Domain age is one of the factors mentioned when planning the SEO process. Is the website an important ranking factor you should care about? Keep reading and find out!
SEO is a delicate topic that demands much attention, takes time to execute properly, and has delayed results that website owners may not see for some time. Translating this tricky field across categories becomes a difficult and time-consuming process where you are continually asking yourself, “what else can I do to boost my search ranking?” Unfortunately, there are many myths out there, so it’s important to be able to find accurate information! With great intel, you can focus on the best practices that matter the most to more effectively guide your SEO strategy and spend less time on the ones that matter much less.
Does Domain Age Matter in SEO?
Domain age importance varies depending on who you’re talking to. To some, including Google’s John Mueller, domain age doesn’t matter at all to search rankings, but to others, it seems to matter much more. While Mueller is correct in that it does not directly correlate to SEO rankings, he’s slightly misleading in that there is an effect that domain age has on search rankings and it’s important to understand. The impact this has on your business, especially if you’re a new company, is significant to search results and overall online growth. It’s not that what he said was a misstatement in any way, more than the entire SEO process is more holistic than simply looking at one factor-like domain age.
What is Domain Age Exactly?
While many people hear “domain age” and think about how long a website has been registered online, the reality for SEO matters is a bit different. Since Google archives sites, domain age, effectively, can also refer to the time at which Google saw and indexed the website, which is decidedly different from the time it was registered. What does this mean effectively? Google decides what to show people based, in part, on legitimacy. Legitimacy grows for sites that have existed for a while and are known to not be spam, so domain age does in fact correlate with better search rankings.
How Does Google Determine Domain Age?
The most obvious assumption to how Google determines domain age is simply by looking at the “whois” data (or the registration data) of any given website. The problem with this, unfortunately, is that it is not usually available even if you are a registrar, and it varies across the world. In general, this data is spread out and not the easiest to attain. Because of this, Google determines domain age based on when it detected it. The vast majority of the time, Google’s coverage is when it is first crawled or when a link to the site is first seen.
You can also track the domain’s lifetime with an online tool like Wayback Machine:
What Domain Age Importance, If Any, Exists For SEO Ranking?
Frankly, domain age only plays a small role, but that small role might still push your website further up the SEO rankings. There are many things that go into a successful SEO ranking and consistency, longevity, best practices over a long period of time, and legitimacy are all key concepts to utilize fully in order to get the best rankings. In this area domain, age can push the concepts to a higher level of authenticity and allow for your site to be seen above other sites with similar practices that were established much more recently.
The fundamental characteristic of the importance of domain age is mostly up to the meaning of the term. In other words, when Google is looking at what is meant by “domain age,” it is simply looking at when the Google crawler first chanced upon the site, or even more literally, by noticing the whois data and seeing when the site was established.
Conversely, what SEO-oriented individuals and web marketers mean when they say “domain age” can be something completely different. They could be referring to the fact that the site is a long-running, well-maintained site with quality content, excellent user experience, brand recognition, great back links and a host of other qualities. In other words, the marketing idea of “domain age” is simply referring to a long-lasting site that has continually executed proper SEO practices.
Do Old Domains Have Better Rankings Than New?
When considering a website with an older domain, it’s important not to put the cart before the horse. Correlation isn’t causation and knowing and fully understanding the difference is essential to a better comprehension of what is really happening to the SEO rankings of your website. In short, old domains do in fact tend to have better rankings, but not simply because they’re old. Old websites mean that the sites have stood the test of time for a reason – often meaning that they are in fact showcasing a long tradition of optimal SEO practices on their own. With longstanding traditions of abiding by best practices for search results, one can come to the conclusion that it is simply because their site has been around longer (has an older domain age). The real takeaway, of course, is that the site has been doing everything correctly for years and less the raw date itself.
So what exactly do older domains do that newer domains haven’t proven yet?
If a website is popular, it’s popular for a reason. Reddit is one simple example, having been around for more than a decade, that people keep coming back to. Reddit is a great aggregator for the content of all kinds and links to the website abound, creating great SEO ranking.
Quantity of Content
Many longstanding blogs have great content that extends back years and years, assuring them of the exposure needed to properly get ranked by the Google crawler. It’s not enough to only have great content, but having great content in vast quantities is a surefire way to get a great ranking.
Established Links and Backlinks
One metric for SEO ranking is how often traffic comes to and leaves your website, so having links and backlinks all over your pages is a surefire way to get more traffic flowing for your business. Older websites have more content and with more content comes more hyperlinks directing the flow of newcomers and veterans.
Earned Authority and Legitimacy
Since the website has been around for a long time, Google knows that it isn’t a scam, spam, or dummy website. It is an authentic entity that has unique, original content that people will click on. This simple fact pushes websites up the rankings much more than they would otherwise.
Domain Age Matters, But Not How You Might Think
In conclusion, it’s not that domain age doesn’t matter at all, it’s that the things that typically come from an older website are more likely to include best SEO practices simply based on the fact that the site still functions. Understanding this and putting the best SEO practices into being for your own site is a much more important factor than the raw information of domain age. That being said, with a proper SEO strategy, your site will eventually have an older domain age anyway since it will last the test of time!