Sitemap errors

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The Sitemap Details page lists any errors Google found with your Sitemap, as well as warnings about potentially problematic issues. Once you've reviewed your Sitemap and made any changes, save it and then resubmit it. It can take up to a day for Google to process the resubmitted Sitemap, so the warning status may continue to display until then.

Critical errors are identified by the critical Sitemap error icon. Generally, a critical error means that Google couldn't find or download your Sitemap, or couldn't process the data it contains. You should address these issues as soon as possible. Make sure to review your Sitemap against the official Sitemap guidelines (and if your Sitemap contains image, video, or other special information, check the guidelines for specialized information in Sitemaps).

Once you've reviewed your Sitemap and made any changes, save it and then resubmit it. It can take up to a day for Google to process the resubmitted Sitemap, so you may continue to see error messages until then.

 

To resubmit a Sitemap:

  1. On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want.
  2. Under Crawl, click Sitemaps.
  3. Select the Sitemap(s) you want to resubmit, and then click the Resubmit Sitemap button.
 
Error Description How to fix
critical Sitemap error Compression error Google couldn't process your Sitemap because we couldn't uncompress it.

This error can occur when you compress your Sitemap to reduce its size, and submit the Sitemap as part of a .zip or other archive file.

Check your Sitemap, and compress it again. Then upload the new archive file, and resubmit your Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Empty Sitemap Google couldn’t process your Sitemap because it doesn’t contain any URLs.

This error may occur if you submit an empty Sitemap file, but you may also see it if your Sitemap URLs are incorrectly tagged and our bots don't recognize anything in URL format.

Check your Sitemap and ensure that it's not empty. Review the Sitemap guidelines, and make sure that your URLs are correctly tagged.
critical Sitemap error HTTP error (specific code) Google couldn't process your Sitemap, or encountered a non-critical HTTP error.

Google encountered an HTTP error when when attempting to download your Sitemap.

This message displays the status code we received (for example, 404) when we tried to download your Sitemap.

Some error codes are critical (for example, 404 means that we were unable to find your Sitemap at the specified location). Others may reflect a temporary error, such as a problem with the server. More information about HTTP status codes.

Make sure that the Sitemap URL you specified is correct and that the Sitemap exists at that location. Then, resubmit your Sitemap.

 

critical Sitemap error Incorrect namespace Google couldn't process your Sitemap because it doesn't specify the correct namespace, or the namespace is declared incorrectly.

A namespace is a collection of names that can be used in an XML file as elements (tags) and attributes. Specifying a namespace in your XML file tells Google about the kind of information included in your Sitemap, and the tags used to describe it. For example, specifying the Video Sitemap namespace (xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1") tells Google that your Sitemap contains video information and uses the tags and attributes of the Video namespace to describe this information.

If you see an Incorrect namespace error, it is probably for one of these reasons:

  • Your Sitemap includes tags that Google doesn't recognize because they do not belong to a specified namespace. For example, if you use <player> (which is not included in the Video Sitemap namespace) instead of the tag <video:player>, Google won't recognize the <player> or the type of information it contains.
  • Your namespace declaration is incorrect—for example, it contains a typo or incorrect URL. (For example, xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-videos/1.1" is incorrect as it uses sitemap-videos instead of sitemap-video.)
Review your Sitemap against the Sitemap guidelines to make sure that the namespace is correctly specified. Then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Incorrect Sitemap index format: Nested Sitemap indexes Google couldn't process your Sitemap Index file because one or more entries lists 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 upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.
Invalid attribute value An attribute associated with one of the XML tags in your Sitemap has an incorrect value.

An attribute is a descriptor associated with your tag. For example, in the tag <video:player_loc allow_embed="yes">, the attribute allow_embed has the value yes.

Check your Sitemaps to make sure that any attributes follow the rules in the specific examples in the Sitemap Help content.

In addition, check the actual value of each attribute for typos. For example, using this value <video:player_loc allow_embed="never" would trigger an error because never is not an allowed attribute value; the value of the allow_embed attribute can be only yes or no.

Once you have fixed the attribute values, upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.

Invalid date Your Sitemap contains one or more invalid dates.

This 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 if you wish. For example:

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 timezone.

Make sure your dates match one of the following W3C Datetime formats. Then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.

 

Invalid tag value Google couldn't process your Sitemap because it contains one or more tags with an invalid value.

The value of a tag is the content included in that tag. For example, the value of the <loc> tag in the example <loc>http://www.example.com</loc> is http://www.example.com/.

Some tags require specific values, or values in a specific format. For example, dates must always be in W3C format or they will not be recognized. For example:

<video:expiration_date>2009-11-05T19:20:30+08:00</video:expiration_date>
To fix this issue, review your Sitemap carefully against the Sitemap guidelines. (The error message includes the problematic tag and the line numbers it’s on.) Then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Invalid URL Your Sitemap contains an invalid URL.

The URL may contain unsupported characters, spaces, or other characters such as quotes, or the URL may simply have a typo (for example, htp:// instead of http://).

Make sure 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. Once you have fixed the issue, upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.

 

Invalid XML: too many tags Your Sitemap contains duplicate tags.

A tag is an XML element. For instance, in the following snippet, <loc>, <lastmod>, <changefreq>, and <priority> are all tags.

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

While some tags can appear multiple times in a Sitemap (for example, each entry will have a <url> tag), some others can cause problems. (See Creating a Sitemap for more detail.) The following entry would cause an error, because the <loc> tag is listed twice (telling Google that the URL has two different locations):

    <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 where the problem was found. Remove the duplicate tag, and then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Missing thumbnail URL Google couldn't process your Sitemap because one or more video entries is missing a URL to a thumbnail image. More information about creating a video Sitemap. Make sure that the location of any thumbnail URLs are specified using the <video:thumbnail_loc> tag. Then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Missing video title Google couldn't process your Sitemap because one or more video entries is missing a title. More information about creating a video Sitemap. Make sure that each video in your Sitemap has a title, specified in the the <video:title> tag. Then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Missing XML tag Google couldn't process your Sitemap because one or more entries is missing a required tag. To fix this issue, review your Sitemap carefully against the Sitemap guidelines. (The error message includes the problematic tag and the line number where the problem was found.) Then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Parsing error Google was unable to parse the XML content of your Sitemap.

Often, this is because of an unescaped character in a listed URL. As with all XML files, any data values (including URLs) must use entity escape codes for certain characters such as ampersands, single and double quotes, and "greater than / less than" symbols. More information about URL encoding.

Remove any unescaped characters from your Sitemap, and then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap. The W3C XML Validator is useful for identifying syntax errors in your code.
critical Sitemap error Path mismatch: Includes www Google couldn't process your Sitemap because its URL path differs from the URLs it contains.

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

To fix this problem, you should select a preferred domain for your site. This means that you should decide which way you would like URLs from your site to be indexed. More information about choosing a preferred domain.

If you would like the URLs from your site to be indexed without the www prefix, delete the Sitemap from your Google Webmaster Tools account and resubmit it using the path without the www prefix (for instance, http://example.com/sitemap.xml). If you use this option, you don't need to modify the URLs inside your Sitemap.

If you would like the URLs from your site to be indexed with the www prefix, you should modify your Sitemap to include www in the URLs listed there, then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.

critical Sitemap error Path mismatch: Missing www Google couldn't process your Sitemap because its URL path differs from the URLs it contains.

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/sitemap.xml).

To fix this problem, you should select a preferred domain for your site. This means that you should decide which way you would like URLs from your site to be indexed. More information about choosing a preferred domain.

If you'd like the URLs from your site to be indexed using the www prefix, delete the Sitemap from your Google Webmaster Tools account and resubmit it using the path with the www prefix (for instance, http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml). If you use this option, you don't need to modify the URLs inside your Sitemap.

If you'd like the URLs from your site to be indexed without the www prefix, you should modify your Sitemap to remove www from the URLs listed there, then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.

More information about choosing a preferred domain.

critical Sitemap error Robots.txt blocking Google couldn't process your Sitemap, because your robots.txt file is blocking access to the Sitemap file or the content it lists.

If you use robots.txt to control crawler access to files and directories on your server, you may inadvertently prevent Google from accessing your Sitemap. More information about robots.txt.

Make sure that no URLs listed in your Sitemap are blocked by robots.txt. This includes any thumbnail, image, or video URLs used to provide information about images and video entries, as well as any content hosted by a third party.

Tip: Use the Fetch as Google tool to help identify content that might be blocked using robots.txt.

critical Sitemap error Sitemap file size error. Your Sitemap exceeds the maximum file size limit... Google couldn't process your Sitemap because it is larger than 50MB uncompressed. To fix this issue, break your Sitemap into several smaller Sitemaps, and list these in a Sitemap index file. (More information about Sitemap index files.) Upload your Sitemaps and Sitemap index files to your site, then submit these files individually.
critical Sitemap error Temporary error Google couldn't process your Sitemap because our system experienced a temporary problem.

Generally, when you see this error, you don't need to resubmit your Sitemap. Google will try to retrieve it later.

Check back later to see if Google has been able to process your Sitemap. If you continue to see this error after several hours, resubmit your Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Thumbnail too small Google couldn't process your Sitemap because a video thumbnail image specified in your Sitemap is too small.

This error appears in the Video Sitemaps feature in Webmaster Tools Labs. More information about adding video information to a Sitemap.

Resize your video thumbnail image to 160x120px. Update your Sitemap if necessary, and then upload and resubmit it.
critical Sitemap error Too many Sitemaps in index file Google couldn't process your Sitemap index file becuase it contains too many URLs.

A Sitemap index file can list no more than 50,000 Sitemaps. More information about Sitemap index files.

Split your Sitemap index into multiple Sitemap index files and ensure that each contains no more than 50,000 Sitemaps. Then, upload and resubmit your Sitemap index files individually.
critical Sitemap error Too many URLs in Sitemap Google couldn't process your Sitemap because it lists too many URLs.

A Sitemap can list no more than 50,000 URLs.

Break your Sitemap into several smaller Sitemaps, and list these in a Sitemap index file. Then upload and submit these files. More information about Sitemap index files.
Unsupported format Your Sitemap does not appear to be in a supported format.

Sitemaps based on the Sitemap protocol must be in XML format, and use the correct header. For example, a general Web Sitemap (one that lists web pages but doesn't include video, image, or other specific information) looks like this:

      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
      <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
    

The header for a Sitemap index file looks like this:

      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
      <sitemapindex
        xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">

Google also accepts Atom and RSS.

Check the following:
  • Each Sitemap file must declare the correct namespaces. For example, if your Sitemap contains video information, you'll need to make sure that the Video Sitemaps namespace is specified, like this:
    xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1"
  • The Sitemaps namespace must be "http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" (not .9).
  • Each XML attribute must be enclosed in either single quotes (') or double quotes (") and these quotes must be straight, not curly. Word-processing programs such as Microsoft Word can unexpectedly insert curly quotes.

Review the Sitemap documentation to ensure that your Sitemap matches requirements, then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.

Unsupported format. Your file appears to be an HTML page Your Sitemap appears to be an HTML page. Please use a supported Sitemap format instead.

Google accepts text files, XML Sitemaps based on the Sitemap Protocol, or RSS or Atom 1.0 feeds.

Make sure that your Sitemap is in an acceptable format (for more details, see Creating a Sitemap). Then upload your Sitemap to your server, and resubmit it.

 

URL not allowed Google has detected some URLs that appear to be at a higher level or different domain than the Sitemap file location. Try moving your Sitemap file to a higher location in your site and submitting again. For instance, 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

You should also check that the URLs all begin with the same domain as your Sitemap location. For instance, if your Sitemap is listed under http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml, the following URLs are not valid for that Sitemap:

  • http://www.google.com — it's in the google.com domain rather than the example.com domain
  • http://example.com/ — it's missing the initial www
  • www.example.com/ — it's missing the protocol (http), and will generate an Invalid URL warning
  • https://www.example.com/ — it's using a different protocol (https rather than http)

Any URLs in the Sitemap that are not denied are processed normally.

If you have multiple websites, you can simplify the process of creating and submitting Sitemaps by creating one or more Sitemaps that includes URLs for all your verified sites, and saving the Sitemap(s) to a single location. More information about managing Sitemaps for multiple sites.

critical Sitemap errorVideo location and play page location are the same. Google could not process your Video Sitemap because the video URL and the play page URL are the same. Your <video:content_loc> tag should contain a URL to your actual video file. The <video:player_loc must contain a URL pointing to a Flash player for a specific video. It is helpful to provide both <video:player_loc and <video:content_loc>, but the URLs must be different. More information on creating a Video Sitemap. Check the URLs for tags. Then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.
critical Sitemap error Video location URL appears to be a play page URL. Google could not process your Video Sitemap because one or more video entries has a video URL (specified in <video:content_loc>) that appears to be the URL of a play page (a URL pointing to a Flash player for a specific video). You may have a bug in your Sitemap generation tool. More information on creating a Video Sitemap. Check the contents of your <video:player_loc and <video:content_loc> tags. Then upload and resubmit your updated Sitemap.