How To Use Google Video XML Sitemaps for Video SEO

How To Use Google Video XML Sitemaps for Video SEO

UPDATED TIPS:
- Using Video MRSS and XML Video Sitemaps for Google
- You can watch the complete recording of the Google Video Sitemaps Webinar Here.

You are not getting the traffic that you would like to your video content. Google is ignoring your video content and you are fed up. By now there are no less than ten million videos on the web. So how do you get yours to rise above the flotsam and jetsam of the online world and float to the top of Google Video Searches?

THE SOLUTION: GOOGLE VIDEO XML SITEMAPS

Create a Video Sitemap. Back in December of 2007, the Google Video team announced support for Video Sitemaps—an extension of the Sitemap Protocol that helps provide Google with more information about your video content.

The Video Sitemap tells Google exactly where and what the video content is on your site. This will help it get picked up by the Googlebots and be fully searchable on Google Video.

Right now video sitemaps are just for video content and they are intended to Google improve and expand their Video search, and to help people get their videos listed in Google searches.

I am doing several tests to determine if, in fact, this can also be used as a way to get thumbnails to appear in Google universal search for video results. While Google seems to indicate that this is a possibility, it is clear that currently this is designed to assist only with Google Video search results only. That being said, I have begun to notice that several companies other than Youtube and Google.

"…your video may also appear in other Google search products. During this beta period, we can't predict or guarantee when or if your videos will be added to our index, but as we refine our product, we expect both coverage and indexing speed to improve. – Google Blog”

Well come back to this later.

For now, let's walk through how to set up a video sitemap for Google.

BASICS OF GOOGLE VIDEO SITEMAPS

The Video Sitemap is an extension of the Google sitemap protocol that ties together your video content and the metadata required to get it noticed. You can add, for each video, duration, title and keyword rich description to help drive traffic to your video and also help Google properly index it. The included video URLs will then be searchable via Google Video and may even appear in other search products offered by Google. Compatible video types include: .mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv and need to be directly available via HTTP which means no streaming media.

GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR VIDEO SITEMAP

A Video Sitemap is simply a text file that utilizes the sitemap protocol with video specific tags in it. In its smallest form it would just be a tag that links to the landing page for the video as in this example:

<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.0">

(Tells Google about the sitemap file)

<url>
<loc>http://site.com/example_landing_page.html</loc>

(Tells Google about the landing page URL)

<video:video>
<video:content_loc>http://site.com/example_video1.wmv</video:content_loc>

(tells Google about the video URL)

<video:description>The Example Video</video:description>

(A quick description)

</video:video>
</url>
</urlset>

For each video you will have a <url></url> tag in the <urlset></urlset>.

There can be up to 50,000 video urls in a sitemap file and the file must be no larger than 10MB uncompressed.

In it you can use tags to:

  • State the location of the landing page.
  • State the video url.
  • Point to a video player (if necessary).
  • Point to a thumbnail for the video.
  • Title the Video.
  • Describe the video.
  • Alert users to whether or not it is family friendly.
  • State the duration of the video.

The tags for adding all of this information are available at Google's Video Sitemap help, here.

SUBMITTING YOUR VIDEO SITEMAP TO GOOGLE

Once you have created your Video Sitemap you only need to add it to your site in the Google Webmaster tools sitemap area. The file must be at a publicly available URL so Google can pull it into the system.Alternatively, you can tell Google where to find your video sitemap via placement within your robots.txt file.

How To Use Google Video XML Sitemaps for Video SEO

  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. When you add content, just add it to the Sitemap and Google will pick it up the next time it checks the sitemap. Google will parse out the Video Sitemap and validate its format. The Googlebots will download the videos and thumbnails (if URLs are supplied) and index the metadata along with the files. The videos will then be fully searchable in Google Video. The reason Google downloads the videos is to analyze them and create an appropriate thumbnail, if one is not supplied. It does not host your videos. If you want to do that then you should upload them directly to Google Video instead of using a Video Sitemap.

TIPS FOR MRSS FEEDS AS VIDEO SITEMAPS:

Also, the Google video sitemap supports the same enclosures as are present in an MRSS feed. Therefore, you could just submit your MRSS feed directly to Google as an XML file.


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Posted in 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? ▼
  • Don

    Hey Mate,

    Thank you so much fro this tip and indeed your site in general. Have just shot my first really bad vid and now am investigation maximum seo syndication. Your information has made matters easier. Thank You

    Don

  • http://www.reelseo.com RJ Marquez

    Hello, in regards to the Video Sitemap do you, or anyone else know, if you can create a sitemap for a video that is hosted on YouTube? I want to embed a video, using the YouTube emebed code, and place it on a landing page within a website.

    The Google Sitemap Criteria sites that " 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. If Google cannot discover video content at the URLs you provide, those records will be ignored by Googlebot."

    This bit of info allows me to believe that you can create a Sitemap for a video that is hosted by YouTube and that is embedded on a site. I invite anyone to offer insight in to whether or not this is true. Thanks!

  • http://www.searchbrat.com Kieran

    hey, this is great post, just referenced in my blog. I am going to try and do this tomorrow. Video search is the future !!

    Thanks

    SearchBrat

  • Cherry

    Hi All,

    I'm trying to create a sitemap, but seemd Google doesn't accept YouTube hosted videos.

    I can see many people are interested in this question. Does anybody know what's wrong ?

    Thanks,
    Cherry

    • mathan | Gadgetsvideo.com

      Hi cherry,
      You can create a video sitemap for youtube hosted videos also.

      see here http://fourblogger.com/create-video-sitemap-embedded-youtube-videos-and-drive-traffic-part-2/

  • Fred Fares

    Hi, I need guidance in creating video site map to send to Google. I read their website information but since my website is membership based, I some how need to create a video site map outside of the secure area? Where and how do I do this? What if I have more than 1 video to advertise? Can I create more than 1 site map?

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

      I would check the google websmaster forums for help with regard to secured areas. As far as multiple sitemaps – usually you would create one for all of your videos vs. one per video… You can create more than one video sitemap but it may not make sense… The problem is that if your site is membership based in order to see the videos, why would you want to allow google to show your videos to non-members?

  • Sarkı Dinle

    How can i create a video sitemap?is there a program for this?Thank you…

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

      Depends – if you have wordpress there are some plugins that will work. Otherwise, there really isnt a good program for this. If you have an MRSS feed, Id recommend submitting that instead – http://www.reelseo.com/google-mrss-xml/

      • http://www.computergameplayer.com/ Thomas

        A1 Sitemap Generator can create video sitemaps for most websites (not for YouTube/externally hosted videos though)

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

          Yup and there is also a free video sitemap generator tool available at http://www.videositemappro.com/

        • http://computergameplayer.com/ Thomas

          However, A1 Sitemap Generator is fully automated for generating video sitemaps. (Videositemappro seems to require one adds entries manually.)

  • http://www.websiteconsultants.org/ Florida SEO

    you are the man. Thanks a ton! A client just asked me to make them a video sitemap…

  • http://www.livemercial.com/ livemercial video

    do i make the landing page location the location where the player is or can i make it the index page of the site (where the video also sits)

    • http://www.reelseo.com/about/mark/ reelseo

      You can make the URL the index page but it is best for universal search if you make each video have its own destination URL page – where the individual video resides. Make sense?

  • http://www.guru99.com Guru99

    Hi,

    Is the above technique also valid for a video embedded in a site from you-tube ?

    Thanks!

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

      Cherry and Guru 99 – As far as I can tell, this technique is not valid for videos embedded from YouTube. That being said, I am testing a few things to see if this can work as Ive seen it done by one other site out there on the web. Ill update this post when the sitemap gets accepted so that I can let you know if it works. Thanks for the comments.

      • http://www.jujushare.com/ Metaphysics

        Any update on whether this will work with embedded/youtube videos?

        Thanks

      • http://www.jtimages.com Web Designer

        Mark, You mentioned that you were going to check it out. Does it work?

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

          It does not but Im working with Google to figure that piece out. Just
          taking a while. Expect some news on the issue in the next month or so.

  • http://www.learningdslrvideo.com/ Dugdale

    I have not done this yet for my videos. Is it really worth it? Have you done any test to see if the submitted videos rank better or anything like that recently?

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

      I believe it is crucial to do this. Do you have videos that you host on
      your own site? Are they shown with image thumbnails in Google universal
      search?

      • http://www.learningdslrvideo.com/ Dugdale

        Not really – just a few. They are on Vimeo and YouTube and then embedded on my site. I have about 200 videos. Is there a WordPress plugin that would help me manage the video sitemap?

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

          no need really if you dont have your own videos hosted on your own.. I
          wouldnt worry about it Dugdale

  • Andy

    Hi Mark,

    I have submitted a sitemap to Google, we have our own vidoes which we host. However I just cannot get them to appear in Google. I have submitted the sitemap correctly, Google says there is no error. I am really stuggling to get them in Google Search.

    Any help is appreciated.

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

      Can you email me at mark@reelseo.com and Ill try to help you sometime this
      week. We can get this to work. Are they showing in Google Video?

  • http://www.fullcompass.com/ Hershel Miller

    Hey just a heads up, Google currently supports up to 10,000 videos within a single video sitemap file, no longer 50K. My understanding is that one can submit multiple video sitemaps, the first one being an index of the rest of the video sitemaps, in order to grow above 10K videos.

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

      Thanks Hershel – yes you are right… Several things have changed
      since then and I need to do an update. Thanks for commenting

  • theticktrader

    Hi Mark

    Just stumbled upon this post and it's very helpful even though it's from 2008! I see you are still answering the questions here! We have a TON of videos all hosted on YouTube so we use the embed code. I am hoping there will be some way in the future I can utilize this for our site. Unless, of course, you happen to have stumbled upon one in your recent travels.

    Hey thanks again.
    Alex
    eminitradingstrategies.com

    ps.. just signed up to get your newsletter/updates

  • http://www.madisonwisconsinliving.com/ Hershel Miller

    np Mark, when you make an update I'd be curious to hear your perspective on the "optional" fields and if you feel they are important for ranking, e.g. "keyword tags" sound like an option just begging to be spammed…

  • fourblogger

    Sorry for asking the already asked questions!…

    Have you got any success on creating video sitemaps for the youtube hosted videos that embedded on our website?

    How far you got success?

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

      unfortunately no… no luck there.

      • fourblogger

        Hi Mark, still now I don't get success directly. But I embedded the youtube video through linkedtube and then created video sitemap. It works well. http://fourblogger.com/create-video-sitemap-embedded-youtube-videos-and-drive-traffic-part-2/

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

          thanks for sharing… Yeah, Ive been able to do that as well but I still
          think there has got to be a better way. Good to know though.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/StarMonkey StarMonkey

    Does anyone see any reason why the video RSS tags shouldn't just be added to an existing general site map? Would it be more effective to create a separate video site map? If so, why?

    Thank you for your ideas!

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

      Interesting comment. Ive been wondering the same thing and am actually
      about to do some testing on this. Not sure why it couldnt just be added to
      a regular sitemap protocol. Thanks again for your comment.

  • Ankit

    You are awesome man.. this was really helpful.. Thank u very much

  • Ali Ale

    Thanks for your great info. I will try it on my blog..

    • http://www.radyoazad.com radyoazad

      thank for your wery good

  • pikone

    fantasting article

  • http://www.blog.web6.org Mrs_Moody

    Hi Mark, good post and helpful
    I have question though, i have run lots videos in my other blog, and my question is, how to create sitemap not only for one video but for more videos? Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/RedGrey_Jeremy Jeremy J. Dodd

    This is great to know. And thanks for staying on the cutting edge of online video.

    Is there a way to auto-generate an MRSS sitemap, similar to a regular sitemap?

    This coding stuff is a bit over my head.

    -Jeremy

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

      Who do you use to host your videos?

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

    This will help a lot of users to do much faster ways.

  • http://www.collegiateliving.com/ CollegiateLiving

    great article Mark…looking forward to learnign more about SEO video marketing. Launching a new video on my retail site in hopes that it helps accomplish 3 things:
    1.) Allows for customers to stay on site longer
    2.) Gets me a little higher in overall google page rank
    3.) Puts the customer in a mind set to purchase.

    All of the above would go unoticed without full seo applications. thanks so much

  • http://www.facedevideo.com facebook video

    hey, this is great post, just referenced in my blog. I am going to try and do this tomorrow. Video search is the future !!

  • Steve

    Hi Mark
    Have you ever seen a Video site map work for youtube videos embedded into blogs? Saw your article on vimeo. I am struggling to find info on youtube embeds

    Cheers

    Steve

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

      Steve,

      So – while I have seen it work – IT doesnt anymore :-) Basically, Ive talked to Google directly about this and for good reason – they are really waiting to develop a method to authenticate YouTube users so that embeds that get indexed on blogs, would be for videos actually uploaded by the blogger… Im told that they are working on this and nothing too soon, but at some point, they are planning to support it. Also – if you want to, take a listen to our webinar – that question gets asked a few times and they answer the same way I just did above, but there may be other useful pieces of information in there for you (http://www.reelseo.com/video-xml-sitemaps-video/). Sorry I dont have a better answer for now but rest assured that once it works – Ill be writing about it :-)

      • Virtuallyinspiredmarketing

        Hi Mark, does this mean that there is nothing we can do about video sitemaps for our websites if we are hosting the videos on YouTube? Do you know of another place we could host them that will allow sitemaps, or is it not worth bothering?

        Separate question… proper formatting for multiple videos on one sitemap… if I understand your post correctly, you only enter the code once at beginning and end of entire file, but you need to start and end each individual video with ?

        Cheers,
        Shannon

  • http://twitter.com/everydaylife Charlotte Bourne

    What's the status with Google video XML Sitemaps and Youtube embedded content? I see in this post it looks like it should be possible: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/12/sending-video-sitemaps-q-holiday-cheer.html however it's not clear what to use for the or code. Do you use the location of the Youtube video or need to get the .swf address?

    • Thomas Schulz

      You can try check this video sitemap file

      http://www.microsystools.com/products/sitemap-generator/samples/default-standard-settings/sitemap-video.xml

      It was created "hands off" with no manual editing. Just set program to use "video sitemap presets", crawled site, created video sitemap.

      (That said, I think Google will favour the YouTube pages always for YouTube hosted videos.) Anyways, if anyone finds A1SG (newest version is 3.1.8) does not support a player and/or hosting-network, please let me know!

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

        yeah, it doesnt work… Like you said – no videos will get indexed when YouTube hosted.

  • http://twitter.com/bloggznet Make Free Money

    Great Google Video Sitemap Tutorial

  • Carol Gancia-Ogawa

    Love all the posts on video site maps. Who do we call if we need someone to create the sitemaps for us? Any suggestions? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=214602781898000 Optimize 3.0

    I've put together a post on submitting a YouTube XML video sitemap here http://www.optimize3point0.com/blog-0/bid/57085/How-to-create-Video-XML-Sitemap-for-Embedded-YouTube-Video.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000849961169 Baezid Bustami

    we see google+ votes is one of the top social stuff but here is also many site like that gplusvotes.com now its time to see their activities and how much they will satisfy us with their performance. will come here to see your reply, thanks.

  • Akbar Attari

    nice

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=142321815795085 BYOBWebsite

    An excellent resource for those creating and hosting their own videos.

  • Joshua Kostner

    Does this still not work for videos hosted on YouTube that we embed? We should get "keys" in our YT accounts that we can input into Google Webmaster Tools, so that Google knows that we are embedding our own videos. I have almost 300 videos across six partner channels, with 2 million views a month, but my video sitemap is ignored — all the search traffic goes to my videos on YouTube instead of to my videos on my site! Worse still, OTHER PEOPLE who have embedded my videos have got their video sitemaps indexed, so their sites appear where mine does not. I've looked at their sites, and though they are embedding from YouTube, they are using the API and their own players… is that the only way to do it right now?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003135340216 Myplusbluddies Domica

    Google+ really a popular thread today.Its create challenges with other social media like facebook etc.
    I am also a user of google+.Now a day every websites google+ likes are also most popular like facebook likes. Make new friends and connect your friends on google+ on myplusbluddies.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002655936849 Chris Parrish

    I think the process for submitting a video sitemap to Google has changed as there seems to be no way to select the type of sitemap from within Google Webmaster Tools. I think Google now determines the type when the video sitemap is processed. Do you want to update that part of your tutorial?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002620152027 Joseph Cozens

    We use a lot of video on our website, it is an excellent way of building trust with your customers.
    http://www.designsonline.co.uk We recently updated our video sitemap using this guide, the only thing is, it misses our the title tag, and Google prefers that you use it.

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  • Anthony Crow

    interesting article, as I am looking to put more video content on my website.

  • gokninski

    Hello there, quick question – how would you mark-up a video that appears in more than one location?

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

       @gokninski Hey Greg.  Can you clarify your question?  Not sure what you mean. 

      • gokninski

         @reelseo  Thanks for your reply.  I was wondering how you would handle a video if it appeared on more than one page.  You cannot have more than one <loc>, I guess you could have two entries for each instance of the video although this might have a negative impact.  Or maybe this is nothing to worry about?
         
        What is best practise when it comes to videos that appear in multiple places on your site?  How are these then reflected in the video sitemap?
         
        Hope that makes sense!  Thanks, G.

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

           @gokninski So, you have the exact same video, but it's on more than one page?  I dont think you'll be able to get away with getting both indexed without a hack kinda.  Have you tried submitting the sitemap
           

        • gokninski

           @reelseo Thanks again for your reply.  I haven't actually implemented the video sitemap as yet as I am still in the research stages of a project and this was one of the questions that popped up.  I will try submitting the video sitemap when I get to that stage – I was just wondering what the best practise for handling this sort of situation is.
           
          Many thanks.

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

           @gokninski Im pretty sure it will give you an error if you try using the same video:content_loc but it's been a while since I tried that. Best practice is to choose one URL for each. Good luck.

  • gokninski

    Hello there, quick question – how would you mark-up a video that appears in more than one location?

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

       @gokninski Hey Greg.  Can you clarify your question?  Not sure what you mean. 

      • gokninski

         @reelseo  Thanks for your reply.  I was wondering how you would handle a video if it appeared on more than one page.  You cannot have more than one <loc>, I guess you could have two entries for each instance of the video although this might have a negative impact.  Or maybe this is nothing to worry about?
         
        What is best practise when it comes to videos that appear in multiple places on your site?  How are these then reflected in the video sitemap?
         
        Hope that makes sense!  Thanks, G.

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

           @gokninski So, you have the exact same video, but it's on more than one page?  I dont think you'll be able to get away with getting both indexed without a hack kinda.  Have you tried submitting the sitemap
           

        • gokninski

           @reelseo Thanks again for your reply.  I haven't actually implemented the video sitemap as yet as I am still in the research stages of a project and this was one of the questions that popped up.  I will try submitting the video sitemap when I get to that stage – I was just wondering what the best practise for handling this sort of situation is.
           
          Many thanks.

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

           @gokninski Im pretty sure it will give you an error if you try using the same video:content_loc but it's been a while since I tried that. Best practice is to choose one URL for each. Good luck.