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  • Writer's pictureBrent Payne

Forbidden (403) URL in XML Sitemaps

Addressing Forbidden URLs in XML Sitemaps

In the complex world of SEO, ensuring the cleanliness of your XML sitemaps is a key factor in efficient website indexing. A common issue we encounter is the presence of Forbidden (403) URLs within XML sitemaps. Let's explore why this matters and how to resolve it.


Understanding the Issue

XML sitemaps are essential for guiding search engines through your website. They should only contain URLs that are available for indexing - meaning they should be HTTP status 200 (OK), indexable, canonical, and unique. When a sitemap includes URLs returning a 403 status (Forbidden), it can lead search engines to distrust your sitemap as a reliable source for crawling and indexing.


Identifying Forbidden URLs

Our SEO audit checks for internal URLs returning a 403 status yet included in XML sitemaps. This issue can be identified when a URL, which should be accessible to both users and search engines, instead returns a 403 Forbidden response.


Resolving the Issue

To remedy this, remove all URLs with a 403 status from your sitemaps. It's also crucial to understand why these URLs are returning a 403 status. Sometimes, firewalls or DDoS protection services might misinterpret crawling activity as a threat, leading to a 403 response. Investigating the root cause is as important as removing these URLs from your sitemaps.


Stay Informed

For further insights into optimizing your XML sitemaps and understanding their impact on SEO, consider the following resources:

How Loud Interactive Can Assist

At Loud Interactive, we specialize in identifying and resolving such intricate SEO challenges. Our team can conduct a thorough audit of your site's XML sitemaps, identify any problematic URLs, and provide actionable solutions to enhance your site's search engine performance.

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