Google: You Can Cloak Your XML Sitemap Files

Dec 30, 2015 - 7:51 am 7 by

Cloudy3 Google 1900px

Google's John Mueller in a long Google Hangout yesterday said that it is not problematic to cloak your XML sitemap file to search engines. The reason is, the XML Sitemap files are meant to only be seen by search engines and not users, so cloaking them differently for users makes no sense. You can change them up for GoogleBot versus Yahoo, Bing, etc - there is no issue with that.

John said this at the 19:30 mark into the video.

The question was:

As a way to deal with scrapers, I'd like to add X-Robots-Tag to my XML sitemaps, and then permit crawling only to googlebot and some other creditable crawlers, but not to rogue crawlers nor any users. Can it be perceived as cloaking?

John's answer:

No. I don’t think that would be in any way problematic. With sitemap files you can even cloak them directly to search engines. That is something that we would explicitly allow. Where if you test IP addresses and you see it is not a Google[bot] or Bing or Yandex or Yahoo or whatever else by IP address, you can serve like a not allowed page if you want to.

So that’s the kind of situation where this content is explicitly only for search engines, so you can choose to really explicitly only show it to search engines.

Here is the video embed:

So if you are dying to do some cloaking, have fun with it with your XML Sitemaps. :) Oh, just be careful because if you show yourself a different XML file, it might be hard to debug what GoogleBot sees.

Forum discussion at Google+.

 

Popular Categories

The Pulse of the search community

Follow

Search Video Recaps

 
Google Core Update Volatility, Helpful Content Update Gone, Dangerous Search Results & Ads Confusion - YouTube
Video Details More Videos Subscribe to Videos

Most Recent Articles

Search Forum Recap

Daily Search Forum Recap: April 15, 2024

Apr 15, 2024 - 4:00 pm
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Goes On Defensive On Its Search Quality & Forum Results Statements

Apr 15, 2024 - 7:51 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Responds To The Verge Mocking Its Search Rankings For Best Printer

Apr 15, 2024 - 7:41 am
Google News

Google Threatens California: Tests Removing Links To Publishers & Pauses Investments

Apr 15, 2024 - 7:31 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Crawl Budget Is Allocated By Hostname

Apr 15, 2024 - 7:21 am
Google AdSense

Google AdSense Publishers Reporting Huge RPM Earnings Drops

Apr 15, 2024 - 7:11 am
Previous Story: GoogleBot Treats 307 Redirects As 301s?