Magento Sitemap - steps to improve

Last modified by on Thu, June 24, 2010 16:27
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About Sitemaps

Sitemaps helps to make sure that search engines know about all the pages on your site, including those ones that may not be discoverable by normal crawling process.

Sitemaps can improve search engine optimization of your site by providing the URLs of all the pages to Google crawlers. This is especially important if your site contains dynamic content (Flash, JavaScript).

Sitemaps also make your site more user-friendly for your customers by giving the possibility to overview a site’s content at a single glance and easily browse your site.

Magento standard Sitemap overview

Magento has the default sitemap which is accessible from the footer links. It’s designed and developed to display only catalog categories and their products. The main big disadvantages of this sitemap are:

  1. The categories and the products are displayed at different pages that complicates the crawling process (the search engine crawler needs to visit more pages to access all the pages)
  2. There are no CMS pages in the sitemap that makes it incomplete and CMS pages difficult to find.

How to improve Magento Sitemap

Making the Magento Sitemap more relevant to original site content (displaying all the site pages in hierarchical order) is one of the top feature requests from Magento Community members. At that moment there is one Magento extension that fully replaces standard sitemap with the solution completely satisfying the main requirements for Sitemap from Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines. Extended Magento Sitemap

Here is a briefly overview of the main features with the comments:

  • Multi-level hierarchical SEO optimized and user friendly Site Map structure which includes every link in your store

This feature helps your customers to find the necessary pages quicker and browse your site more effective.

  • Ability to hide specific CMS Pages (e.g. ‘Enable Cookies’ page) from Site Map

This makes sure that CMS pages that you would like not to include in your site map will be hidden.

  • Ability to include additional links (footer and custom links) into Site Map

This allows to add the URLs to the Sitemap which are not there by default. For example, if you would like to add the links to “My account” page and “Checkout” you need simply add the following lines to appropriate field in the Magento back-end » Configuration » MAGEWORX » Extended Sitemap section.

  <text>Customer Account</text>

Where <href>customer/account</href> is taken from the page URL after the domain name (Ex. <text>Customer Account</text> - link title at Sitemap page.

  • Ability to show links to different Store Views on Site Map page

If you have more than one store view it can be convenient to display the links to their sitemaps at each sitemap page.

  • Generates correct Google XML Site Map files
  • Easy customizable layout with CSS

The layout of the Sitemap page can be easy customized using CSS (this feature will be helpful for advanced webmasters)

Google Sitemap

The Google Sitemap is an XML file which contains all the URLs of the site with some additional information for each the URL: when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site. Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask use the same Sitemap protocol. This helps you to provide relevant and updated info to the fourth largest search engines in easy way.

If you have the Extended Sitemap extension installed you can find the main settings for Google Sitemap in Admin area » Configuration » MAGEWORX » Extended Sitemap » Google Sitemap Settings. (for standard Magento Sitemap the path is Admin area » Configuration » Catalog » Google Sitemap). All these settings are described in Magento User Guide, but we also provide the clarification here:

Generation Setting

  • Enabled - Select Yes to Enable Google Sitemap autogeneration and automatic updates.
  • Start Time - Select the time of day (in 24 hour mode) at which you wish Google Sitemap to update.
  • Frequency - Designate whether you want Google Sitemap to update Daily, Weekly, or Monthly. This can differ from the frequency that Google Sitemap actually checks for updates (as defined above).
  • Error Email Recipient - Enter the email address to which emails will be sent in case an error occurs during the automatic update.

The sitemap settings for each of these three types of pages can be configured individually.

  • Frequency - Designate how often you would like Google Sitemap to check each type of page for updates.
  • Priority - Designate the priority that each page type receives in relation to the other page types when Google Sitemap updates.

Generating Google Sitemap

To Generate Google Sitemap you can from Admin area » Catalog » Google Sitemap (Extended) » Generate (this path is valid if you installed Extended Sitemap extension)

The steps to generate Google Sitemap are:

  1. Click at “Add Sitemap” button
  2. Fill the “filename” in. More often sitemap has the name “sitemap.xml” (if you have more than one store view you can add the label of needed store view to the name “sitemap_en.xml”)
  3. Specify the “Path” for generated sitemap. If you would like to have the sitemap in your root folder just write the “/” symbol in this field. If the sitemap is placed in some sub-directories specify the full path (Ex. folder1/folder2/)
  4. Specify the store view for which you are going to generate the sitemap
  5. Press “Save” button if you need just to store the sitemap but not generate and press “Save & Generate” if you would like to generate the sitemap.

After this you will see the details of the generated sitemap. “Links for Google” is the column which you should use for submission of your sitemaps to search engines.

Submission of the Google sitemap to search engines.

Once the Google Sitemap is generated you need to provide it to search engines. There are two main ways of how to do this:

  • By adding the following line in your “robots.txt” file


  • By submitting your sitemap to search engines using Google Webmaster tools, Yahoo! Site Explorer, MSN and Ask submission services.

Submit the sitemap to Google

Before you start make sure you added and verified your site in your Webmaster Tools.

  • Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account.
  • On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want.
  • Under Site configuration, click Sitemaps.

Submit the sitemap to Yahoo

Before you start make sure you added and verified your site in your Yahoo Site Explorer.

  • Sign into Yahoo Site Explorer with your Yahoo Account.
  • From the Site Explorer click Submit Site Feed.
  • Click Submit Feed.

Submit the sitemap to MSN(Bing)

Before you start make sure you added and verified your site in your Bing Webmaster Center.

  • Sign into Bing Webmaster Center with your Windows Live ID (Hotmail ID)
  • On the Webmaster Center, choose your site
  • Go to “Sitemap” tab
  • Click Submit

Submit the sitemap to

Additional resources: