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I have uploaded my sitemap to the server root folder. Do I need to submit it to Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools)?

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If you want Google to report on your XML sitemap and inform you of any errors and index status of the pages within the sitemap then yes, you need to submit it to Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). One of the points stated in the Search Console Help document under "Why my sitemap isn't listed" clarifies this:

Only sitemaps submitted using this report are listed; sitemaps submitted using google.com/ping or robots.txt are not on the report, even if Google can find and use them.

However, you don't necessarily need to submit your sitemap to GSC for Google to simply pick it up and use it. You could include a Sitemap directive in your robots.txt file. For example:

Sitemap: http://example.com/sitemap.xml

This will also inform other search engines, not just Google. However, this alone might not be quite as immediate as submitting your sitemap in GSC as it is dependent on your robots.txt file being crawled. And, as mentioned, unless you do actually submit to GSC then it won't be acknowledged in GSC and you won't benefit from Google's sitemap reports.

Search engines probably won't pick up the sitemap if it's simply upload it to your document root. XML sitemap file(s) can be called anything, so without being told, search engines don't necessarily know what to look for. If you called it sitemap.xml then you might expect search engines to be able to pick it up, however, I see no requests for sitemap.xml in my access logs (for sites that don't contain an XML sitemap), so this strongly suggests they don't.

When your sitemap changes, you will need to resubmit (or inform Google) that your sitemap has changed. This can be done automatically by pinging Google (a GET request), without having to manually resubmit the sitemap. For more information, see Google's help page on submitting sitemaps.

  • Hello sir thank you so much but Can u tell me simple code of robots.txt file? Because When I submited it I got message that some pages are not indexing by google bot. So Please get me simple code details for robots.txt file – Nitin Kamble Mar 22 '13 at 5:25
  • If you have already submitted your sitemap in GWT then there is nothing you need to put in robots.txt to get your site indexed. (You can optionally include the Sitemap directive, as mentioned above, but that in itself will not get any more pages indexed at this stage.) Google might not have indexed some of your pages for any number of reasons - in fact it is common for Google to not index every page. Google might not think that every page is worthy! And it also takes time... – MrWhite Mar 22 '13 at 9:35
  • Hello sir, I submitted my sitemap in google webmaster but getting some errow now what can I do please please help me – Nitin Kamble Mar 23 '13 at 6:05
  • What error are you getting? Is your sitemap in one of the accepted formats (usually XML) and well formed? – MrWhite Mar 23 '13 at 11:51
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    Unless GWT is specifically stating that there is an error with your sitemap then there is no error with your sitemap. The fact that GWT is reporting that 20 pages are not indexed is not an error in itself. This could be normal. As stated above, Google does not necessarily index all pages of a site and there are many reasons as to why pages are not indexed (also, GWTs report might not be quite up to date, check with a site: search). For more info as to why your site might not be indexed, see: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/43350/… – MrWhite Mar 29 '13 at 13:03

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