Video Sitemaps : Part 3 Of Sitemaps Series

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This is a part of our series of posts on how to create various kinds of sitemaps on your sites. Part 1 talked about News sitemaps, while Part 2 talked about Image sitemaps.

Videos are a great way of engaging the users on a site. When Blendtec were trying to figure out how to engage their users, way back in 2006, they decided to embark on a social media campaign titled ‘Will it Blend’ and uploaded short videos on YouTube. The idea went viral and the company sales increased 700% from 2006 to 2008. In 6 years, their YouTube channel reached 119 videos, had 440k+ subscibers and over 191M views! (Source –
Why do you need this?
Now everyone would love that kind of exposure and visibility from their videos. Today we will continue with our back to basics series and explore how to create video sitemaps, for greater visibility and exposure of your videos, focusing on how to ensure that Google can easily find your videos !
Video content includes videos embedded in web pages, videos of raw content hosted on your site, video player URLs etc.
And how do you create a video sitemap –

When making a video sitemap, there are some specific required video tags which need to be added. They are tags are required –
• Required Tags:

1. <loc>
This tag specifies the landing page for the video. In case of the presence of multiple videos on the same landing page, instead of creating individual <loc> tags for each video, just create one <loc> tag and create separate <video:video> element for each video on that page.

2. <video:video>
This element encloses all information about the video

3. <video:thumbnail_loc>
This URL points to the video image file. Make sure that your image is at least 160*190 pixels and at most 1920*1080 pixels.

4. <video:title>
The title of the video (max 100 characters and in plain text)

5. <video:description>
The description of the video (max 2048 characters and in plain text)

The following are a couple of tags which are recommended for video sitemaps –

• Recommended Tags:

1. <video:duration>
The duration of the video in seconds (must be between 0 and 28800 i.e. 8 hours)

2. <video:expiration_date>
The expiry date of the video (If the video doesn’t not expire after a specific period of time, don’t include this tag)

There are a whole bunch of optional tags which can be included to make the sitemap more informative to the bots. The following is a list of all the optional tags which we can includ for video sitemaps.

• Optional Tags:

1. <video:rating>
The rating of the video (numbers can vary from 0.0 to 5.0)

2. <video:view_count>
The number of times the video has been viewed

3. <video:publication_date>
This tells the bot when the video was first published (The date must be in the W3C format)

4. <video:family_friendly>
The value should be ‘No’ if the video should only be available to users who has turned off SafeSearch

5. <video:tag>
A tag associated with the video, associating close terms and phrases with a specific video

6. <video:category>
The category with which this video is associated (max 256 characters)

7. <video:restriction>
This is a space delimited list of countries in which the video may or may not be played. Country codes must be in the ISO 3166 format.
The required attribute “relationship” specifies whether the video is restricted or permitted for the specified countries. Allowed values are ‘allow’ or ‘deny’.

8. <video:gallery_loc>
A link to the gallery (collection of videos) on the site in which this video appears (Only one tag can be listed for a video)

9. <video:price>
This tag indicates the price to watch/download the video and should not be used for free videos.
The required attribute currency must specify the currency in an ISO 4217 format.

10. <video:requires_subscription>
This tag indicates whether a subscription (either paid or free) is required to view the video. Allowed values are ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

11. <video:uploader>
This tag highlights the video uploader’s name (only one <video:uploader> is allowed per video)

12. <video:platform>
This tag provides a list of space-delimited platforms where the video may or may not be played (The values can be ‘web’, ‘mobile’, and ‘tv’. Only one <video:platform> tag is allowed for each video. If there is no <video:platform> tag present, then it is assumed that the video can be played on all platforms.)

13. <video:live>
This tag indicates whether the video is being streamed live

A bunch of things to remember –

• Each sitemap can only have 50,000 videos. If you have more than 50,000 videos you can create a sitemap index or create multiple sitemaps
• Also, ensure that the uncompressed video sitemap limit is 50MB which may be reached before hitting the 50,000 limit of videos. Keep a check on that!
• Google can crawl the following file extensions – mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv, .swf
• To verify how the site appears to Google, you can view the pages containing videos in a browser such as Lynx (i.e. a text-only browser) or a conventional browser with JavaScript and Flash disabled
• Google also allows mRSS feeds which can be uploaded instead of/along with a video sitemap

And that’s about it! You now have a video sitemap ready!

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