Pingbacks and Trackbacks is one of the perhaps least understood concepts by new bloggers and one that generates the most questions. Why is it? I think it is mainly because everyone heard about the power it gives to the bloggers but not everyone understood how to use it correctly.

Add the abundance of the trackback SPAM to the mix and it creates a brew many choke on. In this post I’m not planning replicate the efforts of other people but instead share links to The Best Of The Best resources that should teach you EVERYTHING you need to know about using [tag-tec]Trackbacks[/tag-tec] and [tag-tec]Pingbacks[/tag-tec] and Protecting your own blog from the Trackback SPAM…

Trackbacks and Pingbacks Understanding and Usage

To properly use the technology you need to understand what it was design to do. What goal the developers had in mind when creating it and how it is supposed to benefit you as a blogger. While there are many variations of the explanations I prefer the one of the sources – at least as it deals with WordPress.

  • Introduction to Blogging by WordPress Codex has a nice section describing the Trackbacks and Pingbacks and I found it very simple to read and get the main idea behind each concept.

Once you have a clear understanding of the concept you are only left with its usage. And not just “the usage” but how to get it done in a way to not only add value to the blogosphere and you readers but also benefit from incoming links and gain authority status.

Fighting the Trackback SPAM

Well, now that you have learned how to do a trackback I’m sure you will be excited to know that so do the SPAMER’s! They seem to thrive on taking advantage of trackback technology to generate links to Viagra, Mortgages, enlargement of some male body parts, etc. Or even simply linking from a crappy content that wasn’t even written by them but simply stolen off some other blog. Yep, so-called splogs take full advantage of it and you need to be aware of the problem in order to fight it effectively!

  • While there are many plugins and tools created to address the issue I have found that a combination of Akismet plugin that comes with your WordPress blog, Math Comment Spam Protection plugin that adds a math question to the comment form (requires manual configuration) and a Simple Trackback Validation plugin that provides a validation on incoming trackbacks for WordPress 2.* work great and remove 99.9% of the SPAM.

Displaying Trackbacks on Your Blog

This is actually done for you by the theme and depending on how well that theme was coded you might not even have to worry about this section. And just what exactly do I mean by how well coded?

While trackbacks from remote blogs are extremely valuable fro your blog as they provide incoming links and in many cases traffic – they are still not part of the general conversation via Comments generated on your blog. In my opinion separating trackbacks and regular comments left by the readers of the post should be a mandatory but in its current form it depends on the will of the theme designer.

  • If you got lucky and your designer has implemented the function – you have nothing to worry about but if you are a technically inclined person and would like to do it to the theme yourself, you can read Managing Trackbacks and Pingbacks in Your WordPress Theme at Weblog Tools to learn how to get it done.
  • And if the coding is not an option for you and yet you would like to have this nice functionality I got a solution that perhaps will work nicely. Brians Threaded Comments plugin provides that functionality integrated in the plugin and all you need to do is install it and enjoy the additional benefits it provides.

This concludes the collection of resources I can recommend if you need to learn some or all things about Pingbacks and Trackbacks usage and SPAM fighting. I hope you find it useful and leave some feedback. And here are some additional posts from around the web on the topic…