When you first create a website, one of your main concerns is how to get it indexed by the main Search Engines so that it is included in their searches. Later, when you update your site or add pages to it, you want those included too and as quickly as possible.
The trouble is that you have no control over the process and no way to tell Google, Yahoo and the rest that your website has new information on it even submitting it again just puts it in a queue and effectively on hold. This is because Search Engines find websites by following links and then index them in a generally sporadic way. The more regularly you change the content, the more often Search Engines will return to index your site however, for most, it is still rather hit and miss.
Blog Search Engines work in a different way. With Search Engines like Technorati, you can let them know that you have posted new content and that they should come along and index it immediately! This is done by Pinging.
What is Posting and Pinging and why is it important?
Most people use the internet to find information and whenever they are doing research for anything from local florists to the Big Bang theory, Search Engines are their first port of call. If you want to be found when they do this research, then your Blog first needs to be indexed by the Blog Search Engines. You can do this by first creating your post and then pinging.
As soon as you have written and published your new post on your blog then you should ping the various Blog Search Engines to let them know that they should come and index it. Posting and Pinging! In fact, the concept of posting and pinging is something we would all love to have for our websites as well – it is effectively a way to ensure that your new content is indexed and available as soon as you post it.
What exactly is Pinging?
Pinging is in fact a generic computer term that has come to mean something more specific in the world of blogging. A ping is commonly used to check the connection of a server/computer on a network – its like a very short test message and if the computer responds then you know the connection is okay.
[A quick too much information moment: the word ping comes from the name of the utility that sends out this test message called a Packet INternet Groper.]
In blogging, this idea of pinging is used for a specific purposes: we ping the server of a Blog Search Engine to let it know that there is a new post which they need to come and look at Technorati reacts to the ping by visiting the blog and registering the post, immediately updating its index. The ping is merely the prompt to do these things, its the blogging system set-up that then carries out the actions. Result – no more waiting and wondering when your new page of content will be found as you have to with the main Search Engines.
How do you ping?
In an ideal world, you should not need to worry about pinging, you should set your blog up so that the software does it for you. In WordPress, you will find this in the Administration section in Options > Writing; at the bottom of the page there is a box called Update Services and this is where you put the ping address.
If you need to do it yourself, then rather than doing each one independently, there are some services which will ping a number of different servers for you free. The best known are probably Pingomatic, Pingoat and PingShot which is part of the Feedburner services.
Where should you ping?
Ideally you want to ping as many of the major Blog Search Engines as possible to ensure that they have indexed your new post. The pinging services mentioned above will help but I have gathered a list of places to ping from a number of different sources which I will be keeping updated. Just add these addresses to the Update Services area in your Blogging platform and let the software work for you.