Sitemap Priority Tag in Google XML Sitemaps

Priority values in Google XML sitemaps. Have sitemap generator tool calculate correct prorities in your XML sitemaps.

Priority Tag in Sitemaps

The <priority> tag is used in XML sitemaps, by the webmaster, to signal the importance of individual pages in the website to Google and other search engines.
  • How to decide sitemap priority values:
    • Priority values are relative within your website.
    • Valid priority values have range interval [0.0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 1.0].
    • This means that the priority of your most important page should be [1.0].
    • The priority of other pages in the XML sitemap should decrease after importance.
  • Search engines using the priority tag:
    • Google XML sitemaps. Later evolved into XML sitemaps protocol.
    • XML sitemaps protocol. Now used by Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.
  • Get the best XML sitemaps effect:
    • Make sure you have some incoming links. This will "motivate" search engines to index and crawl all urls in your sitemap.

Priorities in XML Sitemaps

Sitemap priority values and how they can affect search engines:
  • Website crawlers and bots:
    • Likely Pages with high priority values get crawled more often.
    • Likely For new websites, help guide crawlers which pages to index first.
  • Search engine result pages (SERPs):
    • Likely Help determine which url to show if multiple pages from a website match a query.
  • Search engine results and ranking algorithms:
    • Speculative If website and XML sitemap is trusted, influence ranking and position in search results.
      • As comparison, it is also possible to boost rankings using SEO linking techniques within a website.
    • Unlikely You can use XML sitemaps as a direct search engine optimization (SEO) technique.

Calculated Priority Values in XML Sitemaps

It can be a slow process to set priority values for all URLs in XML sitemaps. Therefore:
  • XML sitemap goals:
    • Priority values calculated represent what the webmaster finds important
      • This implies that data used in calculations should be website specific.
    • Calculating priority values for all pages thereby saving time for the webmaster.

  • Possible XML sitemap methods and algorithms:
    • External sources (number of backlinks, Google PageRank etc.)
      • Using external sources can not represent the opinion of the webmaster.
        • There is often an overweight of backlinks pointing to domain address / welcome page instead of product page.
      • Conclusions:
        • Not the best way. Data resembles external resources and not webmaster.
    • Internal linking of pages in website
      • Conclusions:
        • Data resembles how webmaster has prioritized website navigation.

How A1 Sitemap Generator Calculates Sitemap Priorities

  • Importance calculation for all pages in website:
    1. All pages have the number of incoming links from within the website processed and counted. Example: Page has 50 incoming links and 25 on-page links.
    2. A link passed a higher importance value if it resides on a page with few on-page links and many incoming links. Example: Page has 50 incoming links and 25 on-page, therefore each link passes a link juice value of 2.
    3. Importance is calculated for all paged based on all incomming internal link juice flow.
    4. After this, all the URL importance scores are converted into logarithmic and scaled.
  • Adjust priority calculations with the following options:
    • Tools | Importance algorithm option: Links "noself": Links from page "A" to "A" (i.e. itself) do not count.
    • Tools | Importance algorithm option: Links "reduce": Each link from page "A" to "B" counts less and less. Links placed further down in content counts less and less.
  • For more details of how calculations are done, check our help page about sculpting internal link juice using A1 Website Analyzer.

  • No effort for webmaster to set priority for all pages in a sitemap.
  • Will in most cases reflect what the webmaster finds most important.
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