Is an XML Video Sitemap Really Necessary?

We’ve wondered this for a long time.  I mean, Google does a pretty good job of indexing videos, especially those already on Youtube.

The main purpose to a video sitemap is it allows Google to read the meta-content associated with the video.  Google can’t read a video, kind of like it can’t read an image.

With images, the only way to squeeze some SEO value out of it, is to assign an alt= tag or a description and a caption.  Otherwise it is processed as simply “image.jpg.”

Creating an XML video sitemap will ensure that Google sees the meta data, thumbnail for the video, and a description of the video.

One simple way to get a basic video sitemap for WordPress users is to use the WordPress XML Video Sitemap plugin.  This will automatically crawl all of the pages/posts on your site and create an XML file based on its content.

It definitely also helps to submit your video XML sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.

Here is an example XML Video Sitemap format for 1 video with a whole bunch of markup to go with it:

<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
        xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1"> 
   <url> 
     <loc>http://www.domain.com/video/videopage.html</loc>
     <video:video>
       <video:thumbnail_loc>http://www.domain.com/video/123.jpg</video:thumbnail_loc> 
       <video:title>Video Sitemaps for Dummies</video:title>
       <video:description>We'll show you how to create a video sitemap</video:description>
       <video:content_loc>http://www.domain.com/videositemap.flv</video:content_loc>
       <video:duration>450</video:duration>
       <video:expiration_date>2013-06-05T11:20:15+03:00</video:expiration_date>
       <video:rating>5</video:rating>    
       <video:publication_date>2013-06-05T11:20:15+03:00</video:publication_date>
       <video:family_friendly>yes</video:family_friendly>   
       <video:restriction relationship="allow">US CA</video:restriction> 
       <video:gallery_loc title="Video Sitemaps">http://video.domain.com</video:gallery_loc>
       <video:price currency="US">49.99</video:price>
       <video:uploader info="http://www.domain.com/author/PattySEO">Patrick
         </video:uploader>
       <video:live>no</video:live>
     </video:video> 
   </url> 
</urlset>

 

So, is it necessary?

I’d definitely say yes.  Since elite-strategies.com has started using a video sitemap, we’ve seen a lot more of our pages that contain videos appear in the search engines (as evidenced by our analytics).

Our thinking is that it really can’t hurt ranking, so why not do it.

You can really get a lot more bang for your buck.

Here is the kicker: if you want to do it right, it is really hard!  Google currently “recommends” about 9 tags per video in the XML file.  That is quite a bit of work if you have a ton of videos, or if your site is based on video.

If having a video sitemap is something you really want to do, and have time to do: then go for it.  If not, don’t let it stress you out.  Google will find your videos.

Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe is the founder and CEO of Elite Strategies Llc. Patrick takes a hands on approach to managing Elite Strategies and loves to get involved with technical projects relating to clients inbound marketing needs.
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe
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