Last week I wrote on priority levels that you can add or change within your XML sitemap in order to increase the number of pages that can get indexed by the search engines. Today, I’ll dive into frequency levels in your sitemap and how you change them.
Just to re-cap on last week’s post, setting priority levels within your XML sitemap will tell the search engines which pages you deem more important to be crawled and indexed. It’s merely a guide for the search engines. You can set your priority levels anywhere from 0.0 to 1.0. Your homepage should always be set at a priority level of 1.
Frequency levels are set according to how often particular pages are updated on your site. If you have an FAQ page for example you could set it’s frequency level to ‘never’ meaning you’re telling the search engines that this page never gets updated, so move onto other pages that get updated more frequently.
You can set your frequency levels from always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or never. Again, using the same logic as with priority levels, setting your frequency levels tells the search engines which pages should be crawled over other pages. The search engines like content that is new, fresh and updated. The more new content you add to your site there is the potential for new inbound links which also helps increase your rankings.
By default GSite Crawler sets your frequency levels to daily. However, I would recommend finding pages that haven’t been indexed yet or pages that you want to get ranked higher and leave those at daily, while moving all other pages to weekly, monthly or never. Changing your frequency levels in your sitemap to weekly, monthly or never doesn’t mean those pages won’t get crawled or indexed. But it may change how frequently they get crawled. And if you already have certain pages of your site indexed and in good positions, then you might as well remove the priority and frequency away form those pages so other pages can get indexed.
You can use GSite Crawler, which is a free XML sitemap generator or there are plenty of other free sitemap generation tools out there. If you download the also free XML notepad editor that will allow you to change the frequency level in an easy to read, edit and save manner. All you have to do is click on the word ‘daily’ right under your page name, and select your preferred frequency level in the drop down.
Making notice of the priority and frequency settings in your XML sitemap could yield some positive results for you. I would recommend using them together and really analyzing which pages should be considered more important over others before making any decisions.