How to Stop Trackback Spam on WordPress


questions and answers

Odtaa asks:

I’m getting some weird trackbacks on my websites. They link to one of my articles and then lots of other links.

The sites are usually WordPress. They have links to many articles, including mine, but nothing else.

I assume some way of boosting one of the links on the site in a way of fooling Google.

Should I delete them?

Yes you should delete those, as they are probably trackback spam.

One of the problems with most blogging platforms is that people can easily abuse the trackback feature. On WordPress, for instance, you have a box right below the text editor titled “Send Trackbacks.” If users put the URL of your post there and publish or update their posts, your blog will get a trackback notification and probably put a link on your comments section to that blog.

If the user puts hundreds of post URLs on that field, therefore, he would be generating hundreds of backlinks to his website. Most would be nofollowed, some perhaps not, but still he would gain traffic and some visibility with search engines.

Sometimes the automatic trackback feature will not work, and then the user will need to actually include the links on the post body. That is the kind you are seeing, probably. After a while the can delete those posts, and the trackbacks remain where they are.

Deleting those spam trackbacks manually is an option, but it might start taking a lot of time. If you want to solve the problem for good, there are two options.

One is to keep the trackbacks but use a filtering system. My recommendation for this would be the Simple Trackback Validation plugin.

A second alternative, which is more drastic, is to completely remove trackbacks froom your single post pages. I explain how to do that on the post Separate Trackbacks from Comments on Your WordPress Blog.

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20 Responses to “How to Stop Trackback Spam on WordPress”

  • Bob C

    Daniel, I just started getting an automated email every 17 minutes from the same IP address. I have it blacklisted so it goes straight to spam but I guess I will need to empty my spam folder every few weeks. I’m wondering if you have ever dealt with this situation and if you have a suggestion on how to stop it from streaming at my blog.

    Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

    Bob C

  • Johnson

    Thanks, I now know what to do with the trackbacks on my blog. Askimet for wordpress also work very well, but you have to sign up for an account.

  • Peter Fry

    Very helpful, this has been annoying me for some time. Thank you

  • Jenny Kumar

    I really liked your post.

  • Ajith

    This was the topic of interest in my blog this week as well… Blog scraping has become a nightmare because these people actually not only link to your site but actually paste your content there using automated feedscraping tools.

    I have listed some ways to deal with it including the usage of antileach plugins, writing to the authors, htaccess bans etc.

  • diabetesnotes

    thank you for sharing the tips, still try to use the right plugin for that

  • Sapikk

    Thanks a lot man.. Meanwhile, I still don’t get this problem on my blog but really appreciate with this information.

    p/s: Hope, i can get more blogging tips here as look as your blog domain name “DailyBlogTips”..


  • odtaa

    Thanks Daniel,

    I have been deleting these trackbacks manually so I’m really pleased of your and other people’s suggestions on the appropriate plugin.

    @R Kumar You’re right Askimet is essential to kill spam, but these trackbacks are a different matter to comment spam.

    The people doing it seem quite organised. The first trackback was a record download site, (probably dodgy), but seemed no risk.

    However over the next few weeks the backlinks are used to selling drugs and hard core porn.

    Fortunately it seems to have stopped.

    Paul Odtaa

  • Muzi Mohale

    Also agree with ‘R Kumar’ I use Akismet which work wonders…

  • Melvin

    surprisingly large blogs like shoemoney seems to be reluctant on accepting spam trackbacks.. well i used to before but i’ve realized they’re nothing but spams/or my own content

  • adis

    I still confuse how to separate the real trackback or spam track back….

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Shalini, they are mixed with the comments.

  • Shalini

    I don’t want to sound dumb, but where do you find these trackbacks?

  • Nikhil

    I regularly delete the spams.
    In the beginning I was unknown about the spam things but after sometime I got that they are nothing but putting my post link in the post so I deleted all of them…

  • Boerne Search

    This looks like something I will need to read more on. I guess I just don’t get PR value anymore.

  • kalem kamera

    Nice and well-written article.. I got an idea about trackback in your article..

  • Harsh Agrawal

    These days even I’m getting lots of trackback. Main reason is because of Autoblogs. Whenever I write any article with keyword SEO or adsense. I instantly get 3-4 trackbacks from autoblog. Sometime it become hard to distinguish between original blog and autoblog.
    I simply check the PR of other blog and then accept the trackback if it is justified.

  • R Kumar

    I have only been using Akismet in WordPress and it capture everything that has multiple links in the body as “SPAM” and retains it till I do not approve it. So when I see that the attempt by the person posting the comment is to spam my blog, I straightaway delete it with the one-click button in Akismet dashboard.

  • find love

    Nice and well-written article.. I got an idea about trackback in your article..

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Sergej, I will check that one out.

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