Bing is stepping up their search game by revamping its crawl scheduling to better use the information provided by the “lastmod” tag in XML sitemaps, which is critical for search engine indexing and crawling efficiency.
This will be a major factor in Bing’s search impact efforts, and the SEO implications that it will have.
For those who don’t know, the regular updating of sitemaps with accurate “lastmod” dates is critically important for efficient page indexing, as the tag indicates the last time that webpages linked by the sitemap were modified and is used by search engines to determine how often to crawl a particular website and which pages within that particular website to index.
Bing is addressing an issue they found in a recent study that showed a significant number of “lastmod” values in XML sitemaps were set incorrectly, with an apparent issues of identical dates across all sitemaps.
Their investigation found that the dates were set to the date of sitemap generation rather than content modification, and has led Bing to revamp their crawl scheduling process to more efficiently utilize the information provided by the “lastmod” tag in sitemaps.
The changes, with have already begun rolling out on a limited scale and are expected to be rolled out by June, will improve crawl efficiency by reducing unnecessary crawling of unchanged content while prioritizing recently updated content.