How TrackBack Works

Many people are confused about what exactly TrackBack is and how you use it.
Here's a little explanation with pictures to help you understand.

So let's say I'm surfing the web and I'm reading my good friend Martin's site.
I think it's funny, so I decide I want to post a link on my weblog about it.

I click the permanent link so I can grab the URL for the entry.
I highlight it and copy it into the clipboard.

I go into my weblog tool (I happen to use Movable Type), and type my entry and paste
in the URL from Martin's site.

Now here's where the TrackBack thing comes in.  Pay close attention.

I want Martin to know I am talking about his post on my weblog.
This is the goal of TrackBack.

I go back to his weblog and link on the TrackBack text.

A new window pops up.
The first thing I'm told is the TrackBack URL.
The TrackBack URL is different than the regular URL for the entry.
You need to copy this URL.
If you don't use this URL, things will be all fuxxored and you will be unhappy.

I paste the TrackBack URL into my weblog entry in the specific space called URLs to Ping.
The TrackBack URL is the only thing that works here.

After previewing my entry and finally saving/publishing it,
I see the pings going out.

See the ping going to chokersandwich?
That's my site telling Martin's site that I'm talking about him.

When I go back to Martin's site, you see the change.
It now says TrackBack(1) instead of (0).

If I click on TrackBack(1) now, this window pops up.

See how this let's Martin and other readers know that I am talking about
 this post on my weblog.

So, to review:

1) The purpose of TrackBack is to let a site know that you are referencing them on your on site.
2) The TrackBack URL is different than the regular permanent link URL.
3) TrackBacks are fun.  You should use them.


Update:  Shortly after I finished this page, Mena and Ben Trott,
 creators of Movable Type and TrackBack made their
 own page explaining TrackBack for Beginners

If you found this page helpful, you will find theirs even better.


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