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A Video XML Sitemap can ensure that search engines see all of the videos on your website. So in this video, I won't talk in huge detail about how to create them. I will point you in the right direction to get started and tell you about what you need to know if you're managing other people who are actually building the sitemaps. If you don't need to know how to create a sitemap, if you have a development team or a company that does your development for you, then these are the things you need to know. First, you need to know your Google Webmaster Tools login.
If you don't have one, you need to set one up. And you can talk to the folks who manage your website to do that. You need a list of all of the videos on your site and the pages that they're on. And you need to be able to provide access to your web server to the people who are going to create the sitemap. If you're not going to create the sitemap yourself you can actually stop the video here, you're good to go. Before we begin, again, you need to have a Google Webmaster Tools account. That's how you're going to upload the Video Sitemap later on, so make sure you do have that set up and you have the password.
If you've never heard of an XML Sitemap, here's a quick summary. XML Sitemaps in general are an entire category of specialized files uploaded to the web to help search engines figure out all of the entities on a website, the pages, the videos, the sound files, et cetera. A Video XML Sitemap will provide a list of the videos that you're embedding on your site, the pages on which they're embedded, the videos titles, and descriptions and other optional information like the length of the video, number of views, a thumbnail, things like that. A basic XML Video Sitemap looks like this.
It looks really scary. But if you break it down, it's actually pretty simple. There's this template. This text that you just have to use time and time again. And that's all of the stuff that's in blue or in red. And then, if you see the black text here. This is what you would actually change. So this is the video page title. The description of the page that it's on. An optional link to the thumbnail for the video, et cetera. This is really a template. It's like doing a mail merge in Microsoft Word. You just take this text file and you insert all of the snippets of text into it.
And if you want to learn about the standard you can. You can go to a site called sitemaps.org and really dive into how the standard is set up and how you deal with the various properties of videos. Luckily, you also don't have to write your sitemap by hand. There are a lot of tools out there to make your life easier. Most important, if you're using WordPress. Especially the installed version, wordpress.org. There are great plugins that will generate Google XML Sitemaps for you. One of my favorites is called Google XML Sitemaps for Videos.
But you can go onto the wordpress.org website. Search through the plugins. Install the plug in. And it will do everything else for you. My team has actually created a fancy Google Doc spreadsheet that will generate the sitemap for you. Go on to Google and do a quick search on video sitemap generator portent and just click the first item and you can go use that sheet. And there are several paid products and services that will generate the sitemaps for you. Google lists some of the more common ones on their site and you can find that page by doing a search on Google for code.google wiki sitemapgenerators. Once you've completed the sitemap you'll up load it using Google Webmaster tools. So, here I'm in Google Webmaster Tools.
I've actually logged in, I clicked on Optimization and then Sitemaps. I'll click Add to a Sitemap, follow the prompts and just upload my file. Google will tell you, within minutes, if there is any problems with the file. So, you want to keep an eye on this and then go back and fix anything you need to and then upload it again and that's it. I've seen videos appear in Google's index, as quickly as a day after, I uploaded a video sitemap. So, creating video sitemaps can be a chore. But it's worth the time and the investment, it ensures that search engines know where videos are located on your site.
And it increases the chances your site will rank, instead of the video page on YouTube or another third party hosting service. Take a look at your site, see how many videos there are on there, find out if you're using WordPress or another pre built content management system that has a plugin for Video XML Sitemaps. And do the initial investigation on just how hard it's going to be to create that XML sitemap.
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