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Google has processed my XML sitemaps, and for one of the files, Webmaster Tools claims to have indexed 44,797 links even though that file only contains 4,582 links.

Here's a screen cap:

I'm not terribly worried about this, but it is a curious state of affairs, and I'm sure there's something to be learned from it. What's going on?

UPDATE: This is not a duplicate of the question: "Why is there a difference between urls submitted to a sitemap and urls in the google index?" Here's why, as I explained in the comment below:

I understand that Google may index many pages that are not in my sitemap. In fact, Webmaster Tools indicates that there are many thousands of such pages. What's curious here is that the above table is supposed to report how many of the links in a particular sitemap file have been selected for the index, so it would seem to be impossible for this number to exceed the number of links actually in the file. Unless, of course, I'm missing something.

One theory: Could it be possible that many versions of the same pages -- perhaps with different params -- have been indexed?

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marked as duplicate by John Conde Sep 4 '13 at 15:02

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
I don't agree with the edit to this question's headline. The original headline asks the question I intend, as explained in my update. The edited version asks a much simpler question to which I already know the answer, as I've explained. Additionally, the edited headline makes this question appear to be a duplicate of the question of which it was marked as a duplicate. It is not a duplicate of that question. –  hoffm Sep 4 '13 at 16:18

1 Answer 1

Of course it's possible. Google bots crawl the web and index webpages they find on your website even if you didn't specify these webpages in your XML sitemaps.

XML sitemaps help indexing but doesn't limit the indexed webpages of your website.

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I understand that Google may index many pages that are not in my sitemap. In fact, Webmaster Tools indicates that there are many thousands of such pages. What's curious here is that the above table is supposed to report howe many of the links in a particular sitemap file have been selected for the index, so it would seem to be impossible for this number to exceed the number of links actually in the file. Unless, of course, I'm missing something. Could it be possible that many versions of the same pages—perhaps with different params—have been indexed? –  hoffm Sep 4 '13 at 15:33

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