How To Make A Google Video Sitemap

If you are using video on your websites, it is in your best interest to create Google video sitemaps. There is no reason to waste the potential link love and search engine traffic that a video can provide. And Google has been kind enough to let us know exactly what it wants to see in a sitemap for videos.

What Does Google Want To See?

Going straight to the source, Google has a few basic requirements in a sitemap for videos, some recommended by not required suggestions and optional information. Starting with the required.  You need to provide this information. Location – this is the page, the url that the video resides at, the page that has the video embedded.  It is NOT the url for the actual video content.  For instance, in a video sitemap for this site, the Fast Landing Page post on this site is the location for the video. Content Location– the url of the actual video.  Your videos need to be a certain type.  Google can crawl mp4, mov, wmv, mpg, mpeg, flv, swf, avi, asf, ra, ram, and rm file types.  There are pros and cons to each type of file type.  Often there is a trade off between the quality of the video and the video file size – you decide what your audience wants.  Either this information or the player location is required. Player Location – the url for the video player.  Again, this is not the url for the actual video content.  Either this information or the content location is required.  Google is specific about the player type, it needs to be a Flash player for a specific video.  Within this tag you can specify if the video is allowed to be embedded and optionally is there an autoplay option, i.e. autoplay=”ap-1″.   My preference is to provide the Content Location and not provide a Player Location. Thumbnail Location – the url for a image of your video.  Google accepts most every image type and size but recommends images that are at least 120px wide by 90px high in .gif, .png. or .jpg formats. Video Title – hopefully this is self explanatory and makes sense why you would want to include this.  You are limited to 100 characters so use them wisely. Video Description – up to 2048 characters (anyone know what is special about 2048 … anyone?  2048 is 2 to the 11 power … this has to do with binary number, bits, bytes, words, etc. … excuse me while I went off on that techy trail …).  This is the description for your video. The rest of the possible tags allowed by Google are optional. Expiration date – This is recommend where applicable per Google.  Seems obvious enough that you wouldn’t include it if you have no intentions of removing it at a particular date in the future. Video Duration – In Google’s words “Strongly recommended”.  And I agree.  When searching a seeing results that includes video, I want to have an idea how much time I will be involved with watching a video versus being able to visit a web page that includes good old fashion text that I can scan.  Somebody tell me how to scan a video  as quickly as I can scan text please! Tag – This is optional, but I highly recommend it.  You can provide multiple tags – up to 32 – that describe your video.  A tag does not need to be just one word, it can be something like “video” or “funny video”.  Make good use of this optional feature. Category – Up to 256 characters.  Think of a category as a broad grouping, like Automotibles or Health Or Finance remember . Publication date – When the video is published.  Date needs to be in a particular format – W3C format to be specific. Rating – On a scale of 0.0 to 5.0.  While Google doesn’t say, I am assuming that a rating of 5.0 is the best.  Whoever heard of zero as a hero? View Count – This one I don’t really understand unless your video sitemap is updated every time it is viewed and has a way to update the number of times a video is viewed.  I typically leave this out (and leave out the rating unless I am feeling lucky and give myself a perfect 5.0 🙂 Family Friendly – Or not.  Set this tag to “no” if you have a naughty video. Restriction – A list of countries that can either be allowed or denied using the relationship=allowed or relationship=denied tag. Now that Google has told you what it wants, you need to give it what it asks for.

Google Video Sitemap Creator

You didn’t think I was going to leaving you hanging after all of that, did you? I have automated the creation of the single video site map. For people who are on my mailing list, you simply need to visit the Tools page and login. May I suggest you login first before you go clicking on any of the links. It just makes it easier. Sure it will work if you first click on the video site map link. But you will need to refresh the page and click on the video site map link again. And you don’t want to have to do that. I know, I know, way too complicated. So go over there, Tools, login, and provide the information requested. I suggest you also provide tags, category and duration. Click the “Submit” button and presto, instant site map content. Take that fancy looking code, create a file in the root directory or your web server, call it “video.xml” and paste that code in there. Create a link from a web page to your video blog and if you are feeling adventuresome, head over to pingomatic and drop your newly created sitemap in there (in the rss/xml portion).




Hi Dave….nice work!

I’ve got a couple of videos spread on a few sites. Think I’ll give your process a go and see what happens 🙂



Might send a few friends to check out your post!


I would really like to understand the Google video sitemap. Your video is hosted on amazon but is it possible that you could do a video for someone that created their video with camstasia and it is on their hard
drive or been uploaded to youtube or other video sites? If
you could share what and how is the best way to do this that
would be great. hope to receive a response from you. My
understanding is with a video sitemap it should be really
helpful getting the video found or indexed by Google quicker
would that be correct? Maybe you could explain the upside to
this for all of us. thanks



Great video thanks. My question is, does it matter what video player is used for this video site map? I have not loaded a video player on my site but plan to in the next day or so.

Thank you.



I noticed you used flowplayer, does the sitemap work with that?



It does not matter what video player is used for this site map. My preferece when using this video sitemap generator is to not provide that information. Providing the video player location is optional if you provide the video content location.

The sitemap does work with flowplayer.




Just posted this regarding Camtasia and video sitemaps,



Great tool, Dave! Thanks for sharing.


Hi Dave,
Thanks for your video sitemap tips. I have a question that I haven’t been able to find an answer to online. Is there a way to have multiple videos listed on one sitemap if each video is on a separate landing page? If so… how? I’ve tried mucking about with the code and it keeps getting rejected by webmaster tools (parsing error – unable to read sitemap).


Adding to the above… if I have to make separate sitemaps for every one of the videos (dozens of them), is there a naming convention or some other way to keep them organized? It seems ridiculous to have so many separate sitemaps.



You can make one sitemap for all of your videos.

Just keep typing in the info for each video and submitting … the generator will tack on your addition. When complete, load the content into your video sitemap.



Thanks Dave, so in terms of formatting the code… do I just list each video one after the other including the code each time, or is the only used at the beginning and end of the whole file, and each individual video start and end with ?



Sorry… I didn’t read you post correctly the first time… so using your sitemap generator will produce multiple video sitemap code in one file. That’s awesome! Thanks!

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