In a nutshell, both pingbacks and trackbacks are ways for blogs to talk to one another. They let bloggers know that another blogger has linked to one of their posts, thus giving them due credit and hopefully some traffic onto their blog.
What is a pingback?
Have you ever linked to another blogger’s WordPress post in one of your own posts? If you have, the post that you linked to automatically creates a comment which lets the author know that you mentioned their post. This comment is called a pingback. The only thing one must do is enable pingbacks on their WordPress blog in backend under Settings > Discussion as well as on the post itself under Discussion section; the rest is automatic.
A pingback only works when linking to a specific blog post; a pingback will not be created when linking to someone’s homepage, for example.
What is a trackback?
Older blogging platforms like Moveable Type require a bit more effort to notify them that you are linking to their post. Instead of automatically recognizing links within your blog post, a special trackback link must be placed into the Send Trackbacks area of your post. When your post is published, the blog you linked to will be notified. In order to identify these older platform posts, you would find this URL at the bottom of the post above the comment section.
Above is an example of where you would place this trackback URL into the backend of your post. If you don’t see the Send Trackbacks box, go to Screen Options in the upper right of your editing window and check the box next to “Send Trackbacks” to make this area visible.
Receiving Trackbacks and Pingbacks
As you blog, you will hopefully start receiving trackbacks and pingbacks as other sites link to your posts. These will show up on your dashboard for moderation just like a normal blog post comment would. You have the choice whether or not to approve and display the pingback on your post. Remember, when you approve the pingback, a link to the site that mentioned you will be posted as a comment on your post. So it’s important to moderate your pingbacks and weed out those that might be spam or those from sites that are not relevant to your audience.
Why Use Pingbacks?
You may wish to link to relevant blog posts in your own blog as well. Linking to relevant content is a great way for other bloggers to discover your site and move traffic between websites. Your blog will gain visibility, and other authors may start following and interacting with your blog. It also builds trust with your audience, because you are helping them by linking to other relevant content on the web that they may wish to read. So, make sure to turn on trackbacks & pingbacks, and get blogging!