Google Set To Test IndexNow
In October, Microsoft Bing introduced IndexNow, a new crawling protocol that allowed for easy and efficient indexing and crawling. However, what this protocol meant for Google website SEO was uncertain, as the search engine giant was quiet about any plans to adopt this new technology. The entire SEO community was wondering whether or not Google would use it to crawl and index websites in their SEO search results – until the company’s latest announcement.
According to a Google spokesperson, the search engine company has plans to test Microsoft Bing’s new IndexNow protocol.
What Is IndexNow?
Microsoft Bing and Yandex partnered to introduce a new open-source protocol called IndexNow, which enables site owners to notify search engines every time they update an existing web page or add new content to their websites.
In a nutshell, it’s a way for SEOs to get search engines to check if their website has been updated automatically. As a result, search engines can save bandwidth and resources by not having to crawl websites. It also provides publishers with the same benefits too.
The new protocol has been supported by major Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), content management systems, and SEO companies. Here are some of the companies that have adopted the new crawling protocol:
Google Is Proactive In The Crawl Efficiency Game
Many companies and SEOs have accepted IndexNow, but the rest of the SEO community wasn’t sure if they should do the same as they’re dependent on what Google would do. The search engine company has always been concerned about efficiency and sustainability, so the new crawling protocol seems a good fit. However, Google hasn’t commented on IndexNow until recently.
According to Google’s spokesperson, their crawling mechanism is highly effective, and they are still improving it. Last year, they stated that Googlebot uses HTTP/2, the next generation of the Internet’s basic data transfer protocol. HTTP/2 is more effective than its predecessors and saves energy for both Google and sites. In fact, the search engine company uses HTTP/2 in more than 50 per cent of their crawls.
Despite Googlebot’s efficiency, the search engine company wants to take a holistic approach to the new IndexNow, which makes a lot of sense. Google’s backbone is crawling the web, so the company would definitely take every advantage they can get from Microsoft’s new indexing protocol to improve their indexing system’s accuracy and efficiency.
Google added that they have been carbon neutral since 2007 and that they are leaning towards the idea of being carbon-free across campuses and data centres by 2030. They want to make their web crawling more effective and will, therefore, test IndexNow’s potential benefits.
SEOs Are Waiting For WordPress’s Decision
WordPress is the second-most powerful entity after Google, and they are still in the middle of discussing the new crawling protocol. It seems they want to encourage plugin development instead of forcing it into the WordPress core itself. The company is also looking for broader industry buy-in, which means Google and the other search engines.
One of WordPress’s lead developers shared that they are not fully convinced that WordPress should separately ping each search engine. Although it’s not an ideal approach, it’s also not the worst. They further explained that they are unconvinced about allowing API keys and verification callbacks. To avoid favouring any particular engine, they said all supported providers would need to be included in the core.
They then said that it is best if the new crawling protocol would start as a plugin first, then propose it to WordPress core as a feature plugin. Doing so would allow its development to happen separately. Afterwards, they can proceed to add the feature to the core once it is complete.
Such a plan would allow publishers and site owners to opt-in to using IndexNow before WordPress fully launches it. If the company implements it, it would be in WordPress 6.0 at the earliest.
Google Prepares To Test IndexNow
Since Google is leaning towards adopting IndexNow, it can be a huge deal for the entire SEO industry. Perhaps this move will be enough to convince WordPress to integrate the new crawling protocol into their core, and if not, they would probably turn it into a plugin. IndexNow provides benefits that make sense for Google to test it, but there are still no announcements on how long this test would last.
How Does IndexNow Work?
The IndexNow protocol is straightforward: SEOs need to generate a key on their server and then submit a URL to the IndexNow-participating search engines. The following are the simple steps one should follow to participate in the new crawling protocol:
- Generate a key that the protocol supports by utilising the online key generation tool.
- Host the key in a text file named with the key’s value at the root of the website.
- Submit URLs when they have been added, updated, or deleted. One could submit a single URL or a group of URLs for each API call.
Submitting one URL is as simple as sending an HTTP request with an updated URL and the key.
Bing, Yandex, and other participating search engines will receive the update if a website SEO expert uses the Bing approach. Site owners don’t have to submit to both Bing’s and Yandex’s URLs; they can choose either of the two, and all search engines that are part of the campaign will notice the change.
The search engines are now using the IndexNow system, so if a site owner notifies one, that search engine will instantly re-ping the other engine in the background, and so all get the same notification. IndexNow requires any search engines participating in the protocol to agree to the automatic sharing of the submitted URLs with all other engines.
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Google’s algorithm system is ever-changing. Whether or not the company implements the new crawling protocol IndexNow, you must still ensure that your web pages are ready for crawling and indexing to increase search visibility and traffic to your website.
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