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Regarding the XML sitemaps (that use alternative languages), in this page it is specified the following:

Common Mistakes

Here are the most common mistakes with hreflang usage:

Missing return links: If page X links to page Y, page Y must link back to page X. If this is not the case for all pages that use hreflang annotations, those annotations may be ignored or not interpreted correctly.

So, if I want to have an URL in 10 languages, I need 10 blocks like this:

  <url>
    <loc>...</loc>
    <xhtml:link 
               rel="alternate"
               hreflang="..."
               href="..."/>
    ...
  </url>

each one having 1 <loc> + 10 <xhtml:link> (self + 9 alternatives).

So, only for 1 URL, I'll have 100 <xhtml:link> elements.

This way, the 50 MB size limit per file could be easily reached for multiple URLs.

Questions

  1. Can I have the "link back" in a different file? (for the scenario above: to split the file in 10 files based on language => each URL will have only one <loc> element per file) Or should I keep all URLs together?

  2. Is the 50.000 URLs limit counted only for the <loc> tags or also for <xhtml:link>?

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