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Microsoft Releases IndexNow plugin for WordPress

The blogosphere already saw a crack of the Microsoft IndexNow plugin for WordPress, indexing your archives and displaying results in a nice table. But the plugin only works on personal blogs without any ads. In addition, it’s not possible to sort or search within the result list.

And last but not least, you have to keep an eye on the cache of your blog because the plugin will delete all cached entries after indexing. If you want to take your SEO efforts a step further?

That’s where Microsoft’s new IndexNow plugin comes in.

In this article, we’ll look at this new plugin and the possibilities it offers.

What is IndexNow?

Microsoft IndexNow is a new tool for WordPress that enables you to index your blog by just inserting an API key. It also offers numerous features, among which are:

  • Indexing of archives, categories, and tags
  • Sorting the result list in ascending or descending order
  • Allowing visitors to search within the indexed entries

What’s really neat is that Microsoft IndexNow also offers a Pro edition, which you can use on commercial blogs.

The only difference between the free and paid version of the plugin is that with the Pro version, you can index up to 25000 posts instead of 500.

How to Get Started?

The first thing you need to do is go to the IndexNow website and get your API key. This key will enable the plugin to communicate with Microsoft’s servers for indexing purposes. You can get a free API key by signing up for a blog at Windows Live Spaces.

  • If you don’t have an account yet, it takes only a few minutes to create one.
  • After getting your API key, you can install the IndexNow plugin.
  • Next, check out our tutorial on customizing Microsoft’s pre-installed widgets and plugins for installation instructions.

Finally, if you already know how to install a WP plugin, simply go to the Plugins page in your WordPress administration area and upload it like any other plugin.

How to Use IndexNow?

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, take a look at the IndexNow menu in your WordPress administration area.

You’ll see several indexing options there, which you can use for configuring your blog’s indexing options.

The Index Categories/Tags/Author Entries offer three checkboxes that enable you to choose what content should be indexed by Microsoft. If you check any of them, only that kind of entry will be taken into account when creating an archive; if you uncheck all three, nothing will be indexed at all.

If you want to sort your result list in ascending or descending order regardless of whether it contains more than one page or not, activate the Re-Index Entries After Sorting option.

The Delete Cached Entries After Indexing option lets you delete all cached entries after each indexing process. This is done in order to prevent any duplicate content issues that may arise if you simply re-index the same entries again the next time around.

But make sure not to forget this action since incorrect cached entries may pop up at any given time, which could cause unwanted side effects on your blog’s appearance or performance.

What are the key features of IndexNow?

  1. Indexing of archives, categories, and tags
  2. Sorting the result list in ascending or descending order
  3. Allowing visitors to search within the indexed entries
    Indexing up to 25000 posts with the Pro version instead of 500 with the free version.

is it better than Microsoft’s previous WordPress plugin?

The most obvious difference between this new plugin and its predecessor is that IndexNow not only offers a more convenient way for indexing your blog but also provides several additional features that come in handy when optimizing your blog for search engines. There are various ways you can benefit from these features, among which are:

  • A better user experience through archiving your posts by month or year instead of scrolling through one long page.
  • Easier navigation for visitors who want to locate a certain post by its title, using a search box that displays all indexed entries.
  • Improved search engine ranking through indexing your blog consistently and frequently.

is it different from other plugins?

Compared to other indexing services, Microsoft IndexNow’s biggest advantage is its convenience in various aspects.

For example, indexing your blog couldn’t be easier as you don’t have to make any complicated changes or follow any specific steps for the plugin to work properly. In addition, unlike similar plugins that usually offer only one unidirectional type of archiving – by month – this new service lets you choose whether you want to archive by date or category, tag, author name, and so on. The site also provides total access to archived posts through a search box that is displayed above all indexed entries.

What are the requirements?

This plugin works with all WordPress versions from 2.3 upwards. In addition, the developer suggests that you have a broadband Internet connection since indexing your blog entails uploading some files to Microsoft’s server, and it will take a while depending on your bandwidth availability.

How do I start indexing my blog with IndexNow?

First, you need to download the plugin directly from WordPress.org or by visiting Microsoft’s online download center (see Resources below).

After downloading the ZIP file, extract it to your desktop and upload its entire folder (called “IndexNow”) into the “wp-content/plugins/” directory of your blog.

Next, log in to your admin area, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins, open the newly added Plugin Manager (it will be at the very top), click Activate next to IndexNow, then configure its options like this:

Save your changes and wait for the indexing process to complete. It should take around 5-15 minutes, depending on how many posts you have and your Internet connection speed.

Conclusion

Using IndexNow, Microsoft created a plugin that is easy to configure yet powerful enough to help webmasters of all levels boost their search engine rankings. As long as you don’t expect it to work miracles overnight, the service offers what most bloggers are looking for in terms of indexing functionalities and convenience of use.

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