Search Engine Optimisation

Will Google adopt the IndexNow protocol?

A few months ago we made a pretty bold claim, that WordPress would become the ultimate CMS for SEO. As the most widely used CMS on the web today, some might argue that’s already true. However, that wasn’t the reason for the article we posted. Towards the beginning of 2021, Microsoft put forward a proposal for WordPress sites to directly push new and updated pages directly to search engines. The Principle Program Manager at Bing, Fabrice Canel, made a feature request to integrate WordPress Core with Bing, and all other search engines like Google, providing direct notifications when pages are published or updated.

Bing had already created their URL submissions plugin that integrates with Bing Webmaster Tools. However, the request made by Canel went beyond a plugin, wanting to integrate this kind of new content notification system at the platform’s core. A pretty ambitious goal?

Well, skip forward several months and Bing is behind a similar initiative called the IndexNow protocol. In partnership, Microsoft and Yandex have announced the IndexNow protocol and have invited other search engines to join them. The initiative will enable website owners to notify participating search engines when new content is published, enabling it to be instantly indexed. Microsoft stated, “the goal is to make for a more efficient Internet”, where instead of search engine spiders crawling the web, anyone owning a website will push changes directly to search engines.

The IndexNow protocol is an API which any website can use. Users can generate a key via Bing and start submitting URLs immediately. If other search engines decide to come on board, then you’ll only need to send URLs once and all will be notified. In addition to attracting interest from some major websites, Microsoft are beating the drum again for content management systems to utilise the protocol in their core functionality.

The big question is whether Google will participate in the initiative. While it’s a sensible and valiant effort from Bing (and Yandex), it won’t get the traction it needs without the biggest search engine coming on board. Initially, Google had declined the open invite. However, more recently, Google have stated that they’ll be testing the protocol and cited sustainability as a key benefit they’re interested in.

From an SEO perspective, indexing and crawlability are big topics. Being able to have content quickly and efficiently picked up by search engines will solve some big headaches which sometimes occur for SEO teams. We’re already looking at how we can integrate this functionality into the sites that we manage in anticipation of Google joining the scheme – that’s the benefit of a team that understands a wide variety of design and development topics!

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Technical SEO is a complicated subject but if you’re interested in learning more about our SEO services, or any points from this article, please get in touch!

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