Google to deprecate Sitemaps ping endpoint later this year

Instead, Google is recommending an accurate lastmod date in your Sitemap file.

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Google will be deprecating support for sitemaps ping and the endpoint will stop working by the end of this year. Google said it is announcing the “deprecation of the sitemaps “ping” endpoint.” This means that HTTP ping requests will result in a 404 error.

What is Sitemap ping. Google said the sitemap protocol defines an unauthenticated REST method for submitting sitemaps to search engines. It is a way of “pinging,” or notifying search engines that the sitemap was updated.

Why is Google ending support. Google said that its “internal studies” as well as “other search engines such as Bing” say “that at this point these unauthenticated sitemap submissions are not very useful.” Google said that “the vast majority of the submissions lead to spam.”

What are the alternatives. Google said you can still submit your sitemaps through both Google Search Console and also through your robots.txt files. Google said you should also use the lastmod element in your sitemap file when you are confident that the date you list is when the page actually changed.

Google added, “If your CMS changed an insignificant piece of text in the sidebar or footer, you don’t have to update the lastmod value for that page. However if you changed the primary text, added or changed structured data, or updated some links, do update the lastmod value.”

Google still does not use changefreq or priority elements for sitemaps.

SEO consequences. Google said “Any existing code or plugins which use this endpoint will not cause problems for Google Search; you don’t need to make any changes (but using the endpoint will also not do anything useful).”

Your content may, or may not, get picked up a tad slower without ping support but Google is not worried about that.

Why we care. This is just a heads up that the ping sitemap endpoint support is going away later this year. So if you have custom coded or use a CMS that pings Google with these updates, you may decide to remove those pings at the end of this year. You will also want to ensure your lastmod data is accurate and useful.

About the author

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz is a technologist and a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics.

In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land, in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards the "US Search Personality Of The Year," you can learn more over here and in 2023 he was listed as a top 50 most influential PPCer by Marketing O'Clock.

Barry can be followed on X here and you can learn more about Barry Schwartz over here or on her personal site.

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