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A pingback is a notification that is sent to your blog when another blog links to it through a permalink. It is a signal that is transmitted automatically using the XML-RPC protocol.

General information

The terms pingback and trackback are commonly used interchangeably, but a pingback is an automated trackback, with the difference that pingbacks are basically a signal and do not appear, as in the case of trackbacks, in the comments section below the entry. of the blog and may be relevant in terms of content.

Technically, both terms refer to a notification that is automatically sent to your blog if it is linked. However, trackbacks use the article HTTP method and not an XML protocol. Pingbacks were introduced to achieve a certain level of authenticity because trackbacks can be processed by the recipient so that they no longer correspond to the original format and only appear as a comment without a URL.[1]

At the same time, trackbacks can be used as spam if they include a URL and thus a backlink to an unrelated external website. Pingbacks are intended to provide a solution to the owner of the linked blog, because sometimes such a link is not desirable.


The principle of pingbacks is relatively simple. A blog entry is published on web A, which contains a link to another resource B. Resource B is then notified that a link to this resource has been established. Normally this happens within the CMS and email notifications are also an option. The pingback includes a URL and an excerpt of the text from which it was linked. In CM systems like WordPress, pingbacks can be approved, removed, or treated as spam. However, they should always be allowed in the theme used or in the basic settings.[2]

Even within a blog, pingbacks can be sent. If an internal link is defined, the owner, and in this circumstance probably the author, will receive a pingback. These are the so-called auto-pings, which nevertheless they can be disabled.

The original benefit of pingbacks was that bloggers were automatically informed by pingbacks of any link and thus, to some extent, the impact or reach of their blog posts.

Relevance for SEO

Pingbacks have a different importance for search engine optimization. Once a link to a blog has been established, the blog owner receives a message. With this type of "early warning system," bloggers can prevent links from a bad neighborhood or the content from which the link originated from being unimportant to their topic. Thus, pingbacks serve a double function. As a blogger, you can grab the attention of other websites through links.

At the same time, pingbacks can be used as a control function, when other blogs link to your site. In the comments of your messages, you can remove or deactivate the respective pingbacks. For a long time, pingbacks and even more trackbacks were used for massive backlink building. For each new article, SEOs would send many trackbacks to related websites that later had the article's URL in their comments. For a long time, these links were not marked as nofollow links and thus each trackback also produced link juice. This often posed an obstacle to bloggers from having to pass a lot of link power through trackbacks. In this way, the pingback / trackback system was no longer used as a useful information system, but it was abused by spammers as a backlink generator. For this reason, many bloggers view pingbacks at this time as spam and disable the respective feature.

However, pingbacks are still useful as a notification feature, primarily to prevent spam.[3]

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