Timed out URL in XML Sitemaps

This means that the URL in question returns timed out when Sitebulb requested it, yet is included in an XML Sitemap.

Why is this important?

Your XML Sitemap should only contain URLs you wish for search engines to index. URLs in your sitemaps should be clean - i.e. sitemaps should only include URLs that are HTTP status 200 (OK), indexable, canonical and unique.

If search engines find 'dirt' in sitemaps, such as pages that time out, they may stop trusting the sitemaps for crawling and indexing signals.

Eric Enge once interviewed Duane Forrester while he was at Bing;

Duane Forrester quote

Beyond issues of trust with the sitemap, if URLs are timing out, it could signify that your server is overloaded or misconfigured, and may cause more persistent problems in future.

What does the Hint check?

This Hint will trigger for any internal URL which returns a Crawl Status of 'Timeout', and is included in one of the submitted XML Sitemaps.

Examples that trigger this Hint:

Consider the URL: https://example.com/page-a, which is included in a submitted XML Sitemap.

The Hint would trigger for this URL if it had a Crawl Status of 'Timeout', and a HTTP Exception of 'Response reading timeout.'

URL Timing Out

How do you resolve this issue?

URLs that time out may indicate an issue with the server responding to the request, or there may be an issue with the URL itself which means it takes too long to respond - such as overly large or complex database query. They may also mean that the server can't handle the load caused by the crawler, which might mean you need to crawl more slowly.

It is worth checking Google Search Console 'crawl errors' to see if they also see issues with URLs timing out. If so you may need to deal with a developer or server admin to understand what is causing the timeouts.

Once the timeout issues are resolved, check that the XML Sitemap remains 'clean.'

Further Reading

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