Domain age??? No matter where or what you read, no matter the authority of the writer, the answer to the “how important is domain age” question is still somewhat vague.
Most people know or realise that when it comes to performing SEO for Google, domain age does have an effect and you will see this kind of question asked throughout every webmaster forum and there are 2 main reasons why it makes sense for Google to credit older domains.
- well known, well established sites have older domain names, so by the same token, older domains should be better established more reliable sources.
- Spammers aren’t interested in growing a site over 3 or 4 years, they will drop domain names quickly, therefore a new domain has more chance of being spam
Despite this logic there still seems to be a lack of understanding regarding Googles stance on domain age and SEO’s differ in opinion quiet drastically. There are those who think.
A – Domain age has no impact
B – It plays a single factor amongst 200 other signals
C – It has a HUGE impact on the ranking of your domain
Now before I stamp my own interpretation on the question of “domain age” let’s add a little background to it….
Back in 2005 Googles patent “Information retrieval based on Historical Data” was what really began to fuel discussions on domain age and you only need to look at the wording to see why;
“(1) … the date that a domain with which a document is registered may be used as an indication of the inception date of the document.”
“(2) Certain signals may be used to distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate domains. … Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith.”
I think you will agree the language used makes it sound pretty straightforward, however after reading around on this subject I feel the whole “domain age” issue is blown well out of proportion. I even read a post today by a fellow SEO consultant suggesting he “does not like to take on clients without a solid domain age”. To me this is overestimated in a huge way, I honestly feel that domain registration date does not indicate any sort of quality or trustworthiness.
- Domains can sometimes be parked (never used) for years
- New domains are regularly used for well known and established companies, using the good ole 301 redirect from an older domain
- A domain can be used for spamming and other illegitimate purposes for years and then sold on to a new more whitehat owner, without any change in the registration date
Right with all that said let me try and give you my opinion on the matter.
- In my opinion it’s not the domain registration date that matters rather it is your backlink profile age. Your backlink profile age is basically how many links you have and how long it has taken you to get them. If you have a site which gains 50,000 backlinks in a single month, this probably would raise alarm bells.
- I believe at most domain age plays a MINOR role amongst many other signals and factors. This may cause a brief slump in your rankings until some quality backlinks are created. (sometimes referred to as the sandbox)
- Buying old domains may carry some benefits thanks to the linking profile they already carry. However you have not always had control of the domain and there may be factors from it’s past that may pose real problems for your Google seo campaign. This is why I would always recommend buying a new domain matched nicely with the niche you are entering rather than the option of paying for an older one with potential problems.
I have worked with many “new” sites and YES for the first 6 months it can be hard work to deliver any substantial search engine traffic, however if you build the link profile naturally and with real quality you should have no problem seeing results within the first 12 months.
These are my thoughts and opinions from my experience, feel free to share your own.
Author: Tim (294 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.