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Manage sitemaps with the Sitemaps report

A sitemap is a file you create for web crawlers, such as Googlebot, that gives them a list of web pages to crawl on your site. Although most web crawlers can explore and discover all the files on your site, a sitemap helps the crawler and can also provide metadata, such as how often the information on the page changes (suggesting how often it should be crawled), and details about content that is difficult for a search engine to parse, such as video or image file descriptions. You can view, add, and test sitemaps using the Sitemaps report in Search Console.

You probably won't need this report if you cannot modify the sitemap for your site; for instance, if you are in a managed hosting environment such as Google Sites; these hosting services typically create and manage sitemaps for you.

 

Open the Sitemaps report

 

Learn more about sitemaps:

Using the Sitemap report

The Sitemaps report landing page shows a list of sitemaps that you have submitted to Search Console. Only sitemaps submitted through this tool are listed; the report will not list sitemaps exposed through other means, such as robots.txt or google.com/ping.

Click on a sitemap in the table to drill down into it for more information, including errors. If the file is a sitemap index (a container file pointing to multiple sitemaps), clicking will drill down to a list of sitemaps in that index file.

My sitemap isn't listed!

If your sitemap isn't appearing in the report, check these settings:

  • What is your property's preferred domain? To Google, http://www.example.com, http://example.com, https://www.example.com, and https://example.com are all different sites. Thus, sitemaps you've submitted for the site http://example.com won't be visible in the Sitemaps page of Search Console for http://www.example.com. To address this issue, make sure you've added all versions of your site then, tell Google your preferred domain and only submit sitemaps for the preferred one.
  • Who submitted the sitemap? Sitemaps that you submitted are visible on the By me tab; sitemaps submitted by anyone else will only be visible in the All tab.
  • Did you submit the sitemap using this page? Only sitemaps submitted using this report are listed; sitemaps submitted using google.com/ping or robots.txt are not on the report, even if Google can find and use them.

Create a sitemap

Learn how to create a sitemap.

Test your sitemap

You should test your sitemap syntax before you submit it.

To test an unsubmitted sitemap:

  1. Click Add/Test Sitemap on the report landing page.
  2. Enter the URL of the sitemap in the dialog that appears, and click Test.
  3. When the test is completed, click Open Test Results to check for errors. Fix your errors.
  4. After you fix your errors, can click Submit Sitemap.

To test a previously submitted sitemap:

Drill down to the details page for the previously submitted sitemap and click Test.

Submit your sitemap (first time)

  1. Test your sitemap first, as described previously.
  2. Click the Add/Test Sitemap button.
  3. Enter a URL path into the text box. The URL should be relative to the site root defined for the property.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Refresh your browser to see your new sitemap in the sitemaps list.
  6. Click on the new sitemap in the sitemap list to open the Sitemaps Details page and investigate any errors or warnings about the sitemap or the URLs it contains.

It will take some time before Google can process a sitemap that you have submitted. Note that Google can't promise to crawl or index every URL in your sitemap because we rely complex algorithms to make crawling decisions.

Resubmit your sitemap

  1. Open the Sitemaps report
  2. Select the sitemap(s) you want to resubmit from the table
  3. Click the Resubmit sitemap button.
You can also resubmit a sitemap by sending an HTTP GET request to the following URL, specifying your own sitemap URL:
http://google.com/ping?sitemap=http://www.example.com/my_sitemap.xml

Delete a sitemap for your property

To delete a sitemap from your account so that it no longer appears in Search Console:

  1. In the sitemap table, select the checkbox next to the sitemap(s) that you want to remove from Search Console.
  2. Click Delete.

Deleting a sitemap from Search Console does not prevent Google from reading it. Google might continue to read your sitemap until you either block access to it using robots.txt or remove the sitemap file from your web host (simply removing the reference from robots.txt isn't enough). If you want to keep the sitemap on your server for use by other search engines, block Googlebot access in robots.txt.

 

Sitemap errors and fixes

The following warnings or errors can be reported for your sitemaps in the Sitemaps report:

Complete error list

URLs not accessible

Indicates that Google encountered an error when attempting to view a URL in your sitemap.

  1. Ensure that the file exists at the specified location.
  2. Verify by using the robots.txt tester to confirm which file is blocking it.
  3. Use the Fetch as Google tool to see if it's blocked by robots.txt.
  4. If we attempted to crawl the URL from your sitemap, make sure that your sitemap lists the URL correctly.

URLs not followed

Typically indicates that Google can't completely process your sitemap because some of URLs contain too many redirects for Google web crawlers to follow. We suggest that you replace each URL redirecting to another page with the URL that the redirect is pointing to (the destination URL).

The following list describes some additional reasons a redirect could not be followed along with possible solutions:

  • Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, since many search engines see your site much as Lynx would. If features such as Javascript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then simple search engine spiders might have trouble crawling your site.
  • If you are permanently redirecting from one page to another, you can use a permanent redirect; you should avoid using JavaScript or meta-refresh type redirects.
  • Where possible, use absolute or complete links rather than relative links. For instance, when linking to another page in your site, link to https://www.example.com/mypage.html rather than simply mypage.html.

URL not allowed

Your sitemap includes some URLs that are at a higher level or different domain than the sitemap file.

Higher level: If your sitemap is listed under http://www.example.com/mysite/sitemap.xml, the following URLs are not valid for that sitemap:

  • http://www.example.com/ - it's at a higher level than the sitemap
  • http://www.example.com/yoursite/ - it's in a directory parallel to the sitemap

Different domain: Check that the URLs all begin with the same domain as your sitemap location. For instance, if your sitemap is at http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml, the following URLs are not valid for that sitemap:

  • http://example.com/ - Missing "www"
  • www.example.com/ - Missing "http"
  • https://www.example.com/ - Using https rather than http

Compression error

Google encountered an error when trying to uncompress your compressed sitemap file. Recompress your sitemap (using a tool such as gzip), upload it to your site, and resubmit it.

Empty sitemap

Your sitemap doesn't contain any URLs. Check your sitemap and ensure that it is not empty. If your sitemap uses the sitemap protocol, ensure that the URLs are tagged correctly.

Sitemap file size error: Your sitemap exceeds the maximum file size limit...

Your sitemap is larger than 10MB when uncompressed. If your sitemap is larger than the limit, break it into several smaller sitemaps and list these in a sitemap index file and submit the sitemap index file(s).

Invalid attribute value

You assigned an invalid value to an XML tag attribute. Check your sitemaps to make sure that only the allowed attributes are present, and that you assign only allowed values according to the sitemap specifications. Check your attributes and values for typos.

Invalid date

Your sitemap contains one or more invalid dates. This error could be because a date is in the incorrect format, or the date itself is not valid. Dates must use W3C Datetime encoding, although you can omit the time portion. Make sure your dates match one of the following W3C Datetime formats:

2005-02-21 
2005-02-21T18:00:15+00:00

Specifying time is optional (the time defaults to 00:00:00Z), but if you do specify a time, you must also specify a time zone.

Invalid tag value

Your sitemap contains one or more tags with an invalid value. The error should list the tag in error. Check the specifications for your sitemap type (index, standard, video, and so on).

Invalid URL

A URL in your sitemap is not valid. This error might be because it contains unsupported characters, spaces, or other characters such as quotes, or it might be incorrectly formatted (for example, htp:// instead of http:// Make sure that the URLs listed in your sitemap are encoded for readability and escaped properly. Check for any incorrect characters such as spaces or quotes. You also try copying the URL into a browser to see if the browser can understand the URL and load the page.

Invalid URL in sitemap index file: incomplete URL

Your sitemap index file doesn't include the full URL for each Sitemap file it lists. When we see a sitemap index file, we look in the same directory for the files it contains. For instance, if your sitemap index file is located at http://www.example.com/folder1/sitemap_index.xml and lists a sitemap as sitemap.xml, we'll look for that sitemap at http://www.example.com/folder1/sitemap.xml. If we can't find it there, you'll see an error for this attempt.

Update your sitemap index file to include the complete path to each listed sitemap file, then resubmit.

Invalid XML: too many tags

Your sitemap contains duplicate tags. For example, the following entry would cause this error because the <loc> tag is listed twice:

<url>
  <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc>
  <loc>http://www.example.com/page1.html</loc>
  <lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod>
  <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
  <priority>0.8</priority>
</url>

The error lists the problematic tag and the line number. Remove the duplicate tag and resubmit your sitemap.

Missing XML attribute

A tag in your sitemap is missing a required attribute. Check your sitemaps to make sure that no required attributes are missing. Once you have fixed the attribute values, resubmit your sitemap.

Missing XML tag

One or more entries in your sitemap is missing a required tag. The error message lists the line number. Review the sitemap fundamentals page for information on required tags.

Missing thumbnail URL

One or more video entries is missing a URL to a thumbnail image. Make sure that the location of any thumbnail URLs are specified using the <video:thumbnail_loc> tag.

Missing video title

One or more video entries is missing a title. Make sure that each video in your sitemap has a title, specified in the the <video:title> tag. 

Incorrect sitemap index format: Nested sitemap indexes

One or more entries in your sitemap index file uses its own URL or the URL of another sitemap index file.

A sitemap index file can't list other sitemap index files, but only sitemap files.

Remove any entries pointing to sitemap index files, then resubmit your sitemap.

Parsing error

Google could not parse the sitemap's XML.

Often, this problem is caused by an unescaped character in the URL. As with all XML files, any data values (including URLs) must use entity escape codes for certain characters such as & ' " < > symbols. Be sure that your URLs are properly escaped.

Temporary error

Our system experienced a temporary problem that prevented us from processing your sitemap. Generally, when you receive this error, you do not need to resubmit your sitemap. Google can try to retrieve your sitemap again later. If the error still exists after several hours, try resubmitting your sitemap.

Too many sitemaps in sitemap index file

Your sitemap index file lists more than 50,000 sitemaps. Split your sitemap index into multiple sitemap index files and ensure that each lists no more than 50,000 sitemaps.

Too many URLs in sitemap

Your sitemap lists more than 50,000 URLs. Split your sitemap into multiple Sitemaps and ensure that each contains no more than 50,000 URLs. You can also use a sitemap index file to manage your sitemaps.

Unsupported format

Your sitemap is not in a supported format. Sitemaps must be in XML format, and use the correct header.

Common XML mistakes:

  • Your sitemap must use the correct header. For example, if your sitemap contains video information, it would have the following header:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
            xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1">
  • The namespace in the header must be "http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" (not .9).
  • All XML attributes must enclosed in either single quotes (') or double quotes (") and those quotes must be straight, not curly. Word-processing programs such as Microsoft Word can insert curly quotes.

Path mismatch: Missing www

The path to your sitemap does not contain the www prefix (for example, http://example.com/sitemap.xml), but the URLs it lists do (for example, http://www.example.com/myfile.html).

If you want to submit your sitemap to non-www, but the URLs it contains to be www, select www as the preferred domain for your site.

Otherwise, modify your sitemap to remove "www" from all the URLs to match your sitemap location.

Path mismatch: Includes www

The path to your sitemap contains the www prefix (for example, http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml), but the URLs it contains do not (for example, http://example.com/myfile.xml.

If you want to submit your sitemap to www, but the URLs it contains to be non-www, select non-www as the preferred domain for your site.

Otherwise, modify your sitemap to add "www" to all the URLs to match your sitemap location.

Incorrect namespace

The root element of your sitemap doesn't contain the correct namespace, or the namespace is declared incorrectly, or has a typo or incorrect URL.

Be sure that you are using the correct namespace for your file type. For example:

  • A sitemap file: xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
  • A video sitemap file: xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1"
  • A sitemap index file:  <sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
  • Other sitemap types...

Leading whitespace

Your sitemap begins with leading whitespace, rather than a namespace declaration. XML files should begin with the XML declaration that specifies the version of XML being used.

This error won't prevent Google from processing your sitemap, but you might want to remove the whitespace so that the file adheres to the XML standard and you no longer see this error.

HTTP error [specific code]

Google encountered an HTTP error when when attempting to download your sitemap. This message displays the status code we received (for example, 404). Make sure that the sitemap URL you specified is correct and that the sitemap exists at that location. Then, resubmit your sitemap.

Thumbnail too large

The video thumbnail image specified in your sitemap is too large. See the Video Sitemaps Labs page for more information Resize your video thumbnail image to 160x120px. Update your sitemap with the new information, and then resubmit it. More information about adding video information to a sitemap.

Thumbnail too small

A video thumbnail image specified in your sitemap is too small. Resize your video thumbnail image to 160x120px. Update your sitemap if necessary.

Video location and play page location are the same

In a video sitemap, the video content URL and the player URL cannot be the same. If you provide  both <video:player_loc> and <video:content_loc>, the URLs must be different.

Video location URL appears to be a play page URL

In a video sitemap, the <video:content_loc> URL points to the page hosting the player.

Googlebot is blocked by robots.txt

Google cannot access your sitemap, or can't access all the content listed in your sitemap, because it is blocked by robots.txt. Verify by using the robots.txt tester to confirm which file is blocking it, and modify your robots.txt file to allow Googlebot to access it.

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