Do you use WordPress and wonder why you get notifications about Pingbacks or Trackbacks? They are a largely outdated concept, but as the options still exist in WordPress, we thought it useful to provide our glossary of WordPress Pingback and Trackback questions.
What is a Pingback in WordPress?
Pingbacks are notifications from your WordPress site that another website has linked to you. The pingback notification you get will ask you to ‘Approve It’, ‘Trash It’, or ‘Spam It’. The message typically looks like this…
“A new pingback on the post [your post url] is waiting for your approval”
What happens if I approve a Pingback?
If you approve it, WordPress will add a comment to your post linking back to the other site.
Should I approve WordPress Pingbacks?
This may or may not be a good idea – if the website is reputable, then it might be a good idea to link back to it letting your visitors know that the site links to you. If it is clearly a spam attempt, then click the ‘Spam It’ link in your email. Otherwise, just ‘Trash It’.
How to turn off Pingbacks in WordPress
You can elect not to be notified of trackbacks by going to your ‘Settings’->’Discussion’ section in your WordPress dashboard, and then unchecking the ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts‘ option.
What is a Trackback in WordPress?
Trackbacks are a kind of Pingback, but are used for notifying some legacy blog systems that you have linked to them. If you are linking to someone’s WordPress blog, then they will receive a Pingback notification to let them know. WordPress themselves suggest that you see trackbacks as the equivalent of acknowledgements and references at the end of an academic paper or chapter in a text book.
Should I allow Pingbacks and Trackbacks?
That’s up to you. If you allow yourself to receive notifications when you get a Pingback, it at least shows you who is linking to you. The problem is, most pingbacks will be from spam sites hoping that you approve their pingback, as this could help their own SEO efforts. So you could spend a lot of time approving, deleting, or marking these pingback comments as spam.
The thing to remember here, is that even if you turn off Pingbacks and Trackbacks on your website, the links to your site will still exist on the linking site.
Our view is that pingbacks and trackbacks are somewhat outdated ideas, and so should probably not be enabled on your WordPress site.
Do Pingbacks help my SEO?
It used to be the case that pingbacks and trackbacks were used as a sort of ‘link exchange’ between blog owners. So, you link to me from your blog post and I’ll approve the pingback so that you then get a link back from my site.
Nowadays, due to spammers linking to many thousands of blogs in the hope of getting some approved pingbacks (thereby getting them a link themselves), they have become more of a problem. Coupled with the fact that many links are ‘no followed’, meaning that the ‘SEO juice’ delivered is likely to be reduced or eliminated, we don’t really advise leaving Pingbacks (and Trackbacks) switched on.
How to remove Trackbacks from WordPress
If you already have some approved trackbacks (and Pingbacks) on your website, you can remove them by going to your dashboard ‘comments’ section. Find the one(s) you want to process and then choose to either ‘Spam’ or ‘Delete’ / ‘Trash’ them.