Question: Is there any valid reason to keep a URL that is a 301 redirect in your sitemap?

Generally speaking, you should remove pages that have 301 redirects from your sitemap, so you don’t waste your time, and “crawl budget” with Google.

Answer: There is only one scenario where you shouldn’t follow best practices and remove a URL that has a 301 redirect from your sitemap.

If your new URLs are not being crawled and indexed, Carrie Hill suggests that you load that a SPECIFIC sitemap up with 301 redirects ONLY. Submit that sitemap. Remove the sitemap once the new urls are indexed and the 301 redirects are recognized.

Carrie’s scenario is the only valid use-case for sure. For me, I had a client create a single sitemap with all their 301s in it, and only 301s. For discovery. Then took it down after a while.

Alan Bleiweiss

Definitely don’t recommend leaving them up for a long time – just long enough to get the new page(s) found and indexed in that scenario 😉

Carrie Hill

Work to remove + no real benefit to doing it = put it in the back of the backlog and maybe every year or 2 when a dev is bored they take care of it and other things like it. It’s also valid after a migration to get pages crawled and redirects picked up sooner.

Patrick Stox

I’ve added HTML sitemap for mid-large sites of some old URLs so redirects get crawled a little quicker. In moderation. And for a limited amount of time. If there’s a block of URLs that don’t get crawled often (log file data) I put some focus on those too… as soon as flip. Gone.

Grant Simmons

Sitemap Optimization Take-Aways

If your sitemap has incorrect urls, 404s, 500s, 301 redirects then both Google and Bing may not process them anymore.

A long time ago bing said if more than X% of sitemap urls weren’t a 200 status they’d ignore your sitemap. Not sure if that’s still true.

Ryan Jones;t=OINKDH2f6X6aB6WQqiZ9aQ

And on larger sites, any URL that is not live, contributes to the scenario where Google stops crawling that sitemap. They consider it a waste of time. So many URLs may not even get crawled. Sitemaps need to be clean and free of indexing conflict signals.

Alan Bleiweiss;t=OINKDH2f6X6aB6WQqiZ9aQ

This is not an absolute. It comes down to there being too many dead or redirected URLs in the initial sitemap crawl sequence. At some point, Googlebot just stops. Personally, I prefer to not have any crawl budget waste either though.

Alan Bleiweiss

“In your sitemap you should only include pages you wanted indexed. So it does matter. Noindex & don’t include it”

Martin Oud

Just keep them until the new urls are indexed, then remove. Keep the 301 is giving conflicting signals to Google

Siddhesh Tiwatne

SEO Recap:XML Sitemap Best Practices

In general should I remove 301 redirects from my sitemap?Yes, best practice is to send only valid URLS.
Why would I make a sitemap with ONLY 301 redirects listed?If you are migrating urls, putting all 301s in a sitemap can help track Google progress in recognizing redirects.
Does having 404s, 301s and noindex pages in my sitemap hurt my site?Yes, Google may ignore sitemap submission with 10% or more errors in submitted urls.


Twitter is an amazing SEO resource. These are other recaps of answers to common SEO questions or challenges I see floating around the twitterverse, to quickly vanish. Here’s are some recent #seobits I’ve created to capture these ephemeral threads for future reference.

Categories: SEObits

Jeremy Rivera

Jeremy Rivera started in SEO in 2007, working at Advanced Access a hosting company for Realtors. He came up from the support department, where people kept asking "How do I rank in Google" and found in the process of answering that question an entire career. He became SEO product manager of, went "in-house" at Raven Tools in Nashville in 2013. He then worked at several agencies like Caddis, 2 The Top Design as an SEO manager and then launched a 5 year freelance SEO career. During that time he consulted for large enterprise sites like Smile Direct Club, Dr. Axe, HCA, Logan's Roadhouse and Captain D's while also helping literally hundreds of small business owners get found in search results. He has authored blog posts at Authority Labs, Raven Tools, Wix, Search Engine Land. He has been a speaker at many SEO conferences like Craft Content and been interviewed in numerous SEO focused podcasts.