Trackback is a system for linking posts from different blogs and, in some ways, allowing blogs to “share” readers.
Here’s an example! As an example of how Trackback works, consider the following: If you’ve just published an article about Admiral Byrd’s second Antarctic expedition and come across a similar or related post on another blog, you can use the trackback mechanism to let the other poster know your post exists. When your trackback notification (which includes the permalink to your post as well as possibly some basic information about your blog) appears on another blog’s post, the readers of that blog will be alerted that you have something to say about the topic and may pay you a visit.
It is possible for anyone to have it, but not everyone does! Some blogs have Trackback functionality built in, while others do not. The good news is that Haloscan, a popular comment tracking programme, now has a trackback feature for those who don’t, and it’s free! You can sign up at http://www.haloscan.com/members/join.php if you’re interested. Signing up for Trackback (if you don’t already have it) will give you trackback capability, but you won’t be able to trackback to a post on a blog that doesn’t support it.
Comments vs. trackbacks! Normally, you will see a post about which you have something to say and leave a comment. It’s not a good idea to use a Trackback if you don’t have a legitimately related post — one that adds value or clarifies the subject post. You may be banned from offended blogs if you become known as a “trackback spammer” by sending unrelated trackbacks.
This is how it works! Trackback works by sending a “ping” (an electronic notification) from your blog to another blog to let them know you’ve published something new. This ping also informs their Trackback programme that your post has been added to their list. Some bloggers moderate their trackbacks by manually reviewing each notification and confirming that it is indeed a related post; this prevents spammers from linking their spam to legitimate blogs. If the blogger approves your post and finds it relevant, he or she can allow the trackback, and your post will appear on the other blog as a trackback.
The “Trackback URL” from the post where you want to send your Trackback notification is the first step in creating a trackback. They either don’t have a Trackback capability or have it turned off if the post doesn’t have a Trackback URL.
After that, paste the URL into the appropriate spot on your blog post. There will usually be a reference to “Trackback URLs” or “Trackback pings” to indicate this.
Republish your blog, and your trackback software will send the Trackback ping to the target blog’s post automatically.
That’s all there is to it; your trackback, which includes a link to your post, will be sent to the target post, and your Trackback will be listed after it has been approved (if the blogger moderates trackbacks).
Other features! Some systems allow you to send Trackbacks to multiple target posts at the same time. Another feature of Trackback is the ability to send a trackback ping to yourself, linking to a post on another blog; this notifies your readers that the other post exists and can be used as a “recommended reading” function.
Just a quick recap of four key Trackback points!
Trackback isn’t available to every blogger, and some who do have it aren’t using it.
To prevent unrelated posts from being linked, some bloggers moderate their trackbacks. Some, on the other hand, do not moderate or even monitor their Trackbacks, allowing trackback spammers to infiltrate their system. Don’t be a Trackback spammer, and don’t let them get away with it.
Haloscan now includes Trackback functionality in their commenting programme (both are free).
If you install Trackback on your blog, you won’t be able to send trackbacks to blogs that don’t have it.
Trackbacks are explained in greater detail! Trackbacks are covered in great detail in Wikipedia’s entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trackback. Wikipedia articles are always thorough, and you can trust the information they provide.