Every once in a while the “age old” question comes up. Is the age a domain or a website a ranking factor?
There are many answers to this question. In this quick article I’ll address the important variables along with my insight and even some opinion.
Is domain age an SEO factor?
Yes, because links are harder to obtain now. I previously owned an IT company. I registered the domain in 2000 and began cranking out content which had never been written about computer problems. It received a lot of links. I produced around 1,400 articles. One page in particular has about 117 links to it. This site has dominated page 1 for a variety of important keywords for about 17 years. Links were passed out naturally and generously in the 2000 – 2010 era and the site benefited tremendously from them. As of 2017, people hate linking to businesses that make money and there are 200,000 other sites documenting computer problems.
Yes, because older links are great. I have no scientific evidence but I’ve seen it plenty of times. The age of your link matters. Old links are great to have. New links are great to have. Think about it, if YOU owned a search engine, wouldn’t you place a certain weight on old links (to show the site has been relevant) and new links (to show the site is still relevant)? When you see a tree with an 8 foot around trunk or a classic Cadillac you know you’ve come across something significant.
Yes, because some older links are unobtainable. Old sites have links from Yahoo Q&A, the Yahoo business directory, DMOZ, etc. You can’t get these links any more. Do they help SEO? I think so. It is a tough call.
Yes, because more sites NoFollow links now. Forbes, Inc, Huffington Post all NoFollow links these days. Some news websites strip links from their articles.
Yes, because new sites do not perform well. This is only relevant for the first few months. many people in the SEO industry call this a sandbox period. Does it exist? Yes, to a point. As an experiment I recently started two new websites. One had an epic piece of content which answered a question 10 times better than everyone else’s site. It ranks on like page 5. On site #2 I covered some content nobody else had, it ranked on page 1 hit 1. New sites lack the baclink power to rank well. If you enter a competitive niche with a new site, you’re looking at many months of poor rankings followed by months of fluctuating rankings.
No, because domain age doesn’t matter. So over in your GoDaddy portfolio you’ve been hoarding a domain for 20yrs. Does the domain age matter? No. If you suddenly build a site for your old domain is is still going to perform poorly. The age of the registration date is not an SEO factor.
No, because the age alone isn’t a big factor. In most cases this is a factor out of your hands anyways, so who cares?! If you started a new website, you need great content and links. In most niches domain age is NOT that big of a deal and just because someone else’s website is older does not mean you can’t compete with it.
What does Google say?
There are people in the SEO industry who point to this video and shout “domain age is not a ranking factor!”… That’s ridiculous. No, the age alone isn’t a big factor but as noted above, yes, the age of a website is almost always an important factor for dozens of reasons.
Drastically more important than domain age is your content. Is the content still relevant? Do your articles say the price of gas is 89 cents a gallon? Older content is not better if it is inaccurate.
Don’t worry about the age of a domain, unless…
If you are trying to outrank Microsoft for the term “windows” – it isn’t going to happen. They have a 20yr head start on you.
Having an old, established domain does indeed help but there are plenty of other factors which are significantly more important, namely content and links. You can’t control the age of your domain, nor should you lose any sleep over it.