While adding the sitemap code to Chasing a Dream, and my old website, I had to consider how the other sites were being notified that it was updated. This is called ‘Pinging’. Using ping-enabled blog software such as WordPress, when you complete a post and publish it, the software notifies other services that you have added a new post. Very simple and straight forward. This allows those sites to give updated sites priority in being updated by search engines for the latest material. Instead of scouring the net for pages, they simply check those sites that advise they have been updated! Very sensible!
You might also see a possibility for misusing this too, by sending pings when your site has not been updated hoping to get preferential treatment by a searching engine. This is called ‘ping spam’ or ‘sping’. Don’t do it! Your site can get dropped or blacklisted by a search engine for sping.
Now, carry this on step further. Sometimes you might link to another blog with a link to one of their posts. WordPress also does what is called ‘pingback’. This is where the other blog site is notified that you have linked to them. This is a special two-way transaction where your site notifies the other, then it verifies that you really have linked to them, then it will post a link back to you, usually including an excerpt of your posting text. I’m sure you have seen these while browsing other blogs. Pingbacks have generally replaced ‘trackbacks’ which were not secure as they did not do this two-way handshake. Pingbacks in WordPress are also automatic–you don’t have to add them to the separate area below the post. In-line entries will do the job.
OK, that’s how it works. What about the question of Who do we Ping? By default, WordPress includes a Ping to Ping-O-Matic. However, it appears that it does not ping Google Blogsearch, so I went on a hunt to see if there were other sites that should also be included when pinging. What I came up with is a Ping List for WordPress compiled by Brandon Hall of the SEO Feed. There are other sources as well, but his posting has a much more current date on it, so I felt it was more reliable. If you are going to compile your own list, be careful about the combinations you choose. You don’t want to include a site that aggregates pings, and pings other sites that you also have on your list–you might get caught for sping!
How well does it work? Well as I stated in my earlier post today, I was able to find one of my own posts from earlier in the day in Google Blogsearch indicating it hand been updated recently as ‘1 hour ago’! That’s what makes a blog aggregator such as Blogsearch powerful. Extremely up-to-date and relevant information.