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Understanding Sitemaps


In This Guide

This section provides an introduction to search engines' use of sitemaps. For additional information, see the resources listed at the end of this topic.


How search engines use a sitemap

The following snippet is an example of a sitemap.

<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:image="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1" xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1" xmlns:news="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-news/0.9" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9 http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9/sitemap.xsd">
    <url> 
        <loc>https://www.brightspot.com/brightspot-cms</loc>
        <lastmod>2019-11-25</lastmod>
    </url>
    <url> 
        <video:video>
            <video:thumbnail_loc>https://www.brightspot.com/thumbnails/cms-demo.jpg</video:thumbnail_loc>
            <video:title>Brightspot CMS moves your business forward</video:title>
            <video:description>Brightspot CMS enables you to create enterprise 
applications at scale and with astonishing speed.</video:description>
            <video:content_loc>https://www.brightspot.com/cms-demo</video:content_loc>
            <video:duration>1209</video:duration>
        </video:video>
    </url>
</urlset>
  • Indicates there is a published item with the URL https://www.brightspot.com/brightspot-cms. If the search engine indexed the item before November 25, 2019, it reindexes the item.
  • Indicates there is a video published at https://www.brightspot.com/cms-demo.
    • The recommended title for the search engine to display in search results is Brightspot CMS moves your business forward.
    • The recommended description for the search engine to display is Brightspot CMS enables you to create enterprise applications at scale and with astonishing speed.
    • The recommended thumbnail to include in the search results is https://www.brightspot.com/thumbnails/cms-demo.jpg.
    • The duration to include in the search results is 1,209 seconds (about 20 minutes).

Search engines may choose to incorporate a sitemap's elements in their results, modify them, or ignore them.


Organization of sitemaps

If you publish a high-volume site, you probably add and modify dozens of items every day, and possibly archive older items. Such high volumes can make for enormous sitemaps with unreasonably frequent updates. Brightspot simplifies the management of sitemap updates by using partitions based on content type.

Year-month sitemap partitions.

The year-month partitions separate your sitemap items into monthly buckets based on an item’s publication date.

Year Month Partition Strategy (1).png
Year month partition strategy
Year month sitemap partitions example

Referring to the previous illustration—

  • The parent sitemap is named sitemap.xml. It has 13 entries for year-month sitemaps.
  • Each monthly sitemap contains individual sitemap entries.
  • The sitemap sitemap-latest.xml contains entries newer than the most recently monthly sitemap.

The year-month partition strategy applies to all content types except articles, blog posts, and press releases.

Single-file sitemap partitions

Some content types have high volume but a short time of interest, such as weather or traffic reports. To ensure the sitemaps for these items remain updated, Brightspot organizes them into two separate files.

Single File Partition Strategy.png
Single file sitemap partitions example

Referring to the previous illustration:

  • The parent sitemap is named sitemap.xml. It has two entries for subsidiary sitemaps.
  • The sitemap news-sitemap-content.xml contains items published in the past two days.
  • The sitemap sitemap-latest.xml contains items published in the past six hours.

Sitemap update frequencies

Brightspot automatically updates sitemaps based on the type of sitemap. Standard and video sitemaps update somewhat frequently over longer periods of time, and news sitemaps update very frequently over shorter periods of time.

Sitemap Types
Video, Standard
News
Content types included in sitemapAuthor, blog, homepage, package, page, section, tag, videoArticle, blog post, press release
Partition strategyYear-MonthSingle
Update frequency
  • Current month: daily
  • Up to six months old: weekly
  • Up to two years old: monthly
  • Over two years old: semi-annually
  • Current sitemap: six hours
  • Up to two days old: daily
Time since item publication after which Brightspot does not update sitemaps.20 years2 days

See also: