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How-to 7 min read August 28, 2019

How to create an XML video sitemap

All website videos should be consolidated into a single XML map. It enables search robots to scan and arrange content effectively.

Why creating a video sitemap

Video content is extremely popular and constitutes a bigger part of search queries. Therefore, there is a need to develop an accurate video sitemap or form a separate block within a general sitemap.

To show a video sample in search results, search engines use the following ways:

  • present it in a separate list;
  • include the video in general search results.
Videos in search results page
To show video files in SERP, search crawlers need additional information about them. The more descriptive data is available, the better it is for you.

Google provides detailed recommendations on video file management.
How Google crawls a video
Well-structured data allows crawlers to scan videos. Search systems appreciate sitemap use as it simplifies indexing.

Robots can scan YouTube content as well. Nevertheless, Google recommends adding video materials to a special map which makes scanning faster and significantly enhances its quality:
Crawling the YouTube videos
Any additional information that is indicated apart from required standard data influences the content's position in SERP results. The compulsory elements:

  • a thumbnail image;
  • a link to the video file.

In search results, a video can be displayed in two ways.

Basic video appearance

Video materials that contain minimum information appear in basic results. That means that users can only see the thumbnail and the link. This option excludes:

Enhanced video demonstration

You get the opportunity to include a preview. This enables visitors to see the duration, publication date, and the author of your video. And you get a chance to limit the viewers by country they live and even by the search device type.
Best practised for video crawling and indexation
Although there is no guarantee that the details in your sitemap description will be used by the search systems in full, they can considerably increase the material's presence in search results. In addition, the video will stand out from many other results which itself can provide more page viewers.

How does an XML video sitemap look like

For files that are used for a video sitemap, you should provide a name, a description, duration, animated thumbnails and other.

These are the compulsory tags that must be used in a video site map:

  • <loc> — shows the location page of the video.
  • <video:title> — contains the video's name.
  • <video:description> — a description of content limited by two thousand symbols.
  • <video:content_loc> or <video:player_loc> — choose one of the variants. This tag provides Googlebot with a direct link to your video or player location.
  • <video:video> — video container.
  • <video:thumbnail_loc> — a preview or a thumbnail. Check out Google recommendations for thumbnails.

Additional tags help to register the following characteristics:
    • total video duration;
    • last date of the video availability;
    • rating;
    • total view quantity;
    • availability for users who apply "Safe Search";
    • access limit for selected countries and platform types;
    • the price to download or view the video;
    • conditions for free or paid subscription;
    • a live stream video;
    • category and topic.
    Their meanings are thoroughly described in Google Search Console Help.

    Creating XML video sitemap

    Video metadata may be added into the existing sitemap. You can do it manually; however, there is a better way to do it - using online sitemap generators. For example, XML-Sitemaps.com.
    How to create XML video sitemap
    The script detects video content of your website and works out a video sitemap within several seconds.

    To create a video sitemap, you can also use mRSS which is a version of RSS protocol. Unlike common RSS, mRSS features better flexibility to include video file details. This tool is able to process only the files that are located in the resource itself but not embedded from YouTube. Accordingly, the service is suitable only for certain websites. Some SEO-specialists reckon that a sitemap should not be necessarily used for YouTube videos.

    Having created a sitemap, you should add it to Google Search Console in order to speed up the scanning. Mind that Google Sitemap has a limit of 50000 videos and restricts the map size to 50 Mb.

    Using plugins for sitemaps

    Another option is to use plugins that can create a video sitemap automatically. For example, you can use XML Sitemap for Video plugin for WordPress. Download it and use administration panel for activation. This plugin develops a structured sitemap using all YouTube videos integrated in your website. Start by launching site generators in the menu:
    XML sitemap generator for Wordpress
    Another plugin that uses the same tactics is Google Video Sitemap Feed With Multisite Support. After download and activation processes are finished, you can manage the video sitemap in the administration panel:
    Google Video Sitemap Feed plugin for Wordpress
    YouTube Video Sitemap Generator also lets you get together and structure the information about YouTube videos. It automatically scans site content and metadata provided for YouTube and works out a sitemap file.

    Conclusion

    A video sitemap allows arranging video content and ensures better scanning results.

    Apart from standard information provided for a video file (name, description, and duration) you can add its rating, category, access parameters, etc.

    How to create a video site map? The best way is to use online generators and plugins. To speed up the indexing, you should upload your sitemap in Google Search Console.

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