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Sitemap Indexed URLs showing 1

     
2:57 pm on Jul 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The indexed URL count for my Sitemap is showing 1 yet a quick check in google search shows that nearly all of my 2272 pages are indexed.

Sitemap statistics:
URLs submitted: 2272
Indexed URLs: 1

I've reported this problem several times over the past 18 months but to date have received no response. While I am not particularly concerned - my traffic continues to rise and all of my content is properly indexed - I would like to use this statistic in a meaningful fashion.
4:16 pm on July 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm not a regular user of sitemaps, but in the limited experience I have, the submission of a URL via a sitemap is not a guarantee of it being spidered or indexed. Indeed, sitemaps seem to have some kind of crawling schedule of their own, and I've seen quite a few with a small percentage indexed.

It would be worth checking the obvious, such as the URLs in the sitemap matching those getting spidered via regular processes, and you might also check your server logs to make sure the sitemap bot visits are getting an appropriate responses.

Personally, though, I would prefer to use a metric like the number of pages visible in site searches and similar than the report in GWT on sitemaps.
10:04 am on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hello Receptional Andy,

my urls are indexed its the statistic that is wrong.

I'd love to take full advantage of the stats in webmaster tools but to do so the info has to be accurate. Anyone else have this problem?

thanks
12:29 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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There have been a lot of messages here about all kinds of apparent errors in Google Webmaster Tools - so you're right, you cannot fully depend on the numbers. Some of the reports are better than others, and they all seem to change as time goes by, in and out of being truly sane and believable.
2:21 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sitemap stats are bogus and/or FUD. Have been for months and months, at least going back to 2008 for us. We have a test sitemap of 100 nonexistant URLs, and Google still reports that 98 of them are indexed. We have another test sitemap of 10 real URLs that are all indexed and Google WMT reports only 4 are indexed. FUD. We have other live sitemaps with hundreds and thousands of URLs, and we couldn't be bothered tracking the real stats on them vs the reported stats. Use sitemaps to report URLs to Google, but ignore the stats - they will just drive you crazy and after watching them for months and months hoping to see a pattern, there is no pattern. Ignore 'em.
2:43 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sitemap stats are bogus and/or FUD

Agreed - and that is a VERY stupid thing. The only accurate way to know if any URI is indexed is to put that address in the search box and search for it directly. And if you have even a medium-sized site, that means an automated query approach which Google also doesn't like.

Google apparently doesn't want site owners to focus on this stat - Matt Cutts even said as much on one video. So don't show it at all then, but definitely don't report bad information.

Sitemap stats are broken, the site: operator is broken - and even the last resort of searching on the URI can give different information depending on which data center the query gets routed to. So apparently, precise accuracy is not possible. I could live with a plus-or-minus degree of error, but there's no excuse for regularly showing data that's not even in the right ballpark.
3:29 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@helpnow:

Although I share your (and tedster's) skepticism about Sitemap stats' accuracy, I would have to say that the test samples you are playing with are not, ahem, statistically significant. I am seeing more believable numbers on sitemaps of 1,000+ URLs. And, yes, there are some (isolated) cases when the counts are totally out of whack.

I have found Bing's Webmaster Dashboard - "Indexed Pages" numbers to be right on the mark. Not in terms of correctly identifying how many pages are on the site - far from it - but on truthfully reporting how many Bing knows about. You can see tight correlation between Bing's reported number of indexed pages and traffic from Bing.

But as far as Google, I'd be very careful about submitting non-existent URLs in a Sitemap. I don't know for sure but I was always wondering if they have a way to reject all your other sitemaps for that site if they see a significant amount of errors. Would make sense, too: it looks as if you are using a software to create those automatically and something went awry in the software, so why waste resources on you? I think they see samples of that every day, so there should be some mechanism of responding to errors in Sitemap.

Also, it would help to verify all your bogus URLs for what HTTP code they are returning. Even though Google peeps said they treat 404 and 410 the same but, since they are, after all, different errors, they may (my speculation) be coming back for URLs returning 404 ('cause it's not a permanent error) and thus using up your precious "Googlebot time". And that's not even mentioning situations when non-existent URLs return codes other than 404/410. I've just found one of my sites was returning 301 to a custom 404 page which was then returning 200 instead of 404. The site was OK some time ago, then, one Apache upgrade later, it's all messed up. Gotta be extra super careful with those bogus URLs!
12:54 pm on July 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The real problem is discriminating inaccurate data from a SEO problem. If all of the statistics were FUD, then I'd simply ignore webmaster tools. Sometimes, however, 'bad data' means we've made a mistake. To discern the culprit - bad stat or seo error - means chasing up each number. Removing non-robust stats would significantly improve the webmaster experience. Better less than useless.
 

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