Trackbacks Unveiled

Posted on August 25th, 2005 @ 19:34
Filed Under Blogging | 4 Comments

Since I changed the graphic theme on this blog, I realized that I’ve added a little something to it that could maybe look confusing at first.See this little link under posts, where it says “trackback”? That’s it. So what’s a trackback, one might ask?Most people who use blogs already know what a permanent link (commonly called “permalink”) is: the direct link to a post. For instance, for this very entry I’m writing now, the permalink will be “” (easily available by simply clicking on the title of the post). Thanks to permalinks, it becomes easy to refer to entries from other blogs, and not direct your visitors to some front page with instructions of “scroll down to August 12th, the third article, made at 9:15″ (which is, evidently, not convenient, especially knowing that blogs are very dynamic pages).Trackbacks act in the exact same way, with a notable difference: it allows a blogger to notify you that they’ve published an entry about a particular post of yours.Let’s scrutinize the psychology of trackbacks in more detail. When we don’t get any comments, it’s easy: nothing happens. When people start adding their little bits of opinion, when conversations start to spring from comments, when other bloggers are found linking to your blog, it’s often interesting to try to keep in touch with the many discussions, if only for the sake of staying informed, without taking part. We tend to carry on conversations on our own blogs, which is perfectly natural, as it’s where they started. However, sometimes a person will consider that one of our entries is worth more exposure, and will write a post of his/her own, on his/her blog, about it. If we don’t know that it exists, we can pass on an opportunity of finding another interesting point to discuss—or, simply, on discovering a new blog.The whole process reminds be of the book exchanges I had taken part a few years ago, when we’d make a book circulate from one person to another, until several of them had read it. We’d then know who had read it, and could also exchange opinions about it, sometimes similar ones, and sometimes diverging ones. Trackbacks work the same way. They allow you to know who links to your posts, AND to notify other bloggers that you found one of their articles interesting. After all, we all like to know who read us, and whether they like it or not.An interesting side-effect of trackbacks is that they act like inbound links (perhaps even more than that, as the bloggers who trackbacked your post probably pinged Technorati and the likes when they published their own entry), thus helping boosting your blog’s rank in search engines. Such links may not seem important at first. Keep in mind though that, being born from the Web, links can become viral in their own ways—all it takes is one known blogger to link to your post, bringing his/her own readers to take interest in turn, and you may find yourself with quite a bit of unexpected attention in the morning.There’s one downside as I see it, however: trackback spam. If one of your posts happens to be discussed widely, you may get lots of trackbacks for it, thus filling your comments page with this as well. I’m not sure if there’s an efficient solution to this as of yet, except not allowing such notifications on your blog.As a sidenote, for WordPress users, sending a trackback is done by typing in the appropriate URL in the Send trackbacks to box, before publishing your post. As for where to find such URLs… see the very beginning of this entry!Y Tags: |


4 Responses to “Trackbacks Unveiled”

  1. 60k Marketing on August 25th, 2005 11:32 pm

    100blogs 4 – The Y LogsDuncan at BlogHerald continues to give us interesting blogs to look at and read. Today’s entry is The Y Logs – Writing, books, stories, an interesting mix of blogging and writing content. Yzabel has a nice style, and it’s always fun to s…

  2. The Net is Dead on August 27th, 2005 8:23 pm

    Trackback spam eliminatedTrackback has always been a bit of a geeky thing. Not all bloggers are using it and some don’t even understand what it is. Spammers however have found another opportunity to annoy the hell out of us: by spamming our trackback scripts. You might alread…

  3. Mohan on November 11th, 2006 4:32 pm

    Hey,Thanks for this article… Allright, I’m 1 and a half years late in reading this article, but still, better late than never :) I have a small doubt… I have a WordPress blog… And I have received a couple of trackbacks(I got mails from my blog informing me of it). But they arent displayed on my site… Do I have to do something to get it enabled?Thanks,Mohan

  4. crimefighter jillette moxie on February 3rd, 2007 12:37 pm

    crimefighter jillette moxie…SomegifttoME 142214 Technologies of crimefighter jillette moxie…

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