We are using the tool mp4hls (https://www.bento4.com/developers/hls/) to prep the hls stream. Basically, I think it can conver any video format to .mp4 then it convert to .ts. However, Google only crawlable to these format:

Google can crawl the following video file types: .3g2, .3gp2, .3gp, .3gpp, .asf, .avi, .divx, .f4v, .flv, .m2v,, .m3u8, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mp4, .mpe, .mpeg, .mpg, .ogv, .qvt, .ram, .rm, .vob, .webm, .wmv, .xap

We are uncertain about Google's ability to understand hls playlists and rank our video site (we have a video platform site). Because that's the streaming container for everything

  • Google does not crawl any form of video format, why would it? Google and Bing crawl pages... if there happens to be a video on it, then it doesn't download that video, it simply indexes the page. – Simon Hayter Nov 29 at 18:46
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    I also thought like that until I read this page. support.google.com/webmasters/answer/156442?hl=en – Long Nguyen Nov 29 at 19:32
  • @SimonHayter Googlebot downloads videos and crawls them for thumbnails and video previews. See answer for details. – Maximillian Laumeister Nov 29 at 19:41
  • @MaximillianLaumeister Your right but also wrong. Google and Bing do NOT crawl video files in the same way they would a page. It simply 'skims' video files and extracts things like thumbnails and captions on supported files. On non-container video files such as AVI it will simply download the first few bytes and extract the thumbnail from the first few keyframes. To imply Google or Bing crawl video files gives this false impression that Google understands the video content, they don't. YouTube on the other hand is different, video is processed. – Simon Hayter Nov 30 at 15:04
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Google cannot crawl video streams in a .ts container, but if you use structured data carefully, you may still be able to get your video to rank in search.

Google does download and crawls video streams, but only when they are in one of the supported formats that you stated in your question (Source). Google's crawler then uses the video content to generate video thumbnails and previews, as well as to understand more about your video.

If Google's bot cannot crawl the video stream, I would be especially sure that your structured data is set up properly. The video stream itself is only one of the sources of information about the video that Google looks for on your page, so if you describe your video thoroughly and accurately in the metadata (including length, thumbnail, etc.), Google may still rank your video and show enhancements:

In order to expose a video in search results, Google must understand something about the video. Google can extract information about a video in the following ways:

  • Google can crawl the video (if in a supported video encoding) and extract a thumbnail and preview. Google can also extract some limited meaning from the audio and video of the file.
  • Google can extract information from the page hosting the video, including the page text and meta tags.
  • Google can use structured data (VideoObject) or video sitemap associated with the video.

Video Best Practices - Google Search Console

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