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Do you lose any SEO juice by submitting sitemaps that are incomplete?

Example scenario: Submitting a sitemap that contains only your First Click Free content (because it's not linked anywhere from your site, and thus not crawlable).

I want to make sure doing this won't somehow negatively impact my other content that is crawlable and being indexed "naturally".

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Google's John Mueller posted an excellent answer to the question: Are there any clear indicators that my sitemap file is beneficial?

He says that sitemaps are only used for content discovery and updates. They are not used directly for ranking purposes. The rankings of content that isn't in your sitemap won't suffer.

You also won't get any of the side benefits of sitemaps with the content that isn't in them:

  • Discover canonicalization issues
  • Help with canonicalization
  • Find badly-indexed parts of your site
  • Prioritize crawl errors

But again, those are just benefits that you are missing out on rather than anything being hurt.

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