I’ve found that trackbacks and pingbacks are two items that can always use more explanation. Even though there are thousands of posts pertaining to their use, I wanted to provide a “bump” to the discussion and add my two cents. If you are new to blogging, trackbacks are kind of confusing. They always have been and until they are gone, they will continue to be.

The first thing to understand is that they are not to be used as direct links to blog posts. They are a link building tool for other bloggers to link to your post. The use of trackbacks requires that both sites support trackbacks. If so, the third party author has to put the trackback into a “Trackbacks to Send” field on his or her post. On the other hand, pingbacks work automatically when the third party puts a link to your post on their site.
Most major blogging tools such as WordPress, Drupal and Liferay have both functions built in.  But when posting a link into G+, LinkedIn, etc., you should use the URL from the browser or a link shortening tool that also includes tracking, such as http://goo.gl/. If the user is logged in as an admin of a Google Analytics account, these links will be tracked alongside other site traffic. This provides a complete form of link tracking that follows traffic from the source through conversion.
There are a lot of possible downsides to trackbacks, including spam. When authoring an article, we suggest you uncheck the “Allow Trackbacks” checkbox and either use the url from the browser address or a shortener like http://goo.gl/CZgHL. For a more in-depth discussion, I recommend Ana Hoffman’s post at www.trafficgenerationcafe.com.
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