Did you want to know about Sitemaps? You have landed in the right place today.
We are going to explore the Sitemap Order, which means the order of URLs in a Sitemap.
Let’s start exploring the key concepts in more detail.
Why does Sitemap Order matter?
Long before, when search algorithms were smarter, the order of Sitemap URLs used to matter while crawling and processing links on a website. Hence, after Google’s official representative’s announcement and clarification, That the order of the Sitemap URLs doesn’t matter at all, it became clear to users.
Note: Sitemap Order refers to the order of LINKS in a website’s Sitemap.
Where a Sitemap is a file at the Root of a website That holds all the links created on a website. Usually, the Sitemap file is created in an XML file, that’s what is referred to by Search Engines like Google.
Related Reading: Why add Sitemap to Robots.TXT file
Here is the screenshot of the official announcement of Google’s representative regarding the Sitemap Order.
Here, as you can see in the above screenshot, the order of URLs in a website’s Sitemap file doesn’t matter. However, once Google crawls a website’s Sitemap, there is also no idea of which URL Google will be indexing first. You can see such measures often in the Google Search Console’s data, such as Crawled, Not Indexed.
This means, that even if the link is anywhere in a Sitemap, Google may take and consider it for indexing, as compared to other links in a Sitemap.
The above screenshot about Sitemap Order also shows That Google processes collections of URLs at a given time. For example, if your site’s sitemap has 50 URLs, Google may pick all at once or pick all but process a certain amount of links at a given time.
This highly depends on Google’s preferences and crawl budget for a given website. In my opinion, I have noticed Google giving attention to sites That are updated with good, relevant, and valuable content regularly. By valuable content, we mean That the content land on the first page of Google or somewhere on Google pages.
In this case, Google will be able to pick fresh collections of URLs every day from a site That updates regularly. In this case, Google will be crawling and indexing URLs in a Sitemap much faster.
However, even if a site’s Sitemap is updated daily, Google may take longer to crawl and index all the URLs in a Sitemap.
In old days, if the Sitemap Order did matter, Google considered order because of the preferences, such as the first 100 words of an article weighing much importance.
Also, in That case, it is quite possible to pick or ignore a certain amount of Links based on Topics or content Types. For example, if Google found new blog posts on a website, it could still ignore static pages with minor edits even if placed at the top of a sitemap.
That’s how Google’s personal preferences are more important when it comes to deciding which content is necessary to crawl and index first. This often happens on the News related website, although Google has confirmed That the order of a Sitemap doesn’t matter, for news-related websites as well.
In today’s modern Sitemap Generators, the links on a site are arranged in a group format in a Sitemap. For example, the links to all pages will be arranged under a Page directory in a Sitemap.
What about Sitemap priority in Sitemap Generator settings?
Yes, a Sitemap Generating Tool may have an option regarding the Priority of the links. In this case, as Google has cleared The sitemap order does not matter, the said scenario is applied by the Sitemap Generators but doesn’t affect Google’s rule to crawl and index URLs on a priority basis.
Google has officially confirmed That Sitemap Order is not important when it comes to crawling and indexing a site’s URLs.
You may also have noticed some Sitemap Generators with Link Priority options. While the said measure is implemented by Sitemap Generators, it doesn’t affect Google’s algorithms.
If you are more concerned about affecting your crawling frequency positively, you will need to keep the focus on refreshing content on your website. This is something That weighs more importance in the eyes of Search Engines, such as Google.