Common Sitemaps Errors and How to Fix Them

Last Edited May 12, 2015 by Super User in Sitemaps

Sitemap Errors

Creating an XML or HTML sitemap is no longer a hassle. There are many sitemap generators and plugins that you can always use. However, unless properly formatted and submitted appropriately, you risk encountering a number of errors. This article explains some of the most common errors and how to solve them for successful submission of sitemaps to Google webmaster tools. Upon successfully fixing the errors, you should resubmit the sitemap.

To do that in Google;

  1. Long in to your Webmaster tools homepage
  2. Click on the website
  3. Click on Sitemaps under Crawl
  4. Select the sitemaps you would like to resubmit
  5. Click on the Resubmit button to complete the process

1. Compression Error

This error means that your sitemap couldn’t be processed by Google because it couldn’t be uncompressed. This is common for compressed sitemaps that are submitted in an archive file like .zip.

The Solution:

To fix this, review the sitemap and compress it one more time. Upload the new archive file and proceed to resubmit to the Webmaster Tools.

2. Empty Sitemap

You are likely to encounter this error if the sitemap submitted is empty. Improper tagging of URLs in the sitemap might also lead to this error because the Google bots cannot detect the information in the format.

The Solution:

Start by checking the sitemap just to ascertain that indeed it is not empty. Ensure that the URLs are properly tagged. This information is available on the sitemaps guidelines, which you must read and understand before you even think about creating sitemaps.

3. HTTP Error (Specific Code)

This simply means that the sitemap couldn’t be processed or the bots came across some HTTP error that is not really critical especially when trying to have the sitemap downloaded. Note that some errors like 404 are critical but others might just show temporary errors like server problems.

The Solution:

Confirm is indeed the specified sitemap URL is accurate and is available at the location indicated. Once you are sure, simply resubmit the sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.

4. Incorrect Namespace.

A namespace is an assortment of names that can be used as elements and attributes in an XML file. When you specify the namespace in an XML file, you are simply telling Google what kind of data contained in the sitemap plus their respective tags.

The Solution:

Give the sitemap a second look and ensure that the namespace is specified correctly. Once convinced that all is well, resubmit the sitemap.

There are many more errors you can encounter when submitting your sitemap to Webmaster tools. The best way to go about this is to carefully read and understand the sitemaps creations and submission guidelines. If you are using a third-party sitemap generator, make an effort to review the created sitemap before clicking “submit”. In as much as there are no penalties for submitting sitemaps, some errors can be costly. You can use the errors to also improve on the overall user experience, by ensuring that there are no dead links or using robots.txt. If you are interested in submitting to other popular search engines, please read the article How to submit your sitemap to search engines

Author: Super User


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