Are XML Sitemaps a Google Ranking Factor?


Some website owners assume that XML sitemaps are essential in search rankings as they help Google crawl your pages; suggesting that XML sitemaps are so crucial in site searching that the absence of having one can negatively impact search rankings.

While others suggest that Google has already progressed past the need for having XML sitemaps, and those website owners can forego using them.

This short article will answer your query and doubts about these various claims of XML sitemaps.

Are XML Sitemaps Neccessary?

An XML sitemap is a list of all indexable pages, posts, categories, and tags to help Google discover new and existing pages. XML sitemaps are usually recommended as one of the SEO best practices required to rank top in the SERPs.

Some SEO experts point out that the absence of these XML sitemaps will result in a red flag that may hold a website back in the search results.

An emerging school of thought disagreed with these claims as they pointed out that these XML sitemaps are just inconsequential when it comes to search rankings.

More site owners follow what others are doing by not adding one unless their CMS will automatically generate a sitemap in XML.

The Evidence if They Are a Ranking Factor

Evidence indicated that these XML sitemaps are not a factor or one of the factors for search rankings. This evidence was confirmed by Gary Illyes (Google) that there would be no problem or any ranking disadvantage associated with your site is not having an XML sitemap.

These sitemaps are not useless at all; they just won’t be used for ranking purposes. Having a sitemap file is a big help to make sure Google will know where to locate or find all of the website pages. They can also help in expediting the indexing of updated and new pages.

There’s no connection for having ranking advantage associated with having an XML sitemap because Google itself can index and crawl pages on its own.

With this concern, one of the better solutions for those site owners is to build a website with a structure that would be easy for Google to navigate. This will have all other internal links to be naturally discovered.

With enough external links pointing to a particular website, crawlers in Google will come back without the need to be pinged by the XML sitemap.

Are XML Sitemaps a Google Ranking Factor?

Now you know that XML sitemaps are NOT a crucial factor in Google ranking; instead, they are known for affecting indexing but will not affect your site ranking.

These XML sitemaps are not that significant for indexing, nor do they guarantee rankings, but you have nothing to worry about as there is no harm in having an XML sitemap if you choose to have one. Google usually recommended them for those large sites that frequently change their URLs.


  • What is an XML Sitemap?

Published on: 2022-03-10
Updated on: 2022-06-17

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Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. Isaac has considerable expertise in Search Engine Optimization, Server Administration, and Cyber Security, which gives him a leg up as a Google Algorithm Analyst and SEO Expert.