Since Google released its instant indexing API, many search engines have been forced to up their game by improving their indexing turnaround times. The Bing instant indexing API is one of such scripts released earlier this year to allow bloggers and webmasters have their content indexed by Bing almost as soon after it’s published.
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to configure the Bing instant indexing API in just a few steps. But first, let’s go over the basics.
What is Bing Indexing API
Earlier this year, Bing announced the release of its newly updated URL submission plugin which essentially allows website owners to notify Bing whenever their content changes. The Bing URL submission tool allows submission of up to 10,000 URLs per day and works closely together with the indexing API to get the content indexed by Bing in real-time.
Previously, webmasters relied on sitemaps and RSS feeds for faster crawling, but as the content space became more competitive, there was a need to speed up indexing even further. This makes a lot of sense, especially when you think about news websites. Readers consume News content almost as fast as it is produced, and due to this “expiry” tendency, it is important that this content appears on search engines as soon as it is published. Nobody wants to read a News article about something that happened 2 days ago.
Why you Need the Bing Indexing API
While Bing is a greatly underrated search engine, it has a few advantages over Google. With the Bing indexing API, the bingbot crawler has become almost as powerful as the Google crawler bots. Once you install and configure the Bing indexing API, you essentially power your website content and drive it on search results almost immediately.
Some of the most attractive features on the newly updated indexing API include:
- Automatic submission of new content to Bing for instant indexing
- Increased daily quota of URLs submitted per day from 10URLS to 10,000URLs
- Reduced bot activity on your website by reducing crawling frequency
Rather than relying on RSS feeds and sitemaps to get your content discovered on search, the Bing API allows your website to automatically notify (ping) Bing whenever you make any changes on your website. Ultimately, the goal here is to ensure that website owners and content creators keep their content fresh and updated in the Bing index.
Verify your Website on Bing Webmasters
As a pre-requisite, you will need to verify your website on Bing webmaster tools before using the indexing API. To do this, head over to Bing Webmasters and sign up for an account (log in if you already have one). In the “Add a Site” section, enter the URL of your website and click “Add”. You should see several verification methods here.
One of the most common ways to verify your website on Bing is by adding a small HTML file on the root directory of your website. Just choose the HTML verification method and download the HTML file provided by Bing. Log into your Cpanel account and upload the file on your root directory (usually public_html folder). And voila! Your website is now verified on Bing.
Even easier, if you already have a Google Webmaster account (Search Console), Bing now allows you to import all your settings from this account. All you need to do is authorize Bing to pull this data from search console to your Bing dashboard. This is the easiest method to verify your website on Bing.
How to Configure Bing Indexing API on WordPress
WordPress powers over 30% of the indexable web today, so I’m going to cover this tutorial on WordPress. If you are a WordPress developer, the Bing URL submission tool is an open-source project, so you can also browse and contribute to the code improvements directly on GitHub.
Install and Activate the Plugin
On your WordPress dashboard, head over to plugins and click “Add New”. In the plugin repository, search and install the “Bing URL Submissions Plugin”. Once the plugin is activated, go to the plugin settings to configure the API. Here you should see a box prompting you to add the Bing API
Configure the API under Settings
To get your API key, head back to your Bing webmaster portal and click on “Settings”. Under API Access, click on “API Key”. Copy your unique API key from here and paste it under the plugin settings on WordPress. Please note that only one API key can be generated per user. You can change your API key anytime; the changes should reflect within 30 minutes.
Configuring Bing Indexing API for Non-WordPress
If you are not a WordPress user, you can use a few protocols e,g SOAP along with the Bing Webmaster API. Once your website is verified on Bing Webmasters, use any of the below protocols to integrate the Bing Indexing API and automatic URL submission feature into your custom website.
JSON request sample
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
XML Request sample
[xml]POST /webmaster/api.svc/pox/SubmitUrl?apikey=sampleapikey341CC57365E075EBC8B6 HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/xml; charset=utf-8
If the URL submission is successful, you should receive an HTTP 200 response. This indicates that the API is configured correctly and that Bing can directly see any changes you make within a few minutes. If your content follows the Bing webmaster guidelines, it should be crawled and indexed in real-time.