Manage your sitemaps with a sitemap index file

If you have a sitemap that exceeds the size limits, you'll need to split up your large sitemap into multiple sitemaps such that each new sitemap is below the size limit. Once you've split up your sitemap, you can use a sitemap index file as a way to submit many sitemaps at once.

Sitemap index best practices

The XML format of a sitemap index file is very similar to the XML format of a sitemap file, and it's defined by the Sitemap Protocol. This means that all the sitemap requirements apply to sitemap index files also.

The referenced sitemaps must be hosted on the same site as your sitemap index file. This requirement is waived if you set up cross-site submission.

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, it can only contain sitemaps that are in the same or deeper directory, like

You can submit up to 500 sitemap index files for each site in your Search Console account.

Example sitemap index

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

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="">

Sitemap index reference

The sitemap index tags are defined by the same namespace as generic sitemaps:

To make sure Google can use your sitemap index, you must use the following required tags:

Required tags
sitemapindex The root tag of the XML tree. It contains all the other tags.
sitemap The parent tag for each sitemap listed in the file. It's the first and only direct child tag of the sitemapindex tag.
loc The location (URL) of the sitemap. It's the first and only the child of the sitemap tag. A sitemap index file may have up to 50,000 loc tags.

Additionally, the following optional tags may help Google schedule your sitemaps for crawling:

Optional tags
lastmod Identifies the time that the corresponding sitemap file was modified. The value for the lastmod tag must be in W3C Datetime format.

Additional resources

Want to learn more? Check out the following resources: