announced the introduction of a way for you to ping Google Blog Search (their search service dedicated to the blogosphere), in order to get Google to re-crawl and re-index your blog after you post new content, so that your brand new posts can be found by someone searching on Blog Search. (If you want to be able to ping Google to get their main search service, not just Blog Search, to re-index your updated blog, see this post).
They've provided a comprehensive ping FAQ (plus how to get software to automatically ping Blog Search programatically). Not only that, but if you're curious to see which blogs have pinged Blog Search recently and when they pinged it, Google have made that info public in an XML file http://blogsearch.google.com/changes.xml - I'm not sure how often they update that file, I'm guessing no more often than hourly but probably less often (last time I checked it hadn't been updated for at least 2 hours).
It seems that pinging Blog Search is still no substitute for pinging Google via Google Sitemaps, though - you should do both. (Incidentally, to whoever's doing that Blog Search Ping page, there's a typo in the anchor for the Sitemaps answer. I've just linked to the typo-fied version but clicking on FAQ 8 in the index list won't work as that links to the correct spelling..)
How to ping Google Blog Search with one clickI like shortcuts, so here's how to ping Blog Search manually with one click:
- ping Blog Search by entering your blog URL (or feed URL) in the new Blog Search ping form and hitting "Submit Blog"
- the resulting page will just say "Thanks for the ping." Bookmark that page or add it to your favorites (depending on your browser).
- in future, whenever you do a new post, to ping BlogSearch just click that bookmark/favorite.
ObservationsThere's a couple of things I wonder about in relation to the new pinging ability.
First, is there integration with Blogger? (I do from time to time bang on about joined up thinking within organisations, notably integrating their own products/services so they work seamlessly with each other - hey I don't just pick on Google, Yahoo gets it as well!). Have Google set up their own blogging service Blogger so that it automatically pings Blog Search whenever you publish a new post?
Certainly you can get your blog listed on Blog Search if you publish a feed (and all Blogger blogs should have the feed enabled) and your blog is set up to automatically ping Weblogs.com (again as Blogger blogs should) - or, now, if you use the manual Blog Search ping form (neither that Blogger help entry nor the Blogsearch help entry on that topic has been updated yet to link to that form, as I write).
But it would be great if Blogger have set things up so that it automatically pings Blog Seach as well as Weblogs.com when you update your Blogger blog. I'm hoping they have, but it's not clear. Does anyone know?
I'm also curious that the info on programmatic pinging says that you have to give them the name and URL of your blog and (in some cases only, it seems) your feed URL. Yet if you use their manual form, you only have to enter your blog URL or your feed URL. Why the difference? Will your blog get re-indexed faster or better if your blogging service programmatically pings Blog Search than if you ping them manually? (My form above in fact is based on one of the programmatic methods, so if that's better for any reason then maybe it's better to use that form/bookmark than the manual form?).