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I tend to generate the sitemaps for my static sites (no CMS) by using a service such as xml-sitemaps.com. They way this works if you input your homepage and it crawls all the internal links of a site and then generates you a .xml file.

The problem with this is because its crawling from the homepage if a page if not linked to i.e. a 404 page it won't be included in the sitemap.

Is it good practice to have the 404 page in there?

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Sounds like there is a bug in that site! –  DisgruntledGoat Jun 14 '13 at 17:08
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sitemap.xml helps your website to be well and fast indexed. By submitting this file to search engines, I don't see any good reason to ask them to index a page that doesn't exist (404 HTTP status).

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Why wouldnt 404 exist ? It is a page /404.hmtl (although there is no reason to go there apart from in the incident of an error) –  sam Jun 14 '13 at 14:00
    
Ok for a custom 404 webpage but not for URL that gets a webpage which doesn't exist. –  Zistoloen Jun 14 '13 at 14:05
    
@sam: You seem to have answered your own question by your comment, "there is no reason to go there". So why index it as a possible soft-404? A custom error document probably should not be accessible directly over HTTP anyway, since by itself it probably does not contain anything useful. –  w3d Jun 14 '13 at 14:17
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@sam if a page is not found you should not be redirecting to the 404 page, the server should just show the contents of 404.html but keep the URL as example.com/missingpage.html –  DisgruntledGoat Jun 14 '13 at 17:09
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