Blogs, pings, RSS, Trackbacksit all gets so confusing! Not really. Its just that each element of blogging plays an important role in the blogosphere and you need to understand what roles those are, and how you and your blog benefit from them. Trackbacks is one of those elements.
Trackbacks are used to acknowledge other peoples blog posts. For instance, one day you are reading someone elses blog. You find a post that is relevant to your own blog, or something that you just want to share with your own readers. It is illegal to copy their blog word-for-word, so you must find another way to point your readers to this blog.
This is simple. You write your own post and refer to the blog that you want to draw attention to. In the Trackback box of your blog post page, you put the Trackback URL, which is obtained on the page of the post that you want to refer to, in that space. You should also find and include the permalink for that persons blog entry in the body of your post as well.
Now, after you publish your blog post, a Trackback is sent back to that other persons blog. Now, when people read that blog, they will know that you referenced it. If they are highly interested in the topic, they will visit your blog to see what you had to say about the topic. This is a very important element, and it has helped to make the blogosphere what it is today.
This is also a great way to build your own readership, especially if you are tracking back to blogs that are related to your own. You should do this on a regular basis if building a following is important to you at least once week or so. This can also help to raise your blog in the search engine rankings as well.
In order for Trackbacks to work, your site and the site that you are referring to must have Trackbacks enabled. It wont work if that other persons blog isnt giving or accepting Trackbacks. Make sure that you have Trackbacks enabled! Also note that not all blogging software has the Trackback feature. If not, you may want to find and use different blogging software.
Dont be afraid that you are driving people away from your blog by referring to other blogs. Because the Trackback is noted on that other persons blog, their readers will also be visiting your blog. So, if anything, it is more like an exchange of blog traffic but if you provide useful or interesting content on your own blog, you wont lose your readers, even though they visit other blogs that you recommend.
So, in order to build your blogs popularity, you must blog and ping often, and throw in some track back posts on a regular basis as well. If you work at it, you will find that you soon have a healthy following of readers visiting your blog each and every time you update it.