Importance of Priorities in XML Sitemap of Your Website

Date Published: 8-Apr-2014 | By: Shane K Morgan

Search engine bots crawl through the URLs of a website. A website may contain hundreds of webpages. Creating Sitemaps and assigning priority values to the webpages allows you to communicate with the search engines to let them know which are the most important pages of your website. This is more beneficial to the website owner/administrator because they know very well which are the important pages and can tell search engines the same instead of Search Engine assessing on their own.

XML Sitemaps are created for search engines and not for website visitors. They give information on the webpages of the website. In this article, we will discuss how XML Sitemap priority values are helpful.

XML Sitemaps give information on the location of the page and also other information like its priority, change frequency, etc., to search engines to better understand the webpages.

Importance of Sitemap priority
Priority value of a URL is relative to the other URLs of the same website. Search engines do not compare priority value of a page of one website with the values of pages of other website. So, priority values do not Influence the Search Engine Rankings directly.

It is an attribute that determines the importance of one page over the others within a website. From hundreds of pages on the website, there may be some pages, that are important and you want them to be given more importance and probably even indexed or ranked over other pages of the website. In this situation, XML Sitemap priority value will be useful.

When multiple pages of a same website have to be ranked, priority value determines which page should be indexed or ranked. Pages with highest priority value are said to be indexed faster and crawled more often when compared to those with least priority value.

Assigning Sitemap priority values
Sitemap priority value ranges from 0.0 to 1.0. The most important page on the website should be 1.0 and the value decreases as the importance of the page decreases. It is recommended not to use extreme value of 0.0 for any webpage and the value of 1.0 for too many pages.

It is also not helpful if you assign same priority value to all the webpages. If you do not assign any priority value, search engines by default, assign 1.0 for homepage and 0.5 to all other pages.

It is better to categorize the webpages into categories and assign value to them. Generally, priority values to different categories of the website can be assigned as follows:

Option 1:

Recommended Priority Page Name
0.8 – 1.0 Home page, product information, landing pages
0.4 – 0.7 Articles, blog posts, FAQs, etc.
0.0 – 0.3 Outdated information or old news that has become less relevant

Option 2:

Recommended Priority Page Name
1 Homepage
0.9 Main landing pages
0.85 Other landing pages
0.8 Main links on navigation bar
0.75 Other pages on site
0.8 Top articles/blog posts
0.75 Blog tag/category pages
0.64 Other articles (standard)/posts

However, these values are just for reference purpose to outline the concept and make it easier for your understanding. The way priorities are assigned could vary from website to website and you know better which pages are most important on your website.

If you have a website with a large number of websites and it is tedious to assign priority value to each and every page, there are some third party tools like Sitemap generator, etc., that will assign the priority values based on the internal linking of the pages.

It is always recommended to assign Sitemap priorities to webpages to guide the search engines index and rank the important pages on your website.