How Often Should You Update Backlinks on Your Blogs?
Backlinks are an important part of blogging, but often the question of updating them can be neglected.
Few marketers doubt the importance of good content marketing and writing blogs remains a central feature of organic web content. True, there are a few dissenting voices declaring content to be dead, but they are usually engaged in trying to sell their own ‘alternative’ marketing solutions.
Equally, content writers are also familiar with the importance of ensuring their blogs have all the best SEO and the elements.
- Great keywords,
- Relevant content,
- Good images,
- Embedded videos.
Why Backlinks are Important
In addition to all that, of course, you should consider backlinks. When chosen well, these can add plenty of authority and push your rankings higher.
It’s not that good if writers neglect these. Of course; it is well known that they can make a positive difference, something that matters when the difference between page one and page two of the Google rankings is the difference between night and day.
However, a key question that can easily be overlooked is that of just how often backlinks should be updated.
The first reason is that sometimes blogs and articles can be ignored altogether. What was wonderfully optimised and relevant when written last year and had a page one ranking may have drifted downwards. That happens not just because of another content appearing, but because its authority and relevance have diminished.
An obvious example would be anything referring to ‘current’ political events. That looked very different amid the uncertainty of 2019 to the done deal of 2020, with Brexit, a historical fact delivered by a government now equipped with an unassailable majority.
Needless to say, any such article will not have been updated for optimisation in all manner of ways, one of which will be the backlinks.
What are the Perils of Old Backlinks?
Failing to update backlinks brings with it a range of problems and perils, all of which are detrimental to your SEO.
- Their authority will decline as contemporary relevance decreases.
- Some may have become broken.
- Some will have become toxic.
- Opportunities to add new and better backlinks will have been missed.
The loss of authority is something that should certainly not be overlooked. Like the blog in which you have embedded it, a backlink may be referring to circumstances that have changed, making its content obsolete or irrelevant. If it is predicting how a particular development will unfold and that it turns out to be wrong, it will do nothing for the authority of your piece.
Moreover, the newer a backlinked article is, the greater its positive impact on your ranking will be.
Why are Bad Backlinks Bad News?
Broken and toxic backlinks can have a particularly bad effect.
- Anyone clicking on such links and finding that they don’t work will click off fast, increasing the bounce rate.
- Such experiences will make your visitors much less likely to return.
- Your reputation can be harmed.
Needless to say, search engines will pick up on this and you will be penalised for it.
Should you wait long enough, you will find out if you have backlink problems. However, that will happen when you get penalised by search engines or your analytical tools detect bad backlinks. But by being pre-emptive, you can spot issues sooner and reduce the negative impact.
When Should You Check Up Your Backlinks?
All the above suggests that it is worth regularly checking your backlinks to ensure they work. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to do this every week, but certainly, you should do so every few months.
It is worth noting that there may be more than one reason that a backlink isn’t working.
- The backlink may have been taken down.
- The backlink may have a technical malfunction.
- You may have inserted an incorrect URL.
If the latter is the case, it can be directly connected. But if the link is to a page or article that is no longer available, it needs replacing.
As mentioned above, the more recent a link is, the more it scores for relevance and it is more likely not to have something obviously out of date (such as references to an upcoming event at the time of writing that has subsequently passed).
The best rule of thumb to apply when writing a blog is to ensure any backlinks that are included less than a year old. Maintaining this rule effectively, however, means every few months you should return to your article and check if your backlinks are out of date.
This can be done while carrying out a general check of your blogs. Just as you might update a blog to remove and replace outdated sections of text to bring your article up to date, so such checks can be extended to examining your backlinks.
What Should You Replace Old Backlinks with?
There are three possible approaches to replacing old backlinks.
- Seek a like-for-like equivalent; a similar but more recent article.
- Replace the old article with something on the same topic but different, taking into account changed situations and/or new information.
- Take the link down from that piece of text and insert a completely different backlink elsewhere in the article. This may be the best approach if you have had to substantially update the whole article.
The key thing to remember is that by refreshing your old blogs, the overall aim is to improve them to the point that they become a good asset to you in your search engine ranking.
For that reason, it is important to consider your backlinks as part of a greater whole. Upgrading or replacing them is not an isolated improvement, but something that should fit in with a general enhancement of an article that could range from a few small tweaks to a fundamental re-write.
In doing this, you will make your backlinks a key part, ensuring your content is fresh, authoritative and, above all, optimised.