What is a Pingback in WordPress

And what do I do with them ?

This is a question I’ve been asked a few times recently, sometimes just from friends who have their own WordPress blog, but also from a couple of clients who have recently started blogging. I’m a big advocate of WordPress, (hence having written about it on several occasions, for example here and here) it’s very flexible in itself and has numerous plugins available which make it capable of doing most things which the average small business or personal website owner needs. However I do appreciate that with all the scares about linking in, linking out and Penguin updates, being unsure about what Pingbacks are and what effect they will have on your ranks can leave new users wondering what to do with a pingback notification in WordPress.

What’s a pingback?

ping pongOccasionally (or quite frequently if your blog is popular) you will receive an email saying there’s a pingback on a page or post on your blog, with options to approve or delete it.  These are simply when someone else has linked to you from their blog, it could be a reference to an image or more commonly just a straightforward link to you as a resource, i.e. they have a page about plants and mention a few different species, you could have a whole page about oak trees, so they create a link to you for people to follow if they want more in depth information about oaks. This is all good!

What WordPress does is to notify the recipient of the link that the other website has used them as a point of reference.

What to do with a Pingback Notification

Just delete it. If you approve it, it will leave a link back and possibly some text from their website. My personal feeling is that a blog with lots of pingbacks mixed up in the comments just looks a mess and potentially you could loose the occasional visitor back to their site too. There’s no need to feel bad about it, they decided that your content was worth linking to, so it’s a reward for developing good content, this is exactly the way Google likes to see links built, naturally and from related pages.

There was a time when Google gave these links credit (the link back), so unscrupulous SEO’s used to fire loads of them out in the hope of acquiring lots of backlinks from the ones which were approved, but times have moved on anyway and they are no longer counted, so fortunately this practice has pretty much died out now.

So in Short

When someone else links to you from their blog you will be notified, happy days, you have just acquired a natural link, exactly how Google likes them to be. Delete the notification to keep your own blog comments looking tidy and keep writing good relevant content which more people will reference. While the links into a site are seeming to become less important these days, they are undoubtedly still a major part of the algorithm and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

If you need help with blogging, need a WordPress site set-up or have questions about any other aspect of SEO, get in touch.

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3 thoughts on “What is a Pingback in WordPress

  1. Geoff Hendrix says:

    Hello, I must admit I’ve always wondered exactly what they are so always just left them without doing anything. As you can no doubt imagine, I now have probably hundreds of them all sitting there not quite knowing what to do with themselves. I know a lot are spam and I already deleted those, but wasn’t sure if it would be a bad thing to delete the apparently looking real ones, but now I will, not right now, but soon.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Geoff,

      There’s no real rush (unless you have literally thousands of them choking your database) so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Glad the information was helpful to you though 🙂


  2. Shannon says:

    Been wondering what to do about those pesky trackbacks, I assume the terms are interchangeable

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