IndexNow can radically change content discovery for search engines by letting publishers push their content to instant indexing.
Traditionally, Search Engines have always used pull methods to obtain website data. This simply means that search engines use crawlers to visit sites to pull the data from the server.
IndexNow is a new protocol introduced by Microsoft in Q4 of 2021 which can turn the way search engines acquire data on its head. It allows websites to easily notify search engines whenever new website content is created, updated or deleted. Essentially, this introduces a “push” method for content discovery where content management platforms like WordPress are able to get search engines to quickly crawl and reflect the changes in their index and search results.
This means publishers and website owners don’t have to wait long for search engines to discover their content. In its simplest form, IndexNow is a way to ping search engines to let them know that changes have been made to a website’s content.
In its blog, Microsoft wrote: “By telling search engines whether an URL has been changed, website owners provide a clear signal helping search engines to prioritize crawl for these URLs, thereby limiting the need for exploratory crawl to test if the content has changed.”
So far, it has support from Microsoft Bing, Seznam.cz and Yandex. Search engines adopting the protocol agree that submitted URLs will be automatically shared with all other participating search engines. To participate, search engines need to have a noticeable presence in at least one market.
The big question floating around now is whether Google will also be using this protocol. Google is said to be testing it for sustainability. A Google spokesperson has confirmed in an interview with Search Engine Land that while its crawling efforts are efficient, Google will test to see if it can improve its overall sustainability efforts by leveraging the protocol.
Many large websites are already using Microsoft Bing Webmaster URL submission API and have plans to migrate to IndexNow, this includes websites such as eBay, LinkedIn, MSN, Github, Bizapedia and more.
For publishers, CMS platforms and Content Delivery Networks (CDN) are also already on board. WordPress, Wix and Duda have said that they are supporting the project. Cloudflare and Akamai have also outlined their plans for support.
Next Steps for You
Instant indexing should be every website owner’s dream. You can benefit from the fast indexing. As Microsoft mentioned in its blog “It can take days or even weeks for new URLs to be discovered and indexed in search engines, resulting in loss of potential traffic, customers, and even sales.” Additionally, the instant indexing also reduces server load caused by bot crawling your web pages.
Implementation is simple and straightforward. You just need to create a key on your server (use this online key generator), host your API key, then submit a URL to search engines. You can submit one URL by sending a simple HTTP request with the format below:
To submit a set of URLs, use a POST JSON request. You can submit up to 10,000 URLs per post, with a mix of http and https as needed.
More information on implementation and documentation can be found here: https://www.indexnow.org/documentation
IndexNow is simple to use and requires very little development effort to add to your site, so it makes perfect sense to implement it.
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