Pinging Search Engines
A ping is basically an HTTP GET request that, in the context of a Google Sitemap, is sent to a search engine to notify of the need to re-crawl the Sitemap.
SiteTree can ping Google both upon request, and automatically whenever a new web page is published. When the notification concerns the Google Sitemap, SiteTree always pings Bing and Yahoo! as well.
The convenience of using SiteTree to ping search engines relies mostly on its user interface, designed to be inconspicuous but at the same time to give to the user constant feedbacks about the pinging events.
The Pinging Bubble
The main element of the user interface of the pinging facility is a bubble that can be made visible by hovering over the coloured dot you find in the SiteTree Dashboard. The bubble is intended to give detailed informations about the pinging events and to provide the user with a labour-saving mean to send pings.
By changing in colour and shape the Pinging Dot graphically represents the general status of the pinging facility:
- Blue disk: the automatic pinging is OFF.
- Green disk: the automatic pinging is ON.
- Blue/Green circle: the Pinging-On-Request is idle for an hour.
- Red disk: one or more pings have failed.
- Yellow disk: the pinging functionality has been disabled by the plugin.
The Pinging Log
In SiteTree Pro the Pinging Bubble is also the access point to the Pinging Log, a chronological list of the last thirty pinging events.
In the Pinging Log you can find information like the date of the ping, the search engines that have been pinged, the server's response code, and the title of the post whose publishing triggered an automatic ping.
Usually the response code is a numeric information that very rarely differs from
200 (ping succeeded), but in some circumstances can happen to be a descriptive message too, namely a short report of the error encountered by WordPress on carrying out the HTTP GET request.
About the Automatic Pinging
For the News Sitemap the automatic pinging is always ON, and cannot be disabled. Instead for the Google Sitemap is turned OFF by default, and can be enabled at any time by clicking on the switch control you find in the upper-right corner of the Pinging Bubble.
When the automatic pinging is enabled, pings are sent whenever the permalink of a newly published page is added to the Sitemap, regardless of whether or not the Pinging-On-Request is temporarily idle.
Before Your First Ping
In order for your pings to be regarded by Google as legittimate requests of re-crawling, you have to submit your Google Sitemap, and eventually your News Sitemap, through the Google Search Console. It's not mandatory to do that before SiteTree sends out its first ping, but it is strongly recommended.