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Eva Hekman
Posted on July 16, 2020

Video sitemap: what is it and what does it do?

Header image for Video sitemap: what is it and what does it do?

Tags: link building, video metadata, video seo, video sitemap

Without a map you can easily get lost. The same goes for search engines that don't have a map of your website and therefore don't know what the structure of your website looks like. That's why you need a sitemap. This is a page with a list of all pages belonging to one website.

What is a video sitemap?

A video sitemap tells search engines the landing page on which the video can be viewed best. This is useful, for example, when your video is embedded on multiple pages. The sitemap then indicates on which page the video should be indexed. In addition, a sitemap provides additional information (metadata) about the video.

Why do I need a video sitemap?

With a video sitemap you make sure that Google knows on which page your video should be indexed and thanks to the additional information, such as the thumbnail, you also make sure that your video can be shown visually in the search results. Because of this, your video is not only visible in the general search results, but also in the results specific to video, which increases your search visibility considerably and improves your video SEO.

Videos are shown in the SERP more often. In America, that percentage was 70% at first and has risen to 72.2% (Source: authoritas.com). Videos are popular in search results, among other things, because they are a visual break from all textual search results. How often a search result is clicked determines your ranking. So the more clicks for your video, the better the result.

What information is included in the video sitemap?

A video sitemap is more specific than a 'normal' sitemap, because it contains information such as the duration of a video, the thumbnail and a meta description. The following items are required in a video sitemap:

    • <url>
      This indicates that the URL that follows is included in the sitemap
    • <loc>
      This indicates on which specific URL the video can be found
    • <video:video>
      This indicates that information about the video will follow in the sitemap
    • <video:thumbnail_loc>
      This refers to the where the thumbnail is located
    • <video:title>
      This is the title of the video
    • <video:description>
      This is the metadescription for the video. This can only be 2048 characters long.
    • <video:content_loc>
      This refers to the actual video file. This must be a supported format, not HTML
    • <video:player_loc>
      This indicates the video player in which the video is played

For these last two items, search engines should always be able to access the source file of the video or the player. If it concerns a download, the search engine cannot give the video a place in the search results.

In addition, there is some extra information you can add. This information is not required but can help you index your video better:

    • <video:duration>
      This indicates the length of the video, which is displayed in seconds.
    • <video:expiration_date>
      This indicates when the video is no longer available. You can skip this, if your video does not have an expiration date.
    • <video:rating>
      This is a rating of the video, on a scale of 0 to 5.
    • <video:view_count>
      This indicates how many times the video has been viewed.
    • <video:publication_date>
      This indicates when the video was published
    • <video:family_friendly>
      Here you can specify whether the video should always appear or only if SafeSearch is enabled.
    • <video:restriction>
      Here you can specify whether the video should be hidden for certain regions or countries.
    • <video:platform>
      Here you can specify whether the video should be hidden for certain platform types, e.g. on mobile or TV.
    • <video:price>
      Here you can enter a price if it costs money to watch or download the video.
    • <video:requires_subscription>
      Here you can specify whether viewers should take out a subscription.
    • <video:uploader>
      Here you can enter the name of the person who uploaded the video, with a maximum of 255 characters.
    • <video:live>
      Here you can indicate if it is a live stream.
    • <video:tag>
      These are brief descriptions of the content of the video. You can add up to 32 tags.
    • <video:category>
      This is the category the video belongs to. For example "cooking"

How do I create a sitemap?

There are multiple ways to create a video sitemap. You can add your video objects to an existing sitemap that you've already created for your website.

You can also use an online generator to create a sitemap, like on XML Sitemaps. You enter the URL and the generator finds all the videos on your website and converts them into a sitemap. Don't forget to update your sitemap regularly as soon as you add new videos.

When creating a video sitemap, consider that Google only accepts sitemaps that contain less than 50000 video items and are smaller than 50mb. If you do, you can solve this by creating multiple sitemaps for your video content.

Once you have created a video sitemap, you submit it the same way you would for a regular sitemap, which is via Google Webmaster Tools.

Creating a video sitemap in the Blue Billywig Online Video Platform

When using the Blue Billywig Online Video Platform, creating a video sitemap is very easy. Add all the videos you have to be indexed to a Playlist and add it to your website.This cliplist generates a URL and ID that you can use to add the sitemap to your website and then the Google Search Console.

Video sitemap example

Click on the image to get a closer look at the video sitemap example.

Video sitemap voorbeeld

Check and test your sitemap

To check if your website and the videos on it are correctly indexed, you can use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool. Enter the URL of the page where the video should be indexed. If Google finds a video, you will see a 'VideoObject' on the right side under 'Detected'. Click this to see what information Google has for this video.

Google Search Console Video

If the videos are not yet immediately visible, Google may not have re-indexed your page yet. Check this via the Google Webmaster Tools. Enter the URL of the page the video is on and check when it was last crawled by Google. If adjustments have been made since this date, submit a request to re-index the page.

 

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