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I have a website like Stackoverflow. I'm creating a sitemap for it. I want to know, what timestamp should be as the value of last-modified for a page? (a question and all its answers)

All I'm trying to understand is when exactly should I update the value of lastmod in a question and answer website? When someone leaves a comment under an answer, should I update lastmod of that page? When either the question or an answer is edited, should I update lastmod?

I can update it every time after each minor change in the content of the page (a commend added/deleted, a answer added/deleted, either question of answer edited). But I'm worried about google, I'm not sure will google skip (not recrawl) us after a while because of our minor changes? Can google understand the content of the page is changed, probably a little bit, but anyway it is changed. Or it just cares about huge changes? And will ignore minor changes?

  • I too have the same question. Hope other experienced members come out with helpful replies. (For my wordpress site with over 10,000 indexed URLs, I am upating lastmod only for major updates and not for minor ones like new comments.) – Kannan Aug 16 '18 at 7:55
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Google doesn't use the lastmod value in sitemaps: Google Says They Mostly Ignore the lastmod Tag In XML Sitemaps

The lastmod, changefreq, and priority are not worth including in your sitemap at all. They just take up extra space and don't do anything for you. I'd recommend making your sitemap as compact as possible with just a list of URLs:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
<url><loc>https://www.example.com/</loc></url>
<url><loc>https://www.example.com/page1.html</loc></url>
<url><loc>https://www.example.com/page2.html</loc></url>
...

Chances are though that you don't even need a sitemap at all.

  • Sitemaps don't help your pages get indexed
  • Sitemaps don't don't help with rankings
  • Linking to your pages from other pages is the only way to get your pages reliably crawled, indexed, and ranked well.

At best sitemaps give you extra info in Search Console and can get Google to crawl pages that are not linked from anywhere. Even when Google crawls unlinked pages it usually chooses not to index them because they don't have any inbound links. They certainly won't rank for anything competitive. See The Sitemap Paradox.

  • Ok, it's about 1 month I'm trying to say to google the name of my website is لام تا کام. For that, I've set the title of all pages to لام تا کام. That Persian word sounds lamtakam. But google doesn't found us when I search for لام تا کام. Why? It is actually the name of our website .. our alexa rank is 17,000, and google will find sites that have 50,000 alexa rank as well by searching for the name of those website. Why we're ignored from the google? Here is our website. – Martin AJ Sep 8 '18 at 19:33
  • Alexa rank has nothing to do with Google and it isn't very accurate. It can take Google a year to start ranking your for your brand name. More if your brand name isn't unique. – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 8 '18 at 20:07
  • ah .. so it needs some times .. glad to hear that .. I have also a request, can you please join us? You know, our team contains some guys from Stackoverflow .. they just give us advice (consultation) .. I know you're a mod in here and certainly you're buys .. but if you do a favor and join us, we probably give you 1 email per week (or even month) and will ask your idea about something (i.e a campaign) .. will you accept my request please? – Martin AJ Sep 8 '18 at 20:29
  • Apparently your answer is "no", because of the delay .. anyway ok, thank you man for answering my questions here. – Martin AJ Sep 9 '18 at 18:48
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The last modification time should be the last time the content of the page changed meaningfully.

If the last modified makes a visible distinction in terms of when it is updated then last mod should change with minor edits. I have seen Google ignore lastmod when webmasters do not keep it updated for the website.

You need not worry on the Google's end of how it would react, unless it requires too much work on your end to keep the sitemap updated.

I usually tend to update it for major events like a new comment or closing of the discussion etc but not for edits, that would be too much in my opinion.

Hope this makes sense.

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