I've been contemplating the removal of my xml sitemap creating script for some time as it feels like its use is limited.
- Not much use to search engines if your pages are already indexed.
- No use to real visitors.
- A small performance gain can be had by removing plugins that create them.
To replace the sitemap, and to help visitors, I'm leaning towards creating an HTML sitemap instead, an archive of sorts on my site.
While I've used xml sitemaps to guide a search engine back to my content after implementing redirects or when indexing new content I don't see the value on an established and well crawled site anymore.
Question: Would removing a sitemap from a well established site cause a rankings effect of any kind?