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Indexing is the precursor to ranking your website in the search results. When search engine crawlers visit a page on your website, they’ll add it to an internal database. A process known as indexing, it paves the way for a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. You can optimize your website’s pages to rank higher after search engines have indexed them.

There’s no guarantee, however, that search engine crawlers visit a page just because you publish it They may visit some of your website’s pages while neglecting others. Alternatively, it may take search engine crawlers weeks or even months to visit a page. When targeting Bing in your SEO strategy, you may want to use IndexNow. Bing’s new indexing protocol can help you overcome these hurdles so that your website is indexed faster and more completely.

What Is IndexNow?

IndexNow is an open-source indexing protocol developed by Bing and Yandex. The two search engines announced it in October 2021. IndexNow allows webmasters to easily notify search engines when new pages are published or when existing pages are modified or deleted. Search engine crawlers will then visit the appropriate pages after receiving a notification for indexing-related purposes.

It’s important to note that IndexNow isn’t a part of Bing’s or Yandex’s standard indexing protocol. Rather, it’s a separate indexing protocol. The search engines will only use IndexNow on websites that have manually enabled this new indexing protocol. If you haven’t enabled IndexNow on your website, they’ll use their standard index protocols.

How IndexNow Works

IndexNow leverages a pinging system to notify search engines when pages are published, modified or deleted. It’s a form of push-based indexing. Most search engines use pull-based indexing by default. Search engine crawlers will travel around the internet while visiting websites and individual pages to index them.

With push-based indexing, search engine crawlers will only visit a website or page upon request. IndexNow is a form of push-based indexing because it involves pinging. A ping is a notification that tells search engines a page was recently published, modified or deleted. With IndexNow enabled, you can ping Bing or Yandex to attract their respective crawlers to these pages.

Benefits of Using IndexNow

Why should you use IndexNow? As a form of push-based indexing, it will result in faster indexing. Bing, as well as Yandex, will index your website’s new pages more quickly if you use IndexNow. Pings consist of the search engine’s name, the URL of a page and a unique key. Whether you ping Bing or Yandex, they’ll visit the page immediately. The end result is faster indexing for newly published pages.

IndexNow is particularly beneficial for large websites. Large websites are characterized by a high number of pages. While small websites have a dozen or fewer pages, large websites often have hundreds of pages. Bing may not find all of these pages on its own. Fortunately, you can use IndexNow to draw Bing to each of your website’s pages.

With IndexNow, you don’t have to worry about deleted pages showing up in Bing’s search results. If you delete a page, you can notify Bing via pining. Bing will visit the URL of the deleted page, and after discovering that the content is no longer present, it will remove the page from its search results.

As a joint collaboration between Bing and Yandex, IndexNow data is displayed in Bing Webmaster Tools. You can track the number of pages submitted to Bing in Bing Webmaster Tools, and you see whether Bing successfully crawled those pages. You just need to sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools to view IndexNow data such as this.

While currently supported by Bing and Yandex, other search engines are likely to support IndexNow in the near future. It’s an open-source indexing protocol, meaning other search engines are free to adopt it.

You don’t have to ping each search engine. The pinging system on which IndexNow is based is designed to notify all search engines that support the new open-source indexing protocol. When you ping Bing, for example, both Bing and Yandex will receive the notification. If other search engines adopt IndexNow, they’ll also receive the notification.

Getting Started With IndexNow

To use IndexNow, you’ll need to generate an Application Programming Interface (API) key. Go to bing.com/indexnow and click the button to generate an API key. Next, copy the API key to your clipboard and paste it into a new text file. The text file should have the same name as the API key itself. After creating and renaming the text file, upload it to your website’s base or root folder.

You can now ping search engines when publishing, modifying or deleting pages. Pinging is a simple process that involves visiting a specific URL in your web browser. The URL will consist of the search engine with “indexnow.” Following this information is the page’s URL and your website’s API key. A typical ping will look like “bing.com/indexnow?url=https://www.example.com/page-name.html&key=xxxxxxxx.”

You can submit multiple page URLs by using a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) request. When you create an HTTP request, you can include the URLs of all the pages. For instructions on how to create HTTP request pings, check out the “Samples” section on Bing’s API key generator page.

When using HTTP requests to ping Bing, you should take note of the response code. Bing will return a response code after receiving an HTTP request. A 200 response code indicates that Bing was able to successfully crawl the page. A 400 response code, on the other hand, indicates an invalid format that prevented Bing from crawling the page. Including an incomplete URL in an HTTP request may result in a 400 response code. You’ll need to correct the URL and resubmit the HTTP request in order for Bing to crawl the page.

IndexNow is a game-changer for SEO-conscious webmasters. If you want to improve your website’s online visibility, you should consider using it. With IndexNow, you won’t have to wait for search engine crawlers to visit your website. Rather, you can ping them when publishing, modifying or deleting pages.

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IndexNow How Bing's New Indexing Protocol Works

Last Updated in April 2022 by Lukasz Zelezny