The Most Common Video Indexing Pitfalls

Learn How To Avoid The Most Common Video Indexing Downfalls

Not to see your hard work being indexed by search engines like Google is a true nightmare. Here is some of the most common video indexing issues and how you can resolve them to increase the likelihood that your videos will be returned in search results.image1

1. Low-quality thumbnail images

Google accepts thumbnails of any image format but require them to be at least 160 x 90 pixels. The maximum size is 1920 x 1080 pixels.

2. Duplicate thumbnails, titles, or descriptions

Using the same Title,  thumbnails, or description for different videos can affect video indexing and can be confusing to users. Just make sure that the data for each video is unique. As for episodic content, a common problem is multiple videos with the same title-screen thumbnail.

3. Blocking resources with robots.txt

A very common practice is to use robots.txt to prevent search engines from crawling JavaScript, video, and image files. For Google to index a video, Google must be able to see the thumbnail specified in your markup or sitemap, that includes the page the video is on, the video itself, and any JavaScript or other resources needed to load the video.

 It is very important  that your robots.txt rules do not block any of these video-related resources.

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, The search engine will not be able to read it.

4. Setting an expiration date in the past accidentally

When Google sees a video with an expiration date in the past, they will not include it in any search results. This may includes expiration dates from Sitemaps, on-page markup, plus the meta expiration tag in the website header.

Therefore, It is very important to ensure 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 on it.

5. Indicating actual expired videos

When an embedded video has been removed from a page, Manny websites use a Flash player to tell the users that the video is no longer available. This can be an issue for search engines, therefore, Google recommend the following options:

A.  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.

B. Indicate expiration dates in on-page markup, video Sitemaps.

Use the <video:expiration_date> element), or mRSS feed (<dcterms:valid> tag) submitted to Google.

6. Complex JavaScript, hash tags & flash

When creating your website, it’s essential to configure your video pages without any overly complex JavaScript or Flash setup.

For instance, if you have many videos playable from within the same Flash source, those will not be correctly surfaced in Video Search, because Google can’t provide users with a unique URL to every  video.

Same, if you are using overly complicated JavaScript to create the embed objects from within JavaScript under only certain circumstances, for instance, using hash tags in the URL,  then it’s also possible that Google will not correctly pick your videos.

And If you are using on-page markup such as, then the markup should be present without running any complex Flash or Java script.

To make sure that Google will notice your videos, try to use a text-based browser like Lynx to view your video page without any JavaScript or page-level Flash execution


Typical single-video Flash players are okay. If your video and markup is visible, then Google should be able to notice it.

7. Hidden,  Small or difficult to find videos

For all your videos to be visible and easy to find on your video pages is very important. Google suggests using a standalone page for each video with a descriptive title or description unique to each individual video.

All Videos should be prominent on the pages and should not be hidden or hard to locate.

This video below by Google sheds more lights on this topic

Hope this was of great help to you.


Sam Ammouri

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