Fix for Google Search Console Sitemap Submissions not Getting Fetched Successfully

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Submitting sitemaps via Google Search Console is critical in ensuring your website’s listing in Google search results. You’re probably on this page because you already know this often-overlooked easy website launch step making all the difference (curious? read this linked article).

Sometimes, a sitemap that you know is valid and fetchable doesn’t work in Google Search Console. Try the double forward slash trick in this case (which is likely a bug on Google’s side). If using a double forward slash doesn’t work, then keep reading for other tricks you can try.

Trick: use a double forward slash for your sitemap URL in Google Search Console

The trick is simple. The Add a new sitemap card instructs you to “Enter sitemap URL.” Ignore that the prompt already has a forward slash positioned after .com/. Instead, include another forward slash before your sitemap’s URL.

If you're having problems getting your sitemap submitted, try submitting the URL with an extra forward slash.
If you’re having problems getting your sitemap submitted, try submitting the URL with an extra forward slash.

I noticed after 24 days that my submitted sitemap was successfully found, but no URLs were discovered. I tried making a new sitemap and submitting it. It failed. Then I tried with a double forward slash and the submission was successful. I hope you have the same positive experience!

Note, especially when using a plugin like Yoast for WordPress, there are children sitemaps too. You may need to use this trick for children sitemaps, too.

Also, it’s been reported that sometimes including an extra forward slash after the file helps. For example, https://example.com//sitemap.xml/

If you're Sitemap submission on Google Search Console is failing, try submitting with a double forward-slash in the address you submit (//). For example, https://www.example.com//sitemap.xml. Note one forward slash is automatic and already included. The second forward slash would begin what you submit in the "Enter Site Map" field.
If your Sitemap submission on Google Search Console fails, try submitting with a double forward-slash in the address you submit (//). For example, https://www.example.com//sitemap.xml. Note one forward slash is automatic and already included. The second forward slash would begin with what you type into the “Enter Site Map” field.

Are you still having sitemap problems?

Check that your Google Search Console property is using HTTPS

Especially if you are managing perhaps an older account that may have been part of Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) before HTTPS was expected, your issue might be the SSL protocol. A fix for your issue may be to delete and add your site again using HTTPS. A newer option is to add your site as a Domain property (including both HTTPS and HTTP protocols).

The wrong protocol (HTTP/HTTPS) can make your sitemap.xml not fetchable.

Add a new property to Google Search Console.
Add a new property to Google Search Console.

Clear your caches

Make sure that your issue is not a cache issue. Clear the caches on your website and your server. Once all caches are clear, try again. A caching issue can make your sitemap.xml not fetchable.

Check that your robots.txt file doesn’t block your sitemap file.

This check helps you ensure your sitemap.xml is fetchable. Google expects that a robots.txt file exists at example.com/robots.txt, so you can navigate to this URL in your browser and see what it says and even if it exists. The default behavior is that the entire site is crawlable. Check that you aren’t disallowing access. Also, note that you can specifically add your sitemap URL on the robots.txt file. Learn more from Google’s docs.

Example of including your sitemap URL on your robots.txt

Sitemap: https://example.com/sitemap.xml

More questions about Sitemap submissions to Google Search Console

How do I know that my sitemap URL is valid?

First, check that your sitemap XML file is accessible. Visit the URL directly in your browser.
For example, a WordPress plugin by Yoast auto-generates this website’s sitemap file. The sitemap file is accessible here: https://designertofullstack.com/sitemap_index.xml.

Second, use an online validator to confirm that your file’s syntax is valid. XML-Sitemaps.com has a free validator. Check if you have a valid sitemap.xml from free online validators

How do I generate a sitemap?

Many content management systems have plugins or settings that allow for Site Map generation. For instance, Yoast SEO, SEOPress, Rankmath, All in One SEO, and Google XML Sitemaps are popular WordPress plugins generating sitemaps.

A free option to generate a static XML file is to use https://www.xml-sitemaps.com. You can create your sitemap, download it, upload it to your server and then submit the URL to Google. Try a different plugin generator or a static XML sitemap generator if you’re running into issues.

Any tricks for regenerating sitemaps in the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin?

Yes. Full details can be found on Yoast’s website. The quick solution for fixing errored Yoast Sitemaps is to go to Seo > General and then the Features Tab. Look for the toggle switch for XML Sitemaps. Toggle it off. Now, flush your cache. Then, go and turn the toggle back on. This regenerates your sitemaps. On one of my sites, this allowed me to successfully submit the children XML pages to Google Search Console.

Happy page ranking!

If one of these solutions worked for you, let me know! I always love success stories. Found another work-around? Share away.

About the author

Kelly Barkhurst

Designer to Fullstack is my place to geek out and to share tech solutions from my day-to-day as a designer, programmer, and business owner (portfolio). I also write on Arts and Bricks, a parenting blog and decal shop that embraces my family’s love of Art and LEGO bricks!

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