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How to Create a Video Sitemap for Embedded YouTube Videos (without using linkedtube.com)

Dean Marsden

by Dean Marsden on 1st August 2011

YouTube Video SitemapsI recently came across no easy explanation on how to create a Google Video Sitemap for your website when you are using YouTube as your video host. Many people benefit from YouTube’s excellent video embedding options to deliver their videos reliably and quickly within their own website.

Google originally created Video Sitemaps to be able index video content of websites that had created, uploaded and hosted their own videos. But these days more people use the excellent free video hosting services to save on their bandwidth costs and increase their involvement in social media.

When you use Google’s current video sitemap template for any hosted video you come across a big problem: where is the video file and thumbnail image hosted? After searching the internet hopelessly I found some software that discovered the current location of my embedded YouTube videos.

Creating a Video Sitemap for Your Embedded YouTube Videos the easy way

The sitemap generator I used to create a Video Sitemap was Microsys’ A1 Sitemap Generator (Professional edition – $69). You simply choose the Google video sitemap preset and enter your websites URL. It will then crawl your website and find your embedded YouTube videos, then go off and grab the source and thumbnail image URLs and add them to the sitemap. The sitemap will get the title, description, tags and category from the HTML of your page with the embedded video.

Creating a Video Sitemap for Your Embedded YouTube Videos the FREE way

If you want to create a Video Sitemap for your YouTube videos for free, try using my Embedded YouTube Video Sitemap template, it may not always work for you and is not guaranteed to work. Just replace the XX’s with the video id of your YouTube video and edit the Title, description, tags and category as necessary. Duplicate the <url></url> section to add more videos.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1">
<url>
<loc>http://www.urlofpagewithvideo.com/</loc>
<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
<priority>1.0</priority>
<video:video>
<video:player_loc allow_embed="yes">http://www.youtube.com/v/XXXXXXXXXXX?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&hd=1&autoplay=1</video:player_loc>
<video:thumbnail_loc>http://img.youtube.com/vi/XXXXXXXXXXX/default.jpg</video:thumbnail_loc>
<video:title>Video Title</video:title>
<video:description>The video description goes here.</video:description>
<video:tag>tag</video:tag>
<video:tag>tag</video:tag>
<video:tag>tag</video:tag>
<video:category>category</video:category>
</video:video>
</url>
</urlset>

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden will be keeping you up to speed with video marketing and conversion rate optimisation. Dean excels at delivering video marketing solutions for clients and specialises in converting website visitors into customers.

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22 Comments

  • Scott 15th September 2011

    Does this actually work for video sitemaps, and have you confirmed that you get indexed? I tried pretty much this exact method, but google had not supported youtube embedded videos as the player_loc value. Last I heard, they were worried about people stealing embedded youtube videos, and copyright infringment.

    Has something changed?

    Reply to this comment

  • Dean Marsden

    Dean 15th September 2011

    Hi Scott, thanks for your comments. For a few client sites we have done this for they do not currently show in the video results despite Webmaster Tools showing it has accepted the Sitemap and indexed each one. I have, however seen results for embedded YouTube video in past for other websites (I can’t remember them at the moment).

    You are right, there is talk about them not being indexed due to copyright infringement and spam: someone could just embed a lot of popular videos on their domain in an attempt to get traffic for those searches. However, Google do recommend still creating a video sitemap for your embedded YouTube videos. See around 30mins in on this video: http://youtu.be/kks0wPkX12I

    I would also suggest the videos you embed are uploaded to a YouTube account in with the same name as your brand with a link to your website (in the account profile) you are embedding them on, just in case copyright is a factor for them not being shown in the results currently.

    Reply to this comment

  • John 19th September 2011

    I have a valid Video Sitemap and embeds from sources other than YouTube will show in search results but not YouTube Embeds. I know Google has experimented with this as at times in the past I’ve seen the thumbnail for a YouTube video embedded on my site show in the search results.

    An easy way to check what is showing with thumbnails is to do a Google Video Search using site:YourDomainName

    I guess they just feel safer directly all the traffic back to YouTube.

    Reply to this comment

    • Dean Marsden

      Dean 19th September 2011

      Hi John. Thanks for clarification of the results you have seen. It must be something they are working on.

      In my opinion, one option could be that Google have a filter in place on the video sitemaps that check the ownership information on the YouTube videos and flag up any copyright information.

      Currently if you try to re-post to a popular video on your YouTube profile you get warning stating the original owners copyright. I think this could be implemented well on the sitemaps. Put simply, Google would exclude indexation of any videos with titles that are copyrighted and allow indexation of ones you own.

      Reply to this comment

      • John 19th September 2011

        That would work if you own the original video and they could give more “points” for that in search results. Ideally though, they would also allow sites that are embedding other peoples original videos from YouTube to show up in the video search rankings as well.

        I’m sure they can use an algorithm that would work similar to their normal search results so a site that is just posting a bunch of videos to get results doesn’t rank high. Kind of like all the sites that copy someone else’s work trying to get on the first page.

  • Dean Marsden

    Dean Marsden 19th September 2011

    Good Idea, other embedded videos should show up if relevant to the page content.

    It is a pretty simple system we are proposing here, hopefully Google are working on something like this :)

    Reply to this comment

  • Don Vanderloo 29th October 2011

    I have a few questions. I am referencing a video that I uploaded to Vidly. I’m using their service to make my video compatible across all devices including tablets and smartphones. Initially I uploaded my sitemap including only the pages of the site, but I went back and copy/pasted an example video sitemap from Google and switched out the example info with my own. I pasted this into my original sitemap and added the video reference to the header tag of the XML. Now I see that Google has only indexed one of my pages and Webmaster Tools shows my sitemap as ‘Video’ type. Question one: can I reference a video from Vidly in my sitemap? Question two: Am I supposed to submit separate sitemaps: one for the pages of the site and another for video? Thanks very much.

    Reply to this comment

  • Dean Marsden

    Dean 31st October 2011

    Hi Don, I am not sure on the support of videos hosted by vid.ly. Creating a video sitemap for a hosted video service is not always going to work as they are designed for videos hosted on your own website. Having said that it is worth trying what you have done with referencing your vid.ly urls in the sitemap. Yes, Make sure you submit your video sitemap as a separate sitemap. One for your videos with just the video stuff and the another for your website’s pages. You can submit multiple sitemaps to Google webmaster tools so you could even split your pages into multiple sitemaps as well.

    Reply to this comment

  • Guy 15th March 2012

    Very interesting information… Especially informative was Google relunctance to index the video’s embedded from YouTube. I hadn’t realised that – annoying!

    For those using Drupal, you may find my working solution using views of help: http://onlinebusinessbuilders.co.uk/video-tutorials/how-create-google-video-sitemap-drupal

    Reply to this comment

  • Rajesh 12th September 2012

    Hi Dean,
    I need know whether i did video sitemap is right or wrong? If anything wrong pls mention via comments, checkout here, http://www.themiamirealestatelawyer.com/video-sitemap.xml

    How do i create video sitemap like this, http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/sitemap_video.xml ?

    Help me in this regard pls..

    Reply to this comment

  • Dean Marsden

    Dean Marsden 12th September 2012

    Hi Rajesh, thanks for checking out my blog post. Provided you have followed the details in the blog post and the videos aren’t showing, it might be that Google have chosen not to show them. It’s a little bit hit and miss when trying to get YouTube videos indexed on your own website.

    You can use Google Webmaster Tools to verify and check your current video sitemap and if it has been indexed.

    Have you tried to use xml-sitemaps.com to generate one? Otherwise take a look at the source code on that page (http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/sitemap_video.xml) to see how it is structured if my example above doesn’t work.

    Reply to this comment

  • Edison 8th October 2012

    I was reading the comments and I wonder if is there any way any of you guys can do a live example on a video how this works

    I would love to see the video site map creation and set up.I don’t need the webmaster adding website Part I already how to do all that Thanks guys

    Reply to this comment

    • Dean Marsden

      Dean Marsden 8th October 2012

      Hi Edison, We will try to find some time to show an example of this process in action. Thanks for the feedback. Keep your eyes on the blog or even Koozai TV!

      Reply to this comment

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  • Chryssa 12th December 2012

    We used this tool but it didn’t populate any “thumbnail_loc” fields and Webmaster Tools is calling them all errors. Any insight would be appreciated.

    Reply to this comment

    • Dean Marsden

      Dean Marsden 13th December 2012

      thumbnial_loc is required by Google. The software may not have found a thumbnail image, so you may need to create one, upload it to your site and add in the URL of its location into the sitemap manually.

      Reply to this comment

  • tim 9th February 2013

    i made videosite map for my youtube video ..where am i supposed to upload the xml file ? any idea

    Reply to this comment

    • Dean Marsden

      Dean Marsden 11th February 2013

      Hi Tim, The Sitemap file can be uploaded anywhere on your website, although its best practice to put it in the root of the domain, eg http://www.mydomain.com/myvideositemap.xml

      Once you have uploaded it, remember to tell Google and Bing where it is by adding a reference in their Webmaster Tools services.

      Reply to this comment

      • tim 12th February 2013

        but the video am talking about is a youtube video ..is it okay to upload youtubes video xml to my any other site ??? i dont have a site on that niche yet ..what could be the best possible thing …….
        i would also like to know that my video was embeded on other sites( som eother owner ) as well ..so if i make xml for those urls of the site cna i upload those xml too on my site ???

  • Dean Marsden

    Dean Marsden 12th February 2013

    You can make a video sitemap for YouTube videos that are posted on your website, whether you own them or not. If you want to view other sites your own video has been embedded on then click on the statistics button on the YouTube video page.

    Reply to this comment

  • Alex Paps 21st November 2013

    Hi Dean, thanks for the blog post.

    Which tool did you use to create a video sitemap for Koozai. Can you also share the video sitemap URL ? Koozai TV is a good thinking, by hosting the videos on the website, therefore you send the visitors to the website (instead of directing people to YouTube)

    Reply to this comment

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