WordPress Trackbacks and Pingbacks – Communication Links between Blogs

WordPress trackbacks and pingbacks are notification methods that allow blogs to communicate and link to one another. Pingbacks (XML-RPC) automatically find links in a post and attempt to pingback to those Urls. When they are found, your blog is notified.

Trackbacks are done manually by sending a HTTP post request to the destination blog using a trackback ping URL. Trackbacks contain content and need approval from the recipient, pingbacks don’t.

How WordPress Trackbacks and Pingbacks Work

Let’s say that you wrote an informative and engaging post.  Another blogger reads your post, likes it, comments about it on their blog and links back to your post.  The other blogger then notifies you of the reference to the post in the form of a trackback.

If a trackback notification is coming from a relevant site that puts your blog in a favorable light and includes a link to your blog, then it makes sense to approve the trackback.  However, before you can send a trackback to another blog or vice versa, both parties must support the trackback protocol.

Pingback notification allows bloggers to keep track of who is linking to, or referring to, their content. WordPress has a built-in pingback feature that notifies a blog whenever another blog post adds a hyperlink to the blog within their post entry.  When a blog records the ping from an incoming link, the blog receives a pingback notice. No additional trackback link is required here.  Since pingbacks do not send content like trackbacks, they are less likely to be spam.

Linking out to Authority Sites is Good SEO

Linking out to authority sites is actually good SEO. Yep, that’s What I said. Even though this is concept is against what many SEO pundits will say, sending an outbound link to an authority website is good for your own SEO as it reinforces your own blog’s topic authority.

When you reference other relevant sources, it makes your own content more authoritative and relevant in the searches.  However, you only want to link out to relevant sites that offer quality content and you only want quality trackbacks posted on your site that provide value to your readers. Otherwise you risk tarnishing your site’s reputation as a trustworthy source of information.

Sub-Web within the Worldwide Web

The blogosphere is often a two way street and if you’re not spamming the recipient of a trackback and you’re accepting trackbacks from sites that aren’t spamming you, essentially, you are creating a sub-web within the worldwide web where everyone benefits.

The receiver of the trackback gets an inbound link and a nice, supportive comment on their blog, the trackback sender gets a backlink (if a DoFollow exists), exposure and visitors to their blog and people searching for relevant content on the web are able to find what they’re looking for.

NoFollows Links

Links to less important sites from your blog may not be so good for your SEO.  You can add rel=”nofollow” to all trackbacks, making them a good source of information for your visitors without affecting your SEO.  Most WordPress themes by default set the NoFollow trackback/pingback link.

A lot of bloggers remove the NoFollow to share link juice and appreciation with other bloggers who link to their blog. Personally, I feel it’s good Karma to give a little link juice to relevant sites that link to your site. Hey, “what goes around comes round” I always say.

Even though NoFollow trackback links don’t pass on any link juice, they do associate your site with the keyword phrase /URL pointing to your site, they put attention on your site by adding you to the discussion and they get people to visit your site.

Where to find the Trackback Link to Insert in Your Post

Most trackback links appear as a trackback URL or hyperlink right immediately following the post entry and above comments.  Here’s an example:

Where to Insert the Trackback Link in Your Post

Once you find the trackback URL on the blog you want to reference, paste it at the bottom of your post in the send trackback box before you publish it.

The recipient of a trackback will have the option to edit, post or dismiss it.  Here’s an example:

If the trackback is approved, it will appear on the referenced site as a link, typically with a short excerpt of your entry, just enough to entice readers to go back to your blog and read more.  Here’s an example:

Blog Marketing with Trackbacks

Check out Jack Humphrey’s video on how to use trackbacks for link building and getting visitors to your site.  He explains how to find other relevant sites that allow trackbacks and walks you through the entire trackback and link building process in easy to follow, layman’s terms.

Trackbacks are a good thing when they are not used for the purpose of spam commenting. They build links, give your site exposure, generate traffic and allow you to connect with other bloggers.

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About Victoria Stankard

Victoria Stankard has been an online SEO content writer for a variety of markets across the nation since 2006. Specializing in optimized content marketing strategies and owner of a successful organic search engine optimization company, Victoria writes for real people with "The Optimized Edge" - putting you on the map and more!

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