Blog» Google Sitemaps for big sites: splitting the sitemap into multiple files

Google Sitemaps for big sites: splitting the sitemap into multiple files

By Xavier Cousin  | August 02, 2012  |  Web solutions

Sitemaps are an important element of search engine optimization (SEO), in order to provide search engines an accurate outline of what content exists on your site. One of our client sites recently outgrew Google's sitemap URL limit. Instead of removing content from the sitemap, we implemented a simple solution of using a sitemap index to reference multiple sitemap files.

By default, Google allows a single sitemap file to reference up to 50,000 URLs (and be up to 50mb in file size, uncompressed). This limit, however, is only enforced per file.

The simplest and cleanest way to build your sitemap if you have more than 50,000 URLs to reference is to use a sitemap index, whose only role is to list sitemap files.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="">

Once your sitemap index is built and submitted to Google, the linked sitemaps will automatically start to be crawled.

There is a limit of 50,000 sitemaps per index, so the total limit of URLs per sitemap index file is 2,500,000,000. This should be enough for most sites, but if not, you can submit up to 500 index files!

Helpful resources

Join our mailing list for news, events, tips, and tools


blog comments powered by Disqus

Hi, we're Mugo Web - Nice to meet you!

We're a group of web experts who solve complex web problems.

Learn more about us »



Yes - we can do that.

Many years of experience with complex websites allows us to offer total solutions.

Learn more about what we can do »

We love our clients (and they love us too)

We've solved problems across North America and around the world.

Learn more about what we've done »

We tweet too

Follow us on Twitter for the latest Mugo happenings

mugo twitter page @mugo

© 2008 - 2019 Mugo Web. All rights reserved.