Yandex Update Webmaster Support Documentation For XML Sitemaps

Today, the Yandex webmaster support team have updated their documentation page advising webmasters on how to use the XML sitemap file to assist Yandexbot in discovering and indexing URLs.

A TLDR of the changes are:

  • The introduction of an FAQ section (and subsequent URLs)
  • A change in information to <lastmod>, <changefreq>, and <priority> support
  • Introduction of Hreflang support in the XML sitemap
  • Introduced information around using a sitemap to index images
  • Increase from 10mb to 50mb for an uncompressed format
  • The “how to create the file” section expanded to also include information on how to let Yandex know about it

Lastmod, Changefreq & Priority

Previously, Yandex declared that they supported the Sitemap protocol and specified the aforementioned elements.

However, in the page update this information has now taken the form of a table, and all three elements have now been declared as not required.

In regards to priority, previously the guidance was that webmasters should:

Specify the value for the URLs that are most important for your site.

And this has now been expanded to:

Importance of the page. The robot loads pages one by one, sorted by the presence and value of the coefficient from 0.0 to 1.0. Specify the value for the URLs that are most important for your site. The maximum size is 100 bytes.

So the key takeaway here is a definitive answer to the question: Does Yandex support <priority> in XML sitemaps? And according to this page update, the answer is yes.

Localized/International Pages

URL: https://yandex.com/support/webmaster/controlling-robot/sitemap-local.html#sitemap-local

Previously, Yandex has only documented that it supports Hreflang via the <head> HTML, but the new URL and documentation indicates support for XML sitemap Hreflang.

You can read more about the new implementation here.

10mb to 50mb

Previously, the indicated maximum size of an uncompressed XML sitemap file to be 10mb, this has now been increased in to documentation to 50mb.

New FAQ Section

The new documentation also includes a new FAQ section providing more information to common XML sitemap problems, these being:

  • Sitemap is displayed in the service as an excluded page with the “Invalid document format” status.
  • The “Unknown tag” error occurred while processing Sitemap
  • The Sitemap file has the “Not indexed” status.
  • Sitemap isn’t processed.
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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.