When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) there are a number of questions that business owner ask.
One that comes up quite a bit is how much the age of a domain really matters. And by “domain” we mean the website address or URL of your website.
In other words, if you can buy a website address that has been around since 2000, does it carry slightly more ranking weight than a URL that has never been registered?
Business owners want to know if an older domain has any benefit for organic SEO rankings – and if so, should they consider buying an aged domain if a suitable or attractive one becomes available.
Some of the assumptions around website domain age include:
- A well-established website has an older domain name, and therefore more trustworthy
- Spammers register and then drop domains fairly quickly, which means that SEO web spammers often use new domains, and therefore new domains are inherently less trustworthy
- New companies have new websites and domains, and a new company is less trustworthy than one with a digital history
While many SEO consultants and webmasters feel that the domain age is a powerful ranking factor, there are some varying opinions and some of the beliefs that are held in regard to domain age include:
- It plays no role at all
- It only affects SEO in a minor way
- It helps quite a bit
The Origins of Domain Age Importance for SEO
In 1995, Google filed a patent application, which was eventually granted in 2008 and titled ‘Information retrieval based on historical data.’ This patent discusses about how to score a document based on the inception date, which could be found in quite a few ways.
The patent is straightforward and the fact is that domain age is a factor that is often misinterpreted and overestimated. The domain registration date in and of itself is not going to speak for the trustworthiness or quality of a website because:
- A domain can be registered and left unused or parked for long periods of time
- New domains can be used for established companies
- Domain names can be used for a number of illegitimate purposes for several years and then sold to another person using it properly without any registration date change
So, now the question is, what really matters?
Website age and the age of the backlink profile is what needs to be considered. Domain age plays a small part in determining if it is a quality website. An older domain will carry additional weight because of its past history – assuming it has not incurred any Google penalties.
A domain with a solid SEO history that is relevant to your niche may help you website to to achieve a better rank in search engines.
What’s the Answer?
Domain age likely has some ranking benefit, although in the SEO community, this debate continues to rage on.
If you have a established website, it is a good idea to focus on SEO and content marketing, not making a domain change to try and gain some minor ranking points.
If you need a new domain for a new business or website, it might be a good idea to check to see what is available in the domain after-market. But don’t let the domain age sway your decision – and if you do buy an aged domain, make sure you audit the backlink profile to make sure it doesn’t have any obvious penalty risks.