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Yes, fresh back links can help to hold on to the rankings longer - but only if they don't start to show Google a pattern of attempted manipulation. Google is really looking for "freely given, editorial" back links, not back links that the site owner can control.
When you say "pattern of attempted manipulation" does it mean back-linking regularly from the same site, rss aggregator, social networking etc... will not be given value?
Yes I do backlinks but as Ive said with Tedster, Google may see a pattern for having backlinks from the same site everyday.
[edited by: tedster at 1:20 am (utc) on Sep. 9, 2009]
My first guess is that the difference is in the quality of back links, and just possibly in the quantity as well. Social media back links, for example, tend to lose their power rather soon, whereas other types of back links tend to grow a bit in their power over time.
Also, take a look at the site structure of your site and the competition. Is there some way that they are funneling more link juice to these articles than you do?