Google and Bing both have announced a change on the limit of sitemap files size. They have increased it from 10MB to 50MB. Though, it is consequential to note that the actual number of URLs in the sitemap file has not been increased. It is still limited to 50,000 URLs. Generally sitemaps never reach the 10 MB file size limit, although larger sitemaps are still encountered on occasion. This can happen when sitemaps contain very long URLs, or if the sitemap contains attributes with long URLs such as image URLs, alternate language URLs, and so on.
What is sitemap?
Sitemap is a file containing a list of website URLs for Crawlers or search engine bots. A Sitemap is important because it simplifies the entire process for the webmasters. It allows webmasters to get information about each URL and to inform the search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) about different pages. In this way, search engines get to know about the pages that are available for crawling.
Typically, site maps are organized hierarchically, breaking down the Web site’s information into increasingly specific subject areas. Sitemap is also one of the vital ways of communication with the search engines. With the help of the robots.txt file, search engines get the command of which pages to be indexed and which to be excluded. So, it is an important SEO tool that has a direct impact on optimizing the site for search engines.
Now that Google and Bing have increased their sitemap file size limit, larger sitemaps will no longer be a problem, as long as they stay under 50 MB. It’s worth noting that sitemaps can still be compressed using zip if you need to reduce the file size based on your bandwidth limit. However, once unzipped the sitemap still cannot exceed 50 MB.
Now the question arises “Is it really going to benefit the websites?”
Search engines have only increased the MB number, not the number of URLs. So, it would be beneficial for those websites that have long URLs, but large websites that have more number of pages, like ecommerce websites will have to wait.