In Google’s latest SEO snippets Q&A video, John Mueller explains how site owners can submit a sitemap with more than 50,000 URLs.
Sitemaps are limited to 50,000 URLs per file, so what’s a webmaster to do if they have a site that exceeds 50,000 pages?
Mueller says multiple sitemap files can be created for a single website. Those sitemaps can then be combined into a sitemap index file. Or, as Mueller puts it, a “sitemap file for sitemaps.”
This even works for sitemaps with fewer than 50,000 URLs, as site owners may want to use multiple sitemaps for different sections of their site.
Multiple sitemap files can also be submitted individually, whether or not they’re contained in a sitemap index file.
As a best practice, Mueller recommends having your sitemaps automatically generated by your server. That will ensure your updated content is picked up by search engines as fast as possible.
So if you’re not sure how to generate sitemap files it’s OK because most content management systems will take care of that on their own. Usually all you have to do is enable it in the control panel.
See below for the full video, along with a transcript of Mueller’s answer.
”Sitemap files are a great way to make your content known to Google and to other search engines. However, they’re limited to 50,000 URLs per file.
What do you do if you have more URLs? You can generate more than one sitemap file per website. You can either submit these individually, for example, through a Search Console. Or you can create a sitemap index file.
A sitemap index file is like a sitemap file for sitemaps. You can list multiple sitemap files in it. If you use a sitemap index file, you can just submit that file for your website in Search Console.
Even if you have fewer than 50,000 URLs, you can submit multiple sitemap files. For example, you might want to do that to keep track of different sections of your website, or just in general to make maintenance of your sitemap files a little bit easier.
When it comes to creating sitemap files, we strongly recommend that you have these made automatically through your server directly. That’s the best way to make sure that your new and updated content is highlighted to search engines as quickly as possible.
Most modern content management systems will take care of this for you. Often, it is just a matter of flipping a switch in your control panel to turn these on.”