Yoast explains why he is adopting the IndexNow protocol


After originally rejecting Microsoft’s open-source IndexNow search engine indexing protocol, Yoast backtracked and said it would now support it.

In a conversation with Search Engine Journal, founder Joost de Valk explains why.

Yoast’s adoption of IndexNow is a watershed moment for publishers and the search marketing community. This could signal even wider future adoption of the new protocol, which could significantly change SEO and content marketing in a positive way.

Index Now

IndexNow is an indexing protocol that helps websites receive near-instant indexing by search engines.

This 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 unchanged, already indexed web pages.

The IndexNow indexing protocol can even be used to notify search engines of newly deleted pages and returning a 404 server response code.

IndexNow reduces the amount of energy used by data centers, which in turn helps minimize the causes of global warming.

Many companies already support IndexNow, from search tools to web publishing platforms.

The RankMath SEO plugin has also supported IndexNow, giving web publishers a way to instantly notify search engines of new or updated pages.

The two biggest barriers to IndexNow adoption have been Google and Yoast SEO Plugin.

So far.

Yoast Informal Announcement

When IndexNow was initially announced in October 2021, De Valk was most skeptical of the new indexing protocol, Tweeter that he saw no value in it.

He also has tweeted:

β€œSince XML sitemaps were designed, URL discovery for us is a ‘solved problem’.

For most sites, getting search engines to crawl the content isn’t a problem.

Yoast SEO generates XML sitemaps and can even ping search engines when these change.

So, after all this opposition and denials, it was surprising that De Valk informally announced that Yoast would integrate IndexNow into the premium version of the Yoast SEO plugin.

The blog post with De Valk’s announcement declared:

“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 its support to Yoast SEO Premium soon and can’t wait to see what impact it will have, if any.

The message did not say why Yoast reversed course.

So Search Engine Journal contacted De Valk to ask what changed his mind.

De Valk replied:

β€œYeah… so our opinion changed for two reasons:

We’ve heard that other search engines and systems implement it.

They changed the way it worked a bit (or explained it better) where we only have to ping an endpoint. With this we essentially replace the xml sitemap ping with a call to IndexNow and done.

When asked if he could see IndexNow coming to the free version of Yoast eventually, De Valk replied:

“Yeah! I can!

I don’t know when, etc. We will see first if it works well.

Yoast Integration IndexNow

De Valk did not mention whether other search engines he heard adopting IndexNow included Google.

Either way, it’s a big deal that Yoast is adopting the new indexing protocol because it’s the largest WordPress SEO plugin in the world, with over five million active installs.

This helps solidify IndexNow as an important indexing protocol and encourage more search engines to join the movement towards instant indexing, which in turn will help SEOs and publishers.


Featured image: Vulp/Shutterstock



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