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I see the number 50,000 referenced by Google and Schema.org as the limit for the number of URLs that a sitemap can contain, however, it is unclear to me if that means <loc> elements specifically, or if that also includes other types of URLs, such as

<xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="http://www.example.com/deutsch/" />

Any one of my pages may have 25 of the above alternate URLs, so I want to understand if those count towards the total.

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    For what it is worth, the 50,000 limit is for any sitemap file, however, you can create an index sitemap that references 50,000 sitemap files. So the real limit is 2,500,000,000 which is HUGE! Does this help?? Cheers!! – closetnoc Sep 21 '16 at 18:07
  • What is this Schema.org reference you mentioned? – unor Sep 22 '16 at 12:39
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As closetnoc suggests in comments, the 50,000 URL limit for sitemaps refers to the number of URLs in the sitemap file itself. ie. the number of <loc> elements. This is an individual sitemap limit, not a website limit. (The file must also be no larger than 10MB - so whichever comes first.)

Then you can also have a sitemap index document which itself has a limit of 50,000 sitemaps. And Google allows you to submit upto 500 sitemap indexes - so the actual URL limit that can be submitted in sitemaps is quite enormous. Of course, you don't need to submit all your URLs in sitemaps for them to be indexed.

Reference:


Regarding Sitemap Index documents... Note that there is an inconsistency on the Sitemap.org website itself. Whilst the Sitemap Protocol page states, "Sitemap index files may not list more than 50,000 Sitemaps". The FAQ page states, "A Sitemap index file can include up to 1,000 Sitemaps" (which is what Google apparently used to support sometime before 2010). Curious that both pages appear to have last been updated at the same time... 27 Feb 2008.

  • Google allows you to submit upto 500 sitemap indexes I learned something new! Not bad for an old guy. Cheers!! – closetnoc Sep 22 '16 at 1:14

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