A lot of websites use Search Console to add WordPress sitemap to Google index. Around two years ago Google updated its search console and modified some of its features.
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However, users have experienced errors in both new and old versions of Google search console, sometimes appearing as sitemap status couldn’t fetch. The existence of bugs in programming is inevitable. Even top developing companies like Google may face these bugs in their applications.
Couldn’t fetch sitemap (sometimes ‘Sitemap could not be read’) is a bug in the new Google search console. But it also can be a real error. Below we will discuss the reasons behind this error and how to fix it.
Couldn’t fetch sitemap is usually Google’s bug
The occurrence of couldn’t fetch sitemap error is usually due to a bug in Google search console. There is no easy fix for this. In reality, the status is pending and you will have to wait a few moments for the result to come back.
Maybe changing your IP address or browser could fix sitemap status couldn’t fetch error. But there are no reliable fixes.
Find out if the sitemap can be fetched
In the new search console, you can type in your website’s URL to see if it’s indexed or not.
If the URL is indexed you will see “URL is on Google” message. If it’s not indexed or you want your URL to be re-indexed, simply click on “Request Indexing” so Google’s crawler review your URL again.
Although this feature will never show your sitemap as indexed. Because we use noindex tag in sitemaps to prevent this from happening. But with Inspect URL you can see if the sitemap is able to get fetched.
To do so, first, type in your sitemap’s URL. Once you see that Google hasn’t indexed the URL, click on “Live Test”. A new page will appear where it tells you due to noindex tag, the map cannot be indexed. Scroll down until you see “Page fetch”. If it says “Successful” then it means your sitemap’s status is still on pending and couldn’t fetch sitemap error is just a bug.
What if sitemap status couldn’t fetch wasn’t a bug?
Sometimes it may not be a Google’s bug and truly your sitemap could not be read. In this case, open your sitemap and make sure the content within it is indeed accessible. You can also use Google sitemap validator tools to make sure the sitemap fits Google criteria.
A great Google sitemap validator tool is XML Sitemap Validator. As a website to review your sitemap’s format, this tool will tell you if you have used the proper formatting for your sitemap.
Also, some plugins can block Google’s access to your web pages. You have to review your plugins and make sure they are not blocking Google.
Since Google has removed “Render” ability from its search console, you can use similar tools. Fetch & Render is a good replacement to see your web page from Google’s perspective.