The world of Search Engine Optimization can be a really confusing one! There are lots of sites out there with differing opinions and sometimes it’s really hard to know what to do. Recently I was asked a question about “pinging” a WordPress website.
You may be aware that there are lots of websites out there that offer update services and extended ping lists. The question is, should we be using them? Or should we just stick with the default ping service that comes with the WordPress installation? Also, can add an updated ping list to your WordPress blog help or damage your SEO efforts? I decided to do a bit of research.
What is pinging and what’s a ping service?
For those of you that don’t know what pinging is, allow me to briefly explain. A ping is basically a signal that is sent out from your blog that notifies the search engines of any new content that you add to your site. WordPress will automatically send out a ping when you add a new page or post. It will even send out a ping when you do any updates to your posts.
The ping is first sent out to a special online service where it is then forwarded, eventually notifying the search engines of your content. This process allows the search engines to discover what’s new on your blog and what updates you have made. If the search engines like your content, you will be indexed within the search results.
Google Vs Web Spam!
There has been a big battle for some time now between Google and a few so-called internet “gurus”. The internet Guru’s are always on the lookout for loopholes and easy ways to get into the search engines.
Of course, Google is generally one step ahead! Although conflicting information online has led to a lot of confusion when it comes to SEO. Some people are willing to give anything a try, especially if they think it’s going to put them at the top of the search engines.
Is adding more WordPress update services a good idea?
There are many differing opinions on the internet as to whether or not adding more ping services to your WordPress blog is a good thing. There are lots of websites out there that offer updated ping service lists.
Most of these sites claim that the more up to date ping services that you use, the faster you will get your content indexed. There are some big names out there that follow this advice too. But I’m not one of them! And here’s why…
The purpose and misuse of pinging
The whole purpose of pinging your WordPress blog is to get your content indexed within the search engines. When I post a new page, post or update it might take a few hours or even a few days to get indexed. I don’t really care about the timescale, the most important thing is that it gets indexed.
But did you know that you could actually be harming your search engine ranks by pinging too often? And the quickest way to over ping your website is by adding a huge list of ping services to it.
Could over pinging label you as a spammer?
Going back a few years things were very different in SEO terms. There was a time when building huge amounts of backlinks to your posts could get them to the top of the search engines. Do backlinks still have the same effect that they used to have? No, they don’t. Google has evolved and all of those methods of creating spun content and low-quality websites have gone right out of the window.
But it would seem that old habits die hard for some people. There is still tons of advice on the internet that would have you believe that back-linking is still effective and that you should ping everything that you create to multiple services. It has been reported by one service that approximately 90% of pings sent to them were actually spam links. So it will come as no surprise to learn that Google implemented some safeguarding into its search algorithm to detect such actions. These days Google can and will issue penalties to those blogs that it suspects of using spammy techniques. And you could be doing it without even realizing it!
WordPress ping lists could damage your SEO
Have you ever taken the advice of an internet guru or SEO master who told you to update your WordPress ping list? If so then you might want to reconsider after reading this. I recently discovered a post from Ana at the Traffic Generation Cafe, who thankfully pointed me in the right direction.
Here I finally found the answer that I had been looking for. I had suspected that pinging could be classed as spam for some time, but until now I had no hard evidence to prove it.
Ana pointed me to an extremely long post on the Viperchill.com blog, entitled “The Future Of Blogging”. I highly recommend that you read both Ana’s and Viperchills posts as linked to here as they really are quite enlightening.
It was within those posts that I finally found the proof that I had been looking for. Ping your WordPress blog too much or to the wrong services and you could damage your search engine ranks.
WordPress Update Services CAN Damage SEO!
Glen at Viperchill tells us that he was checking his search results when he found something very interesting. A page that should have ranked very easily for their brand name was actually beaten by three other much lower quality sites.
After talking about this on social media, Glen got a personal message from Matt Cutts (former head of webspam at Google). Matt asked Glen what services he was currently using to “ping” his posts with.
Here’s what glen had to say:
Think about this!
WordPress comes with one service that it uses to send pings out to every time you publish or edit a post. That means that every time you make an amendment and re-publish your edited content, another ping is sent. These pings are then distributed to lots of other services before notifying the search engines.
So if you are doing quite a bit of editing and re-publishing, the pings can really start to add up. Now consider the fact that some internet Guru’s recommend adding lists of 50, 60, even up to 200 new ping services to your blog! You might think that you are submitting quality content to Google when in actual fact you are performing mass webspam!
If you have a ping list of 50 services on your blog and press publish 2 or 3 times during an edit, you could well be sending out hundreds of spammy signals. And then there is the fact that Google doesn’t like all of the update services out there either. You could well be linking to a service that Google does not approve of.
Have I been given a Google penalty for ping spamming?
It would seem that the Google penalty for sending out lots of pings might not be as bad as getting de-indexed. Like in the example above, Glen knew that he should be ranking in the no.1 position but was actually ranked number 4. But the point that I am making here is that you could be harming each and every one of your posts as a result of this one setting within your WordPress blog.
You could be ranking on page 2 for a search term, where you should be on page one. You could be in the same position as Glen and just missing out on that top spot. The worst part of this is that you could be missing out on valuable traffic. Fortunately, updating your ping services couldn’t be easier.
How to check your WordPress ping services
If this post has at least convinced you to check your update services within WordPress, then here’s how to do it.
Within your WordPress dashboard simply go to Settings and then Writing.
You will see the WordPress update services that you have enabled on your blog.
You can remove the ones that you don’t want by simply selecting and deleting them.
Here is what the default update services look like.
To ping or not to ping!
That is the question! So when should or shouldn’t we ping our blog? Well as a rule there is no major effect from pinging just one service. However, if you have updated your ping list or you have a plugin that also sends out pings, then you should perhaps look into it.
Sending lots of ping signals can affect your rankings, so why risk it? My best advice is to use the default settings that WordPress comes installed with. The default settings send your ping to a service called “Ping-o-matic”, which do a really good job. These guys automatically enable and disable services as necessary, so that you don’t need to worry about it!
One other thing that you might want to consider is disabling the update services entirely. If you are doing a lot of editing in a single session then you might consider turning off the updates. I sometimes have days where I will spend a couple of hours updating and amending old posts.
This of course can lead to a lot of clicks on the publish button and lots of pings being sent out. Simply by removing the update services you can temporarily stop WordPress from pinging your site. Just don’t forget to put your update services back once you finish!
If you would like to ask a question or post a comment then please do so below!
WOW…THANKS! Just deleted my ping list after reading your report…thanks….
I just experience a huge drop in rankings……. what should i do to recover my rankings?
Now that you have taking your settings back to the default ping settings, your rankings will return in time. The main thing that I would suggest is to keep creating quality content for your website. Normally the ping list wouldn’t make you suddenly drop in rankings, but it would contribute. Perhaps your ping list might might only be part of your problem? I would continue to create content and see if you get any increase in rankings after a couple of weeks.
Alexis Wilke says
Thank you about this one. I also really like Ana’s post. Thanks for that link!
I found a page listing like 50 ping services and quickly though that could be a big problem. If I ping that many, and knowing it pings each time I do an update and since I update my post 4 or 5 times after I published them, that would be a good 250 updates, just way too many to not look like total spam!
Exactly Alexis! I know some people were using huge lists of ping services. I think WordPress updated the way that it pings your posts and pages, so no matter if you update a post 10 times in the same day it will only ping once. But it still might look a bit spammy if you are pinging massive lists of services. I recommend just sticking to the standard setup that comes with WordPress. Having more ping services listed certainly doesn’t help to get ranked any faster!
Thanks for posting your comment. I really appreciate it!
Thanks Andrew, To even imagine that I actually read a post on a blog on the need to add to your ping. The post had over 100 ping sites which I added, wasn’t comfortable with the idea of so many pings. Always thought It could be harmful, I just changed it to the default now… Thanks
Hi there Joseph. I’m pleased that you found this article helpful. Although its hard to say how much damage pinging lots of sites could do, it certainly appeared to make a difference in our tests. So yes, I would agree that you are far better to have the default settings and just leave it at that.
Thanks for the comment Joseph.
Learned a lot from this article. Very enlightening. Thank you.
My pleasure Caryn. Glad that you found this article helpful. Please get in touch if I can help you any further.
Thanks for posting this information about WordPress ping and update services. I really appreciate you sharing this and would be grateful if you could keep me updated with any other information regarding this subject.
Hello Surabhi. Glad that you found this post helpful. I will certainly update this page if any new information comes to light.
Sunil Ahrodiya says
Thank you for the information on ping services. Very useful. Will bookmark this information right now and share it on social media. Many Thanks!
Glad that you found this helpful Sunil!
Ana Hoffman says
More harm than good no matter how we look at it!
Really appreciate your very thorough research, Andrew, sharing your findings with us, and a shout to my blog post!
Hi there Ana! Thank you for posting your comment, its a real pleasure to see you on my site. Thank you also for the research that you did on this subject, it really helped to point me in the right direction.
I hope that we can work together in the future! Keep up the good work.
All the best,
So glad I read your post. My blog could have gotten blacklisted or banned.
I was at the verge of adding an entire ping list to my WordPress site but having worked so hard to get it to where it is, I have learned to be careful in adding vain and unnecessary services.
Thanks for your post highlighting what to avoid as far as pinging services are concerned.
Thanks for posting!
Hi there Bess! I’m really pleased that you found this article helpful. You are quite right to be careful! It takes us a long time to get our work indexed and seen by readers on the internet. Its easy to make a mistake with something like pinging, especially if you are unaware of what can go wrong. Pinging your site with update services would seem like such a harmless activity to most people, but often we don’t see whats really going on in the background. There are so many pitfalls to avoid as a blogger and website owner, I’m pleased that I helped you to dodge this one!
Have a great day,
This article really helped me know whether I should ping or not, I really wanted to update my pinging services, but after reading your post I will just leave it to Ping-o-matic to do the work.
You have saved me! I was on my way to ruin my sites SEO.
Thank you a lot for this post, so useful.
Hi there Anis. There really is no need to add those extensive lists of ping services at all! Stay well away. Adding these services wont ruin your SEO alone anyway. By using the large lists of ping services that some blogs give away you can run the risk of being flagged for “ping spam”. This sends a negative signal that can cause a drop in your rankings. Although not a major issue, there is no need to use huge lists of update services anyway. Simply by sharing your content socially and letting the default Ping-O-Matic do its work, you will get indexed. Using further ping update services really has no benefit at all.
This is an excellent article addressing something that I previously knew nothing about. I am a beginner internet marketer and trying to get as much information as I can about blogging, etc. I understand that the world of SEO has changed dramatically and this confirms it. I’m looking forward to reading other articles on your site and the ones you’ve linked to so that I can learn as much as possible. Thank you!
My pleasure Jill! Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. Search Engine Optimization is a huge subject and one that will have people arguing over what works and what doesn’t for many years to come. The best advice that I can give is to learn as much as possible and then double verify your information if possible! There is still a lot of incorrect, misleading and out of date information out there. I hope you enjoy looking around my site. Get in touch and feel free to ask anything that you are unsure of.
Wow this is very interesting! More especially for people like me that have interest in generating income online.I, like many people want to get the best ranks possible. so to find a simple thing like pinging can effect your ranks is quite a surprise. I’m sure most people like me will be surprised to discover this information. I may have just found the answer to my sudden drop in search engine traffic.
Thanks for posting this and please keep me updated with any other information regarding this.
Hi there Jose! Thanks for submitting your comments. I was quite surprised too when I found out the effect that this could have. However after learning a bit more about it, I can now fully appreciate what Google are trying to do here. The thing is that there are still lots of people out there that are trying to manipulate the search results. People are still building backlinks, social signals, social bookmarks, article marketing, press releases… The list goes on!! These marketers will create hundreds of accounts and build thousands of links all in an attempt to get easy rankings. When they have the links built, they will ping each and every one of them in an attempt to get their links indexed. The problem is that non of those pages will have any real quality content. So it stands to reason that Google would introduce a change to it’s algorithm to combat ping spam.
At least now that we are all aware of what this can do, we know how to avid it. Hopefully we can all avoid unnecessary drops in our search results. I will keep you posted on this page with any further updates.