Sitemap index

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A Sitemap index is an XML file that lists multiple XML or RSS sitemap files. The XML format of a Sitemap index file is very similar to the XML format of a Sitemap file.[1] It allows webmasters to include additional information about each sitemap (when it was last updated). After creation of a Sitemap index file webmasters can notify search engines about the index file, and the other sitemaps that are included in the Sitemap index file will be automatically notified too.[2]

XML Sitemap index Format[edit]

The Sitemap Protocol format consists of XML tags. The file itself must be UTF-8 encoded. Example of sitemap index file below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="">

Submitting Sitemaps[edit]

If Sitemaps are submitted directly to a search engine, it will return status information and any processing errors. Refer to Google Webmaster Tools or Yahoo SiteExplorer.

Search engine Submission URL Help page
Google How do I resubmit my Sitemap once it has changed?
Bing (Formerly Live Search) Webmaster Tools - Bing Q: Does support sitemaps?
(Disabled as of September 2011 due to Yahoo now using Bing's Search Database)
Does Yahoo! support Sitemaps?
Site Explorer API: Notifying Yahoo of Changes
Yandex  — Sitemaps files (in Russian)
Didikle (Turkish Mobile Search Engine) Sitemap and robots.txt info (in Turkish)

Also, the location of the Sitemap index can be specified using a robots.txt file to help search engines find the Sitemap index files. To do this, the following lines need to be added to robots.txt:

Sitemap: <sitemap_index_location>

The <sitemap_index_location> should be the complete URL to the Sitemap index, such as:

Sitemap Limits[edit]

Sitemap index files may not list more than 50,000 Sitemaps and must be no larger than 10 MB (10,485,760 bytes).[1] You can have more than one Sitemap index file.[1] However, Sitemap index files may not list other Sitemap index files. Therefore, the most pages a single Sitemap index can index is 2,500,000,000.

The Sitemap index file must:

  • Begin with an opening <sitemapindex> tag and end with a closing </sitemapindex> tag.
  • Include a <sitemap> entry for each Sitemap as a parent XML tag.
  • Include a <loc> child entry for each <sitemap> parent tag.

The optional <lastmod> tag is also available for Sitemap index files.

Time format for <lastmod> tag[edit]

The value for the lastmod tag should be in W3C Datetime format. For example, 2007-08-25T00:00:00+00:00. This encoding allows the omission of the time portion of the ISO 8601 format; for example, 2007-08-25 is also valid.

Available time formats:

Format Example
YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssTZD 2007-08-25T00:00:00+00:00
YYYY-MM-DDThh:mmTZD 2007-08-25T00:00+00:00
YYYY-MM-DD 2007-08-25 Sitemap index== Google uses an XML schema to define the elements and attributes that can appear in Sitemap index file.

In order to validate your Sitemap or Sitemap index file against a schema, the XML file will need additional headers.


  1. ^ a b c official site
  2. ^ FAQ of

See also[edit]

External links[edit]