How Much Does the Age of Your Domain Matter?
Your domain’s age is an important factor in the way that Google ranks your site. Most people are aware that the older their domain, the better chance they have of moving up in the search results. But how hard is it to get a brand new domain (under 1 year old) and have it rank on page 1 of Google?
Domain Ranking Factors
Although no one is sure exactly what Google looks at for ranking, many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies have done extensive work to create a pretty good picture. They have SEO companies that have created systems to measure websites with the sole purpose of providing useful metrics on how well Google will react to your website and why. We call these measurements Domain Metrics, and they include stuff like Domain Rank, Moz Rank, Domain Authority, Trust Flow, Page Rank (no longer used) and AGE. Each metric provides some insight on how Google will react to your website hosted on a particular domain. Each of these metrics takes TIME to become established—so without the AGE OF A DOMAIN, none of those metrics exist. What I mean by that is, when you acquire a new, unused domain, it has no metrics behind it at all. So you are starting from scratch. It takes time and effort to build those metrics up. So the age of your domain (and its ability to acquire pertinent domain metrics) is extremely important.
Why is Google So Picky?
Google is very picky about whom they let rank on page one of their search results. Their job is to provide a great user experience to their clients—and their clients are the people who use Google to find a website. Their goal is to provide the website most relevant to your specific search query.
Over time, people started “gaming Google” by throwing up thin websites that were without much quality content, simply to beat the Google Algorithms. Google made some massive changes to further give their users a better experience, and one of the major updates was Panda. The Panda Google Update specifically reduced websites with thin or automatically generated content to rank. One factor that Google uses to qualify a website as “quality” is its domain age. It has become extremely hard to rank a website that is on a brand new domain or a domain that is not currently indexed in Google.
So, Should I Not Attempt to SEO a New Domain?
As an SEO Company, we are always asked for some sort of guarantee on SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) results. Truth is, no one can “guarantee” search rankings. SEO Gurus can, however, use Google’s best practices, some tips and tricks, and a lot of hard work to get you ranking well. How easy it is to rank your specific website varies on a variety of factors.
Level of competition for your keywords.
Quality metrics of your existing domain.
Age of your existing domain.
Backlinks pointing back to your existing website.
Quality, layout, design, and copy of your existing website.
Even if some of these factors are bad, in many instances a good SEO Company will focus on the stronger aspects that are in your favor. If you have a great site that is mobile optimized, is well laid out with a lot of unique custom blog content, and the competition isn’t too bad, you can overcome a brand new domain. It will take a little longer to start seeing results with a new domain, but it can be done. If you have a terrible site, but the 14-year old domain has good metrics, then an SEO guy can rework that site and leverage the age of that domain to rank pretty quickly.
Overcoming a Brand New Domain
A “brand new domain” simply refers to a domain that has been indexed for a period of time. Simply owning a domain with nothing on it, or having it redirect to another site doesn’t give you much. To overcome a new domain takes a good bit of work. If you look at increasing SEO rankings as driving a car uphill, having a new domain is like going uphill with a trunkful of bricks. It doesn’t mean you can’t get there, it’s just harder and will take more time. The first step if you are working on a new domain is to simply get the pages/posts all indexed and get some of the most basic sites linking back to you. This generally just “happens” over time, but in this instance, needs to be “done.” Because of all of that, working with a new domain for SEO will generally take longer to get the rankings you are looking for.
Buying an Existing Domain?
If you’re building a new website and are looking to purchase a new domain, understand that it will create certain challenges for the site’s SEO. However, if the domain is your company name or has a specific branding purpose, then it may be worth the extra work. Another option is to purchase an existing domain that fits your needs and has age, backlinks, and good domain metrics. Where a new domain may cost you $11.99 or so, an existing domain will usually start around $60, and prices can go up substantially, based upon certain things. We’re not getting into how to purchase existing domains in this article, but just know that it is a possibility and that you can reap large SEO benefits.
Conclusion on Domain Age
Having a domain with some age on it is a very powerful thing. If you have owned a domain for a long time, DO NOT LOSE IT! It has substantial value. If you’re starting a new website and are purchasing a brand new domain, simply understand that the ranking of that site will take more work and more time. Look at your options to see if purchasing an existing domain fits your needs. Look at the level of competition for your keywords and the age of the domains that rank well. Understanding what your options are and what routes you can take is the key. Hopefully, we have helped a little bit with that.
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