My sitemap is 4000 urls but Google Search Console shows 9603 sent web pages, why? Should I be concerned about it?
How many pages / unique URLs should you have?
Your (XML) Sitemap is only advisory. It informs the search engines about the URLs that you want indexed, but it doesn't stop any other URLs, that get discovered, from being indexed. It can be useful to have a sitemap that covers just a subset of pages, so you know how many pages from the subset are indexed.
If your sitemap contains all your canonical URLs and Google has indexed more than twice this number then either 1 or more of the following may be happening
- You have a lot more pages on your site than you realised (which are not included in your sitemap). Perhaps pages that you didn't want indexed, but you have not done anything to prevent these other pages from being indexed.
- You potentially have a duplicate content issue and Google is finding the same content under multiple URLs? eg.
/foo/bar?sortby=nameare different URLs. This can often be resolved with
- Google is indexing your internal search results pages. This is undesirable. Google should perhaps be able to crawl your search results, but not index them.
- Your site is "under attack" and a malicious third party is creating many nonsense links to your site in attempt to dilute your SEO.
Either way, you need to figure out the nature of these "extra" URLs that are being indexed.
By sent pages i will assume you mean indexed pages.
First in order to understand what is the sitemap take a look in John's Muller answer in another post in stack where he explains in more detail.
Short going sitemap is only helping Google pick up faster URLs in the search results page and helps Google find URLs where it normally couldn't (is not linked or there is an issue on crawling the URL)
Now depending on how your sitemap is generated is should follow some guidelines:
- Only 200 status code pages
- Have the canonical version of the page
- List only pages that you want to have in the index
If you end up having more pages in the google index compared to the sitemap it could be due to few reasons:
- Duplicate pages
- Filtered pages
- Faceted Navigation
To get rid of useless pages from index you should perform a quick technical audit and see if the filtered pages are correctly canonicalized or are have noindex directive.