Thursday, May 21, 2009

DNN Site Map gives all pages the same priority

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Out of the box, DotNetNuke provides a method of programatically creating a search-engine friendly XML sitemap for easy website submissions to the likes of Google, Yahoo and others that accept that format. This is one of the first things to do in your quest for SEO.

What it doesn't do, is accurately give a priority to pages. A priority is used by webmasters to set a level of imporance to a webpage. These numbers range from 0.0 to 1.0.

All DotNetNuke sites prior to 5 assign a default value of 0.9 to all pages. Google, and others don't like the fact that all your pages have the same priority, which will likely cause them not to index your site.

After doing a bit of research, I found a quick hack in the DotNetNuke forums, that assigns priorities based on page placement in your menu. 1 to your home page, 0.9 to all other first level pages, 0.8 to second level pages, and so on.

Just recently I've found another approach outlined on the EguanaSolutions.com blog, where they take it a bit further, using a default value of 0.5 on all pages, and incrementing the priority by 0.1 if you add a description and keywords to your pages.

I wasn't too crazy about that hack, since I use a description and keywords on ALL of my pages, as instructed by most SEO experts, so I'd likely be facing the same issue. They did however, offer a suggestion as a solution, which was to use Page Tokens, and modify your XMLSiteMap.aspx.vb to parse those tokens. I didn't want to work that hard... ;-).

The EguanaSolutions.com post did point to an elegant solution at CodeMyPantsOff.com (love that domain name!) that augments their fix, and doesn't require the coding for PPV that EguanaSolutions.com suggested.

All you need to do is modify your pages according to EquanaSolutions.com, add the code from CodeMyPantsOff.com, then start adding 'PPV=' followed by a numeric value setting a priority code in the keyword section of the page settings!

That really gives you complete control of your priority settings!

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2 comments:

mamlin said...

Hi, John. Thanks for the mention and link to our "workaround" (read: hack) of the DNN sitemap page priorty issue. I also love the "CodeMyPantsOff.com" domain name and was quite pleased when Dylan Barber put the "PPV" token idea into use in just a few lines of code.

Priority Based on Menu Level not Good for EveryoneJust to round out the topic, I'd posted a follow-up article that specifically addresses the idea of page value based on menu level. This approach makes sense for sites with the most important content at the top level of the menu tree. However, it is exactly the wrong prioritization scheme for sites with important content near the bottom levels of the menu tree. I cited examples of both scenarios and a few additional thoughts here: http://www.eguanasolutions.com/DNN_Blog/EntryID/20.aspx
Thanks again for the mention in your article. Hopefully increased attention from the blog realm will nudge the DNN core team to implement a better sitemap in the near future.

Cheers!
-mamlin

sbobet said...
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