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Modified sitemap.xml template that allows for pages to be excluded on Hugo websites.
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sitemap.xml

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A Template That Allows For Pages To Be Excluded From The Sitemap.xml File In Hugo

If you don't want some of your pages to be included in the sitemap.xml file on your Hugo website, this template may be what you are looking for.

These template is designed to work with Hugo versions 0.54.x and 0.55.x. It will likely work with other versions, but has not been tested.

The default Hugo template for the sitemap.xml file includes all pages by default in the sitemap used by search engines to help index your site. Unfortunately, there may be times when you wish to have a hidden page on your site and therefore you wouldn't want the page to show up in the sitemap.xml file. This template gives you more control of the sitemap.xml file contents by allowing you to explicitly state in the page front matter if you wish to have the page excluded. In absense of a specifically defined exclusion values, the template includes the page in the sitemap.xml file.

Removing a page from the sitemap.xml file may not keep a search engine from eventually discovering and indexing the page. When determining whether any particular page should be indexed and included in search results, well behaved search engines will also take into consideration the <meta name="robots" ... /> tag on the page and also the disallow directives in robots.txt file. But some search engines don't honor those settings. If you really want to keep content out of search engines, you'll have to password protect the page. Or better yet, never include the content on a web page in the first place, as search engines are really good about discovering and indexing content.

Template Installation

To use this new template, you will first need to install this new sitemap.xml template in your /layouts/_default/ directory.

root
    layouts
        _default
            sitemap.xml

If for some reason your theme has moved the sitemap.xml template to a different directory, then you'll probably need to install this new template in the corresponding directory structure that follows that of your theme.

How To Use

After installing, the new sitemap.xml template should be used when compiling/generating your site.

To take advantage of the flexibility of this new template, you'll need to make changes in the front matter of each page you wish to exclude from the sitemap. This is accomplished by placing sitemapExclude = true in the page's front matter. I'm using TOML for my front matter, so you may need to modify the syntax to confirm to the configuration syntax used in your front matter.

+++
title = "Excluded Page"
sitemapExclude = true
+++

To exclude a page, the sitemapExclude param value has to be set to true. Not including the sitemapExclude param, or setting the value to something other than true, will have the page included in the sitemap.xml file.

That's it. When the site is generated/compiled, the page should be excluded from the sitemap.xml file.

As always, test locally before deploying your site to production.

Caveat

When excluding a page, a blank line is inserted in the sitemap.xml file. Technically this is some data leakage as it would indicate that you excluded a page. It would not indicate which page is excluded, just that somewhere on your site you excluded a page. Probably not a big deal to most sites, but just be aware of this.

Conclusion

I'm new to Hugo, so forgive me if I didn't follow conventions correctly. Please let me know if I did something wrong.

I've tested this template locally and with my personal site and haven't found any issues. But please let me know if you discover any problems.

You can find a more detailed writeup about this template on my blog.

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