Google’s John Mueller sheds light on the ideal size for sitemaps
Have you ever thought about the ideal size of a sitemap? What should be the size of your sitemap? Is a 5mb sitemap with more than 30,000 URLs too big?
Google’s John Mueller recently answered these questions in a Reddit thread. According to John Mueller, there is no ideal sitemap size for optimizing a website’s crawl speed and that the sheer size of the sitemap or the number of URLs it has won’t affect a site’s crawling process.
Here is what he said:
“The size & number of sitemap files generally won’t affect the crawling, unless your server is so bogged down that even fetching a handful of sitemap files would slow it down (in which case, the sitemap files won’t be the problem you need to focus on anyway).”
Although having multiple sitemaps isn’t really a common practice, John Mueller recommended that you should have multiple sitemaps. The reason is not better crawlability or optimization. But John’s suggestion for multiple sitemaps is for gaining better and monitoring of your site’s data.
“I generally recommend splitting a sitemap file into logical parts of your site so that you can monitor those parts individually (e.g., category pages vs. detail pages vs. whatever else you have).”
Multiple sitemaps allow you to better control and monitor the various sections of your website in Google Search Console. Mueller gave the following example of how multiple sitemaps could offer better control.
He said, “For example, if you filter the Search Console reports to your “category pages” sitemap file, then you can see clearer how well they perform, or if there are any problems with those pages.”
As mentioned earlier, having multiple sitemaps won’t affect website crawling or indexing. “You won’t see any effect in crawlers understanding your site better. It’s purely for you to be able to monitor it better,” confirmed John Mueller.
As per John’s suggestions, you shouldn’t worry about the size of your sitemap. However, he recommended that you split your sitemap file into logical parts of your website so you can monitor it better.
Also, in case you don’t know, the maximum size for a sitemap is 50,000 URLs. So if your sitemap has more URLs, you will have to split it into multiple files anyway. It is just that you now have more than one reason to do so.