Do Links Lose Value Over Time?

Anyone who has at least dabbled in SEO is well aware of how important links are to a site’s SEO. Backlinks are one of the core commandments of any well-rounded SEO strategy, which is why it’s important to try to not only get your business information on as many listing sites as possible but also form relationships within your industry to get as many backlinks as possible and increase your site’s authority. Anyone who spent time working on search engine optimization is aware of how important link building can be to increasing a site’s rankings. However, what many optimizers are unaware of, is how the value of a link changes over time. Google’s John Mueller recently held a Google Webmaster’s Hangout where he discussed how the value of a site’s links changes over time. Let’s take a look at his comments to see what they reveal about link building:

Webmaster’s Insight

On his Webmaster’s Hangout last week, John received a question about whether the value of a backlink decreases over time. While John was quick to inform this optimizer that links don’t expire, there was certainly an asterisk to the point, and he continued to elaborate further.

John spoke on the point for a couple of minutes, but the most important excerpt is as follows:

“So for example, if you have a link from CNN and it’s in an article that’s linked on the homepage, then that’s something that’s really important for us. On the other hand, if this article is maybe a year or two later, is somewhere in the archive at CNN, then that article itself is not something that we would find that important anymore.”

Essentially what John is explaining here is that while a backlink won’t “expire,” changes to the way the information is indexed can potentially damage the value of that particular backlink. This effect will be most obvious on sites where new content is constantly added, which will eventually bury the backlink you’ve received. The example John used here is a site like CNN, which could potentially mention a business by name and provide a link within an article. This would be an extremely valuable backlink because CNN is a renowned website that receives tons of traffic each month, but a backlink on a site like that would quickly become buried, and eventually archived into the site after a few years. John Mueller says that this won’t completely eliminate the value of the backlink, but as it becomes embedded deeper into the website, it will lose some of its authority. While this won’t be an issue on listing sites that exist almost solely for the purpose of backlinking, any backlinks that you receive through publications will lose their authority over time, which means it is important to formulate relationships within your industry that allows you to build new backlinks as time passes.

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