Before I get into how to create a video sitemap first I will explain a bit about what a sitemap is and what it is useful for. If you’re already confident on this point then just scroll down to the section below to get straight into the nitty gritty.
What is a Video Sitemap?
A video sitemap is a file which you upload to your site which gives search engines information about video content on your site.
If you create an mRSS feed for your site then you don’t necessarily need a video sitemap, you can submit the feed straight to Google as a sitemap and that will give you the benefits of a sitemap, but that isn’t the topic of this post.
A sitemap is an xml file which follows the sitemaps protocol.
A video sitemap file contains information about pages which contain video and information about that video such as the title, date of upload, duration etc.
Why Use It?
Video content is great for your search engine performance. But a downside is that, unlike standard text, search engines can’t just look at the video to understand what the video is about and other information related to it.
One of the ways you tell search engines about that information is through an xml sitemap.
Another benefit of a video sitemap is that you are explicitly telling search engines about where video content is stored on your site rather than hoping that they will find it on their own.
How Do I Create One?
Rules and Warnings
- Any one sitemap can’t be more than 50 MB or contain more than 50,000 videos. If your sitemap is hitting these limits then you can submit multiple sitemaps.
- A Video Sitemap relates to video pages. If your page doesn’t have any video on it then Google will ignore that entry, so don’t bother trying to trick search engines into thinking that you have more video than you do.
- Make sure that your robots.txt file isn’t blocking either your sitemap or any of your video page or elements of your videos.
- Each video entry has to contain the following information, Title, Description, Play page URL, Thumbnail URL, Raw video file location and/or the player URL
- These are the things that will apply to most people, for more specific information you can see here
Actual Nitty Gritty
The below text gives an example of a video sitemap with only one video entry and the essential bits of video information. The bits in the <urlset> tags will only appear once at the beginning and each video entry begins and ends with a <url> tags. Below are the tags for, in the order they appear, video page URL, thumbnail location, Title, Description, Player Location.
<video:title>Your Video’s Title</video:title>
<video:description>Description Text About Your Video</video:description>
If you want to add in more information about your videos you can find more tags and information about how they are used here.
Once you have included all the information for your different videos then you just need to add the xml file to your site and tell Google where it is through Webmaster Tools and then you are finished.