Google: To All Video Publishers – Get Your Google Video Sitemaps Ready

Google: To All Video Publishers   Get Your Google Video Sitemaps Ready

Last week, at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle, I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer and head of Google's web spam team.  Matt is a well-known figure in the SEO community and often advises the public on how to get better visibility in Google search. At the conference, Matt made it absolutely clear that Google video sitemaps are crucial for indexing video content and that publishers everywhere should create and submit video sitemaps.

At the opening session, "SEO For Google Vs. Bing: How Different Are They," Matt made the following statement when taking about the web sitemap protocol.

"…Video sitemaps are something that we're probably going to look at a little more closely. If you tell us where your videos are, we will try to index them a little bit harder," Cutts said. "For example, if you think about things like Google TV, coming out in the fall, it's in everybody's interest that all the videos that are on the web be able to be very discoverable and very searchable. If you produce videos and you haven't done a video site map, that is something that I would definitely recommend."

After the session, I met up with Matt and asked him if he could reiterate his message – essentially calling on all video content publishers to embrace video sitemaps as a means of helping Google find, crawl and index video content.

"We want to be able to crawl and find all the video across the entire web, so that we can return them. and so I think we are going to be putting more and more weight on video sitemaps going forward, like this fall and into the future. If you make video, if you are a site owner, or a publisher, please start exploring video sitemaps," said Matt.

Google Video Sitemaps Moving Forward

Indeed, there has been a lot of discussion lately about the anticipated launch of Google TV later this year. There is no doubt that YouTube is a giant in terms of video destinations, but Google clearly understands that there is also a wealth of video content elsewhere on the web and it is in their best interest to find and index that content, not just for Google TV, but for all of Google's search products. Video sitemaps will be crucial to this effort.

When Matt commented on video sitemaps at the conference, I literally shouted "Woot Woot" and gave a huge thumbs up (I think he noticed).  For me, it was refreshing to hear that something I've been evangelizing for years, namely hosted video SEO and the use of Google video sitemaps and MRSS feeds, would be taking center stage over at Google.  There are several issues currently with getting videos indexed within Google and the Google video sitemap guidelines have changed many times over the past year.  It is nice to know that there may be some additional focus and effort on the part of Google to solidify guidelines for publishers who want to submit video content to Google.

Additionally, stay tuned to ReelSEO – I've had a lot of experience in testing video sitemaps and as soon as I have adequate time, I plan to write a detailed guide on how to get videos indexed in Google. In the meantime, feel free to comment below with any questions that you have and Ill do my best to answer.

Matt: Thank you for your time.  It truly was a pleasure to speak with you. I apologize for positioning you such that a land mass disappears in your ear ;-)

Special thanks to CJ at VideoArmy.tv for helping me fix the lousy exposure.


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Posted in Video Search, Video SEO
About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • cjbruce

    Thanks for the shoutout!

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      you da man – now if you can just fix the land mass that enters Matt's
      head…

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh, Media Writer

    Hey Mark,

    Is there a WordPress plug-in (or other tool) that creates these sitemaps? I have close to 100 videos and am looking at the best way to do the site map.

    Any thoughts?

    Ivan

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      Yoast (joost) is coming out soon with a great seo plugin that will do
      that. Check him out at yoast.com For now it would have to be something
      you code. It also depends on where the videos are hosted and how but
      that's another topic altogether

      • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh, Media Writer

        Thanks.

      • http://www.gtvhub.com Tyler C

        I second that thanks, I was wondering if a plugin like this existed :D

      • http://bytemegeeks.com/ ByteMeGeeks

        Thanks – I had the same question.

    • Clipper

      Thanks from here too.

  • https://twitter.com/AtlantaVideoPro AtlantaVideo

    Good info. Thanks

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Hey yah, remember when I wrote about doing video sitemaps back in 2007 in Search Marketing Standard magazine? I think that's how Mark found me, too. But you don't see ME being interviewed with a land mass in my ear, now do yah? ;)

  • TylerB

    So does this mean that submitting MRSS feeds to Google will no longer cut it, it has to be in the video sitemap format?

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      Nope – still works and they plan to continue support BUT – I think
      sitrmaps work better ( my opinion)

      • TylerB

        Thanks Mark!

  • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

    Is this advice for making a site map useful if you only post videos on YouTube (and other hosting sites) and then embed those videos on your own site? (Posted not hosted video – and sitemaps)

    • http://www.plumbersurplus.com/blog Jmcnair

      I had this same question. Does anyone know if this is needed?

    • gfunk

      Video sitemaps are useful to Google regardless of how video gets onto your site. If you post on YouTube or on any other site and then embed that player onto your site, a video sitemap will help us 'find' that embed. This applies for YouTube and any other provider.

      Think of it as a way to cue us where to look. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Greg Funk
      Product Manager, Google

      • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

        Greg,

        Thanks for the comment…. Regarding yours – with a few minor exceptions, I have yet to see anyone get a video (hosted by YouTube) indexed for their own site. Ive done numerous tests and found the same result.

        That being said, I understand that the service (YouTube) is a free (IE – YouTube really should be the one to monetize traffic to it) and that Google's job is, among other things, quality and relevance. Additionally, there may be an issue with duplicate content as well if other domains were to be able to get credit for youtube video's. The reason that I mention all of this is that I would understand why getting YouTube videos indexed under a site's domain (other than YouTube) may be something that Google would "pass" on. In fact, I assumed that up till now, despite the fact that there is an example in the Google guidelines for a YouTube video example. Additionally, given your response, I am now wondering if instead there may be a technical issue?

        I've helped many people index video content within Google via video sitemap generation and submission. Ive discovered a few work arounds in order to get youtube videos indexed in Google… but… this was no easy task.

        I bring this up for 2 reasons. 1) Id be more than happy to offer some feedback to you as to what Ive tried and what has/hasnt worked if you think that would help. and 2) If it is something whereby you encourage video sitemaps for videos hosted by YouTube, please let me know. Id be happy to "spread" the word on that and disseminate best practices for doing so as Ive received numerous emails about the issue.

        In any case, it is great to see you on our site and thanks for your contribution, along with all that you do for search

        • gfunk

          Mark,

          Yes, please share with me your feedback on what has/hasn't worked (gfunk at google dot com). I can relay it to the relevant people internally.

          And I really appreciate offer to spread the word. Sitemaps are useful for getting content recognized in all the major search engines and it'd be great to get your help both in making them work as well as possible and in getting more people on board with creating them. When you send your feedback, I'll see if we have best practices (beyond the help center article) that could be helpful.

          Greg Funk
          Product Manager, Google

        • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

          I hope Mark & Greg can work out some stuff here, because for me the Help Content on most Google stuff is, well, written for a cat (and I'm a dog)! I guess I need some extra help making sure I do the sitemaps correctly. Seeing that they also tie in with Google's Webmaster tools, makes me feel a bit weazy… sorry but I'm just being honest!

          But I have great hopes that ReelSEO Mark & Google Greg can help all us Online Video-types help our clients do it the way Google wants so everyone wins in the end! Go Mark & Greg!!! Go, go, go!

        • Ivette

          Greg,

          A well-defined (and meticulously explained), online submission form would be just the ticket for us non-technical types who want our videos indexed. The easier Google makes it for us to submit our videos, the more motivated we will be to participate in the indexing process. There are gobs of video submission software out there filling in those gaps, but it is not cost effective for most. Imagine how many more videos you would be able to capture with an input form.

          Hope this helps…

      • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

        Thanks for the reply Greg… I do have another related question…
        re. The "video site map" you speak of that is helpful for Google to find the "embedded" videos that live on my site… can that be as simple as a list of links on an HTML page that point to my pages that hold the embedded videos, or does it need to be more tied to Google's site map stuff? If the latter, what is the proper format for a Google-happy video site map?

        As a side note, any YouTube embeds I put on my site, when they show up in a Google search are links that point to the YouTube hosted video and not to my site's embed of them. Is that what I can expect from them "being found" in a Google search, or is there a way I can have my site's embedded videos "found" & listed by Google on a SERP where the listing points to my site's page that holds the embedded video?

        • http://www.smart-video.tv Smart Video SEO

          If it is possible to easily have SERPs link direct to the site that has embeded the You-Tube code then this would be most useful. (Understatement…) It would seem that there are a lot of potential issues – particularly the duplicate content issue raised by Mark already – I would also guess there is the potetial for miss-use of other peoples popular videos to drive traffic?

        • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

          I agree that the possibility for mis-use is out there, but wouldn't it be cool if somehow Google could let you authenticate your own videos posted on YouTube, and somehow tie that to your website's embed of your own videos… then let you rank on that page in a Google SERP?Just 'sniffin' around to see what we might be able to dig up ;-)

        • http://www.smart-video.tv Smart Video SEO

          I hear you ;) Thats the way I could see it working – much as with authentication of sites currently in order to submit sitemaps etc. You would still have the issue of the code serving in other videos etc but for a free service this would be pretty cool.

        • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

          Interesting idea with the authentication.. hmmm… I have to say though, it I am YouTube, I want the traffic coming to me, I would want to minimize dup content issues (there are already a ton with regard to videos on the web), and I would argue that "we" provide the service for free… Perhaps authentication along with a "professional" hosting fee – but that would go against their current model and would additionally cause other noise affect across the industry.

          But, I completely agree that such a proposition would be HUGE – hence my extensive testing.

          Ill tell you, Ive been able to do this, but only with some significant manual coding and it hasnt produced reliable results. I haven't written about it yet as Id prefer to know from Google if this is something to be encouraged. Otherwise, I would be doing a disservice to both Google and users and Google would likely figure it out and fix it.

          All that being said – Im on it, and Ill let you know what I find out if we dont see a response here.

        • gfunk

          >> can that be as simple as a list of links on an HTML page that point to my pages that hold the
          >> embedded videos, or does it need to be more tied to Google's site map stuff? If the latter,
          >> what is the proper format for a Google-happy video site map?

          It's the latter. It needs to be a video sitemap as defined here:
          http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=80472

          The sitemap itself can be used as one input for improving the Google index. On-site YouTube videos are already indexed so the sitemap isn't used for indexing youtube.com URLs. One good way of seeing what's currently available in our index is to go to the video section of google.com and search with a site scope (e.g., site:yoursite.com).

          Greg Funk
          Product Manager, Google

        • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

          Greg, Thanks for your reply. Sitemaps and Video sitemaps seem to be a challange for me to understand, so I hope you and Mark (from ReelSEO) can help us online video posters do a better job using them – even if all we are doing is posting embeds of YouTube hosted videos (which is what MANY of us do because of the exposure we get on YouTube!).Are you guys (at Google) really saying that a good video sitemap (even if the videos are hosted on YouTube and only embedded on my site) will make a difference for my site that holds lots of embedded videos? Your suggestion above of a site scope search in the Google Video area shows NONE since all the videos on my sites are "posted" and not "hosted" – or maybe it is because I don't know how to make a good video sitemap yet!?!Thanks for participating here on the ReelSEO site… at least now you know this topic is of interest and is confusing to many of us in the online video space. ;-)

  • https://twitter.com/donpower Don Power

    So, I'm wondering if it is worthwhile to try and figure out how to host a video on my own site (using my webhost, godaddy I presume – as opposed to WordPress ?) and creating a sitemap to it OR am I better off to wait and see the reponse from this article RE: creating sitemaps for videos that are hosted on YouTube but embedded on my website (this is my preferred solution becuase it's easier – I know how to upload a video to YouTube ;).

    Anyway, I've subscribed to comments here in hopes that I'll see some instructions at some point about creating a vieo sitemap for videos hosted on Youtube (and what about if there are also copies on Viddler and Vimeo?).

    If an answer comes soon rather than later and if you have time/remember, a direct contact to me would be fantastic…

    In the meantime, I"m going to poke around her and see if I can find some more tips and tricks about optimizing video…Do you have a post on how to sell videos/video creation services to small businesses ;)

    Thanks!

    - Don

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      Don,

      I would plan on hosting your own videos (easy to do) – or perhaps using
      something like Blip.tv or Vimeo. I really dont think that they are going to
      go for showing youtube thumbnails for another domain. Ive been trying to
      accomplish that for a few years with no luck…

      • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

        Mark, you say hosting your own videos is "easy to do"… perhaps you can help us all out with a couple of posts about how you would suggest us "YouTube Posters" turn into "Video Hosters".

        We like the exposure of YouTube but probably need the "Value" of hosting. Any thoughts on how to do both (or if you think we should do both)?

    • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

      Unfortunately it looks like not much has changed in this regard… Post on YouTube and if you figure out a way to help Google use your YouTube Thumbnail on a SERP, good for you… but it will still only point to the YouTube version of the video and not the YouTube embed on your own site.What may change is how the video sitemaps do stuff for our sites… (even if it is only showing the "Posted"/Embedded videos) I still don't get that, but perhaps Mark can help us understand.Woof!

  • Danielsabathian

    thank you for your information

  • GoogNelson

    Great discussions here. Let me first introduce myself. My name is Nelson Lee, Product Manager on Video Search. To address the issues surrounding third party embeds, we have no policies against it. Therefore, if you choose to host your content and embed your videos on your site, you should definitely be submitting Video Sitemaps. That said, you should note that we are always striving to return the best results to users. Therefore, you can imagine two types of sites that might embed YouTube content. There are those, like yourselves that add tremendous value to the Web with your blogs and Webpages. And there are others that simply embed for the sake of the views without adding real value or content around their embeds. Within Video Search we strive to find 'good' content and distinguish between these two extremes. As you all can imagine, this is a really hard problem and the problem is yet to be fully solved. I am very interested in hearing your embed issues and assure you all that we do take your feedback and use cases to progress our algorithms.

    To summarize, yes, you can have fields in your Video Sitemaps point to assets on 3rd party sites. However, your playpage URLs must be on your "verified" site but you can have your videos and thumbnails hosted elsewhere.

    We are constantly refining and tuning our systems, so if there are issues, I want to hear about them.

    You can find me on Twitter @goognelson and on the Google Webmaster help forums under GoogNelson as well.

    Cheers,
    -n

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      Thanks Nelson… I have a call scheduled with you guys so that I can share
      the issues Ive seen with the process throughout multiple tests, etc… So,
      just to be double sure – you are saying that 1) you encourage sitemap
      submissions for YouTube hosted videos and 2) It is possible that a site with
      YouTube embed videos could appear within Google video and/or universal with
      a thumbnail that points back to the site (not YouTube)?

      PS – thanks for the kind words and Im sure that our users are stoked to have
      Google participating on the site. I certainly appreciate it. I can be
      reached at Mark At ReelSEO dot com if interested in chatting. Thanks
      again.

    • http://www.smart-video.tv Tim Cross

      This is moving along nicely :)

      Having succesfully submitted sitemaps for embeded videos both for You-Tube and our own player but had significantly more success with one than the other it would be really great to accertain if it is both possible and or encouraged to use a YouTube embeded video on your own site to drive traffic direct to your own site from Google SERPs. I still think there is some ambiguity here around thegeneral benefits of video sitemaps (which are clear) and the application of this practice to YouTube videos specifically.

      If the possibility does exist to bypass YouTube and drive traffic direct from both Video and Universal search the implications would be significant – will wait and see.

      Look forward to hopefully getting a definitive answer.

  • Thambucochin

    This will help the users a lot to do faster way.

  • http://www.zco.com/ Custom Software Development

    Google is one will comes always with the latest technology.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

    Hey Everyone. Im happy to announce that we are holding a FREE webinar with Nelson Lee, Product Manager for Google Video, – All about Video Sitemaps for Google. Please check it out and sign up today as you will have the chance to have all these questions answered. http://www.reelseo.com/video-sitemaps-webinar/

  • Hannu Kulju

    How do you provide searchbots (ie. in sitemap) with the information that a website has videos in multiple file formats? At the moment there isn't one format that is supported on all platforms and browsers and to get the most viewers you need at least two or three different formats of the same video.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=24507167 Joe Robison

    Were there old comments on this article that have recently been replaced with the new facebook commenting platform? I copied some comments from the old system so that's why I'm wondering.

  • ChrisAmburn

    Hi Mark,
    I noticed the youtube video you have embedded on this site showed up in my google search results and directed me to THIS page rather than to youtube.  Excellent SEO… Your link was there instead of Youtube's.   It seems that all the "experts" out there are saying that submitting a video site map is the way to get this done.
    I am wanting videos embedded in my website (hosted on Vimeo and Youtube) to be indexed, rather than youtube and vimeo getting my traffic….you seemed to have accomplished this!
    However, when creating a video site map, the video's hosted location along with the URL of the webpage that the video is located on within your website must be declared.  I have read that when google crawls the site map and finds the video information listed on it, google will then verify that the video is actually embedded on the URL given.  The problem with this is that google won't be able to verify this if the video was embedded using iframes.  Of course I have read about "hack" jobs to go around this, but would prefer not to do that.
    So, this brings me to my question of how you are embeddig your youtube video WITHOUT using iframe in order for this video to get crawled and indexed since youtube's embedded code is an iframe.
    I looked at your source code…I hope you don't mind….and noticed that this youtube video was NOT embedded with an iframe directly from youtube..and it somehow is not the generated embedded code youtube would have given you.  Rather, first this video seems to be embedded on something called youtube-nocookie.com first…then from there embedded onto your site.  Was this how you were able to work around the iframe issue?
    Thank you,
    Chris 

  • ChrisAmburn

    Were you able to embed this youtube video into your site without using iframe?

  • ChrisAmburn

    Hi Mark,
    I noticed the youtube video you have embedded on this site showed up in my google search results and directed me to THIS page rather than to youtube.  Excellent SEO… Your link was there instead of Youtube's.   It seems that all the "experts" out there are saying that submitting a video site map is the way to get this done.
    I am wanting videos embedded in my website (hosted on Vimeo and Youtube) to be indexed, rather than youtube and vimeo getting my traffic….you seemed to have accomplished this!
    However, when creating a video site map, the video's hosted location along with the URL of the webpage that the video is located on within your website must be declared.  I have read that when google crawls the site map and finds the video information listed on it, google will then verify that the video is actually embedded on the URL given.  The problem with this is that google won't be able to verify this if the video was embedded using iframes.  Of course I have read about "hack" jobs to go around this, but would prefer not to do that.
    So, this brings me to my question of how you are embeddig your youtube video WITHOUT using iframe in order for this video to get crawled and indexed since youtube's embedded code is an iframe.
    I looked at your source code…I hope you don't mind….and noticed that this youtube video was NOT embedded with an iframe directly from youtube..and it somehow is not the generated embedded code youtube would have given you.  Rather, first this video seems to be embedded on something called youtube-nocookie.com first…then from there embedded onto your site.  Was this how you were able to work around the iframe issue?
    Thank you,
    Chris 

  • ChrisAmburn

    Were you able to embed this youtube video into your site without using iframe?

  • http://www.reelseo.com/about/mark/ Mark R Robertson

    It's really advice for those that host videos themselves or use a video platform to publish videos to their website. Although, Im working on the other part… Good news to come soon.

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