Ding! Another email chimes into your inbox minutes after you publish your most recent Wordpress post. It reads:

A new pingback on the post “_” is waiting for your approval.
Pingback excerpt: ... Approve it: … Trash it: … Spam it: ...

Sound familiar? I bet that’s why you’re here. You might be curious about exactly what pingbacks are and how they benefit your site’s SEO. You might wonder why you got one in the first place! Or, if you’re like me, you might be dying to know how to stop getting these pesky notifications.

First off, what are pingbacks and how do they work?

Put simply, pingbacks are notifications from other blogs—a way for Wordpress websites to link readers from one blog post or webpage to another post or page. That target destination could be on your own Wordpress site, or it could be on another other site. They show up in the comments section, like this:

That’s it! WPBeginner calls these “remote comments” and I think that’s pretty accurate. The way it works is pretty simple—say we have a Wordpress blog. We publish this article on our Wordpress blog.You write a post on your Wordpress blog linking to our article.

Your Wordpress site automatically sends us a pingback.Our Wordpress site receives the pingback, and automatically checks your site to make sure the link is still present.If it is, we can choose to display your pingback as a comment on our post. Boom, extra traffic for you, and a helpful link to your site for our readers! Yay!

How do pingbacks benefit your Wordpress SEO?

Here’s a little SEO trick for all you curious cats: linking to your own posts, sometimes referred to as “interlinking,” is a powerful tool in your SEO toolkit. According to Neil Patel, it boosts your SEO “by providing clear paths for spiders, prolonged sessions for users, and a tight-knit network of pages and posts.”

Basically, it’s a great way to keep readers reading and Google crawling. By strategically interlinking your blog posts, you’re telling search engines that all of your website content is interconnected in some way.

With that said, you don’t actually need pingbacks to achieve these SEO-boosting benefits. You can create a link to any page or post on your site, and still get this effect. Pingbacks are just Wordpress’s way of underlining your link to another site.

What if you want to turn Wordpress pingbacks off?

If you’ve reached your maximum patience levels with Wordpress pingbacks, you’re just like I was at the time of this writing. I decided to dig in and find out exactly how to avoid having to approve every last pingback that Wordpress wanted to notify me about.

My first instinct was to find a way to simply auto-approve pingbacks between our own, internal articles for one of our customers running Wordpress. We auto-publish for them, which means we can really capitalize on interlinking among other SEO-building techniques. However, this means our customer champions get email notifications for every single pingback—which really starts adding up after months of content creation!

Googling terms like “wordpress auto approve pingbacks” yielded less-than-favorable results. I found some forum discussions from 2011, a couple plugins to disable pingbacks completely in the Wordpress settings—not what I was after, since they’re beneficial—and finally some resources on managing Wordpress comments for blog owners. Nothing that actually answered my question. So, I turned instead to Wordpress’s trusty plugin search, and here’s what I found.

Option #1: turn off pingbacks with Wordpress plugins

With a 4-star rating and last updated a week before this writing, the No Self Ping plugin seems like a great option to achieve exactly what I’m looking for. We’re getting ready to publish a new post for the customer this Wednesday, so we’ll see how it goes!

Option #2: disallow pingbacks in Wordpress default settings

Wordpress aficionados know there’s a global setting for most functionalities—pingbacks are no different. If you want to go this route, simply navigate to Settings → Discussion, and uncheck the option Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article.

Note, if you ever plan on exploring the pingback “I’ll-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine” strategy with other Wordpress sites, you’ll potentially want to turn this option back on to guarantee your Wordpress friends get notified about your pingbacks.

Alternative #3: disable pingbacks with some fancy PHP

Ah, the joys of fiddling with code! If you’re comfortable doing this yourself, or have a developer who can help, a quick tweak to functions.php can make you a happy camper:

function no_self_ping( &$links ) {
    $home = get_option( 'home' );
    foreach ( $links as $l => $link )
        if ( 0 === strpos( $link, $home ) )
add_action( 'pre_ping', 'no_self_ping' );

Congrats, you’re pingback-free!

Hopefully your sanity begins to reemerge now that you’ve rid yourself of pingback notifications. Let me know how it works for you! And, if you’re looking for help managing your blog, let us know below—we’d love to see how PubLoft can help you leverage the many benefits of blog posts.