Google announced it would end support for Sitemaps ping endpoints in six months. Google said this is because they are “not very useful” and the “vast majority of the submissions lead to spam.”
Google said when this is officially deprecated the “HTTP requests (“pings”) to the deprecated REST endpoint will result in a 404 error.” For those historians, Google supported sitemaps pings in 2007.
This comes several months after Google said pinging sitemaps helps get new content discovered by Google sooner. But a couple years ago, Google had to tell SEOs that pinging sitemaps do still work – well, it won’t at the end of this year.
Google also references how Bing stopped supporting anonymous sitemap submissions due to spammers.
Instead, Google said use the lastmod date accurately in your sitemap file. Google wrote, “nowadays lastmod is indeed useful in many cases and we’re using it as a signal for scheduling crawls to URLs that we previously discovered.” “For the lastmod element to be useful, first it needs to be in a supported date format (which is documented on sitemaps.org); Search Console will tell you if it’s not once you submit your sitemap. Second, it needs to consistently match reality: if your page changed 7 years ago, but you’re telling us in the lastmod element that it changed yesterday, eventually we’re not going to believe you anymore when it comes to the last modified date of your pages,” Google added.
Google also said you can submit your sitemaps through robots.txt and Google Search Console.
A couple of months ago, Google spoke about the lastmod tag in sitemaps and said if you are “providing something new for search engines that you’d like reflected in search” then update the lastmod date, if not, then don’t.
John added, “The issue is more that some CMS’s / servers set the lastmod to the current date/time for all pages. This makes that data useless. Good CMS’s setting it thoughtfully, even if not always perfect, is much more useful.”
As a reminder, in 2015 Google said they don’t really use the lastmod date but then changed that in 2020 they said they do. The current Google documentation says, “Google uses the lastmod value if it’s consistently and verifiably (for example by comparing to the last modification of the page) accurate.”
Microsoft Bing recently said the lastmod date is critical and provided super useful stats on how people update the date.
Forum discussion at Twitter.