I am creating a sitemap for the first time - for a fairly small client.

I am surprised that nowhere (that I can find) is there discussion of how to handle content that is only accessible to logged-in users.

Our site uses the typical approach of maintaining session cookies to identify logged-in users.

So far as I can see, there is no way to provide a 'session cookie' along with the sitemap provided to Google Webmaster Tools.

I could undergo the time & effort to support a session ID in the URL, but this is ugly and even a bit dangerous, and it would violate Google's own recommendation.

Again, I'm a bit surprised that I cannot find any discussion of this. How to show content for logged-in vs logged-out users? has a promising title, but no useful information about this topic (or so I think).

How do I support content for logged-in users in a sitemap for Google Webmaster Tools?


Sitemaps are only to inform search engines of your sites pages. If you start going around login security with work-arounds in your sitemap then you are opening up the site for anyone to access. Do not do this!

You can check the IP address of the search engines and then let them have access. Do not rely upon the user agent. They are highly unreliable and can easily be spoofed.

One warning however.

At one point Google did not like that people would allow them to access and index pages that users cannot normally access. Google still does not like it, however, it is perfectly legal and Google had no choice but to give in on the subject. But there is a catch! If a user can access a set number of restricted pages before asking for a login, then Google is okay with the whole process. Think of it as a free sample. If all pages are behind a login wall and you disappoint Googles users with links to pages they can never see, then G gets mad. So I would recommend thinking about this before getting too carried away.

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