If you own a blog or website, you’re probably making sure to optimize SEO by setting up a sitemap to help search engines accurately crawl your digital property. For those unfamiliar, sitemaps are XML files that list all URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL including recent changes, importance relative to other URLs on the site and more.
While using a sitemap doesn’t guarantee that all URLs from a specific domain will be included in search results, the sitemaps protocol which is currently supported by all major search engines has made the work of webmasters and SEO experts much easier over the last few years, even though it had some limitations: until now, each sitemap files could not be larger than 10MB and contain more than 50,000 URLs, a limit that could be problematic for an increasing number of webmasters in 2016.
Both Microsoft and Google have acknowledged this fact, as Microsoft announced in a blog post today that it has increased sitemaps file and index size from 10 MB to 50MB on Bing (sitemaps should still contain a maximum of 50,000 URLs though). In a separate tweet, Google shared today that it has joined Microsoft to address these evolving needs:
We've updated the Sitemaps protocol with Bing! Sitemaps & indexes can be considerably larger now. More at https://t.co/uygpuywUEh
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) November 30, 2016
“Webmasters can still compress their Sitemap files using gzip to reduce file size based on the bandwidth requirement; however, each sitemap file once uncompressed must still be no larger than 50MB,” added Microsoft. If you have yet to set up a sitemap for your site, Microsoft published earlier this year a detailed blog post to help you get started in four easy steps.