A video sitemap is a document that gives Google details of the videos you have on your site so they can index them correctly.
There are several methods and things you can, and should, do in order to getting your videos visible on the web and indexed by Google. Video sitemaps are possibly the biggest contributor to getting this task done. Google regularly crawls your site looking for content, unfortunately, Google can’t read Flash very well, and as a result, most video content is invisible to Google’s search crawlers. One method to tell Google what kind of content you have on your site is by using special markup by schema.org (used in Vippy embed codes). You can also use sitemaps and in this case, video sitemaps!
Benefits by creating and uploading a video sitemap
- It makes it clear to Google what your content is
- You have the option to provide Google with a lot of details about your video
- Google indexes your videos faster and more accurate
- Thumbnails in Google search results
- Drives traffic to your site
The embed code
A lot of video platforms use iframes to embed videos these days. This is usually an ok way to embed videos, but mostly for the video platform people! By using an iframe, they get more control over how your video is presented and its easier to maintain when it comes to changes etc. One huge drawback by using this method is that it mostly drives traffics to the video platform site instead of directing people directly to your site. Most videos will not be linked to your site in Google search results by using this method. In terms of video SEO, try to avoid using iframes to embed your videos. A typical Vippy embed code (non iframe) can look something like this:
Take note of the highlighted part, which contains important information for your video sitemap.
Video sitemap requirements
The values in the embed code above are needed for creating a video xml sitemap. Google requires that your video sitemap must contain the following information and that it should match what is on your webpage.
- Play page URL
- Thumbnail URL
- Raw video file location and/or the player URL (SWF)
These are the minimum requirements for an entry in a xml video sitemap. There are several other options that you can set, see the table in Google’s own video sitemap site for more settings.
Example video sitemap
A video sitemap is an xml file containing all your videos and their locations on your site, aswell as other important information about the videos. A video sitemap-file can look something like this:
This is a sitemap with only one entry, to add more entries, you need to copy/paste the <url></url> block and fill in the values. In Vippy we have automated this process (see video below) and all you need to do is enter your page url’s and Vippy will automatically detect your videos on your pages and create a xml video sitemap for you to download.
Video showing sitemaps in Vippy
Uploading your video sitemap
When you have created/downloaded your xml video sitemap, you need to upload it to your webserver. A good place to place this in in your web root folder (where your index.html) file is. Make sure you place it where search engines can reach it. You can also add your sitemap to your robots.txt file by adding a entry like this:
You can have several sitemap entries in your robots.txt file.
Finally you need to tell Google about your sitemap. This is done by logging into Google Webmaster Tools and going to the “Sitemap” section on your site. Here you need to click the button which says “Add/Test Sitemap” and enter the url to the sitemap you uploaded to your webserver. Webmaster Tools will tell you if there are any errors with your sitemap. If there are no errors, Google will index your videos. This may take some time and in some cases it will take longer than other. You can see in Webmaster Tools how many of your videos are indexed.
Another little tip to see your indexed videos is to go to Googles video search and type in “site:yourdomain.com”, if you have any indexed videos, they will show up with thumbnail!