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I have a quite complex logic based on several fields to decide whether one of my URLs should set the noindex meta tag or not.

Moving that logic to the sitemap generation could over-complicate my code.

But adding URLs with noindex meta tag to my sitemap does not look 100% correct to me.

Is that an incorrect practice? Do search engines penalize that?

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Pages which you want Google to index should be present on sitemap. It is incorrect practice to add url's with no index tag to sitemap.You might encountered page indexing issues with this.

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    I agree with your advice but your answer would be stronger if you found a reference to link to. It would also be good to address the part of the question about penalties. Apr 14, 2023 at 13:08
  • "Include the URLs in your sitemap that you want to see in Google's search results", see URL at the end. I don't know if Google has a policy to penalize sites for adding noindex URLs to sitemap.xml. I think it stands to reason Google would deduct the bandwidth required to fetch those URLs from the site's crawling budget, which would delay crawling URLs you do want crawled. developers.google.com/search/docs/crawling-indexing/sitemaps/…
    – Uri Raz
    May 6, 2023 at 16:07

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