When I first saw this question pop up in my email my immediate reaction was “Yes! Of course you should!” But then I started thinking about it. In most cases you should link to your older articles. However, if it were that easy, I wouldn’t have had to write this article, now, would I?
Look Before You Link
If you have a technology blog then you’ll want to check that older article before you link to it and make sure it’s still relevant. There was less than a 12-month time span between the introduction of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5, so you can imagine how fast all types of technology change these days.
If that older content is seasonal then you may not want to link to it. Let’s say you have a recipe blog and you’re telling readers about this awesome chocolate cake you made for a Fourth of July party. You and I know that if you’ve seen one basic chocolate cake recipe you’ve seen them all. But your readers might not. Send them to an older article that has the recipe to the Best Christmas Chocolate Cake and they might think they’re on the wrong page.
There are all sorts of reasons that older post might not be appropriate. People change their titles, scientific theories are dis-proven every day, one day caffeine’s good for you and the next day it’s bad. Just be sure to read over your older articles before you add that link – just to be on the safe side.
Publish A New Pillar Post
In the case of that chocolate cake recipe, why not create a new pillar post for the Best Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe. Then, each holiday, or each time you have a new variation, you can write a new blog post and you’ll always have a strong pillar post you can link to.
Highlight Older Posts In Your Sidebar
If it’s not quite appropriate to link to that older post but it’s still a relevant article, highlight it in your sidebar with a text link or an image. That way, you still have an on-site link for SEO purposes and your it’s right there where your visitors can see it.
Clean Up Older Articles
It’s a good idea to take a look at the older articles on your site on a regular basis. You’ll want to make sure links are working, and maybe freshen up the content to make it more timely and relevant. This clean-up process also keeps those older articles fresh in your mind so you’ll remember them when it comes time to build your links. Plus, you’ll learn to recognize when you have weaker categories that need more content, or when it’s time to publish another pillar post.
I try to link out to at least one older article in every blog post and, when that’s not possible, then I know what I’ll be blogging about tomorrow, that’s for sure!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!