Ways to Get Fresh Links to Old Content for Better Search Rankings

By: Chris Crum - February 6, 2010

You may have gotten some good links in the past, but don’t count on them helping you forever. Old links go stale in the eyes of Google.

Do you still get links to old content? Tell us why you think that is.

Google’s Matt Cutts responded to a user-submitted question asking if Google removes PageRank coming from links on pages that no longer exist (for example, GeoCities pages that have been shut down). The answer to this question is unsurprisingly yes, but Cutts makes a statement within his response that may not be so obvious to everybody.

"In order to prevent things from becoming stale, we tend to use the current link graph, rather than a link graph of all of time," he says. (Emphasis added)

Now, this isn’t exactly news, and to the seasoned search professional, probably not much of a revelation. However, to the average business owner looking to improve search engine performance (and not necessarily adapting to the ever-changing ways of SEO), it could be something that really hasn’t resonated. Businesses have always been told about the power of links, but even if you got a lot of significant links a year or two ago, that doesn’t mean your content will continue to perform well based on that.  WebProNews has discussed the value of "link velocity" and Google’s need for freshness in the past:

Link velocity refers to the speed at which new links to a webpage are formed, and by this term we may gain some new and vital insight. Historically, great bursts of new links to a specific page has been considered a red flag, the quickest way to identify a spammer trying to manipulate the results by creating the appearance of user trust. This led to Google’s famous assaults on link farms and paid link directories.

But the Web has changed, become more of a live Web than a static document Web. We have the advent of social bookmarking, embedded videos, links, buttons, and badges, social networks, real-time networks like Twitter and Friendfeed. Certainly the age of a website is still an indication of success and trustworthiness, but in an environment of live, real time updating, the age of a link as well as the slowing velocity of incoming links may be indicators of stale content in a world that values freshness.

Do you think link freshness should play a role in search engine rankings? Let us know.

So how do you keep getting "fresh" links?

If you want fresh links, there are a number of things you can do. For one, keep putting out content. Write content that has staying power. You can link to your old content when appropriate. Always promote the sharing of your content. Include buttons to make it easy for people to share your content on their social network of choice. You may want to make sure your old content is presented in the same template as your new content so it has the same sharing features. People still may find their way to that old content, and they may want to share it if encouraged.

Go back over old content, and look for stuff that is still relevant. You can update stories with new posts adding a fresher take, linking to the original. Encourage readers to follow the link and read the original article, which they may then link to themselves.

Leave commenting on for ongoing discussion. This can keep an old post relevant. Just because you wrote an article a year ago, does not mean that people will still not add to it, and sometimes people will link to articles based on comments that are left.

Share old posts through social networks if they are still about relevant topics. You don’t want to just start flooding your Twitter account with tweets to all of your old content, but if you have an older article that is relevant to a current discussion, you may share it, as your take on the subject. A follower who has not seen it before, or perhaps has forgotten about it, may find it worth linking to themselves. Can you think of other ways to get more link value out of old content? 

Do you get fresh links for old content? Why do you think that is? Share your thoughts.


Related Articles:

> How Google Rates Links from Facebook and Twitter

> How Press Releases Can Be Great For Search

> Link Building for Bing Rankings: Dos and Don’ts

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Chris Crum

    Yes, I think it’s a good idea to link to old content when appropriate.

  • http://www.superfloorcoat.com Epoxy Floor Coating

    Explanation makes sense. This is similar to a broken link, due to incoming page taken down or link taken down, or maybe some errors in the coding. Thanks Matt!

  • http://www.Page1SEOServices.com Page 1 SEO Services

    Ditto to the comment above only, why not add in some “new related” keywords into that old article and then use those keywords for your new “anchor text” in new postings. That way you get the best of both worlds, traffic from the old keywords and more traffic from the new keywords you’ve added and linked to.

  • http://make-money-by-writing.blogspot.com/2009/12/here-i-am-going-to-tell-you-about.html Make Money from Your Essays

    Web 2.0 sites are an excellent way to get fresh backlinks to old pages.

  • http://www.greenteethmm.com/great_internet_scam.shtml Ian Thorpe

    I don’t run websites for profit as most Web Pro News users do but I like to get traffic all the same. Because many of our atricles, fiction and even poems have a longer shelf life than strictly topical content I find a new link from a related topic on a blog, nes site etc. and an update with a short, keyword rich comment on and a link back to the item linked from gets good results.

  • http://www.allwalldecor.com Joan

    As far as I’m concerned, this link building is a giant headache that won’t go away. EVER!

    I thought the search engines liked quality well crafted content old or new. Instead, after spending a year trying to do just that, you find your site is not worth a “hill of beans” unless you have lots of quality relevant inbound links.

    That means, it’s not about quality but how many tricks you know to get your site noticed. Then the other problem is who do you listen to? Then on top of all that is all this hoopla about social networking and all the silly incessant blogging and on and on. Who has time?

    The gurus are making a fortune with webinars, videos and training to teach people what they must do to obtain top search engine rankings, but which one of these guys do you trust. There’s only 2 million of them waiting to take your money.

    It’s a pretty tough pill for a newbie to swallow. It depresses me to think the content I first built on my site is out of date because it isn’t

    • Guest

      Joan you are right. “….link building is a giant headache that won’t go away. EVER!”

      Your other comments are also bang on target. This entire SEO thing has become absurd.

      In particular, I like your comment – “The gurus are making a fortune with webinars, videos and training to teach people what they must do to obtain top search engine rankings, but which one of these guys do you trust. There’s only 2 million of them waiting to take your money.”

      Bottom line, we have thousands of individuals and/or organizations selling all manner of devices to enhance SEO which is essentially now controlled by one company who keep secret and frequently change their methods by which they determine who rates highest. Talk about loaded dice. This game is pointless.

      My guess is perhaps 1% of the supposed “experts” actually know something while the rest are bogus. Another guess is you won’t hear about the few who really know something because they are too busy making big money from large operators who can afford them.

      So the best thing is plug away at your site. Make sure it has a good url. Write lots of fresh content using appropriate keywords. Follow the basics like labelling images, etc. Keep it simple. If you enjoy doing this, you can’t lose and may eventually win. I never have but frankly, don’t give a damn.

      • http://www.wine-fi.com Robert

        I’ve always worked my own site. I’m not an expert but I do know my “niche” better than a hired hand and have the time to optimize it myself. It’s work but I’m able to devote my full time, if you will, rather than some one else who’d be able to provide a 1/4 of the time.

        With that in mind last week checking my site with google’s Webmaster Tools it was perfect, meaning no HTML errors, duplicate descriptions, crawl errors etc. It took a lot of work but I didn’t shell out Hundreds or Thousands of Dollars either.

    • http://www.bikerleatherplus.com/ Barbara

      I agree with what Joan has expressed, and I think a lot of other “Small Bananas” out there do too. There are only 24 hours in a day! I liken all this new stuff to playing Bridge where it’s “Always this way”…..”Unless…..”. Who has time for Bridge any more??

      So many of us are just faithfully doing what we know to do, to the best of our ability. We don’t have a chance against Mega Sites with paid professionals doing all the grunt work. We got into building a website because we needed extra cash, and then after investing in it, we discover it takes more and more money to make it be successful. How can Newbies compete against Gigantic enterprises! Very disheartening.

  • http://www.goutreliefcures.com Rich

    Don’t stress out over what you have no control over. Build quality links to start with e.g. submit articles to EzineArticles it has a PR 6 the articles you submit now will be active forever, as long as the url they link to is still active. After a year or more has passed go in and edit your article and add fresh relevant content and resubmit them. Whem submitting articles check the webpage your linking to PR (alexa.com) a little work now will pay off in the future.

  • http://www.Home-Base-Business.net Kenn’e

    The only way to keep getting fresh links is to either add new content to your website or update your existing content. A good way to do this is to add either a plot to your site or maybe an old-fashioned “What’s New” page (remember them?).

    Alternatively you can pay someone (like me) to post links to your web pages.

  • http://rozer.com/LostBlog chris

    Sometimes I see an older post on a blog that I would like to make a Comment on but it feels spammy if you post a comment on a post that is even 2 weeks old sometimes. I think this is because many bloggers read sites like problogger that have the 90 day commenting policy but because of this it reflects the who Blogosphere.

    Maybe it would be a Good Idea to Write in your sidebar, I do not mind about comments on older posts but then that looks like you are desperate for comments.

  • http://www.cyber-key.com M.-J. Taylor

    >>Old links go stale in the eyes of Google. <<

    Okay, I know it makes sensational copy, but I think it’s misleading. This is exactly how ‘amateur SEOs’ get the wrong idea about what works and what doesn’t. In a month or two, I’ll be arguing with some noob boob in a WPW post about whether older links are less valuable.

    Matt said they only look at current links. So, if a link is still there after 10 years, it’s still a current! And it’s still a great link. In fact, it’s better than a new one!

  • http://www.helium.com/users/386205/show_articles Ruth Belena

    Some online articles I wrote two years ago continue to be found and read. I earn passive income (ad revenue) from those articles every month. It could be that some high traffic websites have linked back to those particular articles, because I never promoted them myself.

    My recent articles get more views because I have better knowledge of SEO and use keywords more now. Social networking also helps a lot.

  • Guest

    thank for the tips

  • http://www.instantsandbags.com Guest

    Hi Chris,

    You make a sound point and as a business owner it is challenging to keep up to date with the range of tools and approaches. The more I learn the more I think good content will win.

    Our website is http://www.instantsandbags.com – we provide Flood Protection Products; so a fairly niche market and we are building content through our blog and soon to launch forum to help those faced with flooding.

    It would be great if users feedback on a site could be include in the Page Rank.



  • http://www.dreamhousewebsolutions.com Louie Sison

    This article clearly discussed this fresh idea on good old contents

  • http://www.signature.gb.com Steve @ web design kent

    So what’s the key to successfully integrating social media tools into your website; adding value and attracting new customers with minimum effort? Hiring a professional agency or DIY approach?

  • http://koratfart.com Nakhon Ratchasima

    Good quality relevant content will always get links organically, trouble is your good quality content is fighting for space on google amongst rubbish content with people working day and night putting out links for it, Oh well, the battle continues :-)

  • http://www.kolayzayiflama.com zay?flama

    according to Chris Crum, having old links is bad thing for a website. It is not logicially sounds me

    • http://www.sciencelives.com ScienceLives

      That isn’t really what he is saying … it doesn’t sound like old links have a negative effect on your site at all, it just sounds like they place more value on newer links. Besides, someone could follow an old link to your site and link to it, thus creating a new link to your site.

  • http://dotcomreport.com SEO basics

    Old does not mean irrelevant. Sometimes older content just needs to be updated. Thanks for the well written article.

  • http://www.k9electricdogfence.com K9 Electric Dog fence

    If you have inbound links that are a couple of years old, but those sites are still active on the web and your link is still active with them. Are they still valuable for page rank or because they are older in time they do not have any value now for page rank?

    Also when someone bookmarks your site, is that considered an inbound link to your site?
    Would love to hear back about this.

  • http://www.g8marketing.com G8 Marketing

    Good read and pointer for those out there. It only makes sense really that they are doing what they do.

  • Guest


  • http://www.easytourchina.com china tours

    link stratege is a very important part of SEO work. Thanks for telling us the ways of getting fresh links. This can help us a lot.

  • http://www.phpzag.com/ laeeq

    really very useful information