I was asked in follow up to my article on blog search engine tips to explain what a ping is so here you go.
In its simplest form, a “ping” is a means to ensure that one computer server can talk to another across a network (Internet) A small “packet” of data is sent from one computer to another to establish a connection between the two. Once the connection is established, any updates on the site are then sent back to the initiating computer.
For blog writers who want to make sure that their articles appear in real time on blog engines, pings are important as they allow the search engines to communication with the blog writers server to check for updates to the blog and to post tha latest information when people search.
Most of the blog search engines allow you to “ping” them. Do this each time you update your blog by going to the blog search engines (these include Technorati and IceRocket) and clicking on the “ping” link (usually on the home page). Once you’re there you will be prompted you to enter your blog URL. Do so carefully so as to avoid spelling errors. When done, click on the button to complete and the process starts. You’ll know that the search engine has been in touch with your blog server once the message comes back “thanks for the ping!”.
Still confused? I like to use the table tennis analogy one computer pings the other and the other pings (pongs?) back!