Microsoft introduces IndexNow, a new protocol that can help Search Engines discover and index website content almost instantaneously.
What is IndexNow?
IndexNow is a new initiative by Microsoft that allows site owners to easily alert search engines when content is added, modified, or removed on a page. Once the search engines are notified of the updates via an API, they quickly crawl and index the pages and the changes are seen in the search results almost immediately.
IndexNow is an open-source protocol that is open to all search engines that wish to participate. At the moment, Microsoft Bing and Yandex are fully participating in the initiative, while other search engines are expected to join soon.
Here’s the official announcement by Microsoft:
“IndexNow is a new protocol created by Microsoft Bing and Yandex, allowing websites to easily notify search engines whenever their website content is created, updated, or deleted. Using an API, once search engines are notified of updates they quickly crawl and reflect website changes in their index and search results.”
What is the process?
The process is fairly simple. Following are the steps in order to adopt the IndexNow protocol:
- Using Microsoft’s online key generation tool, create a protocol-compatible key on your server
- At the root of your website, save the key in a text file named after the key’s value.
- Start submitting your pages as soon as the content is created, updated, or deleted. You can submit either one URL or a bunch of URLs per API call.
This enables websites to use a Push method instead of a Pull method.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Push and Pull methods for those who aren’t familiar with them:
- “Push” is when the website notifies the search engine whenever a page is updated
- “Pull” is when the website waits for the crawler to request pages and then discover the new changes.
How will it benefit Indexing?
Website owners convey a clear signal to search engines when they alert them that a URL has changed. This allows search engines to prioritize crawling for these URLs and decreasing the need for exploratory crawling to see if the content has changed. This significantly reduces the time it takes for new content to be discovered and indexed in search results.
Highlights of Bing’s announcement:
“…one of the biggest pain points for website owners has been to have search engines quickly discover and consider their latest website changes. 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.
The IndexNow protocol can help the entire industry get their content indexed faster, while using less resources. This helps business get the most timely and relevant information to their customers while creating a better overall experience for everyone.”
Our goal is to give each adopter the maximum benefit in terms of indexation, crawl load management and freshness of the content to searchers.”
Who all are adopting the IndexNow Protocol?
Many major websites, including eBay, LinkedIn, MSN, GitHub, and others, are intending to migrate to IndexNow, according to Microsoft.
IndexNow’s open-source code has been made available to Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Wix, and Duda. IndexNow will be integrated & adopted by all of these CMSs soon.
Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) such as Cloudflare and Akamai are also adopting IndexNow to provide flawless and up-to-date experiences to their customers.
According to our sources, Google is aware of the IndexNow project and has been asked to participate. However, at this time, Google is not a participant in IndexNow. It will be interesting to see if Google adopts the protocol.
Do you think IndexNow will bring a major change in Search Engine Indexing? Let us know in the comments section below.
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