The official answer is no, PageRank adjustments are unrelated to Google Sitemaps. The inofficial answer is depends, in some cases Google Sitemap submissions can have impact on PageRank calculations.

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XML URL feeds, a.k.a. sitemaps, are Google's little helpers to enhance the crawling process. Crawlers are Web robots fetching files from foreign Web servers. They get feed with URLs from a back end system, download the files, and store them in a database. Some crawlers are somewhat intelligent, they follow links and they may do some basic content analyses. However, technically the crawling process ends with the content delivery to the search engine's database. Therefore the official answer is "no, Google Sitemaps have no impact on PageRank calculations". Google's crawler Googlebot doesn't compute the PageRank of fetched Web pages.

Next the indexing process takes care of all the high sophisticated stuff necessary to include a Web object (document, image, video, sound file ...) in a search engine's index, or not. One part of the indexing process are PageRank adjustments. PageRank is computed by counting weighted internal as well as external inbound links to a Web object. Because Google discovers, fetches and indexes more documents with the help of Google Sitemaps, Google takes formerly unknown inbound links into account. Therefore the inofficial answer is "yes, internal links discovered during sitemap based crawls have impact on the PageRank calculation for each link destination (page) within the Web site". The same goes for sitemap based crawls on other servers. As more sites make use of Google Sitemaps, as more new links Google will discover.

Related information:

PageRank is a property of Web objects reachable via a URL. Each and every Web object which is the destination of a hyperlink has a PageRank value assigned. The name "PageRank" comes from Google's co-founder Larry Page, not from Web Page by the way. Webmasters using terms like "PR5 site" usually refer to the PageRank assigned to their Web site's root index page. There is no such thing as a site wide PageRank, each and every linked Web object of a Web site has its individual PageRank value.

The PageRank Google displays on the Google Toolbar is not the real PageRank used for page rankings. Toolbar PageRank is an outdated snapshot and gets updated only every 3-4 months. All the PR-tools out there pull the PageRank from the same source, so regardless which method is used to get a page's PageRank, the value is outdated, and pretty much useless. The displayed scale 0/10 - 10/10 is a logarithmic simplification.

PageRank is only one of many factors used for page rankings. It is an important factor, but it usually does not overrule factors used to determine the search query relevancy. Google seems to use a topical PageRank for rankings on the SERPs, because the overall link popularity of a page does not indicate its relevancy with regard to a specific search term, or topic. The value of PageRank is overestimated across the boards.

Friday, October 28, 2005

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Author: Sebastian
Last Update: Friday, October 28, 2005 [DRAFT]   Web Feed

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