Monthly Archives: May 2010

Video Sitemaps

Videos and video content are one of the most popular rich media formats in the web world. If you are not getting the traffic that you would like to for your videos, the search engines are probably ignoring your video content. There are millions and millions of videos on the web already.  So how do you get yours to get indexed in video searches?

Similar to XML Sitemaps,  a video sitemap gives the search engines, specifically Google, more information about the video content in your web pages. By submitting this video-specific sitemap in addition to your standard XML Sitemaps, you can specify all the video files in your web pages, along with relevant metadata – information about your videos. Your video sitemap will need to include the following minimum information for each video: title, description, playpage URL, thumbnail URL and the raw video URL or URL to Flash video player. Without these five pieces of information, Google cannot surface your videos in results.

Guidelines for Video Sitemaps

  • A Video Sitemap should contain only URLs that refer to video content. Video content includes web pages which embed video, URLs to players for video, or the URLs of raw video content hosted on your site.
  • Create one video:video entry for each video. If you have multiple videos embedded on the same HTML page, use separate <video:video> entries for them with different <video:player_loc> or provide <video:content_loc> information. It’s fine to have duplicate videos in your Sitemap, but it is recommend that you don’t host the same video at two different URLs.
  • You must include either the <video:player_loc> or <video:content_loc> tag, or both. Google needs this information to verify that there is actually a live video on your landing page. Note that for Flash objects pointed to by <video:content_loc>, it’s okay for different video pages to use the same Flash player, provided each page uses Flash parameters as a mechanism to show unique videos.
  • Each Sitemap file that you provide must have no more than 50,000 video items. If you have more than 50,000 videos, you can submit multiple Sitemaps and a Sitemap index file. Video Sitemaps does not support nesting.
  • Google can crawl the following video file types: mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv, .swf. All files must be accessible via HTTP. Metafiles that require a download of the source via streaming protocols are not supported. 
  • Make sure that your robots.txt file isn’t blocking any of the URLs included in the Sitemap.
  • Google web crawlers will verify that the information you include in the <video:title> and <video:description> fields matches your live site. You should view your play pages in a text-only browser such as Lynx, or a more conventional browser where you’ve confirmed that Flash and JavaScript are enabled.
  • If you have multiple websites, you can simplify the process of creating and submitting Sitemaps by creating one or more Sitemaps that includes URLs for all your verified sites, and saving the Sitemap(s) to a single location. All websites must be verified in Google webmaster Tools.

You can either hand code the video sitemap or use free Google Sitemap Generator Tools  to create the video sitemap. Once you have created your video Sitemap, you can submit it to Google using Webmaster Tools.

  1.  Log into Google webmaster tools with your Google Account.
  2.  Click ‘Add a Sitemap’ next to your site.
  3.  Select ‘Video Sitemap’.
  4.  Put in the URL of your Video Sitemap. (Be sure to include http://)
  5.  Click ‘Add Video Sitemap’.
  6.  Wait for the ‘Pending’ status to change to ‘OK’. This may be several hours so don’t worry.

If you receive an error take a look at the descriptions. Not all of the errors will stop the processing of your Video Sitemap and may only be informational as in an unrecognized tag due to a typo, etc. 

That’s it. You’re done. You now have successfully added a Video Sitemap to your site and Google should start indexing all of the included video content.