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We are a Grocery co-operative retailer and have a chain of stores owned by different people. We are building a new website, where we would geo-locate the closest store to the customer and direct them to a particular store (selected based on cookies and geolocation). All our stores have a consistent range of products + Variation in 25% range. I have a few questions:

How to build a sitemap?

  1. Since it will be mandatory for a store to be selected at the same flow for the bot and user, should I have all products across all stores in the sitemap?

    We are allowing users to find any product across all stores if they search by product identifier. But, they will be able to see products available in a particular store if they go through the hierarchical journey of the website?

  2. Will the bot crawl all pages across all the stores or since it will be geolocated to only one store, the content belonging to only one store will be indexed?

  • should have all products across all stores in the sitemap? - does your site selling products? Or displaying? Or nor/neither? – Evgeniy Aug 7 at 14:41
  • Yes, Selling products - Full eCommerce. But, products will differ based on store selection. Should sitemap per store contain products across all stores? – Costa Aug 8 at 6:26
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You run the risk to have a bunch of duplicated content, if you remain with the current setup. I mean, you will repeat many products across different shops.

I would go with following construction:

Make full category+product list, like:

-shop
 -category1
  -product1
  -product2
 -category2
  -product3
  -product4
  • Create a sitemap for products

  • Remember, it is important! - if any of your products appear in more then one single category, your categories should be noindex, only products are indexed. Again, because of duplicated content.

As next, create a list of your stores, like

-Texas
 -store1
 -store2
-California
 -store3
 -store4

and geolocate them - save for each store a polygon of its service area.

Create certain sitemap for stores too.

Now the most important thing: you want show products depending on stores. Do it so:

  • If you sell product by your own, through your e-commerce engine, show its URL like: example.com/shop/category1/product1,

  • But if you want to show this product and point your visitor to certain store (or stores), having this product, make an URL to it like example.com/shop/category1/product1?store=store1 or example.com/shop/category1/product1?store=store1,store2

  • Thanks @Evgeniy. "You run the risk to have a bunch of duplicated content, if you remain with the current setup. I mean, you will repeat many products across different shops" - Will the content seen as duplicate even if the URL remains the same. Basically, we are using a GEO filter/facet on the products. <br/> with respect to the URL suggestion - example.com/shop/category1/product1?store=store1 - What would be the canonical URL of the products in the sitemap - Should that be without the store id? – Costa Aug 8 at 11:06

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