Why Bloggers Need to Ping

by 1389 on August 21, 2007

in 1389 (blog admin), blogging, feeds, Internet, search engine, tech tips, Technorati

“Ping? What are you talking about? Sonar? Golf clubs? A duck in a children’s book?

Guess again!

In the world of the Internet, ping has two meanings:

  • For everyone, ping is a simple test to see whether your computer can connect to a host.
    • Story of Ping, written by its creator, Mike Muuss
    • Accessing ping from Windows XP: Click the Start button, click Run, enter cmd to get to a command window, and then enter ping host_url or ping ip_address.
    • Just Ping is an online web-based ping utility.
    • Example of how ping is used: A service tech enters ping yahoo.com in a command window. If the connection is up, it’ll come back with Yahoo‘s IP address and the time it took to get a response. If the ping fails, the service tech enters ping 216.109.112.135 (Yahoo’s IP address). If the second ping succeeds, there’s a problem connecting with the domain name system; if not, there is a problem connecting to Yahoo.
  • For bloggers, ping is a signal that you have changed something. You’ve updated something on your site. Now you need to tell the rest of the world that there’s something new for them to retrieve.

The second meaning of ping is what you need to do whenever you blog.

“But why? Don’t those search engine crawlers go out and get every blog on the planet?”

Some search engines, such as Google, do work that way. Trouble is, they take their time getting to you. If you aren’t already on a link path from another site that they’ve been crawling just now, it may be awhile before they run across your site.

Other search engines, aggregators, blog catalogs, and social websites are user driven. They rely on bloggers to send them a ping whenever there’s new blog content. That’s their cue to go fetch whatever new material is there and save or index it accordingly.

“So how do I issue a ping?”

You issue a ping by sending a message to a ping server that identifies your blog’s URL. The ping does not send any information about the updates you have made to your blog. Instead, the ping server tells the appropriate search engine(s) to go to your blog URL to retrieve that information.

Some blogging systems or blog post editors can be set up to issue pings automatically. Alternatively, you can go to the ping server’s website through your browser. You’ll be presented with a simple form to fill out with your blog URL and sometimes also the blog’s name. The ping is issued when you click on the button to submit the form.

Wikipedia’s Ping_blog article has a long list of ping servers that bloggers may want to use. This list may be somewhat overwhelming, and is not entirely up to date, so here’s a shorter list of sites that you will definitely want to consider using after you update your blog:

Also see:

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tom August 20, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Another good one is pingoat.com 🙂

2 Thom Allen August 23, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Hey 1389, good list and explanation. But doesn’t services like Ping-O-Matic basically solve having to add multiple RPC sites to your ping list?

I read somewhere, at least for Wordpress, the more RPC sites you ping the longer it takes to complete a new post, and some services actually timeout and can never actually post successfully. Not sure how true that is, because I only post to pingomatic.

3 1389 August 23, 2007 at 11:00 pm

ThomAllen,

That may depend on whether you are creating or updating your post through the editor in WordPress, or through a third-party blog post editor. I’ve been using Zoundry blog post editor, which helpfully applies the keywords that I want to use, but I think it’s less reliable when it comes to pinging sites such as Technorati.

I feel more comfortable using Pingoat to ping everything once all the updates are in. Other people might prefer to go to the websites that they are most concerned about, to issue the pings individually.

The main thing I wanted to emphasize is that every blogger has to know which sites need to be pinged, and has to make sure that this happens each time a new or updated blog post is published.

1389

4 Thom Allen August 23, 2007 at 11:19 pm

Good point. So, do some pinging services have more value, more google juice so to speak, than others? I’ve always wondered that.

5 1389 August 23, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Google juice applies specifically to Google. People use other methods to get to your site, such as feeds, blog catalogs, blogrolls, and news aggregators, that don’t rely on searching through Google.

This is important, because Google ordinarily puts new blogs into a “sandbox” and will not put them into its primary index until the site has been around for six months to a year. This blog gets almost nothing from Google at this point. I expect that to change eventually, but I don’t want to rely too much on any one source of readership.

I think you need to keep good stats and look at where your traffic is coming from before you can decide which services are doing you the most good.

6 Glenn August 25, 2007 at 6:55 pm

I ping… I ping all the time… I ping ’till I bleed…

I ping *all* the majors plus Ping-O-Matic. I dont think of pinging… it just happens… see, I just pinged.

This works well, except for Technorati as of the last week. Technorati says I have not updated my blog. My RSS is fine… 🙁

Anyway… be a pinger!

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