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.
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.
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)
(Tells Google about the landing page URL)
(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.
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.
- Log into Google webmaster tools with your Google Account
- Click ‘Add a Sitemap’ next to your site.
- Select ‘Video Sitemap’.
- Put in the URL of your Video Sitemap. (Be sure to include http://)
- Click ‘Add Video Sitemap’.
- 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.
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.