Have you heard of the possibility to employ IndexNow on your WordPress website? No wonder, since indexing is the basis of search engines, and thus a crucial part of getting your website to rank high in search results. In case you weren’t aware, indexing to websites refers to the analysis of the website contents and structure by bots and crawlers and compiling a certain metric. This is then used as a benchmark for performance, content quality, and relevance to a search term. It’s what lets visitors get a rapid but accurate response to search queries. IndexNow may speed this up, so let’s see how to add it to WordPress.
What does IndexNow mean for websites?
IndexNow is a push for new indexing technology kick-started by Microsoft and Yandex, available for Yandex and Microsoft Bing search engines at the moment. There’s talk about Google introducing it natively at some point, after analysis of its environmental impact. As you can infer from the name, IndexNow makes search engine indexing instantaneous. Essentially, it’s an automatic procedure that alerts search engines when a page or a post on your WordPress site was created, modified, or erased. If you’re aware of how indexing works at the moment, you can spot the difference.
Bots currently index your website by looking at its XML sitemap, then going over all page URLs one by one to detect any aforementioned changes. Sadly, with the ever-rising number of websites and limited resources, search engines still take days or weeks, powerful as they are. Moreover, they do so randomly, and websites with more visitors and a better reputation get a better, more frequent treatment. This makes search engine bots inefficient and carries a significant carbon footprint. Users have no control over the process, either.
IndexNow solves that by letting websites, small or big, take the reins and notify search engines when a change is made. That doesn’t make XML sitemaps, or any type of sitemap (news, video, RSS, and so on) for your website redundant. This is still the foundation of your website and will continue to be so. IndexNow is an improvement, not a replacement, giving users a chance to configure the frequency of search engine visits. It’s also cheaper, has a lower carbon footprint, and uses fewer resources than the current method.
Generate your IndexNow API key for Bing online (Optional)
Though a step Microsoft Bing recommends, it’s unnecessary since you can do this through a WordPress plugin mentioned below. Plus, plugins are not limited to Bing, i.e., support other search engines. But if you’re someone who wants to know what’s going on with your website at all times, this is a great option. It’ll also let you understand the gist of the process. Here’s what to do:
- Head over to Bing’s IndexNow page.
- Generate a key by clicking the Generate button. Download the .txt file without changing its name.
- Access your website via FTP and upload the text file to the root (public_html, www, or something similar).
- Use the provided form to submit an HTTP request. Make sure to replace locations under “host”, “key”, and “keyLocation”.
- You can send a single URL or a handful of URLs at once by listing them under “urlList”.
- You can create an account for Bing Webmaster Tools to track the progress IndexNow is making.
Add IndexNow to your website using a WordPress plugin
We usually start with built-in methods to give users a chance to avoid installing third-party products and services. In this case, such an option doesn’t exist, at least not for multiple search engines. Therefore, you’ll have to wait for a worldwide implementation and optimization. For now, the procedure for adding IndexNow for websites using WordPress is as follows:
IndexNow Plugin (Limited to Bing and Yandex)
We’ll begin with the plugin that started it all. It’s an officially supported version that is sure to stay up to date. However, it is restricted to use on Bing and Yandex, which can make expansion when other engines add support harder. Here it is:
You may also search for “IndexNow” within the WordPress repository. After downloading and installation finishes, do this:
- Go to Settings in the left sidebar of the WordPress Admin.
- Select the IndexNow option that now appeared.
- If you didn’t generate and upload an API key, click on Get Started and the plugin will do that instead.
- You’ll now see a screen with 5 sections:
- Manual URL submission — If you want a select URL to be indexed this way you can click the Submit URL button and copy-paste a URL here
- Automate URL submission — You do not have to turn manual forwarding off, but you can toggle a switch to Enabled, letting the plugin forward all changes automatically
- Successful submissions — Currently limited to the latest 20 successful submissions
- Failed submissions — Likewise — up to 20 submissions
- URLs submitted — A list of URLs your website forwarded through the plugin, manually or automatically
Utilizing Index Now By Mikhail Kobzarev
If you want to be a part of a community-driven approach to IndexNow, such plugins are already starting to pop up. One example we aren’t affiliated nor can vouch for is:
As you can see, it has a better rating and includes Google API as well. It is also an ongoing public project on GitHub (mihdan-index-now) and works similarly to the one above. All you must do after downloading and installation is head to the IndexNow icon that appeared in the sidebar on the left-hand side. Now:
- Switch to the IndexNow tab.
- Toggle Enable to turn the plugin functionality on.
- Generate or paste an API key.
- Select the search engine (leave it on “IndexNow” if it’s configured by default).
- Now you can add API keys by switching to Bing API, Yandex API, or Google API tabs. Manual submissions work through the eponymous tab, and you can see a history of submissions in the Logs tab.
- Click the Save Changes button, and you’ve made a huge difference to the indexing speed.
Seek IndexNow as part of larger plugins (Alternative)
We won’t go into details, but a variety of SEO plugins have added IndexNow as part of optional functionality. Two notable examples we, again, have no connections to are AIOSEO and Rank Math. If you’re already their user, it doesn’t make sense to add extra plugins when they contain this functionality already.