Not so long ago, pinging your website to dozens of update services was common practice. Some people had 50 or more services they pinged to. But, those days are long gone!
In 2013, and beyond, less is more in the pinging department.
By default, WordPress has only one site listed within its Update Services area – Ping-O-Matic. And, in our opinion, that is all you need. Read on to find out why.
Special note for WordPress Multisite users: Update Services for WPMU are disabled by default. To enable them you will need to use a plugin, like, Activate Update Services.
Pinging is a way for websites to tell the world they have new, or updated, content. WordPress has this feature built-in and automatically notifies (pings) update services each time you add, or edit, a post. The update services then take the information they receive from your site and tell other search engines, weblogs, feed aggregators, social networks, and all subscribers to those services, that your blog has been updated.
One word: TRAFFIC!
Notifying all those services of fresh content the instant it is posted helps improve the speed with which search engines find and index your content.
Ping-O-Matic is a stable, well-maintained service that stays on top of the ever-changing world of pinging services. They regularly verify that their downstream services are legitimate and working properly.
Ping-O-Matic is owned and operated by The WordPress Foundation (yes, THEE WordPress folks!), and has been around since 2004. They currently send out pings (around 50 million per day) to all the most important update services (19 at last count), almost in real time, and are constantly updating and maintaining their list. They do all the work, allowing you to focus on running your business.
At the time of publishing, their list included these services:
- Feed Burner
- My Yahoo!
- News Is Free
- Topic Exchange
- Google Blog Search
- A2B GeoLocation
Trying to manually maintain your own list of pinging services is simply not worth your time. New services are constantly springing up, and established ones shutting down because the task of maintaining reliable service is just too difficult. In fact, many pinging services have closed their doors because, as Technorati put it:
More than 90% of the pings we received were spam and non-blogs. A significant amount of our energy was devoted to attempting to find, without fail, the valid blog pings obscured by the torrent of junk. This endeavor demanded an unreasonable amount of resources (both automated and human) while remaining fragile and error-prone.
Additionally, some services have stopped accepting pings from anyone, except those coming directly from Ping-O-Matic.
As I’ve mentioned, WordPress will automatically ping your blog every time you publish or edit a post, this is a good thing. However, if you edit posts a lot, especially within a short period of time, then it becomes a BIG problem.
Some people obsess over the smallest of errors or layout issues on their site, causing them to constantly edit their posts. With each edit, WordPress sends a ping to the update services. Excessive pinging like this can get your site banned from the update services for being a spammer.
WordPress’s advice for serial post editors is to turn off pinging entirely. We think a better idea is to use a plugin to manage your pinging activity.
There are several plugins available to help control your pinging activity. We took a look at three of the most popular.
Ultimate Plugins Smart Update Pinger (Recommended)
This plugin is the one we use and recommend. It is simple and straightforward to install and configure, and effortless to use.
- Services are only pinged when a new post is created, not when an existing post is edited.
- For future posts, services are only pinged when the post has appeared on your blog.
- Detailed logging.
- ‘Ping Services Now’ button.
- Auto-selects whether to do an extended or normal ping.
- For extended pings, it uses the new post’s URL instead of just the homepage URL, resulting in a much higher quality ping.
cbnet Ping Optimizer
A longtime favorite of many, cbnet Ping Optimizer was recently discontinued by its developer and is no longer available.
MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer
This plugin was banned from the WordPress repository in late 2009 for various rule violations and is only available directly from the developer’s website. This article documents the reasons behind the ban.
Available as ‘reviewware’, the MaxBlogPress plugin requires users to register and provide an email address before they are allowed to download and use the plugin. While registration is free, we feel it is an unnecessary requirement for a free plugin that lends itself to spam abuse. Which, unfortunately, is exactly what we experienced while testing this plugin.
- Services are only pinged when new posts are created.
- For future posts, it will ping only when your post appears in the future.
- Limits excessive pinging within a short period of time.
- Detailed logging.
- ‘Ping Now’ button.
- Use the fewest number of update services possible, preferably just one, Pingomatic.com.
- Install and configure a ping management plugin.
- Try not to over-edit your posts to begin with.
What Do You Think?
How many services do you ping with your blog? Which ping optimization plugin do you use? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to tweet, share, and +1 this article, we’d really appreciate it.