Are XML sitemaps outdated or worthwhile?

XML sitemaps are still one of the main features in Google Search Console, however their true relevance is a hotly debated topic in the SEO industry. It is critical for the 1% of sites that are inaccessible to crawlers on their main pages. but it’s of little to no value to sites that are easily crawled naturally. However this is a controversial viewpoint which may differ from one SEO professional to another.

That applies to just the basic sitemaps, which is simply lists of URLs with a date of last update. There are plenty of advanced features for special metadata that are sometimes worthwhile using though, if you have complex content formats. Another point to consider is that the vast majority of people using a date of last update are auto-generating them incorrectly so are giving false information to Google anyway, thus they’d be better off not using them. Google knows this so takes sitemap data with a huge pinch of salt.