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WordPress Update Services and Pings: Post Creation or Update

If you’re mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you might not be familiar with WordPress Update Services and Pings. These are crucial elements of WordPress that can significantly boost your site’s visibility and reach.

The current article is "5.6. WP Update Pings" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 5.5. WP Writing Settings. Next Article: 5.7. RSS Feeds

What are WordPress Update Services?

WordPress Update Services are tools that WordPress uses to inform other websites and services when you’ve published new content or updated existing content (configuration of this setting was discussed in previous article). This process is known as “pinging”.

When you publish or modify a post, WordPress sends a signal, or “ping,” to the update services listed in your WordPress settings. These services are typically a collection of XML-RPC (Extensible Markup Language-Remote Procedure Call) servers. XML-RPC is a protocol that allows to make procedure calls over the Internet for software in different operating systems.

You can locate and modify your list of updated services in the WordPress admin area. Just navigate to Settings > Writing > Update Services. By default, WordPress pings a service called Ping-O-Matic


which then notifies other major services and search engines. You can add more services to this list if you want.

The Role of WordPress Update Services Pings in WordPress

Now that we’ve discussed WordPress Update Services, let’s delve into the role of pings. In WordPress, a “ping” is a signal your site sends to update services to inform them about changes to your content. This differs from WordPress pingbacks or trackbacks (which we’ll discuss later in the Complete SEO Guide Box), which are ways of notifying other bloggers that you’ve linked to their content.

WordPress automatically sends these pings to the update services when you create or update a post. The services then scan your site, indexing the new or updated content. This process helps increase your content’s visibility on search engines and other platforms, potentially attracting more traffic to your site.

However, it’s essential to be aware that sending too many pings can be seen as spam by search engines and other services. WordPress has built-in mechanisms to prevent excessive pinging when you’re making many changes in a short time. However, the question still often arises – can search engines consider excessive pings spammy?

The Impact of Excessive Pings on SEO

Excessive pinging, especially when updates are not substantial, can potentially be viewed as spammy behavior by search engines. This is because it might seem like an attempt to falsely indicate that the site is being updated more frequently than it is. However, it’s important to remember that WordPress Update Services Pings are just one of many search engine ranking factors.

Balancing Pings and SEO

Search engines have many factors for a site’s ranking. These include the quality of content, the number of inbound and outbound links, the site’s loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and more. All these factors were discussed in section 2 of our Complete SEO Guide Box. Therefore, while excessive WordPress Update Services Pings could potentially be a negative signal, it’s just one piece of the SEO puzzle.

The Importance of Quality Content

Despite the technical aspects of SEO, such as WordPress Update Services Pings, the most crucial factor for search engine rankings remains the quality of your content. Concentrate on creating high-quality, original content that provides value to your readers. This is the best way to ensure search engines view your site favorably.

Monitoring Your Site’s Performance

Finally, monitoring your site’s performance using tools like Google Search Console is essential. If you notice a drop in rankings or traffic, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Remember, WordPress Update Services Pings are a tool to help your site perform better. However, they should be used wisely and with other SEO best practices.

Best Practices for WordPress Update Services Pings

If you’re worried about sending too many pings, there are several steps you can take.

Don’t Update Posts Too Frequently

Limit your pings to when you publish new content rather than every time you make minor updates to existing posts. This means you shouldn’t update your posts too frequently. Suppose you’re a regular user posting content. In that case, you probably have nothing to worry about since there shouldn’t be frequent content updates.

Remove Pinging Services When Updating Posts

If you have numerous posts to update, you can remove the service address from the WordPress Writing Settings and return it when finished.

WordPress Update Services Pings Management Plugin

Consider using a reputable SEO plugin. These plugins can help manage your pinging behavior to ensure it’s not excessive. In the past, we were using the WordPress plugin:

WordPress Ping Optimizer By Pankaj Jha

This plugin can change the settings of the WordPress Update Service Pings mechanism to send ping only when a new post is created, without sending pings on post updates.

The problem with the plugin is that it didn’t get an update for a long time and might not work well with the latest WordPress versions. So, we do not recommend using this plugin in its current state. We will update this section once a reputable plugin will be available.

Using functions.php – For Reference ONLY

This section is for reference only because we didn’t test this function since it is hard to check the pinging mechanism.

We will discuss editing “functions.php” and using child themes later.

Beginners should skip this section altogether. This part is mainly for you to understand how the mechanism works and not update your articles excessively.

The code:

// Disable WordPress update services pings only on update
function disable_update_services_pings_on_update( $post_ID, $post, $update ) {
    // Get the current ping sites
    $ping_sites = get_option( 'ping_sites' );
    // If the post is being updated, set the ping sites to empty
    if ( $update ) {
        update_option( 'ping_sites', '' );
    // If the post is being created, restore the ping sites to the original value
    else {
        update_option( 'ping_sites', $ping_sites );
add_action( 'save_post', 'disable_update_services_pings_on_update', 10, 3 );

This code will hook into the “save_post” action, which runs whenever a post is created or updated. It will get the current value of the “ping_sites” option, which stores the list of update services to be pinged. If the post is being updated, it will set the “ping_sites” option to an empty string, which means no update services will be pinged. If the post is being created, it will restore the “ping_sites” option to its original value, which means the update services will be pinged as usual.

The current article is "5.6. WP Update Pings" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 5.5. WP Writing Settings. Next Article: 5.7. RSS Feeds


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