Matt Cutts says that backlinks can go stale.

quote=Matt Cutts]”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,”

Matt Cutts (Google employee and unofficial SEO spokesperson) was replying to a question about the Geocity website shutting up shop, but in doing so, gave further detail about how linking is used in rankings.

So what does this mean?

In order to keep ranking well, you need fresh incoming links. If your competitor has added a burst of new incoming links, and so have a fresher incoming link profile than you, your rankings may go down.

It is therefore most important in competitive industries to continue building incoming links.

  • a SearchMasters service

It is important to keep tracking rankings so you know when more incoming links are needed as compared to the competition.

  • another SearchMasters service

SearchMasters continues to build incoming links for business that are part of our links program. We look at dofollow blogs, forums, directories and industry websites.

While such manufactured links are good, it is also important for a business to be worthy of receiving incoming links. Ideally there should be no ongoing manufactured links. Ideally there should be natural incoming links because people value what the business provides.

  • How good is the website design?
  • How successful is the business?
  • Is is publishing a blog with interesting new original posts that people are linking to?
  • Are those blog posts being twittered or mentioned on facebook?

However, the reality is that few commercial websites receive enough random inbound links to beat competition. Ongoing manufactured links are an essential part of the mix.

If links go stale, then how can old links be freshened?

Would changing the link text on existing links be enough?

Would changing from linking to homepage, to instead linking to an inner page be enough?

What strategies would people suggest?