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The site owner asked if there was a way to prioritize the links for the Google spider. The only thing that came to mind was the Priority attribute in an XML sitemap.
I know that XML sitemaps are only "suggestions" for the search engines. I've used the attribute on smaller projects in the past, but don't have any data that would support whether search engines even pay attention to that attribute.
Anyone using the priority attribute in their sitemap? Is there any way that this could have a negative effect? Any chance that it would have any effect on how a spider would view a home page with 800 links?
traditionally if you want a link to get a higher percentage of value associated to it you would:
-place higher in the code
-surround with relevant text
-avoid appearing as a ros link
if you want a small handful of pages to get love and attention simply develop more backlinks from external websites to these pages and increase the level of internal backlinks pointing to them. generally a stand alone link embedded in content will be seen as more powerful than a ros link. hope that helps.