What do I have to keep in mind when creating a video-sitemap?

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A video-sitemap is the basis for providing Google with the necessary information about the content of your videos. The video sitemap is an XML-file and contains your videos’ meta-data, like title, description, length, and source. Using a video-sitemap ensures that your video content can be recognised and indexed much faster by the GoogleBot. Google also recommends using the schema.org markup for the video content on your website.

Using schema.org markup for your videos

Google recommends using the schema.org markup for the videos on your website, which helps Google better understand their contents. Schema.org offers the vocabulary which lets you structure the data and is supported by the search engines Google, bing and Yahoo!. To quickly and easily use the schema.org Markup on your video content, we developed the free Video Rich Snippet Generator for schema.org Markup.

Structure of a video-XML-sitemap

The content of a video-sitemap follows an easy XML-syntax. Aside from essential elements, there are also a lot of optional information that can be added to an entry in the sitemap.

Essential elements of an video-XML-sitemap:

  1. <urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″ xmlns:video=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1″>
  2. <url>
  3. <loc>http://www.your-domain.com/a-video-page.html/</loc>
  4. <video:video>
  5. <video:thumbnail_loc>http://www.your-domain.com/uploads/Video-Thumbnail.jpg</video:thumbnail_loc>
  6. <video:title>Title of the video</video:title>
  7. <video:description>Description of the video</video:description>
  8. <video:player_loc allow_embed=”yes” autoplay=”ap=1″>https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/dJT1jN2BtZk</video:player_loc>
  9. <video:duration>115</video:duration>
  10. </video:video>
  11. </url>
  12. </urlset>

The contents of the video-XML-sitemap are summarised in a . Every page (URL) with a video is added as an -block within the . Inside the -block, there are details specific to the video on this page. The following elements are essential when creating a video-sitemap:

  • Location: URL of the page containing the video
  • Title: Title of the video
  • Description: Description of the video
  • Player-Location: Source of the video, for example Youtube
  • Duration: Length of the video, in seconds
  • Thumbnail: A preview of the video, at least 16 x 90 pixels, max 1920 x 1080 pixels in JPG, PNG or GIF
    • You do not have to manually add a preview image anymore, if you do not want to. Google will automatically generate a preview image for the video during their crawl of the video-sitemap

Creating a video-XML-sitemap – things to keep in mind

You can create your video-XML-sitemap either by hand, using the above example, or you can use one of the numerous sitemap generators you can find online. If you use a sitemap generator, please make sure that they use the correct XML-syntax for video-sitemaps. This includes converting the schema.org Markup, which is specified in the ISO 8601 date format, into seconds.

Video content with schema.org markup will use the international date-format ISO 8601 to denote the length of the video in the source-code:

  • for 1 minute and 56 seconds

The XML-syntax, on the other hand, only allows seconds as the value for the element.

  • 116 for 1 minute and 56 sekunden

Tip: The Sitemap-Generator by XML-Sitemaps.com, which is fee-based, offers the possibility to generate and update a dedicated video-sitemap in the XML format through an addon. The software also supports the international date format ISO 8601.

Submitting a video-XML-sitemap through the Google Search Console

You can submit a video-sitemap like any other XML-sitemap through the Google Search Console.

In any case, it is recommended to test the video-sitemap for errors by selecting “Test Sitemap”.

Testing and submitting a video-XML-sitemap through the Google Search Console

Testing and submitting a video-XML-sitemap through the Google Search Console

The test results will show you if the contents of the video-sitemap are valid and if Google can process it without errors. In our example the XML-syntax of the video-sitemap returns an error because the value for the element is still in the date format ISO 8601, instead of in seconds.

Test result of an video-XML-sitemap with errors

Test result of an video-XML-sitemap with errors

Video explanation by Google on the topic video-sitemaps

Using video sitemaps is a recommended way to give us information about your videos. Submitting a sitemap pushes your video metadata to Google and reduces the time it takes for us to discover your video.

Additional information on this topic:

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