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My blog (running on dasBlog) supports pingbacks and trackbacks. What exactly are they, and do they provide any benefit to my blog (e.g. SEO, etc.)?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Quoting Wordpress' definitions:

In a nutshell, 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.

Pingbacks are similar, but differ in the following ways:

  1. Pingbacks and trackbacks use drastically different communication technologies (XML-RPC and HTTP POST, respectively).
  2. Pingbacks do not send any content.

As for SEO, there's no direct benefit that I know of. Because both only occur when a link to the page exists, one might argue that it incentivizes linking. Other than that, enabling trackbacks and pingbacks won't help SEO.

Some drawbacks include trackback spam, where people will try to get links through trackbacks. Also, because the number of links on a page is a factor in how much PageRank passes through each link from a page, enabling trackbacks may dilute the power of the PageRank passed to your other links on the page.

Trackbacks and pingbacks are also supposed to allow users to follow conversations on the same topic across several different blogs. However, I would argue that they are largely useless for that purpose because they are very unfriendly to the user as they aren't formatted in easily digestible manner. They are often mixed with comments or placed before comments and the links themselves offer nothing to the conversation on the page itself.

In short, I personally don't feel like either trackbacks or pingbacks offer anything useful to a blog. The drawbacks in SEO, spam, and usability outweigh any potential gain from incentivized linking. As far as being notified about links to your blog, you'll get better information from almost any analytics program.

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+1 for largely useless –  MrChrister Aug 5 '10 at 19:57
    
Thanks for the thorough answer. I think I understand it better, now. –  kbrimington Aug 6 '10 at 3:32
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A trackback and pingback don't serve any significant purpose other then to let the blog which has published the content receiving the trackback know that another blog has mentioned it in their blog. Blog authors who publish trackbacks do so to indicate to their readers the importance/popularity of the article.

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