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While the following question is totally general and theoretical, it is based on a more particular case regarding the current development state of the simple_sitmeap module developed for Drupal 8 and aimed to replace the xml_sitemap module for Drupal 7. Please read the current discussion in Drupal.org (starting from comment #3) and then read here below.

Do you think it is dangerous or problematic to send to Google an XML sitemap that contains only (or mostly), permalinks (instead of aliases)?

In Drupal, permalinks look like this. They are also known as "short links". They are used when there is no alias for the page that would create a friendlier looking URL.

http://www.example.com/page/123

An alias URL typically looks like this:

http://www.example.com/page/page-name

The user can manually assign an alias for the page, or install the Pathauto module that generates alias URLs based on the page title. While an alias link might change if the page title changes, the permalink will not.

  • If an alias URL exists, it would be desirable to have that friendly URL indexed. If Google indexes the permalink instead, that would be problematic.
  • It would be nice if Google uses the permalinks to discover and index the alias URLs.

AFAIK, Google and any other major SE like Bing, always crawls a page and get its alias; I am sure 99% that it will happen this time and the SERP will display aliases, but I can't say for sure given the fact I never sent an XML sitemap that includes permalinks.

Comments update:

  1. Closetnoc, I really don't want to do this; It's just that Drupal 8 is very new and the only xml_sitemap module available for it do it because of technical problem that the maintainer didn't have time to solve yet, and for now its the only option.

  2. Stephen, I mean that what might appear in the SERP, are permalinks instead of aliases (it's unlikely in about 99% but I can't say for 100% as I never sent a sitemap with permalinks).

  3. I can't say if its a redirect in the classic sense of 301's as I know Drupal just does "Aliasing" for each node with an internal Drupal 8 mechanism available under Config > Search & Metadata > URL aliases. Here is an example of the page that lets you do that:

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  • Why would you want to do this? It does not make sense to me. Why confuse things? Especially for something so important?
    – closetnoc
    Aug 14, 2016 at 4:11
  • What do you mean by "Google indexes the addresses as with permalink"? Are you trying to say that you don't want Google to index the content with the permalink URL? Aug 14, 2016 at 10:34
  • 1
    Do your permalinks redirect? Do they show the same page as on the other URL? Which do you link to on your site? Aug 14, 2016 at 10:35
  • Updated according to comments.
    – user58733
    Aug 14, 2016 at 12:59
  • Here is another point of view. Sitemaps are largely unnecessary. They are only necessary for extremely large sites or where a search cannot crawl the entire site such as login or paywalls. If you have links to all of your pages and search engines can effectively crawl your site, then a sitemap is a waste. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Aug 14, 2016 at 19:44

2 Answers 2

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+200

the question and the answer are pretty obvious - there is nothing tricky or ambiguous. Google has some clear sitemap guidelines meaning, that sitemap should contain:

  • only urls answering with result code 200 OK,
  • only urls which are allowed to be indexed,
  • only urls, which are canonical - and this is probably not your case regarding permalinks
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  • 1
    The last point is the most important one.
    – closetnoc
    Aug 16, 2016 at 23:54
  • 1
    Why wouldn't a permalink be canonical? I'm not very familiar with Drupal, but in WordPress the permalink URL is a page with just a single post on it, as opposed to a category page that may have the full text of several posts. I don't think there is an "non permanent" URL for a single post. Creating such a thing wouldn't make any sense. Aug 17, 2016 at 0:22
  • There's no such thing as "non permament" URL for single post in wordpress. It doesn't make sense. What would that mean? I link you one thing, you click on another, and yet you are on the thing I've sent you? That's no-no.
    – Josip Ivic
    Aug 17, 2016 at 7:31
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    After looking into to how drupal works I found that permalinks are NOT canonical. For example, the canonical URL is drupal.org/project/pathauto drupal also serves the same content (no redirects) on drupal.org/node/17345. It has a canonical meta tag that points to the friendly URL. Aug 17, 2016 at 15:17
  • Stephen, do you find that way in which Drupal works on this matter as problematic?
    – user58733
    Aug 20, 2016 at 18:26
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Well, I'll give it a shot.

First, to give a definition of sitemap:

A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for Web design, or a Web page that lists the pages on a website, typically organized in hierarchical fashion.

In theory (and if sitemaps are what they are used to be)

It's not dangerous / problematic to send sitemap that has www.example.com/page/123 instead of www.example.com/page/page-name. You can do whatever you like. But common sense will tell you to go with second option, because /page/123 doesn't mean anything. Page/page-name means something.

Why? Well, let's get another definition:

A Web crawler is an Internet bot which systematically browses the World Wide Web, typically for the purpose of Web indexing (web spidering). Web search engines and some other sites use Web crawling or spidering software to update their web content or indexes of others sites' web content.

So, you've noticed that it's content here that is important. It's on you how you'll build your link. I generally go by logic, but in this particular case, I'd be focused on content that is on my page instead of my link.

It's just link building here.

And please... I just want you to ask you a question regarding your question, and please elaborate in comment. Beacuse, I didn't understand that part.

I never sent a sitemap with permalinks

Are you sure about this statement?

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  • Hi, thanks for your answer. About the last part: AFAICR, it was always aliases.
    – user58733
    Aug 17, 2016 at 8:10
  • you should know that permalinks do not change, and that aliases do.
    – Josip Ivic
    Aug 17, 2016 at 8:12
  • and also, it's still not problematic for google, sometimes it's good. Rly.
    – Josip Ivic
    Aug 17, 2016 at 8:12
  • I know that permalinks (usually) don't change and that aliases are (more occasionally) do. I meant to say that AFAICR, when I sent sitemaps in history ---> It was always with alaises and not permalinks...
    – user58733
    Aug 17, 2016 at 8:14
  • well, I think that my and evgeniy's combination of answers will give you a better picture.
    – Josip Ivic
    Aug 17, 2016 at 8:16

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