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Specific to sitemap.xml, should I 301 redirect

http://example.com/sitemap.xml to https://example.com/sitemap.xml? I switched 2 weeks ago to ssl (from http to https) and scoured this site to make sure I did things correctly. However, I only see index drops in my Google webmaster account. Nothing improving! So I'm thinking maybe this is a reason?

I thought of one more question as well, should all URLs in both sitemap files point to https, or should we leave the non SSL one point to non SSL URLs, and simply 301 redirect those URLs when users land on them?

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Existing Http Sitemap:

This sitemap should continue to exist for time all your search results are crawled as https and even if this also redirects to https://www.example.com/sitemap.xml, then also it should contain all http links

Reason being : the crawler when try to crawl this sitemap will crawl all existing urls and get an indication that these all have been permanently moved to https. It will update its indexes for old urls and will pass authority of the old links to new https links. If you don't add these, then crawler will get this indication only when it try to check for old http urls and will then take more time to reflect and might hurt your existing rankings a bit. The above mentioned reason lower that effect

New sitemap for https :

Https becomes altogether a new property for the crawler. Its better to create a new link for this https sitemap like https://www.example.com/sitemap-new.xml or whatever you want to create. You can update this / submit this via webmaster.

Place all your https links here. Crawler will start crawling links from here and getting an indication of old links migration from http sitemap.

This ideally takes around 20-30 days based on the crawler visit frequency on your site, for almost all links to index as https. After that you can remove your old sitemap if you want.

  • So are you saying to leave the example.com/sitemap.xml in tact, and leave the URLs within the sitemap as NON https urls, correct? Also, I will make a new file name as you suggested. – Dave Fes Aug 16 '16 at 18:37
  • Yes absolutely, it has been a tested method on one of the top sites in India I have worked on. And it gave us great results, with all serarch traffic migrating to HTTPS in 15 20 days with significant gain in rankings rather than loss – abhinsit Aug 16 '16 at 18:39

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