 12345.jpg) and nothing from its description? if I click on such an image it is displayed out of its context and without the caption given on the site (taken from description). how can it be usefull then?
 
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mjau-mjau
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

08 Sep 2023, 22:33

@ef_f: It seems you have no idea about what a sitemap.xml is meant for. You are aware that the sitemap.xml is strictly meant for robots (google search)? The only reason you see the nice interface, is that I took time to build it so that you can easily preview what links are included in the raw sitemap.xml.
ed_f wrote:does this only map the images name (like 12345.jpg) and nothing from its description?
Sitemaps will never list any "description". What would be the point of that anyway? Sitemap.xml is for links and links only, to make the links known to Google.
ed_f wrote: if I click on such an image it is displayed out of its context and without the caption given on the site (taken from description).
This is a sitemap.xml for ROBOTS, and links to the images will point directly to the images. That's the point of images in a sitemap. To notify search robots about the image URL's. The sitemap.xml is not fur humans.

Besides, when Google links to the image, it will link to the page the image is in.
[IMAGE] /galleries/landscapes/antarctica.jpg
[IMAGE PAGE] https://demo.photo.gallery/galleries/la ... ntarctica/
Surely you can see in the above that the image page contains title and description?
ed_f wrote:how can it be usefull then?
I have already explained that in detail in my original post.
mjau-mjau wrote:Benefits
  • The generated sitemap will definitely allow Google to find full-size images.
  • Images are linked inside their corresponding "image landing page", which provides Google with more info about each image (titles, descriptions, date, iptc, comments etc). As stated by Google, " ... the content and metadata of the pages where an image is embedded can have a great influence on how and where the image may appear in Google's search results.".
  • The "image landing pages" are then used by Google when linking to each image from Google image search, which offers a much more related link target than the gallery page that contains the image (and many others).
If you had some other ideas about how this was supposed to work, please let me know. You don't need to use this script, but it seems strange that you are one of a few who requested it, yet don't seem to understand how sitemaps work.
 
ed_f
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

08 Sep 2023, 23:34

my question was and is about how and at which place an image should be texted so it can best be found with such sitemap. your X3 Sitemap Creator made me think that just the filename, that it shows, would be included - which luckily doesn't seem to be the case. would be great, of course.
 
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mjau-mjau
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

08 Sep 2023, 23:56

ed_f wrote: my question was and is about how and at which place an image should be texted so it can best be found with such sitemap.
It's not clear what you mean. The point of images in the sitemap, is specifically to let Google know about your images (that it might not otherwise know about). When you say "best be found with such a sitemap", there is no such thing, they are simply found by Google and that's it.
ed_f wrote:your X3 Sitemap Creator made me think that just the filename, that it shows, would be included - which luckily doesn't seem to be the case. would be great, of course.
File name where? There is no such thing. Google wants the full URL to each image, and the full url also includes the file name of course. This is exactly what Google wants, nothing more nothing less.
 
marco963
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

09 Sep 2023, 01:25

Hi Karl.

The Flamepix users will be automatically enabled to this functionality ?

Thank you,
Marco
 
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mjau-mjau
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

09 Sep 2023, 01:47

marco963 wrote:The Flamepix users will be automatically enabled to this functionality ?
Yes, it will be included in next X3 release within a few weeks.

If you want to use it already now, let me know and I can upload the script into location ...
 
marco963
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

09 Sep 2023, 02:10

If it is not a problem, I would like to “play” with this feature…
 
RIIID
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

09 Sep 2023, 02:34

Thank you, this was actually on my list of "examinations". Works great for me.
 
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mjau-mjau
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

09 Sep 2023, 03:46

marco963 wrote: If it is not a problem, I would like to “play” with this feature…
Ok, done. Check your website /panel/create_image_sitemap.php.
 
ed_f
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

11 Sep 2023, 14:07

please tell me how to "Open create_image_sitemap.php in any editor" to change the mentioned setting.  thanks!

btw: I never asked for a sitemap. I can only remember that I wondered why google doesn't find my images.
 
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mjau-mjau
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

12 Sep 2023, 01:52

ed_f wrote: please tell me how to "Open create_image_sitemap.php in any editor" to change the mentioned setting.  thanks!
You downloaded the file I guess? What happens when you open it (eg double-click it)? It's basically a text file, and if you are on Windows, you would open it in Notepad, and if you are on Mac, you would open it in TextEdit. Assume you want to disable IMAGE_LANDING_PAGES option?
ed_f wrote:btw: I never asked for a sitemap. I can only remember that I wondered why google doesn't find my images.
The exact answer to that, is the main reason sitemaps exist and are used by Google in the first place. And that's why the solution is to use a sitemap.xml.

Google attempts to view your page like a human would, but it can't comprehend everything. For example, an X3 gallery page in grid mode, are your images on that page? The answer is no, only small resized images (which Google can find). The full size images only open when clicked (popup), although technically they are not IN the page. Google will likely struggle to understand the concept of the popup, because it's not a page. Therefore, we notify Google about the existence of the images from sitemap.xml.

And just on the topic of "image landing pages", of course this provides full context for your images also. For example, you have an image /some/path/animals/bird.jpg ... Google might know from the name and from scanning the image that it's a bird, but it doesn't have any further specific details about the image. Also, to what page should it link the image when found on Google? The parent gallery page that might be named "animals" that has a generic title about animals (and nothing about the bird)? This page doesn't provide Google with any further details (context) about the image, and it's not really a link for humans that highlights the found image. By linking to the image landing page /some/path/animals/bird/, you are providing Google with further information about the image, possibly with title "Black-capped chickadee bird" and description "The black-capped chickadee is a small, nonmigratory, North American songbird that lives in deciduous and mixed forests ... " ... What are you offering Google here? Much more context about your image, which can obviously boost SEO, because Google has more confidence in showing this image to visitors now ... And for humans? When they see the link to the image on Google, the linked page will show title and meta data directly related to the image.

In conclusion, for best images SEO effect, you need one page for each image. You can try yourself, search "black-capped chickadee" in Google and click the "images" tab. If you click through the results, you will see that they all link to a dedicated page for the image and search phrase. If you have the same image just linked to gallery folder /birds/ (with many other different birds), this is much less specific, both for Google (SEO) and for humans.
 
ed_f
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

12 Sep 2023, 03:35

so google can "understand" details given i.e. in "description" only when the ILP is visible to it and that is only doable by providing a sitemap, right? and it's better not to set the ILP to "false", even if that ILP is torn out of context, yes?

this effort (of you and us users) is obviously just for google and no other search engine. would all that have to be done for each search engine separetely?
 
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mjau-mjau
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Re: X3 Images Sitemap Creator

12 Sep 2023, 04:18

ed_f wrote: so google can "understand" details given i.e. in "description" only when the ILP is visible to it
How else would it find the description? Google images is two things: 1. the image, and 2. the page that image is on. Those two factors will determine how the image ranks in search.

This isn't just for your website or X3 websites. It's how it works for all websites.
ed_f wrote:and that is only doable by providing a sitemap, right?
As noted in previous posts, you can get your images indexed even when disabling IMAGE_LANDING_PAGES. If you think that is sufficient, feel free. I have already posted lots of information about why I might recommend using image landing pages, and that's why I created the image landing pages in the first place, and now the sitemap that includes images and the landing pages.

How exactly do you expect it to work? It's logic, not magic. If you allow Google to find your images, that's all good, but how can it find the related titles and descriptions? Surely you see it must be the page the image is linked to. Not only your website or other X3 websites, but ALL websites.
ed_f wrote: and it's better not to set the ILP to "false", even if that ILP is torn out of context, yes?
Your definition of "torn out of context" is quite diffuse.

This is an image about antarctica:
https://demo.photo.gallery/content/gall ... rctica.jpg

Linking to it's image landing page, potentially with longer descriptions and other meta data specifically about Antarctica:
https://demo.photo.gallery/galleries/la ... ntarctica/

Good for Google, good for humans who find the image in search, definitely optimally in context.

In your definition, you want the image to link to the gallery page where the image is listed correct?
https://demo.photo.gallery/galleries/landscapes/

Unrelated content, certainly not specific to the image (Antarctica), definitely less in context. I understand you would prefer this from a human perspective, but Google just doesn't work like this.

I have already explained this in detail several times now. This is as good as it gets and there is no other magic. If you want to optimize your images found in Google images search, you must understand the logic of how Google images work.
ed_f wrote:this effort (of you and us users) is obviously just for google and no other search engine.
No, it's definitely for other search engines also. It's just that Google is such a dominant search engine, that we might as well design based on their instructions.

How would Bing work differently anyway? I'm a bit surprised you don't seem to comprehend the logic that search engines are using to index and rank images in search.