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IndexNow is a Major Change to Search Engine Indexing

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IndexNow is a Major Change to Search Engine Indexing

Microsoft announced IndexNow, a major evolution in how all search engines can discover and index content. IndexNow is open source and open to all participating search engines. When content is published or updated on a website, IndexNow notifies all participating search engines, dramatically reducing the time to indexing.

The IndexNow sharing between search engines will begin on November 2021. There is a limit of 10,000 URLs per day.

The IndexNow protocol is open to all search engines with a noticeable presence in at least one market.

Evolution of Search Indexing from Pull to Push

There are two ways for search engines to obtain web page data: Pull and push.
Pull is when a search engine crawler visits a site to request web pages and “pulls” the data from the server. This is how search engines traditionally work.

What IndexNow does is changes content discovery to the push method where a CMS like WordPress tells the search engines when the content has been published or updated.

The benefit to publishers is that they no longer have to wait for search engines to crawl and discover the content.

Search engines know about it right away and visit the site to fetch the new or updated pages.

According to the Microsoft announcement:

“…historically one of the biggest pain points for website owners has been to have search engines quickly discover and consider their latest website changes.

It can take days or even weeks for new URLs to be discovered and indexed in search engines, resulting in loss of potential traffic, customers and even sales.

…once search engines are notified of updates they quickly crawl and reflect website changes in their index and search results.”

Who is Behind IndexNow

IndexNow was created by Microsoft and Yandex. The protocol is open source and open to all search engines to participate.

When one search engine is notified of an updated or changed web page all participating search engines will be notified.

“IndexNow is a new protocol created by Microsoft Bing and Yandex, allowing websites to easily notify search engines whenever their website content is created, updated, or deleted. Using an API”

How IndexNow Benefits Publishers

IndexNow benefits publishers because it will reduce crawling demands on the server, search engines won’t need to conduct exploratory crawls to check if web pages have been updated and it reduces the time for content to be discovered and indexed.

Reducing server load helps the server perform optimally without the added burden of redundant serving of web pages that search engines already have.

Ultimately it benefits the world by reducing the energy demands of crawling and indexing and helping to reduce global warming pressures.

Bing’s announcement notes:

“IndexNow is an initiative for a more efficient Internet… website owners provide a clear signal helping search engines to prioritize crawl for these URLs, thereby limiting the need for exploratory crawl to test if the content has changed…

In the future, search engines intend to limit crawling of websites adopting IndexNow.”

Large Companies are Adopting the New Protocol

Microsoft announced that large companies like “eBay, LinkedIn, MSN, GitHub, and Bizapedia” are planning to migrate to IndexNow from the Bing URL submission API.

It is presumed that other larger companies will follow suit because the benefits of the new system are clear.

Because of that smaller companies may wish to consider also adopting the new protocol in order to stay competitive and improve their indexing.

How Does the New Protocol Work?

There are three ways suggested for submitting URLs.

1. SEO Integration of IndexNow

The first way, OnCrawl and Botify have plans to integrate IndexNow.

2. Direct Submission through API

The second way is a direct submission through an API.

Developers can use an API to automatically submit URLs to IndexNow.

The announcement describes it like this:

“1. Generate a key supported by the protocol using our online key generation tool.
2. Host the key in text file named with the value of the key at the root of your web site.
3. Start submitting URLs when your URLs are added, updated, or deleted. You can submit one URL or a set of URLs per API call.

Submit one URL is easy as sending a simple HTTP request containing the URL changed and your key.

https://www.bing.com/IndexNow?url=url-changed&key=your-key"

3. Integration with CMS and CDNs

But the third way may be how most sites will interface with IndexNow, accessing the new protocol through a function that is native to the core of whatever CMS a publisher uses.

Wix and Duda recognize the benefit to users and are already on-board with plans to provide the new feature to their users.

Cloudflare and Akamai are supporting the new IndexNow protocol as well.

Waiting for WordPress?

While competitors like Wix and Dude have recognized the importance of IndexNow, WordPress appears to be dragging its feet on the new protocol.

Maybe WordPress is going to adopt it, but for the past seven months the core developers have been discussing the proposal with no apparent resolution.

According to the public WordPress development ticket there appears to not be a decision on it yet.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has submitted the IndexNow open-source code to WordPress for inclusion into the core.

If adopted by WordPress this will make it automatic that a publisher can opt into submitting their URLs via IndexNow.

In response to a question by WordPress core developers, Microsoft disclosed that publishers will be able to choose which search engines to submit their changes and new URLs to.

That means they can block specific search engines from receiving the data about their pages.

According to the WordPress development ticket, the Microsoft representative said:

“WordPress and other CMS admins will be able to able to select which actors in the industry they want to notify, including everybody via centralized services if they want to notify all.”

IndexNow is the Evolution of Search Indexing

IndexNow is a big deal because it’s a major change in how search engines can discover updated and newly published documents.

It benefits publishers with fast indexing and less server load from bots constantly crawling their web pages.

Adoption by major search engines will be an evolution in the relationship between publishers and search engines that benefits both.

Citations

Read the Microsoft Announcement

Announcing IndexNow – Instantly Index your Web Content in Search Engines

Visit the IndexNow website

IndexNow.org

IndexNow WordPress Development Ticket and Pull Request

Instantly index WordPress web sites content in Search Engines

Official IndexNow WordPress Pull Request

Searchenginejournal.com

BING

New Microsoft Bing Travel Search Features

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Microsoft Bing announced new travel search features including suggested itineraries and inspiration, 360 immersive views, drink and dining information and coupons and deals. This currently is live in the United States.

Here is what is new with these new travel search features in Bing.

Suggested itineraries & inspiration

You should see a section named “What to see & do” for the trip duration to get an idea of what your trip might look like, Microsoft said. You can also click on “Book flights” or “Book hotels” to get a full-page booking experience.

Here is a screenshot:

Coupons & deals

Microsoft partnered with various sites to show competitive rates for your travel. They also offer packages of bundled hotel and flight experiences. You can also scroll down to the “Coupons & Deals” section to browse cost-conscious options for flights, trip packages, and more.

360 immersive views

Bing also shows “stunning landscapes” it says when you click “Experience in 360” to check out immersive views. Here is a screenshot:

Drink & dining information

There is also the “Eat & Drink” search carousel to start getting excited about the dishes and beverages you can expect to taste, Microsoft said. Here is what this looks like:

click for full size

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Edge goes on to inform Microsoft of the searches you do in the browser …

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Microsoft Edge can send, by default, to Microsoft the results of any search you do in the browser. The feature is not limited to Bing Search, but informs Microsoft about searches across all search engines, including Google, DuckDuckGo, or StartPage, performed by Edge users, if the setting is enabled.

A gHack reporter opened Microsoft Edge today and saw that Microsoft Edge Support showed him a pop-up window shortly after launch. I was telling him that he could help Microsoft improve search and that Microsoft “will collect the results of the searches you do in the browser to improve Microsoft products and services. ”

This announcement also clarified that the data collected by Microsoft are “never associated” with the user or the device.

Indeed, the journalist accessed the settings and there he verified that Microsoft Edge had activated this possibility, which was previously deactivated. Personally, I have checked it in my browser and the feature remains disabled, so It is recommended that each Edge user take a look at their configuration.

Where to turn this tracking feature on and off

The setting in question It’s called “Helping Improve Microsoft Products by Submitting Search Results to the Web”, and is in the privacy section. Access your Edge browser and click on the three horizontal points in the upper right corner. Access the settings. Once inside the configuration, look in the right column for the option “Privacy, search and services”.

Several options appear where you can go controlling your privacy in various areas of browser use (For example, I found out now that I had activated the option to allow sites to check if they have saved payment methods “something that I am not interested in having activated). And right there you can see if the function is activated that says like this:”help improve Microsoft products by submitting web search results“. If the tab is blank and to the left, it is deactivated. If it is blue and to the right it is activated. There you can decide what to do.

With it enabled, Microsoft can collect Microsoft can collect the term you are looking for, search results shown to you, your interaction with search results, including links clicked, and demographics, based on information specific to Microsoft.

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Microsoft Bing just got a nice little upgrade, but you still won’t use it

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Microsoft is adding a number of new travel-related features to its Bing search engine to help you save time and money when booking your next trip.

Planning a trip can be an exhausting process as you often have to visit one site to get inspiration, another to book flights and yet another to check out travel maps. For this reason, Microsoft has created a one-stop travel shop in Bing that provides aggregated information about destinations, itineraries, flights, hotels and more all in a visually rich format.

The software giant’s Travel Guide serves as a jumping-off point for all of your trip-planning needs. You can see suggested itineraries under the “What to see & do” section or click on “Book flights” or “Book hotels” to get a full-page booking experience.

As Microsoft has partnered with top travel industry players to help you find competitive rates, you can be sure you’re getting the best prices. Also, if you’re pressed for time, Bing now offers bundled hotel and flight packages to make booking a breeze.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Travel Guide home page

If you just want to plan a future trip without a specific destination in mind, Bing’s Travel Guide home page is a great starting point to find further inspiration. The page rotates through top destinations worldwide and if one catches your eye, you can click on “Explore more” to visit the detailed page for that place.

Those seeking stunning landscapes can click on “Experience in 360” to check out immersive views of potential destinations while those more interested in a destination’s local cuisine can explore Bing’s “Eat & Drink” carousel to see all of the dishes and beverages they can taste there. Meanwhile, travelers on a budget can scroll down to the “Coupons & Deals” section to browse cost-conscious options for flights, trip packages and more.

Although you may not be traveling anywhere anytime soon, at least you’ll be properly prepared for your next trip.

Bing’s new travel experience is currently only available in the US though Microsoft plans to make it available in more markets in the near future according to a new blog post.

Author: Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal and TechRadar. He has been a tech enthusiast for as long as he can remember and has spent countless hours researching and tinkering with PCs, mobile phones and game consoles.

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