A sitemap is a list of all of the live URLs which exist on a site and is used to inform search engine crawlers of the most important pages and therefore which ones should be crawled and indexed. There are several things to consider when creating sitemaps, as well as understanding how search engines view them. We cover a range of these topics within our Hangout Notes, along with best practice recommendations and advice from Google.

Google May Index Redirected URLs if Served in Sitemap Files

June 28, 2019 Source

Redirects and sitemaps are both signals that Google uses to select preferred URLs. If you redirect to a destination URL but the source URL is in a sitemap, this is giving Google conflicting signals about which URL you want to be shown in search

If One Sitemap URL Has an Error This Shouldn’t Impact the Rest of the XML Sitemap

June 14, 2019 Source

If one individual URL element within an XML sitemap has an error, this will not impact the way Google is able to parse and read the sitemap as a whole. However, if the element is broken in a way that impacts the parsing of the rest of the sitemap, then the XML file becomes unreadable and will not be usable as a sitemap.

Use Accurate Last Modified Dates For Individual Pages in Sitemaps For Faster Recrawling

April 5, 2019 Source

Make sure each individual page in an XML sitemap has its own last modified date so Google can trust that the information is accurate and recrawl updated pages where necessary.

Use Structured Data & Video Sitemaps to Give Google More Context on Videos

March 19, 2019 Source

You should use structured data to tell Google whether a video was streamed or recorded, and you can also use video sitemaps to tell Google which countries a particular video is available in, for example.

A Sitemap File Won’t Replace Normal Crawling

February 5, 2019 Source

A sitemap will help Google crawl a website but it won’t replace normal crawling, such as URL discovery from internal linking. Sitemaps are more useful for letting Google know about changes to the pages within them.

Google Doesn’t Mind How Sitemaps Are Split up

January 11, 2019 Source

Google combines separate sitemaps together so that they can be processed. This means it is up to webmasters to decide how they want to split up sitemaps.

Google Treats XML Sitemaps Differently From HTML Pages

January 11, 2019 Source

Google treats XML sitemaps differently from HTML pages, as they are a machine-readable file and not meant to be indexed by search engines.

Image Sitemaps Help Google Understand Which Images You Want to Be Indexed

December 21, 2018 Source

Google can find images to index in the source code, but Sitemaps can help them to confirm which images you want to be indexed.

Google News Sitemap is Fastest Way to Get Pages Crawled for Publishers

December 11, 2018 Source

Submitting a Google News sitemap is the fastest way to get Google to crawl pages for publishing sites.

Related Topics

Crawling Indexing Crawl Budget Crawl Errors Crawl Rate Disallow Last Modified Nofollow Noindex RSS Canonicalization Fetch and Render