by Mark Shapiro
March 2, 2011
What is the point of making online and internet videos if nobody watches them? Regardless of whether you are posting your videos to your own website or submitting them to a free site like YouTube, you want your audience to find them. In order to do that, you have to make them search friendly. One of the best tools to do that is Google Video Sitemaps.
By creating and submitting a video site map to Google's Webmaster tools, it will greatly help you get your videos indexed and improve their findability on Google Search.
In order to deliver search results, numerous times a day, Google "crawls" the web, collecting information about each piece of content, and then indexes this information so that relevant content can be matched to each search query.
However, if Google cannot find and index your videos, they will not appear in the search results. That is not a good thing if you want your videos watched.
Create and submit a Video Sitemap to Google. A video sitemap is simply a list of links to each of your videos along with some additional information that you want to be displayed in the search results. This info will help people find your video.
Pack it full of the appropriate keywords and terms to describe the content. A Video Sitemap helps Google index the video content you want exposed so that it can be matched to relevant search results for users.
Video Sitemaps can be used by any content publisher with videos on the web, no matter how big or small, no matter if you are doing videos for fun or for business. According to Google, their objective is "to help users find the most relevant content - whether it’s coming from a major TV network or a blogger."
You will need to provide just five pieces of information for each of your videos: title (under 100 characters), description (under 2048 characters), play page URL (the location where web users can access and watch the video), a thumbnail image (to represent your video in Google search results), and the URL of the raw video file itself. The play page can be your own web site or it can be a YouTube or other "free" web hosting site.
However, you can add a lot more information such video duration, when the video expires, number of views etc.
Click here to get info from Google on how to create a Video Sitemap.
Google says that "We use this information to verify that there is actually a live video on your page, and that it is relevant to users’ search queries. You can protect this information so that it’s accessible only by our crawler."
Google will use your Video Sitemap to crawl your website and identify your videos. They MAY then add them to the Google index, so that they appear in search results. While a Video Sitemap helps Google find content on your site that they might not otherwise discover, Google does not guarantee that all videos included in a Sitemap will appear in the Google video search results.
If your video is included, as a result of a search, Google will display a thumbnail image (the one that you provided or a different one that gets auto-generated by Google) of your video content, as well as information, including the video’s title, description and duration, as provided in your Video Sitemap.
When a user clicks your video in search results, they will go to your website where they can view a full playback of the video. Hurray. That is what you want!
As you add more videos to your site, or edit or change the videos on your site, make sure to regularly update, and resubmit the Google video sitemap to reflect those changes.