Question: Is there any valid reason to keep a URL that is a 301 redirect in your sitemap?
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🇺🇦 (@AlanBleiweiss) March 11, 2022
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
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
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 GoogleSiddhesh 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.|
LEARN SEO 1 BIT AT A TIME
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.
- Use Regex in Google Search Console to get extra data
- Why you shouldn’t include Thank You pages in your Sitemap
- Predict how much traffic & revenue you could generate from SEO
- How to Improve Your /Blog main home page
- What do you change in your keyword research flow to work with small local business clients