Consider this today's new vs old tip of the day. Most small business owners don't have the time to stay up to date on the latest internet marketing terminology permeating every nook and cranny of online media. So when it comes to knowing what words they should know versus the words that don't really matter, they often rest on their own acumen. Depending on their level of technology advertising savvy, this could be fine but more often than not it's a kiss of death.

[queue the superman theme music here]

That's why I decided to explain the difference between good old web site search engine / directory submission versus pinging the blog search engines / directories. First we'll look at search engine submission since its what most are more familiar with.

site submit: Search engines need 1 of 2 things in order to know you web site exists.

1.) You submit your main url to them and they crawl your site and include it in their index.

2.) Another site already indexed in the search engine links to your site and the bots follow that link and crawl your site.

That's it, nothing fancy, no rocket science, that's it. It's been around for a long time and people are comfortable with it, a little too comfortable seing as how they're still paying people for this service, but whatever.

Now if you have a blog, things are the same yet different and that is where a lot of the confusion around pinging comes in.

blog ping: Pinging the blog search engines & RSS aggregators is the same as submitting your site to the search engines except for the following.

1.) you ping the blog search engines every time you update your blog.

2.) because blogs are time-sensitive in nature, this happens much more often than standard web site submission.

3.) Depending on the user's knowledge level & understanding of the blogosphere, the word ping can take on several different meanings, all of which are accurate but simply end up confusing the novice all the more.

Clearing up the mystery

So one of the most fundamental pieces of information we must understand is why there are two different terms used when talking about submitting a web site to the search engines, be them blog based or not.

Not too long ago, 'bout 2 years I guess, there were a couple of blog search engines in the works. These engines were bootstrapped so saving money was of the utmost importance. They wanted to track blogs in real-time but knew that wasn't possible because they didn't have the number of servers required to do it, even back then. On top of that they didn't have the bandwidth to do it either because all of that requires loads of capital. So instead they decided to make it easy for those who owned blogs to notify them when their blog had been updated. This is what the blogosphere typically means when the word ping is used.

By only pinging the search engines when a site had been updated, it saved them bucu bucks on servers, bandwidth, electricity, repair bills, etc...

The only problem though, is that there was something out there that did the same thing but just on a slower lifecycle. And that was, everybody now, search engine submission :) So now the average SMB / SME has no idea which service they need, if either and how much they should pay for such a service. Well a few weeks ago I did a little piece on a free pinging utility called Pong. I highly recommend using it to notify the blog search engines when your site is updated. It's free and fast and you won't have to wait in line at sites like pingomatic.

Public Disclaimer: The folks at Pingomatic have been giving their service away for free for a long time [like 3 years or something] and I mean them no harm by saying they have slow load times. Pingomatic is a great example of a bootstrapped site [still is to my knowledge] and provides a free service to bloggers so they can have their voice heard. Problem is that the demand for their services has exceeded their server capacity.

Anyway, it's pretty darn early for me and I've been interrupted 3 times by children waking up before they normally should've and my coffee hasn't really kicked in and the dog spilled a coke in the family room. Why do dogs drink coke anyway? So I'm gonna wrap this one up for now but will revisit it at a later date with more detail and when my eyelids aren't still sealed shut.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
November 7, 2005

Jason is a nationally-recognized SEO expert and is the go to seo consultant of Fortune 100 companies like AT&T, Motorola & Microsoft as well as major brands like YellowBook and LA Times. He is the Director of Search at Triangle Direct Media and responsible for the development and capabilities of SEO Tool - TDM's automated seo platform. Prior to joining TDM Jason was Founder / CEO of search engine optimization firm Global Promoter, which was acquired by Kowabunga in 2004. In a previous life Jason was an Information Systems Engineer for NASA and a systems analyst at Oracle Corp.

Search Engine Guide > Jason Dowdell > Blog Ping Vs Web Site Submit