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Trackbacks- How to Build Strong Authority Relationships That Bring Search Results to Life




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

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Gwen Banta

    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.

  2. Matt Stigliano

    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.

  3. Benn Rosales

    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.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    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.

  5. Benn Rosales

    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.

  6. Ken Brand

    June 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Good stuff. It’s a series of small habits and insights that cascade from ordinary to remarkable.


  7. Eugene

    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.

  8. Russell Shaw

    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!

  9. Joe Loomer

    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!

  10. Erion Shehaj

    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.

  11. Bob

    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.

  12. Bob

    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.

  13. Missy Caulk

    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 ?

  14. tomferry

    June 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Benn- great read! Thanks very much for a very concise and to the point piece!

  15. mplsrealtor

    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.

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How to

Facebook Likes take over FB Shares- So fix your pics- WordPress Plugin



You may or may not have heard that Facebook has been transitioning Facebook Share functionality to “Likes” as the preferred mechanism to share content with your friends on Facebook, cool.

While many of us saw this coming some time ago, we still leaned to Facebook Share for managing this process as it gave users a choice as to the image they used, and could also add status updates. Status updates are still possible, but the images in most circumstances are still left to chance.

So last week, we went in search of a solution to the problem of random images in Facebook Likes. For some time, the Facebook “Like” system seemed to grab the most random images from your site, but that problem can be fixed with a simple new plugin we’re testing called Facebook Like Thumbnail, and it works! Simply install the plugin, activate, and immediately, “liked” articles will populate the first image uploaded to the article. There are no settings at this time needed as it’s automatic.

For advanced users, the plugin author offers a simple function you can add to your functions.php on his website should you wish, and there is also a simple tag available for non-Wordpress users to add to your header to achieve a similar outcome.

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Business Marketing

Blogging: A Time Suck or Sweet Sunshine?



Time Suckage

Blogging isn’t the Holy Grail, a magical Silver Bullet or a Savior.  For some, it really is a time-suck, a distraction or a poor idea.  For others, it’s like Sunshine for Sweet Success.

Sunshine for Sweet Success

Think of everything you do to attract, uncover and discover listing and selling opportunities as your personal real-estate-business-solar-system.

You and your blog sit at the center of your business-solar-system.  The planets and moons in your business-solar-system are the networks, tribes, niches and online communities that orbit around you.  I’m talking about your In-Real-Life (IRL) spheres like past clients, suspects, neighbors, your Bunco crew, Yoga classmates and other places you live, love, play prospect for business.  Additional planets and moons in your business solar system are the online communities you share and interact with.  For example,,,, etc.

Because competing real estate agents live and work within common solar systems, it’s important that you position yourself as the MMIC (Main  Mistress In Charge) of your solar-system.  Authoring a blog is like owning the Sun for your real-estate-business-solar system.  When you own the Sun, you rule.  Like our real Sun beams sunlight to all the planets in our solar system, your blog beams  your personal brand of sunlight to all your important prospecting communities, tribes, niches and networks. The intensity, illumination and warmth of your sunlight is determined by the quality, relevance and frequency of the things you share on your blog.  If you’re beaming sweet sunshine and your competitors aren’t, you’re going to win, right?

Your blog is where you can show (instead-of-tell) others who you really are and what you’re about .  What you stand for and against.  How knowledgeable and helpful you are and the emotional and logical reasons why someone should choose you to help them with their real estate needs.   You accomplish all these things by sharing stuff on your blog (aka creating sunlight).  Specifically, shared stuff includes things like; neighborhood news, photos of neighborhood parks, Festivals and Art Shows, real estate market updates, local restaurant reviews, answers to commonly asked real estate questions and the like.  If you’re sharing and your competitors are not, you have a advantage, right?

Another blogging bonus, once you hit the “Publish” button on your blog post, your “Share” becomes part of the Online-Information-Ocean and becomes sharable via  perma-web-link.  Once you’ve shared (published) something on your blog, you and your friends and friends of their friends, can now rebroadcast-share your stuff (sunlight) around the inter-webs and within your/their social circles (planets and moons) using your perma-web-links.   For example you and others can share and cross-post your permalinks with your/their tribes on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, etc.  This is what ReTweets, Facebook Likes, Shares and Comments is all about.

Your blog also provides you with a powerful opportunity to further enhance your online presence by incorporating share-tools in your blog posts.  I’m talking about using share tools like for photos, for presentations and for video – all for free.

Bottom Line

Blogging beams your personal shade of sunlight to your IRL spheres, networks, tribes and niches.  As a bonus, it makes your stuff sharable by others.  Which is a beautiful thing.  Of course their are other compelling reasons to blog too.  Blogging makes you Findable, Discoverable, Sharable, Choosable and Referable.  In my next share, I’ll expand on the Findable, Discoverable, Sharable, Choosable and Referable idea.  Till then, grace, speed and success.


I was wondering what you think about blogging?  If you do, what keeps you doing it?  If you don’t, why not.  Like I said at first, I know it’s not the right idea for everyone.

Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

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Housing News

How You Can Make A Video Blog – cheap, quick & easy



A while ago I decided that I wanted a web site that was just for my videos.

I have video embedded in blog posts on my main real estate site, but I wanted a clean looking page where people could go and just watch my content. A video-blog, or vlog, as the cool kids call it.

As of yesterday, I have one:

a screengrab of my Video Site

a screengrab of my Video Site

Before I built this, I did a bit of googling, and all the nice ‘video’ wordpress themes were anywhere from $37  to $150.
I have nothing against premium themes – I use Agentpress, and Canvas by woothemes for different sites – but this was more of a weekend project that I didn’t want to put cash into (yet – I don’t invest cash in a site until it’s producing revenue).
Plus, I want to show my friends how to duplicate it, and free makes that easier.
After scouring the web for literally dozens of minutes, I found a plug-in called Tubepress, and I gave it a whirl:
Tubepress WordPress plugin for online video 

Easy install, and the control panel was simple enough for me. So far so good. 

Tubepress allows you to embed youtube videos, and you have the option to select videos by playlist, keyword, and more. You can display all of your videos, or all videos (by all users) with “Austin Real Estate” in the title. 

On my vlog, I am displaying 3 separate channels – Business Advice, Commercial Real Estate, and videos about Kitchener Waterloo (my local market).  I am able to embed a separate playlist on each page, and each page is just a simple-to-add page in wordpress.

Tubepress, so far, gives me the ability to have a fully functional vlog without paying for a premium vlog template. I tinkered around with a few free themes which looked nice, but I settled on Canvas by Woothemes, which I’m using on another blog (and I own the rights to reuse it, so its not costing me $. I also like how the free versions of Titan and Vigilance look for a vlog like this) .

I really like the layout – what do you think?

Plugin allows you to easily display videos

Ben’s Action Plan

In this era of new media, social media, web 3.0 – or “talking to people” as I like to call it, you want to have a vlog (and a blog, and a twitter, and a facebook, and a …. you get the point. Be easy to find!) where people can sit and watch you for hours (eventually. It’s ok if its only for minutes to start with). 

This is really easy for you to implement in your business. Here is what I would do if I were you:

1) Buy a flip camera, a camcorder, or a webcam

2) Time block 20 minutes twice a week to create short videos.  On market conditions; on mortgage rates; on new listings; on how to win multiple offers; on that hot new restaurant in your area that just opened up.  Just like a blog post, make vlogs that your potential clients will find interesting and valuable.

Be less concerned with the quality of the production, and more concerned with the quality of information.

3) Upload the videos to youtube.  If you have a google/gmail login, you have access to youtube (because google owns it). If not, sign up (it’s free).

4) Organize your videos into playlists on youtube

5) Start a new blog, or install tubepress plug-in on your existing wordpress blog

6) Make a post/page and embed tubepress in it (you just type [tubepress] – its that easy).  I have mine as the only blog post on BenjaminBach.TV, so its what people see when they come to the site. On another blog, its a page on an existing blog (see here) that you can click on.

7) Let people know about it online and offline, just like any other site you want to promote.

8 ) Make GREAT content (that’s the killer app)

(UPDATE: I’m hearing from #SXSW via gingerw that you should also have PubSubHubbub installed on your video blog.  Google it, like I am now 🙂

Let me know how you make out; I’d love to hear tips you have, themes you’re using, and plug-ins that are making your life easier. I just put my vlog up yesterday, so I’m as eager as anyone to learn 🙂

Come and find me on twitter @benjaminbach to let me know that you liked this article (and especially if you didn’t, but you gotta tell me why) and what you’d like me to to expand upon.

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