Google rolled out a set of Webmaster tools that could be enhanced by using an XML file called a site map. The file described the layout of the site using a particular format. Google and others provided free tools to generate a site map – if you had server access to your site. There did not seem to be a good way to use them on a site like Plone, where the content was in a database. I used a 3d party Web site tool at first but then came across this Plone product specifically designed to meet this need.
The free version of XML Site-maps works great and I have used it on two other sites but the free limit is 500 pages and that can be limiting. On the other hand, if you have more than 500 pages, perhaps you should be paying for the service! The benefit is that it’s Web-based so no server access, no script to run.
The Google Site Map product for Plone is obviously a better fit. The product was developed by Quinta on behalf of 4WebResults and eLawSoftware. They did a great job of making it easy, and once you’ve dropped it in your Products folder and restart, it is ready to be installed through the Quickinstaller. That’s it! These were the only instructions on the page @ Plone.org:
- Install with Quick Installer.
- Go to Google Sitemaps and add http://your.site/google-sitemaps.
and that’s all it takes! Once installed, log in to your Plone site (not through the management interface) and go to your preferences. The options are easy to follow – what type of content to include, what state the content should be in, what content to block – and you can tweak this whenever you like.
This eliminates the need to return to your site map creator and continually recreate this file. The site map file is optional from Google’s perspective, but the Quinta tool makes it so easy for Plone users that you might as well use it.