Google is disabling the “Request Indexing” feature of the URL Inspection tool within Search Console.
While this is temporary, the feature will be disabled for at least a few weeks.
Google is disabling “Request Indexing” in order to make infrastructure changes, the company says in an announcement:
We have disabled the "Request Indexing" feature of the URL Inspection Tool, in order to make some infrastructure changes. We expect it will return in the coming weeks. We continue to find & index content through our regular methods, as covered here: https://t.co/rMFVaLht6V
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) October 14, 2020
The Request Indexing feature is part of the URL Inspection tool in Search Console. It can be used to request a crawl of individual URLs.
Request Indexing is most commonly used when site owners publish a new page or make changes to an existing page.
It speeds up the process of Google adding the new content to its search index, but does not offer any guarantees.
Even when the feature is working it does not promise immediate indexing. In some cases, Google may choose not to index the content at all.
As the company states in a Search Console help page:
“Requesting a crawl does not guarantee that inclusion will happen instantly or even at all. Our systems prioritize the fast inclusion of high quality, useful content.”
With that said, I would argue that Request Indexing is a feature SEOs and site owners can afford to temporarily live without.
That’s especially true if Google’s infrastructure changes lead to some improvements.
And it’s not as though new content won’t get indexed in the meantime. As Google says in its tweet, it will continue to find and index content through its regular methods.