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.

Identical Last Modified Dates in Sitemaps for all Pages will be ignored

March 10, 2017 Source

If all the last modified dates in Sitemaps are identical, Google will assume they are incorrect.

Google Automatically Chooses a Preferred Domain Based on Multiple Signals

March 10, 2017 Source

Google uses many factors to determine the canonical domain including redirects, canonicals, internal links, sitemaps and backlinks, so choosing a preferred domain in Search Console is not critical.

Sitemaps Require Absolute URLs and Recommends for Internal Links

February 24, 2017 Source

Relative URLs are fine for internal linking, but Google requires absolute URLs for Sitemaps. Google now recommends using absolute URLs for internal linking to avoid any uncertainty about the preferred protocol.

RSS with Pubsubhubbub to get URLs Indexed

February 10, 2017 Source

You can use an RSS feed with Pubsubhubbub to ping Google with new URLs as an alternative to Sitemaps.

Use Sitemap Index Count to Measure Indexing

December 2, 2016 Source

Site: is not an accurate measure of indexed pages, and could be off by ‘orders of magnitude’. The Sitemap Index count in Search Console is accurate for the specific URLs submitted.

Submit Old URLs in Sitemaps when Moving Domains

November 29, 2016 Source

When moving domains, you can submit old redirecting URLs in a Sitemap with a changed date, on either domain, to help get them re-crawled more quickly.

Sitemaps on Separate Domains Require Both Sites to be Verified in Search Console

September 23, 2016 Source

You can submit Sitemaps with URLs on a different domain if both of the site are verified in the Search Console account.

Sitemaps Hosted in Subdirectories are Only Valid for URLs in the Same Directory

September 20, 2016 Source

Sitemaps located in a subdirectory only be valid for URLs in that sub-directory.

Search Console Indexed URLs Counts Report Exact URLs in Sitemaps

September 20, 2016 Source

Search Console indexed pages in Sitemaps uses exact URLs, so variations including www/non-www, trailing slash variations, etc, won’t be reported as indexed.

Related Topics

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