Split up your large sitemaps

If you have many sitemaps, you can use a sitemap index file as a way to submit them at once. The XML format of a sitemap index file is very similar to the XML format of a sitemap file. The sitemap index file uses the following XML tags:

  • sitemapindex - the parent tag surrounds the file.
  • sitemap - the parent tag for each sitemap listed in the file (a child of the sitemapindex tag)
  • loc - the location of the sitemap (a child of the sitemap tag)

You can see the Sitemap Protocol page for more information on syntax.

The following example shows a sitemap index in XML format that lists two sitemaps:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">

Once you've made and saved your sitemap index file, you can submit your index file to Google. Make sure that you upload and save all the referenced sitemaps to the same site. Sitemaps that are referenced in the sitemap index file must be in the same directory as the sitemap index file, or lower in the site hierarchy. For example, if the sitemap index file is at https://example.com/public/sitemap_index.xml, it can only contain sitemaps that are in the same or deeper directory, like https://example.com/public/shared/.... You can submit up to 500 sitemap index files for each site in your account.

Manage sitemaps for multiple sites

If you have multiple websites, you can simplify the process of creating and submitting sitemaps by creating one or more sitemaps that include URLs for all your verified sites, and saving the sitemap(s) to a single location. All sites must be verified in Search Console. You can choose to use:

  • A single sitemap that includes URLs for multiple websites, including sites from different domains. For example, the sitemap located at http://host1.example.com/sitemap.xml can include the following URLs.
    • http://host1.example.com
    • http://host2.example.com
    • http://host3.example.com
    • http://host1.example1.com
    • http://host1.example.ch
  • Individual sitemaps (one for each site) that all reside in a single location.
    • http://host1.example.com/host1-example-sitemap.xml
    • http://host1.example.com/host2-example-sitemap.xml
    • http://host1.example.com/host3-example-sitemap.xml
    • http://host1.example.com/host1-example1-sitemap.xml
    • http://host1.example.com/host1-example-ch-sitemap.xml

To host cross-site sitemaps in a single location, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that you have verified ownership of all the sites.
  2. Create a sitemap that includes URLs from all the sites that you want to cover. You can create a single sitemap that includes URLs from all sites or you can create one or more separate sitemaps for each site.
  3. Using Google Search Console, submit your sitemap(s).