Google says leaving old XML sitemaps after URL migration will have minimal effect
Google’s John Mueller was asked if it was helpful after doing a big URL migration to keep the old Sitemap XML file for a bit. John said “the effect would be minimal” using this strategy.
The theory is that if you leave the old XML sitemap online for a while, Google will use it to crawl those URLs faster, and then grab the new URLs (the ones the old ones redirect to) faster. But John said it didn’t really work that way, he said “if you change all the dates on the existing pages it doesn’t give us a lot of information on where to start crawling, so I think that overall he would crawl as usual. ” So normal crawling will be performed on those old URLs and Google will resume redirects to its normal crawl – the XML sitemap might not have an impact on this, at least noticeably.
Here are those tweets:
@JohnMu Do you recommend keeping the old XML sitemap live after a major URL structure migration, so that bots still have access and find new URLs faster through redirects?
– Daniel Lira (@DanielTexasLira) November 16, 2021
Temporarily this is fine, but I suspect the effect would be minimal (if you change all the dates on the existing pages it doesn’t give us a lot of information on where to start crawling, so I think that overall he would crawl as usual)
– John 🧀 (@JohnMu) November 17, 2021
That’s a good question because Google, including John Mueller, has said in the past that you can use sitemaps to speed up page deletion at a certain level and it looks like Google’s Gary Illyes has said that could also work with URL migrations. So the question makes a logical sense, but so does the answer.
Discussion forum at Twitter.