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.

Update Last Modified Date in Sitemap & Use Validate Fix in GSC to Get Pages Crawled Sooner

October 5, 2018 Source

If technical issues cause pages to show incorrectly (e.g. serving a blank page), you can get Googlebot to crawl these sooner by submitting sitemap files with the last modification date set to when the affected pages were restored. You can also click ‘validate fix’ on pages with errors in Search Console to get Googlebot to recrawl these pages faster.

KML Sitemaps Not Supported by Google

September 18, 2018 Source

KML sitemaps files are not supported by Google and haven’t been for some years.

Empty Sitemap Files Should Be Removed

August 24, 2018 Source

Empty sitemap files with no URLs are not problematic for Google but John recommends removing them if they are not needed.

You Don’t Need to Submit Separate Mobile URLs in Sitemaps

August 21, 2018 Source

URLs for separate mobile sites don’t need to be submitted in their own sitemap. If the rel alternate tags are set up correctly then Google will be able to find these pages through their connection to their desktop equivalents.

Image Sitemaps Associate Images With Pages But Don’t Provide Context For Images

July 27, 2018 Source

Image sitemaps are useful for Google as they show what images are associated with what landing pages, but they don’t provide context about the images themselves like alt text and image titles do.

Google Have Removed Their Public URL Submission Feature

July 27, 2018 Source

Google’s public URL submission tool has been removed but URLs can still be submitted through Search Console and sitemaps.

Block Videos From Search By Adding Video URL & Thumbnail to Robots.txt or Setting Expiration Date in Sitemap

July 13, 2018 Source

You can signal to Google for a video not to be included in search by blocking the video file and thumbnail image in robots.txt or by specifying an expiration date using a video sitemap file.

A Sitemap is the Best Way for Google to Quickly Process Noindex at Scale

July 10, 2018 Source

Make sure the pages you’ve added a noindex tag to are included in a sitemap file with the last modified date to ensure Google picks these up as quickly as possible. Make sure last modified dates are realistic and aren’t the same for every page as this looks artificial to Google.

You Only Need to Include Standalone AMP Pages in Sitemaps

June 26, 2018 Source

As long as you have the link rel=amphtml you won’t need to include AMP in sitemaps unless they are standalone pages. Google can access the HTML of the main page to include in the AMP cache when changes are made to the content.

Related Topics

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