In today’s internet universe, if you want to stand out from the crowd you have to publish really quality and relevant content. It attracts not only real people eager to read what you have to say, but also search engines.
Speaking of which, Google is very clever these days due to the latest updates of Panda algorithm.
But it’s not enough to have first class content, it has to be indexed by Google in order to be ranked and found by people. This relates to SEO.
In this article I’ll talk about indexing. If you want Google to index faster a new post, it has to be notified somehow. The process of notifying of new content is generally known as pinging.
Pinging New Content
To notify the internet (our virtual universe 🙂 ) of new content you have to ping such a service, that in turn will notify many other services, such as:
- Search engines
- Web directories
- News websites
- Feed websites
If your site is WordPress based, the task is very simple. A fresh WordPress installation has a built-in pinging system that notifies Ping-O-Matic by default. This is done every time you click on “Publish” button. In addition to Ping-O-Matic you can add as many as you want.
There are many articles out there on this subject containing also lists of additional pinging services.
I decided to add more pinging services to my blog in addition to the default one, but I had a problem: I wasn’t too confident in those lists. They might be outdated with services not being operational anymore.
I wanted to test these ping services. And I found a solution.
Testing the Pinging Services
A pinging service uses XML-RPC protocol. The messages are formatted as XML markup, which is very similar to HTML. When you publish a new page or post, WordPress sends a command with parameters to the server and expects a response.
For testing purposes I’m using xmlrpc-test web utility. It can be downloaded and installed in any web hosting service, but for our convenience, there is one already available online.
- The home page: https://code.google.com/p/xmlrpc-test/
- The online installation: http://www.tomhost.de/dev/tools/xmlrpc-tt/
This tool may be used to test any XML-RPC server, but I will show you how to use it to test pinging services in particular.
Let’s go through the steps:
- Go to the online tool: http://www.tomhost.de/dev/tools/xmlrpc-tt/
- In “XMLRPC-Server” field fill in the service URL, let’s say “http://rpc.pingomatic.com/“;
- In “custom method” field input “weblogUpdates.ping“. It is case sensitive, so write it exactly as shown;
- Click “send“.
If the service is alive, in the “output” region you’ll see the response. It should contain an error message (due to lack of required parameters) that reads “Missing weblog URL“. The weblogUpdates.ping command requires two parameters, but for our purpose you don’t have to bother. This is a good sign, it means that the service is alive. If the service would be dead, there would have been a long waiting time without any response.
If you like to see a real ping command in action, add the first parameter in “param 1” field as the blog URL (only the domain part). To add the second parameter click the “+” sign near “send” button, this will add an input field for the second parameter. Fill in the second parameter with the complete URL of the post you want to ping. After pressing on “send” the “output” field will show a success response from the server.
Update Nov 3, 2015: New XML-RPC Client Information
One of my readers notified me that the above XML-RPC web utility doesn’t work anymore. It may be a temporary issue, but who knows, maybe it’s not supported by the author anymore. A natural thing was to find another one, and here it is, a Chrome browser extension that can be accessed here:
As you can see in the picture above, the user interface is quite similar to the first one, so there is no need for deep explanation. One single remark: there is no place for custom method, so the only usable operation was this:
- Fill in the server URL
- Click on “Get Methods” button to query the list of supported methods.
- Choose the method, in our case you should choose “weblogUpdates.ping“
- Click on “Send” and read the server’s response.
Notice: If the server you want to test is not responsive, the UI of this client freezes with a progress indicator on it. The best thing is to close it and invoke another instance.
Adding Additional Pinging Services in WordPress
I compiled a list of live pinging services using the xmlrpc-test utility and put them in my blog.
You may do so by following these steps:
- In admin area of WordPress click on “Settings“
- Click on “Writing“
- Edit the “Update Services” field adding the additional services
- Click on “Save Changes“
Now every time you publish a new post (Publish button), it will be pinged to all these pinging services. For your convenience, here is my list for easy copy:
http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ http://rpc.twingly.com http://ping.feedburner.com/ http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2 http://ping.blo.gs/ http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/ http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2 http://blog.goo.ne.jp/XMLRPC http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/
There is another mechanism, pingback that uses the same XML-RPC protocol. In another post I’ll cover this subject and how to protect your blog from pingback exploits.
What About Pinging Non-WordPress Web Pages?
WordPress can use it’s built-in functionality to ping new content, but what about plain HTML pages? When I’m promoting products with PLR or RR license, I often use the HTML marketing pages that are usually supplied with such products. It’s always a good idea to make the search engines index the squeeze pages, but how to do it the easiest possible way?
The web based tools come in handy here. You simply fill out the URL(s) of the pages(s) you want to ping, hit the button and it’s done.
The Internet is full of them, but I give you just two which I consider the best ones:
online-ping-tool/ (you can find here a huge pile of other free SEO tools)
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