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I am mantaining a Wordpress site developed with a third party theme that has a custom post type called "team-members". We are using that post type to add info about the guests featured in our event (the site is to promote an event, obviously); hence, we have used a plugin to change all the permalinks of that category from "/team-members/" to "/guests/".

Now I am using Yoast SEO to generate the XML sitemap, and when I open it I see the following XML sitemaps linked in it:

/post-sitemap.xml
/page-sitemap.xml
/team-members-sitemap.xml

And in turn, if I open "team-members-sitemap.xml", I get URLs such as:

/team-members/
/guests/guest_a/
/guests/guest_B/
/guests/guest_D/

Etc.

(These URLs have been rewritten, as mentioned, by using another plugin).

So now, my question is: does Google take into account the sitemap's name for any kind of SEO purposes? In other words, the fact that the linked sitemap within the main one is called "team-members-sitemap.xml" instead of "guests-sitemap.xml"... does it matter?

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The purpose of a sitemap is primarily the discoverability of urls for search engines and recrawling. It is not relevant how the xml-sitemap is named.

What I would pay attention to in this context is that all <loc> urls in the sitemap or URLs from the index sitemap return a 200 status code and do not redirect. From the post it is not exactly clear whether the new or old URLs are used consistently after the rewrite.

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  • Oh, that's not a problem. The Wordpress plugin "rewrites" (or maybe I should have said "renames") the URLs internally, so that instead of "/team-members/" they say "/guests/", but from the outside, that's completely transparent. You go to "/guests/guest_D/" and the server will return a 200 and the page, no problem.
    – PaulJ
    May 18, 2023 at 11:45

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