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As I have understand WordPress 4.0.1 has it's own "Update Service" enabled by default. The address indicated in my case is http://rpc.pingomatic.com/. So based on this thing I can state that my WordPress pack has ping service implemented and enabled.

However there are several plugins that can automatically build and upload XML Sitemap to major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo...).

For me it looks like those plugins is not really necessary. But if I really need my posts to be quickly indexed and well ranked: do I need to consider any of those plugins to make my chances to gather traffic any better?

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Pings are a mechanism for a fast update. For example if you are using a external feed service you want it to update as fast as possible when new post is up. Search engines do not care about it in this way. Pinging search engine won't typically mean it will bother to index page immediately (if at all).

Site maps are a mechanism for methodical update. They will contain more data about your site structure (like archives) and how often it changes. Search engine won't treat sitemap updates as a reason to index something immediately either, but they will "keep them in mind". Some search engines provide tools (like Google's webmaster tools) that will accept explicit sitemap submission and gie you a rough report on how it is being used.

In a nutshell it's convenient (theoretically) that WordPress does pings out of the box, but it isn't replacement for sitemaps and implementation of them are accordingly popular.

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