Domain Age In Relation To SEO

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When discussing “domain age”, as it relates to SEO, it actually covers two areas that differ in importance – the past, and the future. Below, we will talk about both factors and how they affect your search engine optimization efforts.

The Past

Anyone who has been a webmaster and/or an internet marketer knows that there are many factors and tactics behind getting a website ranked favorably in the search engines. Some of these factors you can control, such as Meta information, optimal titles, and all of the other basic “on page” SEO methods that are simple, but critical to good SEO.

Having said that, there is one aspect of gaining those good rankings that you actually don’t have a lot of immediate control over, and that would be the actual age of the domain. Domains that have been registered longer, with minimal drops, are actually more apt to rank higher in the search engines compared to names that have only been around for a short while. For example, if webmaster A and webmaster B both want to rank for the term “refurbished laptops”, and webmaster A has a 7 year old domain to use, and webmaster B just purchased a domain yesterday – chances are good that webmaster A has a massive head start in the ranking game. This is due to the fact that it’s been proven time and time again by top SEO experts (the ones who actually analyze algorithm patents), that older domains almost always rank well above those that are newer. This is because search engines (such as Google), lend more “trust” to domains that have been around longer, and had more time to age. One could almost compare it to a good wine – the older the berry, the sweeter the juice.

There are many times that I go to search for something that I want to buy, and some of the top ranked sites that come up in the results are the ugliest (by today’s standards), most non-conforming sites I’ve ever seen, yet they rank in the top 10 with no problems because their domains are 10+ years old. They basically bought the domain back in the day, put up a site, and just left it be over the years. This just goes to show that even with all the proper on-page and off-page SEO, domain age plays a pretty important role in how and where your site is going to be ranked.

So the next time you set out to rank well for something, it’s definitely worth your time to check out domain names that have been around longer and are expiring soon, or are being sold by a company or private dealer. Yeah, it may cost more, but most of the time the benefits of buying a nice aged domain are well worth the extra investment if you’re serious about landing in the top ten results.

The Future

Arguably not as important as the actual current age of the domain, the age of a domain looking into the future plays a role in rankings as well. It’s been said many times by many different SEO experts that when you go to register a domain, you should always register it for at least two years or more. No, this isn’t a ploy for the registrars to make more money, rather, it has to do with spam and just how much search engines trust you.

Spammers often buy tons of domains, register them for one year, do their damage, and jump ship. Google knows how long you register a domain for, because it’s been said that they use WHOIS data in their ranking algorithms. If they (Google) see that a domain has been registered for just one year, they may not necessarily think you’re a spammer, but they may just assume you’re testing the waters, and that you may not be around as long as someone who registered a name for two years or more. It sounds crazy, but it also sounds very logical when you think about it. If I was a search engine, and two webmasters start up similar sites with the intention of ranking well for the same keyword, and one webmaster registers a domain for one year, and the other registers a domain for five years, I’d probably pay a bit more attention to the latter, wouldn’t you?

Again, the next time you set out to purchase a domain name, and if you’re not in the market for an already aged one, make sure you at least register the new domain for two years or more – that way you can send the signal of seriousness to the search engine’s, and while it’s not as important as the actual age of the domain from the past, it may just give you the boost you need to outrank new competitors.

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