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Am I going to be punished for NOT having a sitemap?

     
5:57 am on Jun 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Webmaster Tools shows that my site is regularly indexed and searched, and when someone makes a new post it shows up on Google almost immediately. So I've never really seen the value in creating a sitemap.

If I do, my site is 15 years old and has about 200,000 pages, so I would have to develop a program to dynamically generate multiple sitemaps.

Is this something I should really do, or is it not necessary since I'm already being well scanned and indexed? Am I risking being punished for not having one?
8:38 am on June 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No.

Short enough?

Sitemap is really for HIGHLIGHTING to a SE what NEEDS be indexed. Your 200grand pages are already indexed, so no worries.
6:13 pm on June 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Using a sitemap doesn't guarantee that all the items in your sitemap will be crawled and indexed, as Google processes rely on complex algorithms to schedule crawling. However, in most cases, your site will benefit from having a sitemap, and you'll never be penalized for having one.

[support.google.com...]

Likewise, you won't be penalized for not having one either.
8:15 pm on June 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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you'll never be penalized for having one.

It would be pretty over-the-top brazen for Google to penalize you for having something that Google itself uses.

:: detour to check ::

Yup, ask for it every week or so. (Did I even have a sitemap in 2011? Logs say I did.)
11:48 pm on June 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sitemaps do give you more control with indexing. It's to you benefit to use one and there are a bunch of free tools to create a sitemap.xml. Sometimes it's easy to see how they really help.

Example: so far I've switched approx 30 sites to HTTPS. A dozen or so had an existing sitemap. After I updated the file paths to HTTPS & submitted the new sitemaps to Google, Bing & Yandex, the new pages updated to the SERP a couple days faster & more inclusive than the sites that did not have sitemaps.

If your site is very large, you can just include the main pages at your site, those that may be "landing" pages and attract traffic through searches & leaving out dynamic pages using parameters, especially if those pages do not get updated often.

Example: my personal site has over 300 web pages, but I only include 155 in my sitemap.