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Video Sitemaps: How We Find Great Videos

Friday, May 02, 2008 5/02/2008 04:32:00 PM

Michael Cohen, Product Manager

As we've mentioned before, the Google Video team wants to make it possible for you to search every video on the web. This is a tall order, and we're constantly working to make sure we have the latest and greatest videos. Ever wondered how we actually discover all the videos that make it into video search?

While we receive a small percentage of our videos from user uploads, we get the vast majority of them by crawling the web. We've gotten pretty good at this over the past several years, but of course it's helpful when webmasters tell us exactly where to look to find their videos. This is where a protocol called Video Sitemaps (an extension of the Sitemap Protocol) comes in. Video Sitemaps allow webmasters to give us links directly to their videos and provide valuable descriptive information such as a video's title, description, and length. We can then target our crawlers at these videos and pull them into the Google Video index, allowing them to show up in Google Video searches as well as searches on

Some key information provided by a sitemap includes:
  • A link to the video's "landing page" (i.e., the link you'd visit in your browser)
  • A title of the video for us to display in our search results
  • A description of the video to accompany each result
  • The duration of the video
  • An image thumbnail that we can show in our search results
  • A link to an embeddable video player -- so you can watch the video in TV view
If you administer a website with video and would like to see your site appear in our search results, a Video Sitemap is definitely your best bet. To get started, create a Video Sitemap, sign into Google Webmaster Tools, and add the Video Sitemap to your account.