If you have a WordPress account, you have probably heard about trackbacks and pingbacks, but you may not know what these terms mean, or even whether they are good or bad. Below we will discuss what trackbacks and pingbacks are, and how you should handle them in relationship to your WordPress account.

What are Trackbacks?

Trackbacks are tools that allow bloggers to communicate between several websites. To better understand this process, it is like one person saying to another, “Hey, you might like this.” Below you will find an example of how a blogger would use trackbacks.

  • Someone writes a blog post
  • You have a comment you would like to add, but you also want your readers to read your comment and, to be able to comment on it as well.
  • To accomplish this, you will write a blog, and use a trackback to the original bloggers blog
  • The original blogger will receive your trackback and decide whether to display your comment or not
  • If the blogger who receives your trackback chooses to display it on their WordPress blog, it will appear as a title, excerpt, and link to your blog post

What are Pingbacks?

Pingbacks are tools that software can use to communicate between many websites. It might be easier to understand pingbacks if you think of them as remote comments. Below you will find a detailed explanation on how pingbacks work.

  • Someone writes a blog post
  • You write a blog and mention, or even link to the other bloggers article
  • When this occurs the other bloggers software will send them a pingback
  • After the pingback is confirmed, it will go back to your blog to make sure the link is present there
  • Once the pingback is authenticated, the blogger can choose to use display your pingback as a comment
  • Pingbacks are also present within one’s site. For instance, if you write a post in WordPress and then link to another site, you will receive a self-ping.

Main Differences Between Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  • Pingbacks are automatic, trackbacks are manual
  • With pingbacks no content is sent, trackbacks send excerpts of content

Problems with Trackbacks and Pingbacks

The biggest problem with trackbacks and pingbacks is that they are often abused by spammers. Since linking to spammers does absolutely no good for your site, some people choose to disable trackbacks and pingbacks altogether.

Whether you want to enable or disable trackbacks and pingbacks on your WordPress account is completely up to you. Since spam is such a big problem with this technology, you must be committed to wading through the comments to find comments that are actually worth featuring on your blog. For some, examining all the comments to look for genuine links that may help your site ranking may be more effort than benefit.

Do you use trackbacks or pingbacks? Let us know in the comments below!

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