Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

Domain Age & SEO: What Effect Does It Really Have?

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.

Why?

  • 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.

Thanks

Tim

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Author: Tim (296 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 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 Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

dionroy April 27, 2009 at 9:42 pm

thanks for the post –

Would love to hear your take on the importance or lack thereof of using NO FOLLOW on your own site when pointing to other local pages on your site. (ala Homepage pointing to images)

Ive seen this touched upon, but rarely in detail. Would love to know if my site is properly optimized amp3pr DOT com

Reply

Tim Grice April 28, 2009 at 3:29 am

@dionroy,

The nofollow debate has been going on forever and I doubt it will ever stop. It’s one of those questions Google tend to give a straight answer to.

You see it was not originally designed to prevent the flow of pagerank and using it in excess might make Google suspicious. I have implemented it in a few links and I’ll drop a post to let everyone know my take on it.

Thanks

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Kai April 28, 2009 at 6:53 pm

You left out that some people believe the older the domain, the higher the PR! Your opinion has helped a lot. A site can be owned by the same person for 10 years, and he can provide crappy content. Just because the site is old doesn’t mean it should have more weight to it over newer domains.

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Tim Grice April 29, 2009 at 3:22 am

Good spot kai,

I think the toolbar causes the misconception that domain age is linked with PR.

Your PR changes day to day but the toolbar only updates every 3-4 months.

Thanks for dropping in.

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Amit | Make Money Blogging December 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Registering a dropped domain with huge backlinks and 301 redirect it to an existing website? Is it beneficial? What will be the effects ?

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Tim December 5, 2010 at 5:59 am

When it comes to 301 redirecting technically all link value and authority should pass, however Google have admitted that some may be lost. This tactic is ok if used naturally, simply buying up a load of domains can look spammy if done in mass.

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Hmmm March 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Hmmm, man Tim. You totally jacked Ann’s posted from SE Journal.

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/domain-age-how-important-is-it-for-seo/7296/

Way to give credit! LOL

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Tim March 18, 2011 at 7:47 am

Sorry this was obviously a while ago but I can assure you it wasn’t intentional, I maybe read it just before or around the same time.

I don’t the articles are identical, they just cover similar ground, either way, my bad

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Mr.Choice June 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I don’t think a domain’s age should be underestimated as it can affect the quality of traffic directed to it.

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Oil Expeller August 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

The old reputation of the new domain in the optimization is good, but the new domain name over it constantly updated content is also possible.

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SEO Freelance Services November 18, 2011 at 5:45 am

I think Domain age is a factor for calculating PR…
Even it might be One of the 200.. but when come to each and every factor.. every factor is one of those 200 only..

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paul foster February 28, 2012 at 10:39 am

1 of my sites was a new domain name. This was booked for a year. After almost 7 months of hard work the rankings were only going up slowly. I then extended the domain for 5 years which made a difference within a month. I am not an seo expert and i admit it could have been other factors for example more of my backlinks been accepted ect. But for my own experience i would say it makes a fair difference

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Tim March 1, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thanks, it’s definitely worth testing I think :)

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Camaral August 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

I agree with you. I think Google must think about any pros and cons of domain age factors.

Thanks for your good idea about “backlink profile age”, That’s Great vision!

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Daniel Board November 12, 2012 at 9:05 am

I think you’re right about the age of backlinks being more of a contributing factor than the age of the domain registration. But really it’s all guess work trying to figure out Google’s top secret algorythms!

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