What is IndexNow & how to use it?


Indexing and crawling issues are some of the peskiest issues for an SEO consultant. Such issues are likely to end soon with IndexNow.  Read this post to know what IndexNow is and how to use it? 

What is IndexNow?

IndexNow is an indexing protocol created by Microsoft and Yandex which offers smooth and instant information to search engines regarding all content changes on the website. 

To define in a simple manner, IndexNow is a ping that allows search engines to know about a URL and the content that is added, deleted or updated. This allows search engines to display the changes in content in (almost) real time. 

It is an open source innovation for search engines to discover and index content. Whenever content is updated on a website, it helps in notifying all search engines, thereby decreasing the time taken to index. 

Usually, search engines do not crawl every given URL too often, but IndexNow changes this as it notifies them instantly about the updated content. 

Without its help, search engines would take days (sometimes event weeks) to discover changes in content. It is a major evolution in real-time indexing. 

How does it work?

IndexNow is a type of push-based indexing. As such, search engines by default are built to use pull-based indexing. To clarify, push and pull are two ways in which search engines gather index data. The search engine crawlers scan the web and crawl individual URLs to index them. 

Push-based indexing, like in the case of IndexNow, enables a mechanism where search engine crawlers visit a given website or individual page after being requested by the IndexNow. It, therefore, involves pings which are sent to search engines. 

A ping is a kind of notification that informs search engines that a URL was recently modified or published. The same is true for when certain content is deleted from the page. If you have IndexNow enabled, then you can ping Yandex or Bing to call their crawlers to crawl a given page. 

How to use IndexNow?

Using IndexNow to notify search engines about any updates to your content is quite a simple procedure. Suppose an SEO Agency in Idaho wants to instantly index a page on their website.

The following are the steps they need to follow: 

  1. Generation of API Key: Generate an API Key and submit it along with URLs. This can be done using an online API generator tool. 
  2. Hosting API Key: After you generate an API Key, it is hosted in the root directory in text format. 
  3. Submitting URLs with Parameters: You may choose to submit a URL or a bunch of URLs at a time. You have to submit your API Key location as a parameter. 
  4. Checking Your Submissions: For this, you can use the Bing Webmaster Tools portal, and thus you can cross-check which URLs are submitted and which have been discovered. 

Advanced users can use Python for bulk indexing and URL submission automation. 

Evolution of Indexing

IndexNow is a great evolution and innovation in search indexing. It enables and provides a major paradigm shift in how search engines can discover newly published pages or websites. 

It is beneficial for publishers as it allows rapid indexing without waiting for days. Also, IndexNow is helpful as it lessens server loads from bots that frequently crawl publishers’ web pages. 

Microsoft reported that big corporations such as eBay, MSN, LinkedIn, Bizapedia and GitHub are also planning their migration to IndexNow using the Bing URL submission API. 

The other companies are expected to follow suit, as the benefits of IndexNow are quite clear. To improve their indexing, even the smaller companies will choose to take this as an option for faster indexing of their websites. 

Why IndexNow is needed? 

With IndexNow the webmasters do not have to waste time on search engines taking time to crawl their sitemaps. They can simply notify regarding new or updated content to the search engines, which is a productive and great evolution for faster indexing. 

It is a simple, faster way to allow search engines to discover the updates on any website or its pages. 

The way search engines index websites and URLs is changing, giving an opportunity to publishers to compete better in search engine rankings. IndexNow has already been taken up by many large corporations and presents a great opportunity for even smaller businesses to make use of this indexing protocol. 

How IndexNow will benefit publishers? 

There are many benefits of IndexNow for the publishers. Here are some of them listed below:

  • It is a faster and simpler way to convey any new changes to search engines, which is helpful for page rankings as well. 
  • Using a single API call, publishers can provide search engines with a list of about 10,000 URLs 
  • Indexing the content faster certainly allows the websites or pages to compete better in search engine rankings 
  • It reduces the waiting time of days or weeks usually taken by search engine crawlers to identify and index newly updated content on the website or individual pages. 

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