What the heck is a ping anyways? Well, a ping is a packet of information that is passed from one network device to another. It’s a way of ensuring that the two devices are communicating. As far as your blog/website goes, pings are important because it’s a way of letting the Internet know that you have new information. If you’re posting articles to a WordPress blog, you want the search engines to know that there’s something new and exciting at your site. It’s important that search engines and directories are notified. On the other hand, if you ping too often, you risk being penalized by Google for being a ping spammer. So, as a WordPress blogger, what can we do to avoid that?
WordPress Plugins to Prevent Over-Pinging:
Did you know that when you update a blog post in WordPress that it pings that update? If you’re making multiple changes to a blog post, you run the risk of alerting the search engines too often and you risk being identified as a ping spammer. (I for one click on the save button a lot when I’m creating a new post. It’s totally unnecessary to ping each update.)
An easy way to avoid this is to install a WordPress plugin. Previously, I had used and recommended using the cbnet Ping Optimizer plugin. That plugin hasn’t been updated since March of 2010. (It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on whether or not your plugins are still being maintained. If they’re not being regularly updated, it could be a security risk and it may be time to find a replacement.)
My recommendation now is to install and activate the WordPress Ping Optimizer plugin. When I replaced cbnet Ping Optimizer, I deactivated it first and then installed WordPress Ping Optimizer. It was a seamless transition and my list of URLs to ping maintained intact. (Of course, always back up your WordPress database before installing or updating plugins – just in case. Sometimes, plugins will conflict with something on your site and there’s no guarantee that you won’t run into a problem.)
What URLs Should You Be Pinging?
Jym Tarrant has compiled a list of blog update services that he recommends pinging. Once this list is set up, your blog will automatically notify those services whenever you publish a new post. This will help get your posts indexed quicker and hopefully will result in an increase in traffic. You can read Jym’s post here: Blog Update Services – WordPress Ping List. (Jym’s directions call for copying his list and then going into your WordPress Writing Settings and pasting them there. If you’re using the WordPress Ping Optimizer plugin, I believe you can paste this list directly there.)
You can thank Jym by following him on Twitter at @JymTarrant. (Please let him know that I sent you his way). If you read to the bottom of his WordPress Ping List post, you’ll also see that Jym has shared his Free Blog RSS Feed Submission Directories List too.
What are your thoughts about pinging? Do you have anything to add? In addition to Jym Tarrant’s list, is there a list that you use? Do you use a different plugin from the one that I recommend? One other thing that I often do is ping other blogs after I’ve left a comment there. (I use Pingler.net to do this but there are other services such as Pingomatic.com and Pingoat.net that you can use.) This is a win-win for both of us.