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How to Create a Video Sitemap for Google?

Video Sitemap: What is it & How to Leverage it to Improve Video SEO?

James Gibbons
Video Sitemap for Google

Have you ever meticulously crafted an XML sitemap, assuming it's all you need to enhance your website’s visibility? This common oversight can lead to missed opportunities, as video content remains an underutilized asset in improving search engine rankings.

According to the study, 91% of the people watch videos to understand about a product or service.

This makes your video indexing on SERP highly important. But, without the right information, Google might not index your videos. That's where a video sitemap comes in handy.

A video sitemap is essentially a roadmap designed specifically for search engines. It details your site's video content, facilitates better indexing, and significantly boosts your visibility in video search results.

In this blog, we will learn how to create and optimize your video sitemap for better indexing & SERP rankings.

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What is a Video Sitemap?

A video sitemap is a specific type of XML sitemap that provides search engines with information about the videos on a website.

It helps search engines understand the videos hosted on your pages, making it easier for them to be discovered.

Like a traditional sitemap directs search engines to crucial web pages, a video sitemap provides rich insights into your website's videos.

Search engines are smart but struggle to interpret videos as humans do. They rely heavily on text & metadata for context. A video sitemap helps bridge this gap by offering details like video description, thumbnail URL, titles, etc. It makes every video detail accessible to search engine crawlers, leading to better indexing.

While most major search engines, including Google & Bing, support video sitemaps, it is important to note that not all search engines do. Therefore, you must check the documentation of each search engine you wish to target to ensure that they support video sitemaps. This will help you to tailor your SEO strategy based on the search engines used by your target audience.

Benefits of Having Video Sitemap for Google & SEO

1. Enhanced Indexing

Video sitemaps enable Google to locate & index video content swiftly. They ensure that videos appear accurately in search results, thereby boosting their visibility & accessibility to users.

2. Improved Rich Snippets Display

Implementing video sitemaps helps qualify your content for rich snippets in search results, significantly increasing click-through rates by providing viewers with a preview before clicking.

3. Better Video Content Categorization

By including a video sitemap, you offer Google detailed metadata about your video content. This precision allows for better understanding & categorization, improving relevance in search queries.

4. Improved User Experience

Video sitemaps facilitate a better user experience by ensuring that users find the video content quickly, increasing engagement & reducing bounce rates.

How is Video Sitemap Different From XML Sitemap?

Aspect Video Sitemap XML Sitemap
Purpose Specifically designed to help search engines find and index video content on a website. Aimed at helping search engines discover all significant pages on a website, ensuring they are crawled and indexed.
Metadata Elements Includes unique elements like 'video:duration,' 'video:content_loc,' and 'video:thumbnail_loc' to give search engines detailed insights about the video content. Lacks video-specific metadata but includes general information like 'loc' (URL location), 'lastmod' (last modified date), 'changefreq' (change frequency), and 'priority' (page priority).
SEO Impact Directly influences how videos are indexed and presented in video search results and on video platforms, potentially enhancing user engagement and traffic for video content. Broadly affects the overall visibility and indexing of a website's content across search engine results, supporting site navigation and usability.
Use Case Ideal for websites with a significant amount of video content looking to improve their visibility in video search results. Essential for all websites to ensure comprehensive indexing and to improve the search engine ranking of their content.
Format Specificity Requires adherence to specific formatting guidelines for video information to ensure proper indexing by search engines. More flexible in terms of the data provided for each URL but must follow XML schema standards.

Do I Need a Video Sitemap?

Google uses your website's structured data to find & understand your videos. This means it looks for specific tags in your HTML that tell it about your video, like what it's about, how long it is, and what it looks like. But sometimes, Google doesn't show your videos in search results.

Video sitemap acts as a guide that helps Google find all your videos & the important details about them.

Without it, especially if your videos are hidden behind clicks or coded in complex ways, Google might miss them.

Now, you might wonder do websites need a video sitemap? Not really. If your website only has a few videos, or if they're not a big part of what you do or about your product, you might not need one.

But a video sitemap is key if your site relies on videos, like how-to guides, news stories, or product showcases. It ensures your videos show up in searches, bringing more visitors to your website.

Is Video Sitemap a Ranking Factor?

According to Google, creating a video sitemap is not a direct ranking factor. However, it plays a crucial role in boosting your content's visibility & accessibility on SERP. It helps you guide search engines to find, index, and understand your website's video content more effectively.

A video sitemap allows Google to serve your video content more accurately to users searching for related information.

It improves indexation & comprehension of your video content, leading to higher engagement metrics, which Google considers when ranking content.

Thus, creating a video sitemap is a key strategy for leveraging video content and improving SEO performance.

Steps to Create a Video Sitemap

Step 1: Analyze Existing Video Content

Begin by conducting a thorough analysis of your website's video content. Identify all the videos embedded on your site & ensure they are optimized for search engines. It includes using descriptive video titles, relevant video descriptions, and accurate video tags. Additionally, check for any issues with video loading speed or broken video links.

Step 2: Compile a List of Video URLs

Once your video content analysis is complete, compile a list of all the video URLs you have found. Organize this list in a standard format, such as a CSV file, for easy management.

Step 3: Enrich Your Video Sitemap

Start enriching your video sitemap with essential information gathered during your audit. Each video entry should include key details such as video title, description, URL, and thumbnail data.

Providing this additional context helps search engines understand your videos better, improving their indexing capability.

Learn what information you should include in a video sitemap.

Step 4: Submit the Video Sitemap to Search Engines

After creating the video sitemap, submit it to major search engines like Google and Bing. Use the respective search engine's webmaster tools or search console to submit the sitemap.

This submission informs search engines about your sitemap, assisting them in discovering & facilitating quicker indexing of your videos. This, in turn, enhances their visibility in search engine results.

Learn how to submit your sitemap to search engines here.

Step 5: Validate the Video Sitemap

After submitting the video sitemap, ensure it complies with the XML standards by validating it. You can use tools like Google Search Console or online XML validators for this task. Here are the steps to validate your video sitemap in GSC:

1. Log into your Google Search Console account.

2. Select the specific website property for which you have created the video sitemap.

3. Go to the Sitemaps section by clicking the 'Sitemaps' tab in the left-hand menu.

4. You will see a list of all your sitemaps submitted to Google.

5. Check the status of your sitemap. If it shows "Success," it means Google can successfully access and crawl your video sitemap file.

6. If the status does not show Success, correct the errors and ensure all URLs are valid and the formatting is correct.

Validating the sitemap prevents potential indexing problems & ensures search engines can interpret the information accurately.

Best Practices for Creating a Video Sitemap

Include Essential Video Metadata

Video metadata refers to the information that describes the video's content, format, and other crucial details. It includes titles, descriptions, video file URLs, thumbnails, and more.

1. Be Descriptive and Keyword-Rich: Use titles & descriptions that are both informative & incorporate relevant keywords without keyword stuffing.

2. Use High-Quality Thumbnails: Select thumbnails that are clear, relevant, and enticing, as they significantly influence click-through rates.

3. Specify Video Duration: Clearly indicate the video's length to help search engines and users determine its relevance.

Including comprehensive & accurate metadata enhances a video's discoverability & relevance in search results. It helps search engines understand and categorize your content more effectively, leading to higher visibility & traffic.

Implement Structured Data

Structured data is a standardized format for marking up information about a video on a webpage to make it easier for search engines to parse & understand the content.

1. Use Markup: Implement the VideoObject schema from to provide detailed information to search engines about your video content.

2. Include Required Properties: Include the "name," "description," and "thumbnailUrl" properties. It is also recommended to use properties such as "uploadDate" and "duration."

3. Test With Google's Structured Data Testing Tool: Validate your structured data implementation to ensure it's error-free & properly recognized by search engines.

Implementing structured data allows your videos to be featured in rich snippets in search results, significantly improving traffic & click-through rates.

Monitor and Update Your Sitemap Regularly

Ensure your video sitemap is regularly updated. Remove outdated videos and add new ones to your sitemap to ensure that search engines are promptly notified of new content on your site.

1. Regular Checks: Periodically review your video sitemap for errors, such as broken links or outdated information, and correct them promptly.

2. Automate Updates: Automate the process of updating your video sitemap as new content is added to your site. This can be achieved through CMS plugins or custom scripting.

3. Use Webmaster Tools: Use tools like Google Search Console to monitor your sitemap performance, identify any issues Google may have crawling your video content, and resolve them.

Updating your video sitemap ensures that the most up-to-date & relevant video content is displayed in search results, improving user experience & potential traffic to your site.

Optimize Video Hosting and Playback Quality

This practice involves selecting an appropriate hosting solution for your videos & ensuring they are delivered to your audience in the best possible quality without buffering issues.

1. Choose a Reliable Video Hosting Platform: Select a hosting platform that ensures fast load times & high availability. Consider factors such as CDN usage, reliability, and customization options.

2. Enable Adaptive Streaming: Implement adaptive streaming technologies (e.g., HLS, DASH) that adjust video quality in real-time based on the user's connection speed, ensuring smooth playback.

3. Optimize Video Files: Compress & optimize your video files to balance quality & file size, reducing load times without significantly impacting visual clarity.

Doing so improves satisfaction among viewers and can positively influence your site's search engine rankings due to increased engagement metrics.

Leverage Video Sitemap Extensions

Video sitemap extensions are additional tags provided within a sitemap to offer more detailed information about the video content, such as live status, platform-specific tags, and geo-restrictions.

1. Specify Platform-Specific Tags: If your site hosts videos on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, use platform-specific tags to integrate more tightly with these services, enhancing video discoverability across multiple channels.

2. Include Geo-Restrictions: For content that is available only in certain geographical regions, specify this using geo-restriction tags to improve targeting & relevance.

3. Indicate Live Status: If offering live video content, use the appropriate tags to mark these videos as live, which can help in attracting real-time engagement & viewership.

4. Utilize Video:Requires_subscription Tag: If your videos are behind a paywall or require a subscription, clearly indicate this tag to manage viewer expectations & improve user experience.

These video sitemap extensions help maximize visibility, engagement, and conversion rates by targeting viewers with a genuine interest in or need of your offering.

Ensure Up-to-Date Video Sitemaps for Enhanced SEO

A video sitemap is an essential tool for boosting your website's visibility in search results. It guides search engines through your site, making it easier for them to find & index your video content. It enhances your SEO efforts by improving the user experience, increasing engagement, and decreasing bounce rates.

However, keeping your video sitemap updated & optimized can be challenging when done manually. This is where the power of Quattr comes into play. Quattr identifies errors in your sitemap and helps you resolve them for better SERP rankings.

By using Quattr, you can consistently update your video sitemap to enhance your website's visibility and boost your SEO strategy.

Identify & Fix Video Sitemap Issues at Scale Using Quattr!

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Video Sitemap FAQs

What video formats are supported in a video sitemap?

A video sitemap supports various formats, including MP4, AVI, MOV, WMV, and FLV. Additionally, it can accommodate advanced codecs such as H.264 and H.265, ensuring compatibility across different platforms and devices.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when creating a video sitemap?

Avoid including videos that are not publicly accessible, as Google will not index them. Ensure accurate video descriptions; vague ones can harm search visibility. Do not forget to update your sitemap regularly to include new or removed videos.

Can I include videos hosted on third-party platforms in my video sitemap?

Yes, you can include videos hosted on third-party platforms like YouTube or Vimeo in your video sitemap, as long as you provide the necessary metadata and the videos are embedded on your site.

About The Author

James Gibbons

James Gibbons is the Senior Customer Success Manager at Quattr. He has 10 years of experience in SEO and has worked with multiple agencies, brands, and B2B companies. He has helped clients scale organic and paid search presence to find hidden growth opportunities. James writes about all aspects of SEO: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

About Quattr

Quattr is an innovative and fast-growing venture-backed company based in Palo Alto, California USA. We are a Delaware corporation that has raised over $7M in venture capital. Quattr's AI-first platform evaluates like search engines to find opportunities across content, experience, and discoverability. A team of growth concierge analyze your data and recommends the top improvements to make for faster organic traffic growth. Growth-driven brands trust Quattr and are seeing sustained traffic growth.

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