How to Get Your Videos Indexed by Google

How to get your videos listed on Google? Have you already noticed while performing a search on Google, those videos thumbnails displayed on the left side of some sites? They are definitely great traffic attractors, and having such a video associated with your site when being on 5th or 6th positions of the search results page may be better in terms of “click-thru-rate” than being on 1st position without it.

There is an additional bonus in having a video associated to your site: on some occasions, Google displays in a block titled “Video results for Keyword“, often on the 3rd or 5th position, several videos, and when it is the case, you can jump several positions and land directly on the first page to join an already existing video results block.

The trick is to find a search argument for which your page is already ranking well but not yet on the first page, with Google displaying a Video Results group on first page: you will benefit from the optimization work of those who made the way to the first page.

Found the perfect search request? All you need to do now is to make your video indexed by Google, and that’s the
easiest part !

  1. Put a video on your page : I mean a real video, hosted on your site, not on Youtube or DailyMotion. You need a .flv file (or .mpg, .avi, .mp4) and a video plugin that supports this kind of video formats. Jing is perfect to record onscreen action and make nice video tutorials.
  2. Create a thumbnail of your video : that’s the thumbnail that Google will display on its search results page, so making a good quality thumbnail out of your video is an important step. Personally, I’ve found that 160×120 gif or jpg works well for that purpose….and they actually don’t need to be extracted from your video. Any image pertinent to the content of your video will make the trick.
  3. Create a video sitemap : Video sitemaps are XML files similar to usual sitemaps but using a different
    syntax. See an example below.
  4. Submit your video sitemap to Google : Video sitemaps can be submitted in Google Webmaster Tools exactly as a standard sitemap. If you had not yet registered your site in Google Webmaster Tool, that’s the perfect occasion to do it now.

Video Sitemap example

<urlset xmlns=""
      <video:player_loc allow_embed="yes" autoplay="ap=1"></video:player_loc>
      <video:title>Formula One Race: Grand Prix Monaco 1932</video:title>
      <video:description>Nuvolari victory (Alfa Roméo) in 1932 Monaco Grand Prix </video:description>
      <video:tag>Formula One Race</video:tag>
      <video:tag>Alpha Romeo</video:tag>
      <video:tag>Monaco </video:tag>
      <video:category>Car Race</video:category>

The video-specific XML tags are pretty straightforward, but if you need more detail, you can check this page on Google Webmaster Central: Creating Video Sitemaps. Don’t forget to optimize your video sitemap by inserting your main keywords in the video tags, it will give an additional boost to your ranking if done meaningfully.

Guest author Keiros is an outsourcing and infrastructure management consultant, and a contributor to Forum.


  1. Sarbjit Singh says:

    Well that really cool.

    Never knew that you could create Sitemap for Videos. I have always embedded youtube videos (created by me) since that saves bandwidth. However now I will embed them from files hosted on my server.

    Thanks a ton!!

  2. Keiros says:

    Actually, the bandwidth can be an issue, depending on the quality of the video. I’ve a 30 seconds .flv file which weight some 2.8Mb megs and a 2 minutes .flv file which weights only 1.5Mb and looks fine on my page. But if you have a very popular website and a limited bandwidth, forget it or upgrade your hosting plan.

  3. Keiros says:

    Well, if you read carefully, there are some prerequisites to get to the top. That’s not magic and requires some investigation before finding a search request meeting all the prerequisites.

  4. Suzie Boise says:

    Useful site, where did you come up with the info in this blog post? Im happy I found it though, ill be checking back soon to see what other articles you have.

  5. Tim Cross says:

    Great post – really useful information on how to create an XML sitemap and get videos indexed quickly. With blended search results seemingly becoming more and more prevelant in Google’s Universal search this has to be a process worth following more closely.

    • Video says:

      Video sitemaps look like they are going to be key to getting content found , and video is seemingly going to become more and more important for all publishers. But some might still not have the technical skills required to generate a sitemap or perhaps they have lots of video and need a sitemap generated automatically. What is the best solution for non techies who just want their videos to index and rank well to drive traffic to their sites?

  6. Sam Richards says:

    Why would Google not advocate alt tags for videos also? Wouldn’t that seem like a good way to sort and define the actual content of a video?
    thanks for the info.

  7. Wireless Headphones For TV says:

    Nice. It seems Google will not only index everyone else video content, deliver a great user experience but also then profit from all the free content it will be able to index and play back through a Google player? I suspect at some point with their own advertising, placements and monetization strategies.

  8. David says:

    Hello. Awesome article! Can you please tell me how to create a thumbnail of the video and where to put it in code? I am new to this.

  9. jorge perez says:

    I understand that there is also a way of adding tags to a video from you tube by adding it at the end of the code. I will try and report.

  10. Internet Marketing Strategist says:

    Video content is a pretty big deal these days. This article was very useful, thank you.

  11. Prakash Bhosale says:

    Videos are really generates more leads

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