Do You Participate in Pingback or Trackback?
Are you generally a user of the system or are you an active participator in the process? Using a pingback can have several benefits for you as the one who uses the link, but it also benefits the person or company you are linking to when Google comes around to index all the relevant pages.
What is a Pingback, Trackback, or Permalink?
For most of us that are not total code junkies I thought it might be good to a have a little background information first. All three of these terms are similar in nature and do similar tasks, with slight variations.
What exactly is a pingback? A pingback is method of linking back to an article or post you read on another blog, from within the article you are writing. I will have more on this below. An example of this would be linking to article related to this article that someone else wrote, like this: Linking To Differing Opinion, by Andy Beard. The link I just posted is considered to Andy as a pingback to his original article.
From this blog, to Andy's, which then comes back to this blog.
A trackback is very similar but generally is used as a url location to link back to an article you have written, some times from an article you are writing back to another article of your own. An example of this might be a link to a previous article on my own blog. This is one I wrote last year on how to improve customer service, and the trackback would be here: Steps to Improve Customer Service by Answering Email
From this blog, to another article within this blog, which then links to this article.
A permalink is the actual permanant url location of the article in question. For example, the permalink for the same article I wrote last year as mentioned above would have this permanent url http://www.scottfillmer.com/2007/11/02/improve-customer-service-sales/ , usually a very long address that no one wants to post in full, but it works well using an anchor tag.
All of these terms can be used in conjunction with each other as one of three forms of linkbacks. All of which should be used in effectively marketing your blog or website, but be careful how you use them, they are also the tools of spammers when used incorrectly.
What Does a Pingback Actually Do?
A "ping" comes from when you would reach out to another IP address by sending a small bit of information, and in return, you would receive a small bit of information, then you would know that you actually reached the IP address in question. So, when you write an article or blog post and mention another article, and link to it, it will send out a small bit of information saying you did so, and give you a small bit in return.
It is generally quite acceptable to other bloggers or website owners to post back to an article that they have written. It is not generally acceptable to copy what they have written and just repost it on your site, even if you do give the author credit. Some of the reason for this is that they don't get any benefit from you repeating their information, where a pingback to their site does.
Why Don't I Just Mention the Other Article Instead?
When you post a link back to an article it will also benefit you (more than just scraping or copying their content) because many times it will automatically post a link in the comments section of their article for the article you wrote. This will bring a certain number of visitors back to your site as well.
Good for you, good for them, and it is usually quite appreciated by the other site. Scrapping content, whether done with good intentions or not, is not appreciated and serves of little benefit to either party.
Is It Better To Give or Receive a Pingback?
Well, in this case, it is probably better to receive the pingback (depending on the content of the site of course) than to give it, BUT, you probably have to give them to receive them. There are other things going on in the background with Google when you use a pingback, and most of the time, it will render the site receiving the pingback more relevant overall because the information was worthy of someone else writing about it.
This can have an opposite effect that may come into play when the site using the pingback is of questionable content, but like a political candidate, it is hard to control who recommends or endorses you and such is the case with pingbacks.
Overall the rule of thumb would be to pinback, not scrapeback. No one likes seeing their content scraped and used on another site and it gives no benefit to the site that created the original content, so use a pingback when you can.
Keep in mind that pingbacks are the tool of some spammers so use it for legitimate purposes when you want to quote another article that corresponds to your own and you will find that the other site will most likely appreciate the mention and link.