LinkBacks: Ping Backs, Track Backs

So, you’ve put up a very smart looking WordPress site with Pages that clearly articulate your mission, give a good sense of what you offer, posts that educate and inspire the reader, all of which contain a clear call to action, but the phone is still not ringing. You check the traffic logs at you Webhosting service and see that you’ve had 390 Unique Visitors for the past month and over 1000 unique page views. You’re thinking, “Wow, 390 different people. That’s a lot and 1000 page views…. well, I’m certainly getting traffic aren’t I?”

No, you are not. If you have less than 10,000 visitors per month, your site is not being found. You can easily get much more traffic. WordPress comes with several ways to help you with this task. In this article, I’m going to talk about PingBacks and trackbacks, but this is only one small part of a suite of marketing tools available to you.

The idea is that referrals from other bloggers and search engines are the primary way that people discover websites of interest. You can advertise your website, if you have deep pockets and it will increase traffic, at least somewhat. You can even buy a TV ad for the Rose Bowl, one of the most expensive ads on the planet. But it will not match that value you get for time spent getting search engines to convey visitors to your site. 95% or more of your traffic will come from search engines.

If someone posts a search with the term that most closely resemble what you do and which you should be appearing, you do not want to appear on the 23rd page of search results. But that’s what happens all the time.

Part of how google determine the order of website to list as the answer to a search is that it weights each possible listing according to how many other sites link to the site in question. The more popular the site, the more of an authority the page is thought to be. There are many other parts of this complex and ever changing ranking formulas, but bloggers have formed networks in order to bring up the numbers of links among themselves with mtrackbacks and pingbacks.

TrackBack is a mechanism first created in 2002 by
Six Apart
, the developers of the “Moveable Type” bloggin software. Basically, Trackback is an acknowledgement sent via a network signal (ping) from the originated site to the receiving site. The receptor often publishes a link back to the originator indicating its worthiness. Both site must be trackback enabled in order to do the.

PingBack is another mechanism for one website to notify another of a link within an article. When you post a blog with pingback enabled, WordPress parses your artcle and for each hyperlink that it finds, it send out a special XML-RPC “ping” to the linked-to site. If that site is pingback enabled, that site will retrieve the article listed in the ping and parse it to verify that is does have the stated link, and (with administrative approval) the a link will be made back to the ping sending site.


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