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The Google Sitemap app creates an XML Sitemap file that lists URLs for each page. Sitemaps are used to tell search engines which pages they should index. This improves search engine optimization (SEO) by ensuring that all site pages are found and indexed. This is particularly important for sites that use dynamic access to content such as Adobe Flash and for sites that have JavaScript menus that do not include HTML links. Where navigation is built with Flash, a search engine will probably find the site homepage automatically, but may not find subsequent pages unless they are provided in a Google Sitemap format.

Note that using Google Sitemaps does not guarantee that all links will be crawled, and even crawling does not guarantee indexing. Nevertheless, a Google Sitemap is still the best insurance for visibility in search engines. Webmasters can include additional information about each URL, such as when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site. Google Sitemaps adhere to the Sitemaps protocol and are ready to be submitted to search engines.

Creating a sitemap

To create a new sitemap, in Google Sitemaps (browser subapp):

  • Click Add sitemap. You can also arrange your sitemaps in folders.
  • In Site Map Properties:
    • Name: The internal name of the sitemap.
    • URI: The URI that renders the sitemap.
    • Include Virtual URIs: Select to include any defined virtual URIs. Virtual URI mappings are a Magnolia CMS method of redirecting requests and shortening URLs. The apps reads all virtual URI mappings from the system and lists them in the Virtual URIs subapp.
    • Site map type: Two sitemap types are available out-of-the-box, Standard and Mobile. Google recommends that you use separate sitemaps for different content types. Mobile sitemaps use compliant mobile-specific tag and namespace requirements. 
  • In Site Selection:
    • Sites: Select the relevant site in the Pages chooser. You can also select subpages as the root node to for example create different sitemaps for site sections.

The root node of the selection will not be included in the site map. Assume you have the following trees: /a/b/c and /a/b/d. If you select /a/b as the root of the Sitemap, only pages under c and d will be included in the map. The root node b will not be included.

 

  • In Default Value Selection:
    • Change frequency: Select the default value of Change frequency to use in the current Site Map.
    • Priority: Select the default value of Priority to use in the current Site Map.

In order to define the default values displayed in this section, go to config App, module/googlesitemap/config and change the default values. 

Editing sitemap entries

To edit the individual sitemap entries click Edit site map entries to launch the Entries subapp (pages subapp). The site pages display in an expandable tree and you can set properties for each page.

To define properties for the entries click Edit site properties:

  • Priority: Priority of the page relative to other pages on the site. Values range from 0.0 (low) to 1.0 (high). Default is 0.5. Set the priority of your most important page to 1.0. Setting all pages to 1.0 does not increase the rank of your site in search results since the importance is a relative measure among pages of the same site. A search engine may choose to rank the page higher than other pages of the site based on the value, however. See priority in XML Sitemap protocol.
  • Change frequency: Suggested frequency for search engines to crawl the page. Valid values are: always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and never. Use the value always for pages that change each time they are accessed. Use never for archived pages that will never change. See changefreq in XML Sitemap protocol.
  • Hide: Excludes a page from the sitemap. Child pages are not excluded automatically. (warning) The hideIngoogleSiteMap property is stored in the page itself. This means you need to activate the page. Activating the sitemap only is not enough.
  • Hide children: Excludes child pages from the sitemap. To exclude both a parent and its children check both boxes.

Editing virtual URI entries

If you included virtual URIs in the sitemap you can edit their properties. Click Edit virtual URI entries to launch the Virtual URIs subapp (virtualURI supapp). The pages display as individual entries (as opposed to a  tree) and you can set the same properties that are available for pages, except Hide children that is inapplicable.

Publishing

Publish the sitemap to the public instance to ensure that it is accessible to the search engines.

Viewing the sitemap

You can view the XML sitemap on the author or public instance at /<CATALINA_HOME>/<contextPath>/sitemaps/<sitemap name>.xmlfor example, http://localhost:8080/magnoliaPublic/sitemaps/standard-google-sitemap.xml. Note that a filter mechanism removes duplicate urls. <check if this is still true and include in config section>

Here's the rendered XML for a Standard and Mobile sitemap for the demo-project site. Note the use of the mobile tags.

 

Adding to robots.txt file

Add the following line in your robots.txt file. Include the full URL to the Sitemap:

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

Submitting to search engines

Submit the Sitemap to major search engines via the webmaster tools of each engine or wait for the engines to find the sitemap on their own.