Comments are out. Trackbacks are in.

Here’s what I mean: a lot of bloggers have “turned off” the Comments link on their blogs. It was a nifty way to interact with your readers. But spammers quickly caught on. Unless the comments function is configured in such a way that a writer has to be authenticated before adding a comment, a spammer can troll through your blog entries and “add” stupid or disgusting comments by the dozens – or hundreds.

Trackbacks, on the other hand, add “content” to your blog when other bloggers (as opposed to readers who happen along and read your blog) write about your blog post.

Best way to explain this is with an example. Here’s a doozy. Follow this link to a recent entry Seth Godin made on his blog debunking search engine optimization. Scroll down to the bottom of his SEO riff. There you’ll see a dozen or more “trackbacks” from other bloggers. Most of them vigorously disagree with Seth’s take on SEO. So he’s started a conversation… with lots of links into his blog. These incoming links, BTW, naturally raise the search engine rankings of his blog – or of any Web page for that matter. Go, Seth…