Google's John Mueller Says HTML Sitemaps Should Never Be Needed

Dec 9, 2022 • 7:11 am | comments (11) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Sitemap

John Mueller of Google has always downplayed the importance of HTML sitemaps over the years, he is a fan of XML sitemaps, but HTML sitemaps, not so much. On Mastodon the other day, he really showed his dissatisfaction with HTML sitemaps by saying that HTML sitemaps "should never be needed."

He wrote, "I changed my mind on HTML sitemaps over the years, they should never be needed. Sites small & large should always have a clear navigational structure. If you feel the need for a HTML sitemap, spend the time improving your site's architecture instead. HTML sitemaps fit into the same bin with HTML loading spinners."

Did he just equate sites using HTML sitemaps on the same level as sites using HTML loading spinners? Maybe that is Mastodon humor?

In 2019, John said HTML sitemaps are not worthwhile for SEO purposes, then in 2016, John also downplayed the importance of HTML sitemaps. But let's go back to 2009 when Matt Cutts said HTML sitemaps come first.

I mean, the logic John is using makes sense. If a user can't find your content using your navigation and they need to resort to an HTML sitemap, you may have a bigger problem with your site...

Oh, later, John wrote that "HTML loading spinners are bad for SEO."

Forum discussion at Mastodon.

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