Google & Bing Recommend Upgrading To WordPress 6.5 To Gain Lastmod Sitemap Support

Google and Bing recommend that WordPress users upgrade to version 6.5, which natively supports lastmod dates in the sitemap files. In fact, Fabrice Canel from Bing says this is a “game-changer.”

Gary Illyes from Google posted on LinkedIn saying, “The lastmod element in sitemaps is a signal that can help crawlers figure out how often to crawl your pages. If you’re on WordPress, since version 6.5, you have this field natively populated for you thanks to Pascal Birchler and the WordPress developer community.”

Last year, Microsoft Bing said the lastmod date is critical and then Google said only provide the lastmod date if there is something new with that piece of content. In short, don’t just say the page was updated when it was not.

Fabrice Canel from Bing wrote:

A big shoutout to Pascal Birchler, Gary Illyes, Google, and the WordPress developer community for their fantastic contribution to WordPress version 6.5. The integration of the lastmod signal within sitemaps is a game-changer, offering for millions of web sites, great data insight about when their content is changing allowing to optimize crawling activities and ensuring content freshness in search engines.

For anyone reluctant to update their WordPress installation, consider this feature a prime motivator. The more websites implement lastmod in their sitemaps, the search engines — whether AI-driven or rules-based — will increasingly capitalize on this signal.

Complimentary, please adopt https://www.indexnow.org/ to take control of crawl and your SEO game with real-time indexing. The right setup is IndexNow (for real-time update) and sitemaps with lastmod (daily – catchup mode) to ensure comprehensive and fresh coverage

Having better online visibility isn’t just about having a website. It’s about your latest content being found.

Gary Illyes from Google added:

If you’re holding back on upgrading your WordPress installation, please bite the bullet and just do it (maybe once there are no plugin conflicts). Don’t be like Gary and still run a version 2*.

If you’re not on WordPress, try to populate it with the last significant modification date, where “significant” loosely means a change that might matter to your users and, by proxy, to your site.

I do not use WordPress, so I will schedule in to have my developers here add the lastmod date to my sitemap, at some point.

I should note that Google use to ignore the lastmod but Gary said this morning, “yeah, surprisingly things may change given enough time.”

Forum discussion at LinkedIn.