Chris Padilla/Blog / Tech

Generating a Sitemap in NextJS

I wanted to learn how to add search functionality to a NextJS Markdown blog. That's my blog and I'm starting to accumulate a lot of posts here! So I took to Google, and what did I find? Why, I found Julia Tan's post on "How To Add Search Functionality to a NextJS Markdown Blog".

I've been pretty happy with blogging being a more personal, long form means of keeping a dev journal. Recently, though, blogging has helped me find my people along the way. And that's really exciting!

When a Google search sent me to a personal site and not a Medium article or Stack Overflow forum, that got me pretty excited. I'm not looking to growth hack my blog or become a domain authority, but I do want to make it easier for folks to find these posts.

So begins an SEO cleanup!

The Current Situation

My site currently checks off the boxes for the bare bone necessities here: I have meta tags for pages and I'm using Semantic HTML for easy parsing.

I tried Googling a few of my own articles with some disappointing results. "Express React Chris Padilla" at the time brought up my landing page, but not my article on it.

I went through a few considerations of why this might be:

  1. I don't track this, but I'm confident my blog doesn't get a lot of traffic at the moment. :)
  2. I don't have keyword authority on Express or React, sure. But I have at least more authority with "Chris Padilla" in a tech context, I would think!
  3. I considered my URL structure. I don't keep any subdirectories, but I learned that this doesn't really have a large sway on SEO.


No better source to ask about this than Google themselves. And a bit of looking brought me to sitemaps and why I might need one.

A Sitemap is largely what it sounds like: It's an XML file that outlines the pages on your site. Bots will use this to ensure all your pages are crawled. Here's mine.

Here's Google documentation on why you might need one:

  • Your site is large. Generally, on large sites it's more difficult to make sure that every page is linked by at least one other page on the site. As a result, it's more likely Googlebot might not discover some of your new pages.
  • Your site is new and has few external links to it. Googlebot and other web crawlers crawl the web by following links from one page to another. As a result, Googlebot might not discover your pages if no other sites link to them.

"Large" to Google probably means hundreds or thousands of pages, but my page count is crawling day by day. More important is probably that this is a new site and I'm not breaking the internet with these posts.

Generating with NextJS

Next has great documentation on this and even provides code for generating your own sitemap.

I had to tweak mine just a bit to provide a couple of handy tags:

  • <priority>: on a scale from 0 to 1.0, how important is this page? Landing page is 1.0. My music page is 0.9.
  • <changefreq>: This site is alive! This is how to let bots know the interval it typically updates. My blog page would be daily and my now page would be monthly.

Here's what those tweaks look like in NextJS's generateSiteMap function:

function generateSiteMap(slugs) {
  return `<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
   <urlset xmlns="">
     <!--Manual URL's-->
       .map((slug) => {
         if (slug === 'blog') {
           return `
         } else if (slug === 'now' || slug === 'music') {
           return `
         } else {
           return `

Getting those values is business as usual for NextJS: write a getServerSideProps method.

export async function getServerSideProps({ res }) {
  // We make an API call to gather the URLs for our site
  const pages = getAllPages();
  const posts = getAllPosts(['slug']);
  const albums = getAlbums();
  const dynamicSlugs = [...albums, ...posts].map(
    (contentObj) => contentObj.slug

  const slugs = [...pages, ...dynamicSlugs];

  // We generate the XML sitemap with the posts data
  const sitemap = generateSiteMap(slugs);

  res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/xml');
  // we send the XML to the browser

  return {
    props: {},

Funny to me is that you still have to export a default function. The res.write() and res.end() method above handle sending the XML file. But, I suppose Next still needs to see a React component for this to work happily:

function SiteMap() {
  // getServerSideProps will do the heavy lifting

export default SiteMap;

And there you have it! Here's hoping you've reached the end of this article after searching "Generating a Sitemap in NextJS."