Tuesday 26 October 2021

Submitting page changes to Bing Webmaster Tools / IndexNow

IndexNow was recently brought to my attention. It seems that Bing are trying to gain some ground on Google by promoting IndexNow for fast indexing as well as a 'one-stop-shop' - submit once to Bing and 'participating search engines' (which I assume won't ever include Google). Read more

With a well-established and open 'XML sitemap' schema, naturally Microsoft have decided to invent their own xml format and submission protocol. To be fair it's very simple, it is no more than a list of urls and doesn't include the last modified and priority fields, which may not have had any effect anyway. 

To submit your xml to Bing can't be done by web upload or ftp, but by http POST request. I guess the idea is that content management systems can submit page(s) as soon as they're edited or created, which is a terrific idea. 

It's very easy for Scrutiny / Integrity to generate this XML and make the POST request. It's a simpler variation on what these apps do already with sitemap XML files. 

This functionality will appear on Scrutiny 10.4.6 (Scrutiny isn't always the first to get a new feature, it happens that the user who has been helping me with this with is a Scrutiny user). Here's the relevant part of the updated manual:

Exporting and submitting XML for Bing Webmaster Tools / IndexNow

IndexNow is designed to allow faster indexing of your page updates by multiple search engines. 

From version 10.4.6, Scrutiny can generate the xml in the correct format, split into batches of 500 if necessary, and submit them to Bing for IndexNow.

In Preferences > Sitemap, the options for saving locally and ftp'ing have been altered slightly to read 'transfer' rather than ftp, and these options apply to both traditional XML Sitemaps and the Bing Webmaster Tools XML format.

Bing Webmaster Tools require a http POST request, which contains an API key. To use this feature you'll need to enter your key in this box in Preferences. Here's where to find your key:

As before, you'll need to scan your site and go to Sitemap results. Examine the list to make sure that it contains the pages that you expect. This time the last modified and priority are irrelevant (The Bing format only allows for a list of urls).

Find "Bing Webmaster XML" in the Export button above the Sitemap table, or use File > Export > Bing Webmaster XML.

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