Comments and help on web development.
08 2008

PingCrawl injects links

How do you get links from all over the blogosphere quickly?

You create a famous wordpress plugin and implement a backdoor to inject your own links.

Josh, from Josh Team and Eli, from Blue Hat SEO did this with his WordPress plugin “PingCrawl“.

PingCrawl automatically searches for related posts on other blogs with Googles blogsearch and pings each of them to get a valid backlink. Awesome idea!

If you take a look at the code of the plugin you stumble over this function:
protected function injection() { $link = file_get_contents( '' ); if ( empty( $link ) ) { $link = '<a href="">Dallas Nightlife Entertainment</a>'; } return $link; }

This function tries to get the content of the website If it doesn’t get one it will (throw an error and) return default linkcode to

If you read further you’ll notice this code, which injects the link at a probability of 1:6 1:4 for each tag:

$seed = rand( 0, 11 ); if ( $seed <= 2 ) { $content .= '<li>' . $this->injection() . '</li>'; }

You are save to remove these two code parts from the plugin, if you want to.

If you want to inject links with a sneaky plugin, you should probably not release it in a post on a SEO blog. Just my thoughts.

I hope Eli will not take this post personally, I just want to protect others who are too lazy to look over the code of PingCrawl.

12 Responses to “PingCrawl injects links”

  1. Actually no sneakiness was intended.

    Quote from my blog on the post for the release

    Also we coded in a small link injection which will put a link of mine into the mix about once every 10 posts. They will all be very white hat and clean links so no worries and if you left the code intact I’d consider that a substantial thank you for the plugin. :)

    ^not an edit, that’s in the original post

    I fully respect any decisions to remove the link injection. So its definitely nothing personal. To remove it all you have to do is remove everything in that function which most bluehat readers can figure out. If you decide to leave it that’s much appreciated as well :)

  2. Hey man! Good post, I actually wrote this plugin. And shoot, by no means do I want to enforce people to automagically inject me and Eli’s links. Hence why I abstracted it out to a method call “injection” :) you can actually plug & play your own empire’s links their and have great results (in theory). But, if you don’t want to hassle, I wouldn’t mind the extra few links! haha. Anyways very nice write up.

  3. Eli,

    honestly I didn’t see this text. I’m glad you are not mad at me :)

  4. I’m not sure this plugin is a good idea to be honest.

    1) you don’t really get linkbacks, since the pingback links you’ll get will be nofollowed (at least on WP blogs)

    2) if there is such a thing, you’re exposed to more pagerank leak, since you add more outgoing links to your posts.

    3) Strings like <a href=””>Dallas Nightlife Entertainment</a> look like a text link ad. Google don’t like them. So you’re likely to get a penalty from Google. The injection stuff really really looks like spam to me.

    4) A “very white hat and clean link” would have been something at least nofollowed

    5) Automated results are great and everything, but you *will* end up linking to a spammy site, and mutual links with splogs is definitely not something that will do good on SEO.

    6) Automated results are great and everything, but most of the time they are totally worthless for the reader because they’re totally unrelated to the post.

    My 2 cents.

  5. @ 1: That’s the nature of pingback links. I think they still contain value, since you provide relevant content to the pinged blog.
    @ 2: I believe if you link to other sites within your niche you won’t lose trust/pagerank.
    @ 3: Since the outgoing links are presented as a list, you are probably right about that. Maybe rel=”nofollow” is an option here?
    @ 4: Nobody said it’s whitehat. The plugin generates automated links. Every automated content is evil to SEs, right? ;)
    @ 5: That’s true. In order to prevent linking to spammy sites you should look at each of the sites after the post has been published. If you add the rel=”nofollow” tag you are protected… maybe.
    @ 6: Depends on the tags. If you use niche tags the links could be relevant.

    Thanks for commenting!

  6. Hey make sure you grab the latest version of the plugin from Eli’s site or my blog. The hard coded link injection, smaller seed ratio, etc weren’t suppose to go live :-p I am using this on a project of mine.

    Hope this helps!

    Also spammy sites linking to you while a lot of legit sites link to you can’t hurt you too much. If so, I would create a farm of spammy sites and link to my competitors :-p

  7. Josh, I already use a modified 1.02 version. Check your mail, I’ve sent you my improved version some hours ago :)

  8. Anty I got that & appreciate it. I added a TODO on my blog:

    heck current php settings for file_get_contents if not allowed use cURL.

    I will be using your code for that! :)

  9. [...] does inject its own link every 10 or so links, so visit ANTY.INFO to learn how to remove the code if you want [...]

  10. Thanks.
    I think this is his way of open source .
    Thanks for the info.

  11. I’ve released a hacked version of this that uses cURL so it should work with most shared hosts (I’ve tested it with Dreamhost, Media Temple, and HostGator). It also removes the link injections, but adds a link back to the plugin page.

    It also adds a settings menu that lets you choose between title, tag, and category as the basis for the Google search, allows you to choose how many links to post, and whether to verify the target sites accept pingbacks.

    I prefer not to verify that pingbacks are accepted, for three reasons: 1) I get better quality results 2) It seems like most of the pinged sites were “bait and switching” - they appear to accept pingbacks but the pingbacks aren’t posted (and even if they do they’re probably using “nofollow”). 3) It slows down posting.

  12. Thanks, I didnt find the $seed on my own.

    I love the domain name btw!

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