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XML Sitemaps

How to properly configure an XML sitemap.

XML sitemap issues are related to the XML sitemap file that lists the URLs of your website and provides additional information about each URL to help search engines efficiently crawl and index your website.

Here are six common XML sitemap issues:

  1. Missing or Incomplete XML Sitemap
    XML sitemap issues can begin with the absence of an XML sitemap on your website. An XML sitemap is an important tool for search engine optimization (SEO) as it helps search engines discover and understand the structure of your website. If your XML sitemap is absent, search engines may have difficulty finding and indexing all of your content.
  2. Incorrect or Invalid XML Sitemap Format
    XML sitemaps have a specific format and structure. Errors in your XML sitemap markup, such as missing required elements, incorrect URLs, or invalid XML syntax, can lead to XML sitemap issues. This can result in search engines not being able to parse and correctly understand your sitemap.
  3. Incomplete or Outdated XML Sitemap
    If your XML sitemap is present but not regularly updated, it may contain outdated or incomplete URLs. This can mislead search engines, leading to incomplete indexing or the exclusion of important content from search engine results.
  4. Incorrect URL Inclusion or Exclusion
    XML sitemaps allow you to specify which URLs to include or exclude from search engine crawling and indexing. If the URL inclusion or exclusion directives in the XML sitemap are incorrect or conflicting, search engines may not crawl or properly index your intended content.
  5. Conflicting XML Sitemaps
    If you have multiple XML sitemaps or variations of XML sitemaps, and these XML sitemaps contain inconsistent or conflicting information, it can confuse search engines and lead to indexing issues.
  6. Large XML Sitemaps
    XML sitemaps have a recommended size limit, typically 50,000 URLs or 10MB uncompressed. If your XML sitemap exceeds these limits, it can cause issues with search engine processing, resulting in incomplete indexing or slower crawl rates.

To mitigate XML sitemap issues, we recommend the following steps:

  • Create Valid XML Sitemap
    Generate an XML sitemap that conforms to the guidelines provided by search engines. Use reliable sitemap generation tools or plugins to ensure the correct format and structure.
  • Regularly Update XML Sitemap
    Keep your XML sitemap up to date by adding new pages and removing outdated or irrelevant URLs. Regularly review and update your XML sitemap when you change to your website structure or add content.
  • Validate XML Sitemap
    Google Search Console or third-party XML sitemap validators can check for errors or issues in your XML sitemap markup. Address any reported problems and revalidate your XML sitemap.
  • Submit XML Sitemap to Search Engines
    Submit the XML sitemap to search engines through their respective webmaster tools or submission process. This helps search engines discover and process your XML sitemap more efficiently.
  • Monitor Search Engine Reports
    Monitor XML sitemap-related warnings or errors reported in Google Search Console or other search engine tools. Address these issues promptly to ensure proper indexing and crawling of your website.