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On my site I have products. Each product has many releases. Each release has many changelogs. A changelog is one of many categories (eg, "Bug Fix", "Performance Improvement" etc).

I have created useful auto generated pages for each product, which lists all the changelogs for a product of a category (Eg "Product's Bug Fix History").

However, due to how data is structured and cached it's impossible to know if there are any "Bug Fixes" for a product without doing very expensive queries.

On the history pages themselves, I put a meta noindex tag on the page if no changelogs exist. However, I'm unsure if I should include these pages on my sitemap.

Would it be better to include them on my sitemap when possibly at a lot of them are meta-noindexed, or just allow for natural crawler discovery?

  • Do what is easiest. The only consideration is if there are links to follow on these pages. One warning, however. Sitemaps are NOT what you think they are. Sitemaps are generally only used to audit that the SE can properly crawl your site. If the SE can crawl your site, then the sitemap is largely ignored. Otherwise, the sitemap is used for extremely large sites and for sites with content behind a login or paywall. I say this because it may not matter anyway. Cheers!! – closetnoc Mar 19 '17 at 16:11
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I'm kind of wondering if I've missunderstood your question, but... there is no point putting "noindex" pages in your XML sitemap.

An XML sitemap advertises the pages you want indexed. So, including a "noindex" page in your XML sitemap is sending a mixed signal to the search engines and doesn't make much sense.

A sitemap is only advisory, to help the search engines discover pages that may otherwise be hard to find. So providing the pages you want indexed are linked internally then you may not really need the XML sitemap at all. (Although submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console can provide some additional reporting capability.)

  • Gotcha, I was trying to make a perfect sitemap that listed every page, however this is the first type of page I couldn't properly include. – Tom Gullen Mar 19 '17 at 19:31

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