What Is IndexNow

What Is IndexNow And How It Can Be Used For SEO?

Posted On : March 9th, 2022   By : Dillip K Mohanty   To : Bing, Technical SEO

Simply put, IndexNow is a product of Microsoft Bing and Yandex‘s creative effort- to push content to search engines. This protocol made it easier for webmasters to inform search engines about the changes done to the website using an HTTP request and get its updated URLs indexed instantly. By giving precedence to these modified URLs, search engines can limit their requirement for the exploratory crawl.

Besides, if adopted by all search engines, IndexNow would open up the internet. According to Microsoft Bing, “IndexNow is also an initiative for a more open internet; By notifying one search engine you will notify all search engines that have adopted IndexNow”. In this article, we will discuss the way webmasters can adopt IndexNow and the way it would strengthen their website’s SEO. To begin with, let’s discuss how it differs from Bing’s content and URL submission API.

How does IndexNow differ from Bing’s content and URL submission APIs?

Microsoft Bing’s content submission API allows webmasters to notify Bing about the newly created or modified content bypassing BingBot crawling. On the contrary, URL submission API allows webmasters to inform Bing about the creation of new content or modification of older content; resulting in its immediate crawling, indexing, and discovery. But, these two APIs don’t work with the IndexNow protocol. The IndexNow protocol works differently and not only crawls and indexes submitted URLs and content but also notifies other search engines about the changes.

How to implement IndexNow?

The following steps would help you to implement and reap the benefits of the IndexNow protocol;

  • The first thing you have to do is to generate an API key (https://www.bing.com/indexnow)
  • Download and save the key in a text file
  • Host that key (only in text format) at the root directory of your site’s server
  • That’s it… now, you can submit single or multiple URLs that are newly added, updated, or deleted

For IndexNow best practices, please go through the information provided in https://www.indexnow.org/documentation

Popular content management systems like WordPress, Wix, Duda and several content delivery networks like Cloudflare and Akamai are supporting or planning to support the IndexNow protocol.

Does Google support IndexNow?

Not till now… Google is taking a careful and measured approach to the IndexNow protocol. Here’s what Google’s spokesperson said about it;

We take a holistic approach to sustainability at Google, including efforts to develop the most efficient and accurate index of the web. We have been carbon neutral since 2007 and we are on pace to be carbon-free by 2030 across both our data centers and campuses. We’re encouraged by work to make web crawling more efficient, and we will be testing the potential benefits of this protocol.

How can IndexNow benefit your site’s SEO?

For a business owner, the whole point of developing a website is to generate a ton of traffic, acquire new customers, and increase sales. For that to happen, your website needs to be crawled and indexed by major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. However, if search engines fail to crawl your website on time, then what’s the point of owning a website. Let me help you to understand the basics of crawling and indexing.

What does it mean for a website to be crawled and indexed?

In layman’s term, ‘crawling’ help search engines to find out new and modified websites. It is a continual process that employs a crawler or bot- which is a computer program that systematically browses the internet to find out publicly available web pages. Then, search engines process and store that data in a very organized manner in an enormous database- this process is known as ‘indexing’. It helps search engines in swift and accurate data retrieval. Now that we know the basics of crawling and indexing, let’s find out the way they can influence your site’s SEO.

Well, ‘crawling’ and its frequency might not be raking signals for major search engines, but they help your site for being in search results. And, if your site is not frequently crawled by search engines, then it is a cause of concern and might harm your site’s overall SEO. Listed below are a few things major search engines take into consideration to prioritize what and when to crawl.

Factors that are known for influencing crawling frequency

Crawling frequency‘ might not be a thing you should be worried about. But, here’s a list of factors that major search engines like Google takes into consideration to determine the rate at which sites should be crawled- ‘crawl rate limit‘ being one of them. It can be defined as the number of parallel connections a crawler may use to crawl a website at the same time. If the site’s response time is fast, it tends to be crawled more often and vice versa.

Besides, another factor search engines like Google takes into consideration to determine crawl rating is ‘crawl demand‘. In simple terms, if a URL is popular, then its crawl rate is more likely to go up. If your website’s valuable pages don’t get crawled on time, they will not show up in the SERPs – which is not only bad for your site’s SEO but also bad for your business. You might lose potential customers, resulting in revenue loss. However, if adopted by major search engines, IndexNow can help you to overcome this problem.

How IndexNow can shape the future of web crawling?

By using the IndexNow protocol, you can notify search engines about the changes done to your site. They will prioritize crawl for these URLs based on crawl quota for your site and numerous other factors. This protocol even allows users to submit redirects like 301 and 302 redirects to inform search engines about the changes. You can also inform search engines about new dead links like HTTP 404 and HTTP 410. By pushing content to search engines, the IndexNow protocol made it possible for website owners not to wait for search engines to crawl and index.

In conclusion

IndexNow protocol is a free-of-cost open platform that allows webmasters around the world to get their web content crawled and indexed quickly. Although this does not give any guarantee, it is just helping you to inform search engines that you are caring about the submitted URLs. As a result of which, they will prioritize crawling and indexing of those URLs. It is also important to note that URLs submitted by users have to meet certain criteria put forth by search engines. If they don’t meet those criteria, search engines may opt for not crawling and indexing them.

Dillip Kumar Mohanty

He is the co-founder & director of SUVAANCE Internet Marketing Services Pvt. Ltd. He is passionate about search marketing & Google algorithm and is actively writing on these here.

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