What is a Trackback?
How do I leave a trackback in a new post?
How do I leave a trackback in an already published post?
How do I know the Trackback has been sent?
Why would I want to send a Trackback?
Is there somewhere I can send a test Trackback?

What is a Trackback?

A Trackback is a type of Linkback – a method for Web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking, and so referring, to their articles. There are three methods of Linkback – Refback, Trackback and Pingback – and they differ in how they accomplish the task.

Trackback might also refer colloquially to items within a section upon the linked page that display the received notifications, usually along with a reciprocal link. Also, the word Trackback is often used colloquially to mean any kind of Linkback.

So, when you reference a post on someone else’s blog in one of your posts, using the trackback URL will ensure the other blog author will be notified. This notification will generally appear in the comments section of their post.

Originally developed by the creators of the MovableType blog package, SixApart have published the technical specification of trackbacks.

How do I leave a trackback in a new post?

Follow these simple steps to trackback to another blog’s post from your post.

  1. Write your post and click Save. Do not publish the post at this stage. Your post will generally include a quote or excerpt from someone else’s blog and this is why you want to leave a trackback. The other blogs author will receive notification via your trackback that you have referenced them in one of your posts.
  2. Now, you need to find the trackback URL of the other blog. Visit the other blog and find the address. You will generally find the trackback URL in between the end of the article and the start of the comments. Here are some examples of what the trackback URL may look like.
    Trackback Help Guide - Example 1
    Example 1Trackback Help Guide - Example 2
    Example 2Trackback Help Guide - Example 3
    Example 3Depending on the theme selected, a blog may or may not always show the Trackback URL.
  3. Once you have located the Trackback URL, right click and choose Copy Link Location (Firefox) or Copy Shortcut (Internet Explorer).
  4. Return to your post. Scroll down below the Visual Editor section to the heading titled Trackbacks. You may need to click on the + sign on the right hand side to expand the section.
  5. Paste the Trackback URL into the Send Trackbacks to: field.
  6. If you are referencing more than one article/blog in your post, you will need to find and copy the Trackback URLs individually. Separate multiple URLs in the Send Trackbacks to: field with spaces.
  7. Now you are ready to publish your post. An excerpt of your post (linking back to your post) will now appear in the other blog’s comments or trackbacks section. This may take a short while and you also may have to wait for the blog author to authorise your trackback if they have moderation turned on.

How do I leave a trackback in an already published post?

It’s easy to add trackbacks to posts already published.

  1. Click on Edit next to the post you have already published.
  2. To locate the trackback URL of the other blog, visit the other blog and find the address. You will generally find the trackback URL in between the end of the article and the start of the comments. Remember, depending on the theme selected, a blog may not always show the Trackback URL.
  3. Once you have located the Trackback URL, right click and choose Copy Link Location (Firefox) or Copy Shortcut (Internet Explorer).
  4. Return to your post. Scroll down below the Visual Editor section to the heading titled Trackbacks. You may need to click on the + sign on the right hand side to expand the section.
  5. Paste the Trackback URL into the Send Trackbacks to: field.
  6. If you are referencing more than one article/blog in your post, you will need to find and copy the Trackback URLs individually. Separate multiple URLs in the Send Trackbacks to: field with spaces.
  7. Click Save to send the Trackback. An excerpt of your post (linking back to your post) will now appear in the other blog’s comments or trackbacks section. This may take a short while and you also may have to wait for the blog author to authorise your trackback if they have moderation turned on.

How do I know the Trackback has been sent?

If you can’t see your trackback in the trackback or comments section of the other blog, first check that the trackback was sent successfully.

  1. Click on Edit next to the post with the Trackback you have published.
  2. Scroll down below the Visual Editor section to the heading titled Trackbacks. You may need to click on the + sign on the right hand side to expand the section.
  3. Under the Send Trackbacks to: field will be a list of successfully sent Trackbacks (and pingbacks).
    Trackback Help Guide - Trackback Pings
  4. Remember that the blog owner may not have trackbacks enabled or they may have moderation turned on. If you don’t believe the Trackback has been received, it might be worth checking with the blog owner.

Why would I want to send a Trackback?

Including the trackback in a post will send an acknowledgement to the blog owner letting them know that you have quoted or commented on a post of theirs. The blog owner can then follow the trackback to your post and the comments made on your post. Trackbacks are a powerful feature of blogs and were developed so that blog owners would have access to all comments regarding their post, rather than only the comments on their own blog.

Is there somewhere I can send a test Trackback?

You are welcome to practice sending trackbacks using this post.

It is important that you use Trackbacks for the intended purpose. Only include an articles trackback URL when you have genuinely included a quotation or comment about the article in your post. This way all blog readers have the opportunity to follow the discussion from blog to blog. This has the flow-on effect of increasing the links and traffic to your blog.

Pingbacks will be covered in a follow-on post.

If I’ve missed out on information you would like to see on Trackbacks, or if you have a question that I haven’t covered, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Have fun with Trackbacks.

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