Video Sitemaps- What the…?!

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Video Sitemaps

Videos are playing a bigger role than ever in search engines and social media sites. They tend to be a  more engageing experience for site visitors and much more useful than articles and how-tos. Getting Google to recognize and organize your videos is key to any site SEO strategy. Video sitemaps help make this possible.

What are video sitemaps? Sitemaps are a way for users to find content within a website, like a books table of contents. A video sitemap is the same thing, but includes rich video content. Not only is it good for users, but a great way for site administrators to let Google know about the great videos on your site. Technically speaking, they are simply a file stored in the root directory with code that describes and organizes your rich media content.

Why are they good for SEO? Search engines are getting better than ever at determining the structure and content on your site- but quality SEOs still don’t want to leave anything to chance. It is best to submit a file to Google that clearly outlines all the pages on your site, in one organized layout, helping search engines to index your content correctly.  A sitemap allows you to control what hierarchical flow of information is going to look like and often the creation of a sitemap will help to identify content that is not organized well as it help you to visualize the entire structure of your site.

How to build them? Video sitemaps are getting easier to create with many quality tools, but some webmasters prefer to create theirs by hand. Let’s go over some of the basics.

Option 1: Manually Create an XML file

Using a text editor you can easily create an XML sitemap with the necessary video elements. It takes some time, but the code is fairly straight forward. I’ve included an example XML File below with my clarifying [comments].


2 [tells Google about the landing page URL]


4    Video Library


6      2011-07-07T18:00:00UTC







13    [signal to Google about the video URL]









22     [signal to Google to display thumbnail in search engine]


24    A really good description of video

25     [signal to Google to display a description]

26   Good Keyword Category

27    Descriptive Keyword Phrase

28    Another Descriptive Keyword Phrase

29    Yet Another Descriptive Keyword Phrase  [tells Google what your video is about]

30    180



Option 2: Use a Video Sitemap Generation Tools

Some like ultimate control by doing it manually, but I prefer to utilize software tools to do the dirty work for me. Also, they often help me include optional, but helpful, elements that I might otherwise forget. Some helpful tools include:

Google’s Sitemap Generator: Google’s free and slightly out of date tool- that they are no longer keeping up, but leaving to the open source community to update and maintain.

Video Sitemap Pro: Free tool for download on a PC or Mac with basic sitemap functionality.

EZS3 Sitemap Generator: Free web based tool helpful if you use EZS3 to host your videos.

XML Auto detects videos on your page and creates an XML sitemap to be submitted to Google. Great for XML sitemaps, HTML sitemaps, video sitemaps and more. The free version allows up to 500 pages to be included, with the $19.99 standalone software allowing unlimited number of pages.

How to submit to Google? The best way to get your video sitemap submitted is to go to Google directly via your Webmaster Tools login. If you don’t have a Google Webmaster’s Tool account yet, get one asap! Once you done this, it’s fairly easy to submit your sitemap by simply…

1. Going to your Site Configuration option

2. Click on the Sitemaps link

3. Click on Submit a Sitemap to grab and submit your xml file

It’s great for normal sitemaps as well as video sitemaps.

Feedback: What other tools do you use to analyze or create quality video sitemaps? Any reviews for the sitemap generator options above?