What are backlinks and how do I use them?

The Quick Answer

  • Backlinks display other webpages that link to your posts.
  • To enable backlinks on your blog go to your Settings | Posts and comments tab and select Show

What are backlinks?

Backlinks enable you to keep track of other pages on the web that link to your posts. For instance, suppose Alice writes a blog entry that Bob finds interesting. Bob then goes to his own blog and writes a post of his own about it, linking back to Alice's original post. Now Alice's post will automatically show that Bob has linked to it, and it will provide a short snippet of his text and a link to his post. What it all works out to is a way of expanding the comment feature such that related discussions on other sites can be included along with the regular comments on a post.

How to use backlinks

The backlinks setting can be found under the Settings | Posts and Comments tab, and consists of a single, simple option to turn it on or off:

backlinks

Our default templates are already set up with the necessary code for backlinks. However, if you have a custom template, or one of our templates from before this feature was launched, you will need to add the code yourself. Instructions for that are here.

Once everything is set up, you'll see a new link marked "Links to this post" next to the comment link for each post. If you click that link you'll be taken to the post page, where the backlinks are all listed beneath the comments. Clicking the triangles next to each link will display a snippet of text from the page linking to you, as well as some author and date information.

display backlink info

If you want to turn off backlinks for individual posts, you can do so. The process is the same as that for turning off comments. Just edit the post in question and change the options that appear in the Post Settings section:

backlinks_post

Notes:

  • For the curious, this feature is based on the link: operator of Blog Search. So sites linking to your blog will need to be indexed by Blog Search and there may be a slight delay before the backlinks appear on your blog.
  • The comment notification email setting does not apply to backlinks, so you will not be notified of new links when they appear. This is because these links are looked up on-the-fly each time you view an individual post.
  • In lieu of comment notification, you can use Blog Search with a query such as link:your-blog-here.blogspot.com, and then subscribe to the results. That will have a similar effect.