Posted on December 15, 2014
What Are Trackbacks?
You’re bound to hear about trackbacks in a WordPress related conversation on some point, but just what the heck are they?
The WordPress Codex defines a trackback in WordPress this way:
…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.— SOURCE
Basically, using trackbacks allows you to communicate to another blog or blog owner using your WordPress dashboard to alert them about something you think they may like.
If you wrote an article that mentioned them in it or if had a link to their site, then sending a trackback would be a quick and easy way of getting their attention and cluing them in to your kind gesture. If they see this notification, that can Approve the trackback and then allow it to display in the comments section on their site with a link back to yours.
How They Work
In some respects, trackbacks are very similar to an @mention in Twitter. Much like Twitter, which allows you to use @mentions in your tweet to alert another user that you had something to say to them, a trackback is WordPress’ way of alerting a WP Admin (if they allow trackbacks — more on that later) in their WP dashboard about what you are trying to bring to their attention and hopefully like enough to allow the trackback to display on their site.
Trackbacks and pingbacks alike show up in the comment section the WordPress dashboard and can thus be examined, moderated, and responded to just like a comment making them hard to miss for the site admin. If approved, they show up in the comment section a site and for public eyes to see and click on.
But as with everything in life, even though trackbacks have both pros and cons that are worth considering.