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I would like to know if it's a good practice for SEO to include very similar pages in the sitemap.xml file.

Context:

I have a real estate website, with listed projects (buildings), and each project has multiple properties for sale (apartments). Each property in a project has it own page, because it has minor differences (price, apartment number, floor number, etc), but almost all the page content is the same for all the properties in a project, including most of the text.

My doubt is if asking Google to index every single property page (via sitemap.xml) could be penalized because most of the content could be seen as duplicated.

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I believe the definitive answer is at: Avoid creating duplicate content

Google's advice appears to be to use the rel="canonical" tag on the preferred version (maybe the first one or the parent page?), and they specifically do not recommend blocking the crawling of duplicate pages. That said, I expect leaving the similar versions out of the sitemap.xml won't hurt.

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  • Very useful link and recommendation. I will try the canonical tag to select the lower price property per project as the preferred version, thanks! Nov 19 '21 at 0:12
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The purpose of a sitemap is to help search engines find paths that may not be obvious from scanning for links on your page. They are NOT to be used to point to every piece of content on your site and is a waste of effort. In many cases, sites do not need sitemaps at all. On the small-ish sites my company developed, we didn't create any site maps at all.

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  • Thanks! In this case, the site is a real estate page where the content is accesible through a search box, so mostly dynamic and not accessible through links. That's why I opted to implement a sitemap, but lead me to this doubt about listing similar pages in the file. Nov 22 '21 at 2:52

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