Friday, July 23, 2010

Google Videos Best Practices for How to deal with Most Common Problems Create When Crawling and Indexing Video Content

We'd like to highlight three best practices that deal with some of the most common problems create when crawling and indexing video content. These three practices includes ensuring your video URLs are crawlable, stating what countries your videos may be played in, and that if your videos are removed, you obviously point out this state to search engines.

1: Verify your video URLs are crawlable: check your robots.txt

Sometimes video URLs are included by the publishers in the Sitemap which are excluded by robots.txt. Care must be taken that your robots.txt file isn't blocking any of the URLs in your Sitemap which includes URLs for the:
  • Play page
  • Content and player
  • Thumbnail
2: Tell us what countries the video may be played in
  • Is your video only offered in some locales? The elective attribute “restriction” has newly been added.
  • You have a choice of telling search engines where to play your videos and where not to play. With the tag, you have the choice of either including a record of all countries where it can be played, or just telling us the countries where it can't be played. If your videos can be played all over, then you don't need to include this.
3: Indicate clearly when videos are removed -- protect the user experience

Sometimes publishers take videos down but don't signal to search engines that they've done so. This can effect in the search engine's index not precisely reflecting content of the web. Then when users click on a search result, they're taken to a page either representing that the video doesn't live, or to a different video. Viewers find this experience dissatisfy. Although we have mechanisms to notice when search results do no longer exist, we strongly recommend following community principles.

To signal that a video has been removed,
  1. Return a 404 (Not found) HTTP response code, you can still return a cooperative page to be display to your users. Follow these practices to create effective 404 pages.
  2. Indicate expiration dates for every video listed in a Video Sitemap (use the element) or mRSS feed ( tag) submitted to Google.