Common Video Indexing Pitfalls
These are some of the most common video indexing issues we have seen and how we suggest you resolve them to increase the likelihood that your videos will be returned in search results. You should also take a look at our Video Search Best Practices and our usual Webmaster Guidelines.
Blocking resources with robots.txt
If you are using video Sitemaps or mRSS, make sure that Google can access any Sitemap or mRSS feed that you submit. If these are blocked by robots.txt, we will not be able to read them.
Low-quality thumbnail images
We accept thumbnails of any image format but require them to be at least 160 x 90 pixels. The maximum size is 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Duplicate thumbnails, titles, or descriptions
Using the same thumbnail, title, or description for different videos can affect video indexing and can be confusing to users. Make sure that the data for each video is unique. For episodic content, a common problem is multiple videos with the same title-screen thumbnail.
Accidentally setting an expiration date in the past
When Google sees a video with an expiration date in the past, we will not include the video in any search results. This includes expiration dates from Sitemaps, on-page markup, and the meta expiration tag in the site header. Make sure that your expiration dates are correct for each video. While this is useful if your video is no longer available after the expiration date, it's easy to accidentally setting the date to the past for an available video. If a video does not expire, do not include any expiration information.
Indicating actual expired videos
When an embedded video has been removed from a page, some sites use a Flash player to tell users that the video is no longer available. This can be problematic for search engines, and therefore, we recommend the following options:
- Return an 404 (Not found) HTTP status code for any landing page that contains a removed or expired video. In addition to the 404 response code, you can still return the HTML of the page to make this transparent to most users.
Indicate expiration dates in on-page markup, video Sitemaps (use
<video:expiration_date>element), or mRSS feed (
<dcterms:valid>tag) submitted to Google.
Learn more about notifying Google of video changes and removing videos.
Small, hidden, or difficult to find videos
Make sure that your videos are visible and easy to find on your video pages. Google suggests using a standalone page for each video with a descriptive title or description unique to each individual video. Videos should be prominent on the page and should not be hidden or difficult to find.