This week, I was asked a question by someone who uses WordPress for their blog. Sheryl asked me “What is a pingback? And should I approve them?”
So I’m going to describe what a pingback is using as little technical language as possible.
Let’s start with Comments
When you publish a blog article, you’ve probably noticed that visitors can leave comments on your articles. Healthy discussion about your articles can be great for your blog. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get any. You tend to only get comments on certain types of blog posts anyway.
Now, most comments are spammy, so you’ll want to mark those comment as spam. However, a few of them will be genuine and interesting.
Pingbacks (also known as trackbacks) are a form of automated comment for a page or post, created when another WordPress blog links to that page or post.
When you publish a new blog post, WordPress attempts to ‘ping‘ all the sites that were linked to in your post. i.e. Your WordPress website is informing other websites that you’ve linked to them.
When you receive pingpacks, then it means someone else has linked to one of your posts or pages.
Pingbacks – The Benefit?
You know when someone has linked to you. That’s the only benefit.
Should you approve pingbacks?
No, as there’s no benefit to you whatsoever. If you do approve them, a link is created back to the linking website, but it’s a worthless link from the perspective of the search engines.
Additionally, pingback comments offer nothing for your readers. Approved pingback comments look terrible. Another reason to delete them.
Once upon a time, when pingback links did offer value in terms of the search engines, there was a surge in software designed to create fake pingbacks just to get links. (Fake in that there was no real website linking to you). This goes on a little bit these days, but has mostly gone away.
Pingbacks offer no value if they are approved, just delete them. They are useful for knowing if someone links to you, but that’s it.
I hope that helps!