I have noticed that I’ve been getting a lot of ping backs from blogs recently where my posts are featured in a list of “related blog posts” at the end of an articles.
A bit of investigation shows that this is the result of a WordPress plugin PingCrawl .
The idea is that the plugin pulls up a list of potential sites from Google that accept trackbacks and then pings them to get a load of incoming links. This in theory should provide a limitless number of incoming links from other blogs across the Internet.
Does the WordPress PingCrawl Plugin Work?
This sounds good in theory, you get five or so incoming links from sites that Google associates with a particular search term. As any search fan knows this is critical for high ranking posts.
However I see some big flaws in the plan:
- We know that Google does not like automated link building where the link hasn’t been earnt. Given that the formula that this plugin works on is no secret it makes sense that Google can identify these links and devalue them. I suspect that trackback links are not highly valued in the first place.
- Akismet picks up all of these incomming trackbacks as spam. It seems to do this very successfully, so if Akismet can do this, Google can. This strikes me as a very risky activity and might have long term consequences for your site’s ranking? Do you really want your site associated with spammy techniques?
- Even if Akismet didn’t block these from my site, I don’t think I’d approve them. So what seems to be happening is that I am getting 10-20 daily incoming links from related blogs that are all using this plugin yet Akismet is blocking the return track back from posting. In other words, they are all linking to my posts, and I’m not linking back to them.
It seems to me that I’m getting the best deal here, and doing none of the work!
Should You Use This Plugin?
If you are trying to do a quick short lived site that will earn a couple of pounds before sinking into search engine obscurity then this seems like a good plugin to use! I also think that you might end up getting traffic through the trackback links that get posted and this could have some value.
This strategy is dangerous as you’ll most likely see more traffic faster, but the long term prospects don’t seem so good. It really needs some testing though, so I’m going to trial it on an abandoned WP site of mine.
Has anyone used this plugin, did it make a difference in an objectively measurable way? I’d love to hear from you.