The way Google judges websites and decides whether they are worthy to be ranked among the first few search engine results changes all the time. Factors that influence your ranking such as keyword density, backlinks and providing unique content are widely known. However, one factor that is often overlooked is the age of your website domain. Does it matter in the eyes of Google?
What is domain age?
In order to understand if or why domain age can have an impact on your website rankings, it is important to know what the term actually implies. As American software engineer Matt Cutts explains in a YouTube video, there are several ways of determining how old a website domain is. However, not all of that data is easily available. Basically, domains start to ‘exist’ once they become active and publicly accessible. For Google, a domain ‘comes to life” once it has been crawled or indexed for the first time.
How do I check my domain age?
There are several tools designed to help you easily find out roughly how old your domain is. For instance, Wayback Machine gives you an overview of when and how often a website has been crawled. It also allows you to access archived versions of each crawl, giving you an idea of what the domain has been used for over time.
How domain age impacts SEO
At first glance, using an older domain seems to be quite advantageous. After all, if it has been around for quite some time, it should have an established online profile, user loyalty and web content that has been developed over many years. Google has probably crawled it many times and therefore may be trusting it more, especially if the website attached has external links.
Furthermore, if the domain name has been attached to a “retired” website, you could potentially inherit lots of links as well as a much higher ranking with Google than you would get straight away with a new website. After all, new websites might struggle for a few months to get indexed and show up in search engine results, let alone be placed on the first page.
However, upon taking a deeper look, it is not quite that simple. First of all, there are plenty of domains out there that have never been attached to a website at all but are instead waiting to be bought and utilised. Cybersquatters register numerous domains each year in the hope to make money by selling them.
Worse, though, are domains that have been around for a long time but come with a dubious history attached. They may have been used by scammers, flagged by law enforcement, or banned by Google for breaching their standards.
Should I use an old domain for a new website?
The choice is entirely up to you. However, the potential advantages older domains may bring probably do not outweigh the risk involved. Within a few months of launching your website, the age of your domain will not matter much anymore.
Most websites that rank highly on Google and other search engines do so because the owners or operators have put a lot of work and effort into it. A great web design, interesting content, valuable services and products as well as a well thought-out SEO and internet marketing strategy will more likely lead to higher rankings.
If you do have any questions regarding your domain or general SEO and would like to find out more about optimising your website for Google, contact the friendly team at Energise Web today.