I have changed the URL of some important pages within my website.

In order to maintain backward compatibility and to avoid breaking links which refer to those pagest, the original addresses are still live. So there are two addresses to exactly same pages.

How should this situation be defined in a sitemap?

<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">

Is this right?

  • It is not necessary to include old URLs in a sitemap. I suggest taking them out. Cheers!! – closetnoc Dec 27 '17 at 6:18

Having two URLs for same webpage is not a good practice. You must have shared the old URL somewhere on the internet, may be on social media, emails, comments and so on...

So when someone tries to access that URL, that is navigates through that URL they will see a error 404 page which is not a good sign in terms of SEO.

So if you want to utilize the full potential of the internet you better redirect the old URL to the new one. If you are a WordPress user, there are plug-ins for this. Just install, activate redirect the old URL to the new one.

Benefits of doing this are

  • You get the link juice from the old URL from wherever the old link exists.

  • You can keep the traffic intact, even if you have to change the URL for quality or any purpose for that matter.

  • You are creating two separate channels through which you will be bringing in the web traffic. However this is logical correct, but both link will mean the same once the old URL is pointing to the new one.

Even in case of backlinks you can redirect users to new pages by this method.

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Rather than keep two URLs live, you should redirect the old URLs to the new URLs. Redirects are the proper way to maintain backwards compatibility:

  • Users will get to the new URL any time the try to access the old URL.
  • Old links, even external links which are difficult to get changed, will continue to work.
  • When sites that link to you run a link checker on their links they will be informed of the new URL and have the opportunity to change to the new URL.
  • Search engines will pass the SEO value from your old external links to the new URLs.

When you implement redirects, you need to make sure they are "301 Permanent" redirects. They are typically implemented in .htaccess like:

redirect permanent /old_address1 http://www.example.com/new_address1

After implementing the redirects, you should change the links that you have access to:

  • The internal links from your other pages on your own site
  • The URLs in your XML sitemap

Because redirects are available and work so well, there is no other way to tell search engines about new URLs. It is not possible to put old and new URLs together in the same sitemap entry. Your proposed sitemap format is not valid.

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