Sitemaps Series: Specialized Sitemaps: Video Sitemaps

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Mar 19, 2010
More Articles by Janet

Image representing Google Video as depicted in...Image via CrunchBase

Over the past week, we’ve covered several types of Google Sitemaps. Many websites, in addition to web page content, also have video content as well. Ideally, wouldn’t it be great to do what you can to have your video indexed by Google Video as well? Using a Google Video Sitemap can help you do just that.

Video Sitemaps contain a list of videos on your website to be indexed in Google Video. Fortunately, Google allows both Video Sitemaps and mRSS feeds (a special type of RSS for media files) for indexing video information. There is no guarantee, however, that having a Google Video Sitemap will help your videos rank better in Google Video search, but it will help them be found by the Googlebot.

How Does a Google Video Sitemap Look Different than a Regular Google Sitemap?

Similar to the situation with Google News Sitemaps, Google Video Sitemaps differ somewhat from the structure used in regular Google Sitemaps. It’s important to follow this structure correctly to ensure proper indexing.

<urlset xmlns=”″
<video:player_loc allow_embed=”yes” autoplay=”ap=1″></video:player_loc>
<video:title>Grilling steaks for summer</video:title>
<video:description>Get perfectly done steaks every time</video:description>

What Each Tag Means

Tag Description
%lt;loc> Location where the video is housed. May be embedded on an HTML page.
<video:content_loc> Actual location of the video file itself.
<video:player_loc> Location of the Flash player for the video
<video:thumbnail_loc> IMPORTANT: The location of the video thumbnail image, an it IS required. Google also only accepts thumbnail images in three formats (.jpg, .png, or. gif) and the thumbnail should be at least 160×120 pixels.
<video:title> Title of the video — must be less than 100 characters.
<video:description> Description of the video. Should be less than 2048 characters, else Google will cut off all text after the 2048 character mark.
<video:rating> A video rating (optional). If you use it, you’ll need to rate the video from 0.0 to 5.0, with 5.0 being the highest rating.
<video:view_count> How often the video has been viewed (optional)
<video:publication_date> When the video was first published (optional)
<video:expiration_date> (optional) This tag tells Google when the video should “expire”. Helpful tag, for instance, if you have a video promoting an upcoming event, to “expire” the video after the event date passes.
<video:tag> (optional) While these tags are optional, I highly recommend them. These are essentially keywords you are providing to Google about the content of the video itself. And, you can use up to 32 tags! In the example above, we used three.
<video:category> (optional) This tag tells Google what overall category the topic of the video falls under. In the case above, “Cooking” could have been the category, but “Grilling” was more targeted.
<video:family_friendly> (optional) While this tag is also optional, I’d recommend using it if you do have content that is not offensive to young children. If you DON’T use this tag and indicate that the video is family-friendly, then Google will NOT include the video when SafeSearch is turned on.
<video:duration> While Google says this tag is optional, it’s highly recommended. This is the duration of the video in seconds and can be from 0 and 28800 (8 hours).

Limitations of Video Sitemaps

Like the News and Regular Sitemaps, Video Sitemaps also have a limitations. However, a Video Sitemap is limited to only 10,000 video entries, as opposed to a Regular Sitemap, which allows for up to 50,000 entries. If you have more than 10,000 videos, consider using a Sitemap Index.

Google can also only accept the following video filetypes: .mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv, .swf.

Sitemap Index

A Sitemap Index file is similar to a table of contents — it allows you to link to multiple Video Sitemaps, then simply register the Sitemap Index file with Google.

Tools to Create a Video Sitemap

Video Sitemap Pro is a free download that allows you to create Google Video Sitemaps on the fly. It’s the only video sitemap creation tool I’ve found, and best of all it’s free!

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