Trackbacks and Pingbacks, What Are They, Anyway?

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Trackbacks and pingbacks have been showing up in my WordPress admin panel, and, because I’m a “non-techie”, I didn’t know what they were. So, I decided to do some research. This post will reveal what I discovered about trackbacks and pingbacks.

If you’re just getting started in blogging, the terms trackbacks and pingbacks are probably not familiar to you. You may have heard the terms, but didn’t know the difference. What I’ve found is that even a lot of the people using trackbacks and pingbacks are confused about the differences.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks, The Basics

First, the terms are used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Both trackbacks and pingbacks link to a specific post on another site. They both are ways for blogs to receive and send notifications. In essence, they inform another website that you linked to them or referenced them. However, they use different technologies. Also, they originated for different reasons. Plus, there are differences as to how and why trackbacks and pingbacks are used.

There are actually three ways that internet marketers get and send notifications about linking and updates to their content. The three ways of getting these notifications are trackbacks, pingbacks and pinging.
Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Basically, when using WordPress, you can send trackbacks manually to blogs outside of WordPress, but blogs within WordPress are notified automatically using pingbacks. In other words, if you are going outside of WordPress, then the trackback will have to be input manually. You can find the “Send Trackbacks” section on your “Edit Post” or “Add New Post” screen, below the main edit text area, where you can input the URL of the post you want to trackback.

Trackbacks were intended to provide notification between two websites. For example (as WordPress explains it), blogger A creates a post on their site. Then blogger B, wanting to elaborate on the topic and to allow her readers to comment, writes a post on her blog, including a trackback to blogger A’s site. Blogger A will receive a trackback notification (usually in the form of an excerpt) in their comment section, linking to blogger B’s site.

This means that the readers of both blogs can follow the links to the other blog and, preferable, continue the conversation.

So, when a site creates a trackback for your content, you receive notification of the content that was linked.

Sometimes, trackbacks are used as a link-building strategy, and can unfortunately be faked because no real verification is performed.

Trackbacks can be used successfully by referring to another bloggers articles in an article you write on the same topic. If your intent is to share the conversation with other readers, this can encourage interaction.

Be cautious of this back-firing, if it appears as an obvious, blatant, link-building ploy.

The goal should be to entice feedback on a particular subject when the original article only covered a certain amount of the topic.


Pingbacks are similar to trackbacks, except they are more of an alert to sites that you linked to. They are automatic, and there is no content sent.

For example, when blogger A writes something on her blog that blogger B links to it in her post, an automatic pingback is sent to blogger A. The pingback is usually shown as a link to blogger B’s site. This “automatic” process makes it harder to fake.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks, Are They Helpful?

You will only receive trackback and pingback notification if you allow them in your discussion settings. Remember, pingbacks are automatic, once WordPress finds a link in your post.

These can be helpful to your readers if the website linking to your blog post is closely tied to your webpage. Your readers may get access to more, related information.

Bare in mind that when you approve trackbacks and pingbacks, you are approving a backlink for that other website. This link-bulding strategy can pull their SEO.

Trackbacks and pingbacks are two of the ways that bloggers receive notification.

There is a third notification method. It’s called pinging. Pinging is how one computer software notifies another of an update. This can also be done using a service like Pingomatic or Pingler to keep track of new blog updates. These services notify search engines that you updated your blog.

Trackbacks and pingbacks can be helpful if the website linking to yours is closely tied to the topic of your blog.

To read more information about trackbacks and pingbacks, read about this in the WordPress codex section on this topic.

Again, these can be helpful if the website linking to yours is closely tied to the topic of your blog.

Do you use trackbacks and pingbacks? Have any pointers for using trackbacks and pingbacks successfully as a linking method?

Visit again soon for more about Blogging and Trackbacks and Pingbacks!


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To Our Online Home Business Marketing Success,

JC Dawkins

“Inspiring Dreams, Empowering People, Transforming Lives”

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