After originally dismissing Microsoft’s open-source IndexNow search engine indexing protocol, Yoast has reversed course and indicated they will now support it.
In a conversation with Search Engine Journal, founder Joost de Valk explains why.
Adoption of IndexNow by Yoast is a watershed moment for publishers and the search marketing community. It may signal even wider future adoption of the new protocol which may substantially alter SEO and content marketing in a positive way.
IndexNow is an indexing protocol that helps websites receive near-instant indexing by search engines.
It is an open-source initiative designed to help websites alert search engines to new or updated content.
Search engines benefit by no longer wasting data center resources by redundantly crawling web pages that are unchanged and already indexed.
The IndexNow indexing protocol can even be used to notify search engines of pages that are newly removed and returning a 404 server response code.
IndexNow reduces the amount of energy used by data centers, which in turn contributes to helping minimize the causes of global warming.
A large number of companies already support IndexNow, from search tools to web publishing platforms.
SEO plugin RankMath has supported IndexNow as well, giving web publishers a way to instantly notify search engines of new or updated pages.
The two biggest holdouts to adopting IndexNow have been Google and Yoast SEO Plugin.
Informal Announcement By Yoast
When IndexNow was initially announced in October 2021, De Valk was the most prominent skeptic of the new indexing protocol, tweeting that he didn’t see any value in it.
He also tweeted:
“Ever since XML sitemaps were conceived, URL discovery as far as we’re concerned is a “solved problem”.
For most sites, getting search engines to crawl content is not a problem.
Yoast SEO generates XML sitemaps and it can even ping search engines when those change.”
So after all of that opposition and naysaying it was surprising when De Valk informally announced that Yoast will be integrating IndexNow into the premium version of the Yoast SEO plugin.
The blog post with De Valk’s announcement stated:
“This new standard is supported by Bing, Yandex and Seznam, so far, and I’ve heard rumors of other search engines joining their ranks.
…We’ll be adding support for it to Yoast SEO Premium soon and we look forward to seeing the impact it makes, if any.”
The post didn’t say why Yoast had reversed course.
So Search Engine Journal reached out to De Valk to ask what had changed their mind.
De Valk responded:
“Yeah… so our opinion changed because of two reasons:
We heard some other search engines and systems were implementing it.
They changed how it worked a bit (or explained it better) where we only have to ping one endpoint. With that, we basically replace the xml sitemap ping with a call to IndexNow and it’s done.”
When asked if he could see IndexNow eventually coming to the free version of Yoast, De Valk answered:
“Yeah! I can!
Not sure when etc. We’ll see how well it works first.”
Yoast Integrating IndexNow
De Valk didn’t mention if the other search engines he heard were adopting IndexNow included Google.
Regardless, it’s a big deal that Yoast is adopting the new indexing protocol because it’s the biggest WordPress SEO plugin in the world, with over five million active installations.
This helps cement IndexNow as an important indexing protocol and encourage more search engines to join the movement toward instant indexing, which will in turn help SEOs and publishers.
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