More information on the new "unsupported file format" error for Sitemaps

March 20, 2006

As we told you a couple of days ago, we've recently enhanced the infrastructure that processes Sitemaps. We've begun processing Sitemaps against stricter guidelines because we are committed to interoperability with other tools that are using this protocol. Because of this, some of you now see an "unsupported file format" error for Sitemaps that previously had an "OK" status.

You'll see this error if the parser doesn't recognize a valid Sitemap file. Here are a few things to check if you see this error:

  • Confirm that the file uses the correct header. For a Sitemap file, the header can look like this:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
        <urlset xmlns="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84">

    For a Sitemap index file, the header can look like this:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
        <sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84">
  • Ensure the namespace in the header is http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84. Note that this must end in 0.84. If it ends in .84, you'll see an error.
  • Make sure each XML attribute is enclosed in either single quotes (') or double quotes (") and that those quotes are straight, not curly. If you use a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, you may find that it inserts curly quotes.