What’s a trackback?
Simple, it’s when you write a post on a specific topic, and then link out from the same post to relevant content. In order to demonstrate the how and why, I’ll use the subject of foreclosures to illustrate how you can use larger sites to your advantage since you’re probably not wishing to trackback to your local real estate competitors.
Let’s say you just wrote a wicked awesome post on foreclosures, and how to avoid them, and you want to share with your audience the larger conversation around foreclosures- maybe your point is to say, that they’re not alone, and you’d like a shot at saving them the agony.
By adding a simple link in that sentence to a related post on a more highly trafficked site you have accomplished several things.
Here’s an example:
“So if you’re fearing the end of your rope, facing foreclosure and feeling your mortgage is no longer affordable, missing mortgage payments, or simply slow paying your house payment, you’re not alone!”
The result helps consumers
- What you’ve done by doing this is spoken to the reader through keywords (I bolded them only for illustration) by using search engine results. You’ve exactly targeted longtail searches that consumers are making right now, and you’re providing content wrapped around the exact subject they’re searching for- that is first and foremost.
- By linking to even more relevant content in the same sentence, you’ve placed a trackback link that should appear (once approved) in the related contents comment stream and possibly the sidebar of a more popular site, drawing attention and traffic to your article (search engines are following these links just as consumers would).
- You’ve gained the attention of the site authors and administrators of that site, and could potentially find your post linked to in future posts of that very same site giving even more authority to your article keywords and content- thus completing the circle.
Trackbacks do so much more than commenting around the blogosphere (although this is just as important) worrying about dofollow and other SEO tricks. In fact, what you’re doing is building authority around your keywords and real estate content, while providing your own audience with a well balanced article and plenty more related information.
What you probably shouldn’t do
Does this mean you should put millions of links in a single post? No. Weight of the trackback matters. The more you link, the less value the engine puts on the content you’ve chosen to link to. However, for each post, you should spread the love around to other sites with a link or two.
I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why not just drop a link in comments to my article?” Because, you’re not completing the circle of relevant related content. Also, you’ve violated the space of another site in what appears to be an attempt to steal attention and traffic from their site- aka spam, self-promotion, and truly piggish enough to get you sent to spam.
What about related post plugin links?
Sure, those spread link wealth throughout your own content, and if you’re not making sure those links are absolutely relevant, then you’re probably not adding any real value. However, it apparently appeared for a reason. Check into the post you don’t believe is really relevant, and make sure that it’s properly tagged and categorized- change them to better reflect their true categories to improve their relevance.
Taking it one step further
Here’s a recent post on wordpress titles from Agent Genius writer Mark Eckenrode that will help you think about your post titles from the consumer’s point of view. <- See what I did there? I’ve just tracked back to a post directly related to helping you build a better wordpress blog system.
In the examples I’m using, neither of the links to the post are very keyword rich, and in my next trackback article, I’m going to show you a neat little plugin that will help you improve titles to help you to add keywords to the actual link from your site.
So, in the meantime, try a trackback with a great title, and do it from the consumer’s searching point of view.
More Blogging Basics
- Here’s a link to a few WordPress Tutorials to get you started.
- Here’s a list of awesome Real Estate WordPress Plugins
- Awesome Posts on Real Estate SEO
- Looking for awesome WordPress Real Estate Templates?
June 20, 2009 at 3:36 am
Will you marry me, Benn? (Go to your room, Lani) You are a bloody genius. Thanks for simplifying these things for internet-challenged writers like me.
June 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm
Benn – Great idea on bringing these topics up. I think we’re going to start seeing some new faces floating around over the six months or so with all the different conferences, barcamps, classes, etc. By giving them all a body of work to help them build their sites is great and of course, all of us that have been doing for a little while can always learn something new or get a refresher course on what we may have forgotten.
I’ve seen a lot more interest in San Antonio in blogging and social media lately (packed house at a Town Hall meeting the other day – topic? social media). Even though it’s been around forever, I think the constant info people are hearing about it is starting to make them more curious – to the point where they know they need to at least try to learn a bit more.
June 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm
@rerockstar I’m talking to every single person who writes with any need to gain authority. The worst offender of trackbacks are those who have been doing it for a while and have gotten fat on ego and just plain lazy.
June 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm
@BennRosales I find that sometimes the most obvious things become the most “A-HA!” moments. The answers are often something we know, but have let slip for whatever reason. I love linking to some of the other real estate authors I think are amazing and have something to add to the body of information I’m talking about. I suppose some agents fear this, because of giving other authors authority, but I just don’t think of it that way. And if I can help another author somehow? That’s a great thing. It’s also great for one-on-one relationships with those authors.
June 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm
You’re given authority by search engines because you pass authority, you are penalized when you horde it. It isn’t about passing an author anything, it’s about Google can read it but doesn’t know if it’s relevant. By linking out to content with the same body of context is how the determination is made that it’s not just content for the sake of content- it points to a larger conversation around the same subject, thus giving your content weight.
This has nothing to do with another author (although I understand your point), it’s about your posts lasting in search engine results, anything else is just plain petty and why I acknowledged the difficulty in linking to competitors, and why sites like AG, Inman, BHB, Lenderama or even bubble blogs who are not competing with you directly can be a benefit.
Those not linking out to trusted authority sites will find their competitors writing on the same subject and linking out surpassing them in search engines on that same subject, especially when done intensively in niche style.
June 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm
Good stuff. It’s a series of small habits and insights that cascade from ordinary to remarkable.
June 20, 2009 at 9:40 pm
Timely article Benn, and I’m in agreement with your comment above:
“Those not linking out to trusted authority sites will find their competitors writing on the same subject and linking out surpassing them in search engines on that same subject, especially when done intensively in niche style.”
Especially after reading a couple recent articles by Matt Cutts and Aaron Wall.
June 21, 2009 at 2:58 am
I would like to marry Lani and Benn. If that works out, I will then later also marry you, Gwen.
Excellent and helpful article!
June 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm
Have to echo what Gwen said, Benn (without the whole marrying thing). Those of us who are just taking our first baby steps in the blogging and SEO world appreciate these lucid posts very, very much.
Navy Chief, Navy Pride
Oh, and Happy Fathers Day everyone!
June 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm
I love the idea of usind trackbacks to draw people to a conversation that goes beyond one single blog or site and spreads like wildfire to the Internet. The Google love is nice too, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve always viewed search engine success as a byproduct of providing quality content.
June 22, 2009 at 8:26 pm
“You’re given authority by search engines because you pass authority, you are penalized when you horde it. It isn’t about passing an author anything, it’s about Google can read it but doesn’t know if it’s relevant. By linking out to content with the same body of context is how the determination is made that it’s not just content for the sake of content- it points to a larger conversation around the same subject, thus giving your content weight.”
This isnt exactly accurate. Linking out doesn’t gain you authority or determine relevance.
June 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm
Benn, you are off a bit here. Authority isnt gained by linking out, and you dont lose it by not linking out.
June 24, 2009 at 8:19 am
Great explanation, Benn. I called Lani on this awhile back. Wasn’t sure what it was. I didn’t understand that if I link out it helps me, was only thinking about the consumer. Also didn’t know it showed up although I have seen it show up here on AG.
Is that a plugin for WP ?
June 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm
Benn- great read! Thanks very much for a very concise and to the point piece!
August 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm
Thanks much, really got to the point with this. I have always struggled to understand how trackbacks work.