What Is Good Ping?
If you are familiar with the I.T. industry, you may be familiar with the concept of “pinging” an IP address. For purposes of blogging however, what is ping – “ping” means an almost entirely different thing.
PING: The Search Engine Notifier
In the blogging world, PING is the acronym for “Packet Internet Groper”. Depending on its particular application, the term may also stand for “Packet Inter-Network Groper”. So much for the literal definition, but what does ping do exactly?
Ever wondered how other sites know that you have new content posted? Or how changes in your site are reflected on RSS feed directories? Well, the answer to that lies in ingenious bits of code known as ping. Its function is basically to seek out feed directories, search engines, and social bookmarking sites, and announce the presence of content on sites such as yours. These sites then respond by sending out crawlers that check out what you have to offer.
Are you with me so far? Good. After a few seconds, bots from these sites go over to your site and peruse your content more thoroughly. If your content passes the muster of these bots, what happens next is what all website owners would wish for their site: it is indexed.
Why indexing is such a good thing
You don’t actually need pinging in order to get your website indexed…well, in theory at least. The fact of the matter is that while spiders are likely to find your site if you post halfway useful content, you might have to wait a long time before they do so. If you want to speed up the process of site indexing therefore, ping is essential.
One thing you will have to consider is whether or not your site is set up as efficiently as possible, which is to say that it is “spider-friendly”. Some people have tried to get around this issue by implementing the “revisit-after” meta tag, which doesn’t always provide the desired results. It would really be best to get your site in order rather than to rely on meta tags that are likely to be ignored anyway.
The role of the sitemap
Before we go any further, now would be a good time to go over the sitemap and why it is just as important as ping. When you put up a sitemap for your site, you will make it easier for Google to index the pages contained in it. Additionally, it provides search engines with important information about your site with regard to your site layout and how often your content will be updated.
A sitemap benefits more than just the search engines as well. For visitors to your site, a sitemap will be helpful for navigation and generally enhance the browsing experience. Simply put: if you don’t have a sitemap right now, get one done!
What is a good ping time?
You shouldn’t just ping every time the urge strikes you, since most sites will consider that spam. Instead, you should only ping when you have new content posted, or if your content has undergone sufficient revisions to make it practically new.
Does PING help your ranking?
In a word: no. If you are thinking of using ping to raise your site’s ranking in Google’s results pages, that’s really not the way to go about it. You know what works though? The same thing that has always been beneficial in terms of site ranking: quality content.
Keep in mind that you are not in the business of getting a high ranking on Google and all the other major search engines, but rather to proved valuable and relevant content that people can actually use. Google’s search criteria reflect this priority, which means that getting a high ranking is still dependent on the quality of your content. So keep your content up to par, use PING judiciously as described above, and the rest should fall into place.
So that’s what is ping in a nutshell. If you would like to share how you use ping for your website, feel free to do so. I’m particularly interested in how you think ping affects your traffic, so I hope to hear from you!