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If a bounty is added to a question, it is added to the featured/bounties tab. I was a bit curious whether having the question prominently displayed influences how high the question will appear in Google searches (and in other search engines).

Since this adds a link to the question to a new page (which is probably high ranked), my guess would be that there might be at least minor effect.

Question. Is it possible to find out in some way whether a bounty actually influences ranking of the post in search engines?

Motivation for asking about this. People use bounties for various purposes. Probably the most typical uses are to attract attention to a question which hasn't received satisfactory answer or to reward a nice answer. Some people use bounties as a way to attract more attention to what they consider the best content of the site (be it good questions or good answers) - this happens probably more often on big sites where interesting stuff might get easily drowned by a lot of basic question which are posted on the site every day. I suppose that it might be useful for user offering bounties to know whether they also have this positive side effect (especially when using bounties to promote good content).

  • I'm not sure how the sitemap.xml (which I expect to be the primary source from at least the Google Crawler) gets updated when a bounty is placed but I assume it will only affect its last active date. It depends on how google determines relevance for content that is changed. Now how that works for Bing is the next mystery. While I think it is valuable to know if and how SE facilitates search engines to crawl bountied questions it is impossible to answer how it affects page rank as that is an implementation detail SE has no knowledge about and/or control over. – rene Feb 6 at 12:19
  • I have revisited how a sitemap.xml works and from that I conclude that SE can only control the lastmod and priority attributes. lastmod is a date, priority gives relative importance of this url to all other urls on the site. It would be interesting to know what the value for changefreq is, as you can use that to indicate how often that url is about to change. If that is > 1 week the crawler might not even consider revisiting that question before the bounty ended. – rene Feb 6 at 13:57
  • I looked at a sitemap.xml found in the wayback machine in 2009 and there I do see a changefreq saying monthly (for by the looks of it posts that didn't see any change) as well as daily for recent posts (at the day of the capture, apr 14th, 2009). Priority is also different but I can't figure out what the logic would be for a priority 0.0; 0.1; 0.2 or 0.3. It is up for an SE dev to speak up or maybe they consider this a trade secret, – rene Feb 6 at 14:15
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Probably not directly. I don't think for most part, search engines are aware of the conventions of SE, and even if they were, having a question with a current bounty (or a past) bounty getting promoted dosen't logically make sense

People also are likely to be searching by question not answers and search engines have their own ways of determining the most useful links.

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    They are promoted for search engines. They have one more link (from the Featured tab) – MEE the setup wizard Feb 6 at 16:53

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