Sometimes blogging lingo can be a little confusing.
Take all those “link” related words, for example: trackback, pingback, backlink… do you understand the difference?
More importantly, do you know how to…
- automatically tell search engines and others that there’s new content on your blog?
- protect your blog from being penalized in the search engines by trackbacks & pingbacks?
- tell what’s “spam” and what’s legit?
- install the right plugins to help make your job easier?
- leverage the links you’re getting to build relationships?
- use trackbacks or pingbacks to get more traffic to your own blog?
After you read this post, you will! So stick around and keep reading.
Let’s start with some basic definitions
What are Pings?
A ping is when your blog automatically sends out a little message that there’s new content published. You can ping any site that accepts ping notifications. By default, WordPress blogs are already set to ping Ping-o-Matic.
What do you need to know about Pings?
It’s worth enabling them on your blog. Why not let your blog automatically help promote your new content? If you’re not on WordPress, check into how your blog works for pings. You can use a service like FeedBurner’s PingShot.
You can learn more about pings here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Update_Services
What are Trackbacks?
TrackBack was designed to provide a method of notification between websites: it is a method of person A saying to person B, “This is something you may be interested in.” To do that, person A sends a TrackBack ping to person B.
— Definition quoted from http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging#Trackbacks
What do you need to know about Trackbacks?
They work like this: You write an awesome blog post. I decide that not only do I like it, but that I’ve got more to say that will fit in your comments so I write a whole blog post about it and I link back your original post. Your blog gets a notification that I linked to you and it includes the title of my post, it’s URL, and an excerpt of what I said. You can then edit the excerpt if you want (just like a comment) and approve it. Or you can ignore it and delete it.
You also need to know that trackbacks can be faked. Don’t approve them unless you’ve clicked through to the website and it’s a real and appropriate link back to your website.
What are Pingbacks?
Pingbacks are pretty much like trackbacks. You write a post, I like it and linked to it, your blog gets notified… and it shows up like a comment.
What do you need to know about Pingbacks?
The important difference is that a pingback is *verified* by the linked blog. When your blog gets that notice from mine, yours checks the URL to see if I really linked to you. Pingbacks don’t include any content (no excerpt), just the link and title.
More information about Pingbacks: http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging#Pingbacks
So Why Two Terms (Trackback and Pingback)?
They’re basically the same thing. Many bloggers use them interchangeably because they’re hard to tell apart! The biggest difference is actually that each one uses a different type of technology in the way it sends notification to communicate.
Here are some examples:
What are Backlinks?
A backlink is a link from somewhere else (any other website) back to your website.
What do you need to know about Backlinks?
They’re awesome and you want lots of them from legitimate websites. They’ll help you get more traffic, rank better in the search engines, and build your credibility and reputation. They’ll also help you with rankings like PageRank, Alexa, Technorati, etc.
Many backlinks will show up on your blog as trackbacks or pingbacks, since both of those are types of backlinks.
What’s Your Next Step?
Most of this is just helpful information to be familiar with, because it’s easier to blog when you understand the blogging lingo. But here are some solid actions you can take to use this information:
You won’t get in trouble with the search engines if a few spammy sites link you — you can’t control that. But you can hurt yourself if you link back to them. So don’t approve those trackbacks if the site that linked to you is spammy, no matter how much you want a link in your comments. Also know that you want to check those links because today it might be a legit site but a year from now it may be owned by a spammer.
Use these tools:
- Broken Link Checker for WordPress
- Bad Neighborhood Link Checker for any URL
- Simple Trackback Validation with Topsy Blocker
Acknowledge Legit Links to You & Build Relationships
When someone posts about you or your blog, it’s a great opportunity to stop by their blog and say thank you. You might also want to share that post on your social media profiles and help drive traffic to the blogger — they’ll appreciate it.
Drive Traffic to Your Site
By linking to other bloggers in your own posts, you can get trackbacks listed on other websites which can help drive traffic back to your own website.
Bonus Tip: If you enjoy tweaking your theme coding and are somewhat familiar with php, you can use the code here to add a filter so you can see your pings in your comments easily.
Photo Credit: Ancroft/Stockfresh