XML Sitemaps For Yandex (SEO)

XML sitemaps are a key part of SEO, in terms of both indexing – and reporting on the URLs you care most about being indexed.

For the most part, Yandex’s support for XML sitemaps is the same as Google’s, but there are some subtle differences.

For example, Yandex supports lastmod, changefreq, and priority – where Google as stopped supporting these due to both abuses, and lack of maintenance (leading to misinformation).

Yandex also supports Hreflang via XML sitemaps.

Managing Large Websites Index Via XML Sitemaps

Yandex’s documentation acknowledges that the XML sitemap (limit 50k URLs / 50mb) should contain pages that are “new” or frequently updated. Other pages that are known to Yandex, and indexed, or don’t change frequently at all can be omitted from the XML sitemap.

To notify Yandex of these changes, you can use the GET method and IndexNow (more information here).

You can also use Active Page monitoring in Yandex’s Webmaster Tools for the 100 most important (valuable) pages on your site.

Other Considerations

Yandex Webmaster Tools (and XML sitemap processing) can also introduce some new errors and messages that Google Search Console doesn’t.

Some things to be aware of:

  • The XML sitemap, and all known XML files will be shown in webmaster tools as excluded pages with the error “Invalid document format“.  – this is fine.
  • The XML sitemap, will be shown in Yandex Webmaster Tools as “indexed”. If it’s showing as noindexed, Yandex’s advice is to wait for 2 weeks before resubmitting (or using IndexNow). If you have submitted multiple XML sitemaps, it could be slow processing.


Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at HreflangChecker.com and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of RussianSearchNews.com.