Google and other search engines use XML sitemaps to better understand the structure of your website and index its content.
The following are some of the most common errors in XML sitemaps that can be found through an SEO audit:
Found XML Sitemaps? – This error appears when Google cannot find your XML sitemap. The reason is that the sitemap doesn’t exist. To fix this, you need to start by creating an XML sitemap first. After that, make sure to include your XML sitemap in your robots.txt file and then list it in Google Search Console.
XML Sitemap Included in Robots.txt – This error means that your XML sitemap is not included in your robots.txt file. To fix this, add the following line to your robots.txt file: Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml
XML Sitemap(s) is Listed in GSC – This error means that one or more of your XML sitemaps is not listed in Google Search Console. To fix this, add your XML sitemaps to GSC by following these instructions: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/183668?hl=en&ref_topic=7225052
3xx redirect in sitemap – One of the most common XML sitemap errors is the inclusion of pages that return a 3xx redirect. When this occurs, crawlers will follow the redirect instead of indexing the page. To fix this, make sure that all redirected pages are excluded from the sitemap. The sitemap should only include pages with the 2xx status code.
4xx client error in sitemap -This error means that there are URLs in your XML sitemap that return a 404 (file not found) error when visited. That means that the page has been deleted or replaced. If you have deleted the page, you should make sure to also remove it from your sitemap. If there is a valid page that serves as a replacement, include that in the XML sitemap. In case you have moved the page to a new URL, exclude the old URL from the sitemap and add the new one instead.
5xx server error in sitemap – This error means that there are URLs in your XML sitemap that return a 500 (server error) error when visited. To fix this issue, you’ll need to contact the development team or the host support who can fix the server issue. If you need to solve the problem quickly, you should temporarily remove those pages from your sitemap until they get the 2xx status code.
Noindex page in sitemap – This error means that you have a page listed in your XML sitemap that you don’t want indexed by search engines. To fix it, remove the page from your XML sitemap.
Fix the XML Sitemap Errors on Your Website
XML sitemap errors can have a significant impact on your website’s ranking and organic traffic. If your SEO audit returned a couple of these errors, it is important that you take the time to address them so that your website can reach its full potential in terms of search engine visibility and organic traffic.