How to use trackbacks and pingbacks for SEO

trackbacks and pingbacks

If you have a blog, you may have already experienced trackbacks and pingbacks each and every time you publish a post. But do you actually know what they are and how they can benefit to your SEO?

About Blog SEO

Your blog is instrumental to driving traffic to your business. There’s power in the words you write, specifically if they’re keywords

Truthfully, your blog is a huge asset for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Not only does the incorporation of keywords help, but blog posts are highly linkable, meaning you can share them on social media, email newsletters, podcasts, YouTube pages and more: and better yet, your followers can also link and share.

But what about trackbacks and pingbacks? Have you considered how having a blog that other bloggers love can bring more traffic to your site, with no extra effort or expense? Let’s take a look at how to use trackbacks and pingbacks for SEO.

What Exactly Are Trackbacks and Pingbacks?

When a blog links to another blog, magic can happen.

Once upon a time, a trackback and a pingback were two separate entities. However, both were very similar processes that could be simplified as:

A notification Person A receives when Person A’s blog is linked in Person B’s blog.

In WordPress, these show up as comments, giving bloggers the choice to publish them to their blog, banish them to the Spam folder, or send them to the trash.

This sounds a lot like backlinking, doesn’t it? The process is pretty similar: someone shares a link to your site.

But a trackback links specifically to your blog, often as a source or further conversation about a particular topic. Think of it as something of a bibliography of the blog world. 

Here’s the specific process in a nutshell:

  • You link to Person B’s post from your own blog post.
  • Person B receives notification of your trackback as a comment.
  • They approve the trackback, which appears as a link back to your blog in their comments section.
  • There, for all of their commenters to behold, is a link to your blog, which they can check out to learn more.

Trackbacks and SEO Go Hand-In-Hand

So how do you actively get trackbacks? One way to receive is to give: if you reach out to other blogs with related content, you have the opportunity to create a partnership. After all, if they publish your trackback, they’ll effectively link back to your blog, creating the potential for reciprocal traffic.

You also need to pay attention to your content with each and every blog post. This means:

  1. You want to be sure that each blog post is entertaining and informative, because you never know who’s reading.
  2. You want to make sure the keywords in your content are strong enough so other bloggers can find your posts to make trackbacks to- that includes titles and meta descriptions, too! SEO will get your blog found and shared, which can in turn elevate your position on results pages.

It may seem like a lot of effort to post top-notch content in each and every blog post, but it’s important for captivating your audience. Imagine you follow a link from one blog to another. You start to read this second blog, and you like it. You click around to read more. Only, there are just a few posts, with months or even years in between posts. Unless the content is really stunning, you might assume the site is abandoned and leave.

Don’t let new readers from different niches think your site is abandoned! Keep content fresh and relevant at all times so that any reader stopping by might just want to stick around.

Trackback Etiquette

There are a few courtesies that bloggers extend to each other when it comes to trackbacks. After all, there’s free exposure at stake!

First, be sure to notify the original poster that you have linked to their material. This is a courtesy effort, and can be accomplished with a simple email or note on social media. Acknowledge the trackback, and thank them for their content. 

Not only is this polite, but it can help that blogger know that you’re not a spam blog, and that the trackback is legitimate.

If you’re on the receiving end of a trackback, it’s common courtesy to reply, thanking the blogger for sharing your post.

However, you aren’t necessarily required to publish their trackback on your own blog. When you publish their trackback – which will appear as a comment on the post they link to – you are returning the same free exposure. There may be situations in which this is not appropriate. In fact, it may not be expected or necessary. 

How to Avoid Trackback Spam and Spam Blogs

The internet is, alas, a prime spot for spam and illegitimate activity. Therefore, while trackbacks sound like a fantastic way to get traffic, not every trackback alert will generate leads.

Historically speaking, trackbacks have been incorrectly used and abused because there’s rarely a verification process. Also, they can be faked.

We all know that not all online resources are created equally; therefore, take the time to investigate any trackbacks you might receive to be sure you trust the source. 

Follow the link back to the person referencing your blog. Take a look not only at their blog, but their entire site. Pay close attention to the dates of blog posts and updates. If things look outdated or incomplete, you’re probably not dealing with a legitimate trackback, and you can file that notification under Trash or Spam, depending on your preferences.

However, if things look sparse, but freshly updated and posted recently, you might simply be working with a new blogger. This is why taking the time to reach out to the person linking to your blog can be an important part of the process: it can help you weed out spam blogs.

In Closing

Multiple mentions of your blogs on other sites can increase organic traffic to your blog, which will prove to search engines that your site is credible and useful. That, in turn, will help boost your SEO.

Trackbacks are one way that WordPress blogs can link to each other. When you receive a notification that you’ve received a trackback, you have the option of publishing it to reciprocate the acknowledgement, or you can trash or Spam it.

Take the time to investigate the source of the trackback. While fraudulent or spam content can sometimes be to blame, you can always contact the owner of the other blog to thank them. Trackback etiquette can be a great way of validating those linking to you, as well as a networking opportunity.

The more mentions of your site, the more reputation you have of being a trusted resource, which readers and search engines will recognize simultaneously through trackbacks.



Teachingbiz provides internet marketing services and education to digital entrepreneurs and marketers who want to learn how to build and scale their businesses.

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