Author: George Nguyen
It could take days (or even weeks) before traditional search engine processes pick up on your website additions or updates. And in the meantime, your thoughtful content and optimizations may not generate any improved search performance.
With Wix SEO’s IndexNow integration (available to premium Wix site owners), you can dramatically reduce the time between publishing and search engine indexation. This means that your content can compete in the search results sooner—and not just one search engine, but several, including Microsoft Bing, Yandex, Seznam.cz, and Naver.
Let’s take a look at what, exactly, IndexNow is, how it benefits site owners, and how it can potentially change the way online search works.
Note: At the time of publication, IndexNow participating search engines include: Microsoft Bing, Yandex, Naver, and Seznam.cz. In 2021, Google began testing IndexNow but has not announced whether it would adopt the protocol.
What is IndexNow?
Simply put, IndexNow is a protocol that enables website owners to notify participating search engines about changes to their web pages (e.g., new, updated, or deleted content) in near real time. This is a significant departure from how site owners must typically wait for search engines to crawl their content before it can show up in relevant search results (more on this below).
This protocol allows participating search engines to index your content additions/changes more quickly and reflect the effort you put into your SEO (and your website at large) in the search results in less time than the traditional method of crawling, indexing, and ranking pages.
“IndexNow aims to make web indexing faster, more efficient, more open and more accurate for both web publishers and search engines,” Fabrice Canel, principal product manager at Microsoft Bing, said, adding that potential benefits include reducing crawl load and bandwidth usage, which can help your site perform better.
How IndexNow works
Based on an open protocol and announced by Microsoft and Yandex in October 2021, IndexNow allows website owners to take a more proactive approach to indexation (the process in which search engines store and organize website content to eventually show in search results):
“Instead of relying on periodic crawls or sitemaps, which can be slow or incomplete, IndexNow enables web publishers to send HTTP requests containing the URL or set of URLs they want to index or update. The requests are sent directly to one of the IndexNow endpoints of participating search engines, which can then process them and reflect the changes in their indexes. Each search engine notifies other IndexNow search engines for each IndexNow notification.” — Fabrice Canel, Principal Product Manager at Microsoft Bing
Among other benefits (that I’ll discuss below), this functionality lets SEOs and website owners communicate content updates, additions, and removals with participating search engines, which should translate to seeing faster results on the search engine results page.
And, when you ping an IndexNow endpoint to notify it of a new, updated, or deleted URL, participating search engines alert other IndexNow search engines about your content as well, so that they can also update their indexes with the most up-to-date version of your pages.
How IndexNow helps Wix site owners
For Wix Premium site owners, Wix automatically notifies IndexNow participating search engines of new, updated, and deleted URLs. That means that requests are made to Microsoft Bing, Yandex, Naver, Seznam.cz (and all future participating IndexNow search engines) to reflect these changes in their index. This way, your new or updated pages can start working for you across all these search engines much sooner.
“We’re excited to release the integration with IndexNow as part of our collaboration with Microsoft Bing. This marks yet another step in our dedication to providing users with exceptional out-of-the-box SEO solutions, simplifying the process of promoting their websites quickly and effortlessly.” — Einat Hoobian-Seybold, Product Lead at Wix
Note: Separate from IndexNow, Wix also offers instant homepage indexation when you verify your site with Google Search Console.
As I mentioned, greater efficiency and quicker results are IndexNow’s primary benefits. But, how much more efficient? How much quicker?
“Without IndexNow, it can take days to weeks to get content changes reflected in search engines. With IndexNow, this is more like seconds to max two days.” — Fabrice Canel, Principal Product Manager at Microsoft Bing
Here’s how these advantages can play out when it comes to your SEO workflow and user experience:
The benefits of IndexNow
Near real-time notifications to search engines
The faster you get your pages indexed, the sooner they can start attracting visitors from search engines.
Greater indexing efficiency
You can “tell” participating search engines exactly what URLs you changed, so that they don’t waste resources crawling pages that haven’t changed. This can potentially help your business’s revenue, as your landing pages can start appearing in search results sooner (than waiting for a search engine to crawl your site).
The latest content for site visitors
Since you’re actively informing search engines of page changes, potential site visitors will be able to access the freshest, most relevant information at the time of their search.
For websites in highly competitive niches, this flexibility is especially valuable. For example, faster indexation facilitates better SEO testing by enabling you to see the impact of your optimizations much sooner. This means you can implement successful techniques and optimize your performance at scale to see returns on your efforts sooner as well.
IndexNow…and into the future
“We should be at 50% of websites by 2025. As more CMSs adopt, more top websites will adopt, and more search engines will adopt IndexNow, including some in the following months.” — Fabrice Canel, Principal Product Manager at Microsoft Bing
IndexNow represents a fundamental change in how search engines work—and a shift in priorities for SEOs if it supplants traditional crawling and indexing.
“With IndexNow + a sitemap refreshed at least once a day, we really don’t need to crawl far more,” Canel said. While this can be interpreted as essentially having on-demand access to more crawl budget, clever digital marketers and site owners will find ways (like the above-mentioned SEO testing example) to go beyond this convenience and leverage it for more significant insights and advantages.
George Nguyen is the Director of SEO Editorial at Wix. He creates content to help users and marketers better understand how search works. He was formerly a search news journalist and is known to speak at the occasional industry event.