How to Create Video Site Maps for Video Marketing SEO - dummies

How to Create Video Site Maps for Video Marketing SEO

By Kevin Daum, Bettina Hein, Matt Scott, Andreas Goeldi

It’s extremely difficult for search engines to find the marketing videos on your website. The problem is that so many different video players and video hosting companies are out there that no search engine can recognize them all automatically.

That’s why Google lets you provide video site maps. A site map is a list of all pages on a website, and a video site map is basically the same thing, except that it lists videos. The video site map lists the videos on your website in a technical format that Google and other search engines can understand.

How to create a video site map

A video site map typically is set up by your webmaster. Site map files are written in the XML markup language, and it helps to have experience in coding traditional site map files.

Google provides a helpful tutorial about video site maps: Search for video site maps on Google.

Some video hosting companies such as Wistia provide helpful tools to their customers to create these site map files automatically. All you have to do is provide the title, description, and tags, and the system does the rest for you.

Google ignores multiple video site map entries for the same web page. Be sure that you have one dedicated page per video. Otherwise, only the first video on the page shows up in the Google search results.

Though it’s useful for search engine optimization (SEO) to have only one video per web page, in some cases you want to offer visitors several videos on a page to engage them more. Successful SEO is always a balance between what search engines can read and what humans like.

If you need several videos on one page, the currently accepted practice is to create pages with those individual videos that are visible only to search engines.

The Microsoft Bing search engine uses a somewhat different format for video site maps: mRSS. It’s less broadly supported by video hosting companies, but Google understands it as well.

How to register your video site map

Let Google know that you have a video site map by registering it. The place to do this is at Google Webmaster Central, using its webmaster tools.

If you have set up the webmaster tools for your website already, it’s a straightforward process. Choose Site Configuration→Sitemaps→Submit a Sitemap. Enter the path to the video site map file on your website and click Submit Sitemap. Google adds your videos within hours or days.

How to test your site map

To figure out whether Google has processed your video site map, perform a video search that’s limited to your website. Click Video in the top Google navigation, and enter the following line in the Search bar, replacing with your company’s Internet domain:

This expression limits the results to your website. The results show all videos on your website that Google is aware of. If the result is empty, something is wrong with your video site map. Check it for correctness, and then resubmit it at Google webmaster Central.