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How to Avoid Ping Spamming

I saw one of those VERY IMPORTANT READ THIS NOW posts in a forum the other day. It was all about how WordPress could get us banned from the search engines.

I normally don’t go anywhere near posts with titles like that, but considering the mutual love affair between Google and WordPress I was intrigued.

Apparently all WordPress users were suddenly going to be labelled as spammers because of the built in pinging functionality. (WordPress tells blog syndication services like Technorati whenever you publish a new article).

We’re not, and here’s why:

The first misconception was that WordPress pings the services (lets them know) every time you edit, save or publish your article.

It doesn’t.

It only pings them when you publish a post for the first time or update it after publishing.

So you can edit and save your posts as many times as you like – and you won’t become a spammer.

The cure for this ‘problem’, according to the forum post, was to download and install a plugin.

Not only is this absolutely not necessary, it may have a negative impact – if not right away then later.

As I’ve written elsewhere, I do suggest restricting the number of plugins you use. The more plugins you have the more likelihood of something going wrong.

And if a plugin author stops updating his plugin you may experience problems after future WordPress upgrades when his plugin is no longer compatible.

In any case, a plugin in this case is completely unnecessary.

WordPress provides a Preview function:

So when you’ve written your article, add your tags, categories and any other settings you use, then click ‘Preview’. (If you’re updating a post it will say ‘Preview Changes’).

Your post will open in a new window, displaid exactly as it will look when it’s published, and you can check layout, links, images and everything else.

Since it’s in a new window you can switch back to the edit window to make changes as you need to.

And none of this activity will be pinged to Technorati and the rest.

You can save your post as a draft, edit and re-save it as many times as you like, preview it as many times as you like, and Technorati and it’s friends won’t know a thing about it.

Until you hit publish.

That’s when your article will be pinged.

So the lessons are:

  1. When you want to see how your post will look in the flesh use the Preview function.
  2. When you’re editing and saving it – use the save button, not the publish (or update) buttons.
  3. Only hit publish or update when you’re finally satisfied with everything.

Then you won’t be labelled as a spammer and you’ll have saved a plugin.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Brad Harmon 18 November, 2009, 11:37 am

    Hmm… how many times does it take to become a spammer? I have had to go back and redo search terms, reformat for new theme, and change my feature posts. I wasn’t aware it was pinging after the first time. 🙁
    .-= Brad Harmon´s last blog ..Should Christians Bring Their Religion to the Workplace? =-.

    • Martin 18 November, 2009, 1:28 pm

      Don’t worry about it! This is seriously not an issue.

      Even if you Published instead of Previewing every time you made a change, you’d have to do it in rapid succession in a short space of time (dozens of times a minute) for them to consider you a spammer.

      Making a few changes here and there is NOT going to cause any problems!

      I just get frustrated when I see alarmist posts like that one I referred to, and then a solution that is not only unnecessary but could actually cause problems.

      But it is good practice to use the Preview function.

      Martin.