As a WordPress blogger, you might have heard a lot about Pingbacks and Trackbacks. What exactly are these terms? There may be confusions about these words in your mind.
What exactly are these options and how helpful are they in providing value to your site regarding SEO? So, what are the Trackbacks and Pingbacks? What kind of things do you need to keep in mind regarding Trackbacks and Pingbacks? Let us check out the concept in fine detail and answer all these questions.
What are Trackbacks?
Trackbacks are the means that’s used for communicating between two websites. Ideally, a trackback is an automated notification you send to someone else’s blog whenever you refer their blog in your post.
Let us suppose you have a blog A. You like a post on Blog B and want to comment on it, but at the same time, you want to let your readers know what you want to comment. So, what you do is post a comment on your post and send a trackback. When you do that, a notifier is sent to the blog A. The blog A may decide to post it as a comment or avoid posting it altogether.
This will help you get a link back to your blog. Thus trackbacks have a great opportunity of improving the traffic of a website. If utilized well, Trackbacks are one of the excellent means of search engine optimization.
What is Pingback?
These are another type of remote communication between websites. A pingback establishes a connection between the two websites just like the trackback does.
Let us again explain it through an example. You run a blog A. You like a post on Blog B. So, you write content on your blog with a link to the content on Blog A. Your blogging software sends a pingback to blog A. The blogging software on Blog A will receive a pingback and confirm whether the link is available. Then Blog A will display the pingback as a comment on it.
When compared to trackbacks, these do have more value regarding SEO. A Pingback will send the permalink of the post where the reference to the other blog has been made. In fact, they are automatically created whenever you link to another site. You pingback even when you are not aware of it.
How do Trackbacks and Pingbacks differ from one another?
Well, most of the bloggers or those interested in blogging get confused about the differences between trackbacks and pingbacks. However, they are entirely different from one another in more ways than one. In fact, from an SEO point of view, Pingbacks are preferred communications than the Trackbacks.
The major differences between a trackback and a pingback would be
- Pingback and trackback use two different technologies to communicate between two blogs. Trackback uses HTTP POST, while pingback uses XML-RPC.
- Pingbacks do not send any content with them. They carry the link of the post to the blog to which there is an external link made. Trackback, on the other hand, consists of a title, excerpt and a link to your blog post.
- Pingback is created automatically whenever you link to another site. It is produced even when you add the link to a page within your blog. This is called self-pingback. A trackback is to be sent manually. If the recipient website has not enabled the options to receive a trackback, it will not be received.
Do you need to Moderate Trackbacks and Pingbacks?
Well, it should not be a difficult task as such. The moderation available is rather simple and easy to work with. Both trackbacks and pingbacks are available in the comment moderation area.
So, how should you moderate them? How can we authenticate whether the trackbacks we have received are genuine and are not spam in nature? SEO experts consider that 99 percent of the trackbacks come under the category of spam. Though trackback was designed as an excellent option for building links, it has now become an excellent way for the spammers for getting a backlink from your site.
You can find a few situations where a few trackbacks or pingbacks can be beneficial when they come from legitimate websites.
In case you are getting too many trackbacks and pingbacks, it may be necessary to turn them off completely. Moderating them one by one may not be worth it. However, if you tend to get a good number of legitimate pingbacks, it may be worth it, and it may not be a hard task to moderate only a few pingbacks that tend to be spammy.
How to Disable Trackbacks, Pingbacks, and Self-pingbacks?
In case you are getting too many spammy trackbacks and pingbacks, it may be necessary to turn them off completely. How would you do it? Here are the steps involved –
- Go to Settings -> Discussion under your WordPress Admin dashboard.
- Uncheck the box that reads Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)
That does it. This configuration will disable all the pingbacks and trackbacks. Please note that the settings will come into effect from the time you make these changes. Previous trackbacks and pingbacks will stay, and you will need to moderate them traditionally.
The Effect of Pingbacks on SEO
Of course, getting more links to your blog is one of the major contributing factors for better SEO. It is also helpful in getting more traffic to your website. WordPress pingback is one of the excellent options for getting more links back to your site.
Whenever you link to another WordPress site, you will get a reciprocal link back to your website or blog. You can either get a link back on their sidebar or from the bottom of their page. It is something like cooperation – you send an easy link to another website and get a link back to your site.
But is it good from the SEO standpoint? Of course, the technique is quite good and started as a legitimate option. But, sadly enough – spammers have been abusing pingbacks to a great extent. In fact, like most of the good things in SEO have been abused as spammers have found a way to overdo it.
When you have an automatic pingback enabled on your WordPress blog, whichever site links to your content will get an automatic pingback from your site. WordPress does not check whether the external blog you are linking to is legitimate or not. That would mean when a spammy site links to your site and you have automatic pingback enabled; the site will get a pingback from you. These low-quality pingbacks to your site and from your site to the low-quality blogs will eventually make your blog lose its integrity. From that perspective, pingbacks can produce precisely the opposite results than what they have been designed for. So, if you are using pingbacks, make sure you are careful enough.
So, do we recommend enabling the Pingbacks?
What is the ultimate resolution we draw from all this discussion? Is it advisable to go with an enabled pingback setting on your WordPress blog? Well, that’s something dependent upon your strategy.
Of course, a pingback is an excellent means of getting links and thereby building up your link profile. But, you need to be careful with the kind of linkbacks you will be getting to your website. If you are not careful, you will end up trashing your website as a result of worthless sites linking back to your blog. If you are a professional blogger, it would be advisable enough to enable pingbacks on your blog, but keep an eye on them and monitor them effectively. In case you seem to be getting too many low-quality pingbacks, it may be necessary to disable the automatic pingbacks and allow only those that come from a legitimate source.
Well, that was what we had to share with you about trackbacks and pingbacks. We hope this post answered all the queries you had in mind about this topic. These two are entirely different concepts as we have already explained through the examples above. However, of late, both these terms are used interchangeably. If you have understood the intricate differences between them and the impact they can have in the SEO performance of your blog– you would be able to use them effectively to build your SEO strategy. Both of them should indeed be helpful in ensuring that your site performs well from the search engine optimization point of view.
Implementing the right strategy for pingbacks and trackbacks will involve a lot of efforts, time management and a better understanding of SEO. Use the techniques effectively for your blog and achieve the best possible results.
What strategies would you employ for the trackbacks and pingbacks? Share your thoughts and opinions with us through the comments.