What is a Ping?
Pings occur when the Ping software utility is testing your network connection. It tests how long a message (or packet of information) takes to travel across the network to a destination computer and back again. When the message comes back to the originating computer, it is called the echo. In the blogging world, Pings can be thought of as remote comments, since they are sent through a separate blog as a link back to your blog.
How is a Ping originated?
Say I write and publish a blog post, such as this one. If you have a separate blog, you can choose to link it to part of my post. This creates a pingback in my blog by your blog sending me an echo request through Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). My blog will then, if pingbacks are enabled, receive the pingback and confirm that your post did originate from mine. In my Comments section, a link to your post will then be displayed.
What information is transferred in a Ping?
If my post is the target of the pingback from your post, you will learn some information from the echo such as: My IP address, how long it takes for my network to respond, and any errors that might have occurred in the case that my network does not respond.
How do Pings help with SEO?
Pings “count” as back links to your post. This happens whether or not you choose to approve of a ping. If, in the example, I choose not to approve your ping, your ping still counts as a one-way link for me, which will improve my search engine rankings. I can also choose to ping a different post from my own blog, so that people reading it can find information from a previous post. This counts as a back-link as well.
Why not approve of all Pings then?
Pings can be used maliciously to flood the target’s network with ICMP echo request packets. This is a denial-of-service attack, because the target’s computer becomes so overwhelmed with pings that the network thinks it’s spamming. Pings can be automated so that they repeatedly attack a specific page and therefore shut that page down. Pings can also be altered so as to contain much more information than a simple IP and network response time request. Misunderstanding Pings can also be devastating to SEO if you approve of links to low-quality or spam sites.
Bottom line about Pings?
Moderate your blog comments section, and only approve of Pings from trusted sources. Pings are not comments, but will appear in this section. If a particular IP is repeatedly sending out pings, mark it as spam. If different IP addresses appear to ping you with similar comments repeatedly, also mark them as spam. Your site will be much more credible if you deny spammy ping requests. It is notable that some bloggers never publish pings, even legitimate ones. If you’re at all confused about pings, it’s best to simply deny all of them until you know more.~by Cate Patricolo, Staff Writer, SEO, Keyword, Web Content Development, and Social Media Specialist, Fisher Business Management