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XML Sitemap for Videos – Why They’re Important

As we have discussed in previous posts, XML Sitemaps are important and provide search engines like Google with the information they need to properly index your website content. But, what we haven’t discussed before are XML sitemaps for videos. Did you know that Google and other search engines want you to create sitemaps for your video content as well? Just like with sitemaps for other types of web content, an XML sitemap for videos tells search engines like Google how you’d like your video content indexed. However, they are a little bit different. Let’s break down video XML sitemaps a little further.

The Benefits of Providing Google with an XML Sitemap for Videos

There are several benefits to using XML sitemaps for video content on any given webpage. Some of these benefits include things like:
  • Indexing of your video content on search engines like Google
  • A better chance of ranking on video.google.search searches
  • You will get a chance to provide more details about your content through the use of structured data schema
  • An aesthetically pleasing thumbnail for your video content on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

Getting Your Video Embed Content Ready for an XML Sitemap

Before you can start to reap the rewards of an XML sitemap for videos, you will first have to prepare your video content and embed code for indexing. There are two commonly used methods for embedding and tagging video content with the necessary structured data schema: object embed HTML and iFrame HTML. However, only the object embed method of coding a video embed in HTML will be crawled and indexed by Google. People have found a way to cheat this system by using object embed HTML within an iFrame, but there isn’t any good research showing that this is a viable solution. So, for simplicity (and to make sure you don’t do anything potentially risky with your sitemap) we will only explain the object embed method.

Tagging an Object Video Embed for an XML Sitemap

Object embed HTML for videos (and other content) is a way to tell a browser (or search engine) where to find the original video file (RAW file) for your video content. To tag an object video embed for indexing/ranking on search engines and for your XML Sitemap, your code should look like this: Object Embed HTML code example image Once you get your embed code situated and working as it should, it’s time to tag it up with the necessary structured data schema for indexing. Google requires that your video content includes tags for the following information:
  • Title – The title of your video (should be identical to the title of your video wherever it is hosted).
  • Description – This should be identical to the meta description of the page where the video is being embedded.
  • Raw Video Host Location – The “src” link shown in the embed code pictured above.
  • Thumbnail URL – The URL where the thumbnail for your video is stored (Google recommends you use a high-resolution image for this up to 1920×1080).
  • URL of Video Play Page – This is the URL for the page where your video is hosted and played (like the YouTube URL for your video for example).
Now that you know what information is required in your sitemap, it’s time to show you how to create a properly tagged video XML sitemap document. To do this, start by creating a new document on your site and name it something like this:
sitemap-videos.xml
Move that document to the root of your site. This will give it a URL of something like this:
https://www.yourdomain.com/sitemaps-video.xml
Once you’ve created your sitemap file and moved it to the root of your website, it’s time to tag it up. Your finished file should have code that looks something like this: Video XML Sitemap example image of code

Update Google Search Console with Your New Video XML Sitemap

After you’ve finished creating your video XML sitemap and placed it at the root of your website, you will need to inform Google of where to find your new sitemap. To do this, simply load of Google Search Console (if you haven’t set this up yet, refer to our post all about GSC) and submit the URL of your video XML sitemap under the “Sitemaps” tab. After that, Google will crawl your new sitemap and index your videos (it can take over a week for Google to actually crawl your site, so be patient)!

This is the Tip of the Iceberg

The aforementioned structured data schema markup for video XML sitemaps is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tagging a video for search indexing on Google. There are several other possibilities for structured data including things like categories and author. But, those things aren’t required by Google for indexing your videos, so they weren’t included in our examples above. If you’d like to learn more about the extensive possibilities with video XML sitemap structured data, then feel free to contact the SEO experts at Contractor Advertising. Our experts know all about XML sitemap creation and maintenance and can handle every aspect of them for you. Just fill out the form below and we’ll reach out to you ASAP!