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  • Writer's pictureBrent Payne

Forbidden (403) URL in XML Sitemaps

Addressing Forbidden URLs in XML Sitemaps: An SEO Guide

When an XML sitemap contains a URL that returns a 403 (Forbidden) status, it poses a significant issue for SEO. This scenario highlights a mismatch between the URLs you intend for search engines to index and what they actually can access.

The Issue at Hand

A URL marked as 403 in an XML sitemap indicates that while you want it indexed, it's actually forbidden for search engine crawlers. This discrepancy can undermine the trustworthiness of your sitemap as a reliable source for indexing.

Why It Matters

  • Search engines like Google rely on XML sitemaps for efficient crawling.

  • A sitemap containing inaccessible URLs can lead to inefficient crawling and indexing.

  • It may cause search engines to ignore other valid URLs in the sitemap.

Detecting the Problem

This issue is flagged when a URL included in your XML sitemap is inaccessible due to a 403 status. It's essential to ensure all URLs in your sitemap are accessible and indexable.

How to Resolve

  1. Review Your Sitemap:

  • Regularly audit your XML sitemap to ensure all listed URLs are accessible.

  1. Remove Forbidden URLs:

  • Exclude any URLs returning a 403 status from the sitemap.

  1. Check Server Configuration:

  • Ensure your server settings or security configurations aren't erroneously blocking search engine crawlers.

Loud Interactive's Approach

At Loud Interactive, we specialize in identifying and rectifying such SEO issues. Our team can conduct a comprehensive audit of your XML sitemaps, identifying and fixing any discrepancies to ensure optimal search engine crawling and indexing.


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