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I have a content based website and I'm in the process of creating a sitemap.xml file. I was wondering if it would be best to give high priority to tag urls or to post urls. Has anyone experimented with it ? What will give you better rankings in google and eventually bring in more visitors ?

Edit: @John Conde I know that. However I assume that when someone searches for a term for which I have two pages of equal relevance priority may make a difference (at least in some search engines). What I want to find out is how important that suggestion is considered by search engines.

To give you an example. I'm publishing a small CSS framework. Once every few months I give away a new release 0.1, 0.2 etc etc. All these posts have the keywords "mainframe css" in the title, url and post body. The same keywords are also found in the relevant tag page (site.com/tag/mainframe-css). I also have a "static" page that serves as a welcome page for the project, with links to all available downloads and stuff.

So the way I see it, there are maybe 10 pages of equal relevance. However I want visitors to be taken to the project page. One solution I can think of is linking from every post page to the project page.

Anyway thanks for the answers people. You got me covered :)

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3 Answers

FYI, priority is merely a suggestion and does not mean that those pages will be crawled any faster or given any priority when ranking pages. It definitely will not improve their rankings. Remember, pages are ranked on their relevance for any given search term, not whether you say they are important or not.

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I'm assuming that by "tag URLs" you mean a kind of category page, like a tag page on Pro Webmasters. And by "post URLs" you mean blog posts etc, like a question page on Pro Webmasters.

In which case, it's the posts every time. The posts have more content, are more unique, and generally "static" (the content doesn't change rapidly). Whereas tag pages are just lists of other content, contain very little unique themselves, and change rapidly as you add more posts.

Look at the types of content search engines return for your queries. It's almost always a static-ish content page, not categories or generic pages like that. I always give priority "1.0" to all post/content pages then scale down for other pages.

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Google generally uses the "priority" values in Sitemap files as hints for crawling and indexing, not for ranking. In general, Google recommends the following for "priority":

  • Don't use simple automated metrics (eg "PageRank" or similar) to determine the "priority" value. Especially if it's something which Google can determine on their own, it makes little sense to reuse that for "priority".
  • If you can't specify a value, don't use a default placeholder like 0.5 or 1.0 (it's optional, so you can just not include it in the Sitemap file)

Personally, I would not spend too much time worrying about what kind of values you can use there. If you're not sure, I would just submit the Sitemap files without "priority".

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