Video Sitemaps provide metadata of your video content that helps search engines like Google index your videos and make them easier to find. But for non-techies, words like XML, parameters etc., can be scary. So, what does a Sitemap include? How do you use it?

I’ve compiled some background information that can help you better understand Sitemaps.

Google recommends creating video Sitemaps based on the Sitemap protocol because the same file can be submitted to multiple search engines at once. To get started, you can manually create Sitemaps using a text editor. However, if you are a non-techie, you can use a third party tool that lets you provide information through a user interface.  Here’s a list of tools that you can use to create web Sitemaps. Either way, the end result will be an XML Sitemap file that you can submit to Google. Refer to Google support for more information on submitting Sitemaps.

For every video that you want to include in your sitemap, you’ll need:

  • One of the following:
    • URL of the webpage where your video is hosted or embedded
    • URL of the player that plays the video
    • URL of the raw video file
  • For each video, you must also include a title, description and thumbnail image. If you have a working URL, then the thumbnail will be automatically generated.
  • You can use tags to provide information like video location, family friendly status, duration, thumbnail image, video player etc.

There are a lot of other options that you can submit to a video Sitemap. Try using various other attributes as this will help increase the chances of your video appearing in search results.