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Google: Deleting a Sitemap Won’t Stop Us Crawling Your Site

Removing sitemaps don’t stop Google from crawling your site
Deleted sitemaps will not stop Google from crawling your website

A deleted sitemap will not do anything to stop Google from crawling URLs that will exist in the future, according to John Mueller of Google. YouTube’s Ask Googlebot video series discusses this topic in its latest episode. Mueller answers a question asking if it’s possible to turn off or delete a sitemap from Google Search Console.

There is no problem with deleting a sitemap, but if the intention is to prevent Googlebot from crawling URLs then site owners will need to find another solution. You can delete a sitemap by logging into Google Search Console and selecting Sitemaps from the side navigation menu. On the upper right-hand corner, click the three-dot menu and select.

It’s as simple as that. A website’s sitemap can also be removed, resulting in a 404 or 410 status code. Unless further action is taken, Google will stop using the sitemap file, but it will continue crawling the site. Google uses sitemaps to crawl a site faster and more efficiently, but they do not act as directives to crawl or not crawl URLs. It is theoretically possible to crawl a website without a sitemap at all.

To prevent Googlebot from crawling a site, or specific URLs within a site, use the noindex tag in the robots.txt file. Mueller did not specify what the owner of the site hoped to achieve by removing the sitemap. Maybe they wanted to delete the current sitemap and upload a new one.

Google search console and sitemaps:

Google Search Console accommodates multiple sitemap files, so you do not have to delete the existing one. Search Console allows site owners to create a sitemap of sitemaps.

Consider your goal before removing a sitemap from Search Console or from your website. You may find that another solution is more appropriate or the sitemap need not be deleted at all. “This one is pretty easy, but only once you’ve seen it. In order to remove a sitemap in the new Search Console you go to the sitemaps menu, then you click on the sitemaps file there, and then click on the dot-dot-dot menu in the top left and select “remove sitemap.” 

In this way, Google will stop tracking the sitemap file in Search Console. Alternatively, you can just remove the sitemap file from your website so that it returns either a 404 or a 410 HTTP result code, which just means that the file isn’t available. Over time, Google’s systems will stop using that particular sitemap file.

The URLs specified in a sitemap file continue to be crawled after a sitemap file is deleted. Sitemaps are generally recommended as a method for making crawling more efficient. Having a sitemap file allows us to find new and updated pages slightly faster, which is always a good thing, right?”

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