If I delete a product should I remove its link from the sitemap.xml also? Is there any penalty from Google for leaving a lot of dead links in my sitemap? What is the most common practice and why?

It seems to me illogical to offer somebody non-existent content. This way I could fake 1000 or more links, just by creating wrong URLs with nice names. Or am I wrong?

Does it matter if sitemap.xml is up to date or not? I can update it every day via cron, so that's not a problem.


You should since the page no longer exists and you don't want to have crawlers looking for non-existent content. Besides being a waste of resources, although I haven't seen anything that indicates lots of dead links in sitemaps is harmful, I am sure it is not helping you and it is certainly possible that it can cause a search engine to either reference your sitemap less frequently, ignore your sitemap completely, or hurt the reputation of your site.


Just because it is in the sitemap, doesn't mean that it will get indexed by Google. Google uses sitemaps to discover new content on your site, but doesn't use the sitemap to make them rank better. In fact, Google crawls the pages that are in the sitemap to make sure they are valid.

You should remove the error URLs from your sitemap:

  • It makes you site look less buggy
  • It makes Googlebot do less unnecessary work
  • URLs in your sitemap, but which return error status codes will show up in a special error report in Google Webmaster Tools

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