We often get asked why Google is not indexing the URLs in a client site’s XML sitemaps. There are plenty of reasons why Google may be ignoring these sitemaps. For example:
- Sitemap URLs don’t work
- URLs in the sitemaps redirect/don’t work/timeout, etc
- URLs in the sitemaps are not linked in the UI or are generally low-quality
- The site switched from http to https and the XML sitemaps are http (see #2), etc.
But the #1 reason by far that Google Webmas…er, Google Search Console says your XML sitemap URLs have not been indexed is because it’s a liar.
The screenshot above shows only one URL reported indexed in a small 82-URL XML sitemap. Yet, if you take two random URLs from the sitemap, go to Google and search “site:site.com/url-in-sitemap”, you will see they are indeed indexed. They may not rank for anything, and maybe because the site in question has some serious duplication issues, they may not be in what Google considers the true index, but Google definitely has them.
So before you freak out about your XML sitemap indexation, check to see if some random URLs are indexed, and always remember sometimes you need to kick the side of the TV to fix the reception.