I re-validated with Google Search Console, and began to watch my server logs. To my surprise, the search engines were crawling the old content! I had served up new sitemaps to my GSC, but I apparently had an old sitemap lingering behind. It had a 301 pointing to my new sitemap index, but no matter, Googlebot was clearly getting the URLs from the old sitemap.
I double-checked my Screaming Frog crawl and re-ran it as Googlebot to ensure that there were no links pointing to the old content. There were none. I opened up the Sitemap in my VSC and quickly updated the content of the original XML Sitemap.
I’m having an odd amount of fun figuring out all of these little puzzles. After a decade in SEO, mainly on the content side, playing around with all of these technical items is a blast!
More to come!