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December 27, 2011

Is Domain Age a Significant Factor in Website Rankings? – A SPN Exclusive Article

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The debate is over – well, at least in my mind it is. What debate am I referring to? The debate over whether or not the age of a domain plays a significant factor in website rankings. Some SEO experts say it does, while others say it doesn’t. Count me on the side of those who say it does matter.

Frankly, I don’t see why there’s a debate about this at all. I mean it’s hardly a secret that Google gives preferential treatment in the search engine results pages (SERP’s) to long-established businesses because of the trust factor. Meaning, the longer a domain has been registered and active, the more trust it will be given by Google – provided, of course, the domain has a good reputation and quality inbound links.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a domain that has been registered for 10 years, but has not actually been indexed by Google. Because in Google’s mind, a domain that’s been registered for 10 years, but has no actual website, is exactly the same as a domain that was purchased yesterday. It has no juice. No, I’m referring to domains that are both registered and indexed – active domains.

Does Domain Age Really Matter?

Two years ago I wrote an article titled Domain Age: Does It Really Matter When It Comes to Rankings? In the article, I talked about how I conducted an experiment with hundreds and hundreds of domains in dozens of different categories… cakes, candy, balloons, fruit, cars, books, auctions, insurance, pets, stuffed animals, restaurants, seo, beaches, real estate, marketing, etc., etc., etc.

My conclusion at that time: The age of the domain is a significant factor in the ranking of websites.

Well, Google has had quite a few algorithm updates since I conducted my experiment two years ago. So I decided to conduct a more recent experiment to see if my theory still holds water.

This time, I decided to test the keywords of twenty common marketing terms, analyzing the top 10 results of each keyword term. So as not to skew the results in favor of older domains, Wikipedia.com was excluded from all search results. I also excluded other domains from the results that are part of the American lexicon, such as Google.com, Facebook.com and YouTube.com. Following are the results of my experiment listed alphabetically:

1. Article Marketing – The age of the oldest domain listed was 6 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 4 years old.

2. Blogging – After excluding “Blogger.com” and “WordPress.com” from the search results, the age of the oldest domain was 12 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 4 years old.

3. Copywriting – The age of the oldest domain was 12 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 2 years old.

4. Direct Mail – After excluding the “United States Postal Service” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 18 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 2 years old.

5. Ecommerce – After excluding “WordPress.com” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 13 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 5 years old.

6. Email List – The age of the oldest domain was 14 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 3 years old.

7. Free Publicity – After excluding “Amazon.com” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 13 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 2 years old.

8. Internet Marketing – The age of the oldest domain was 15 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 6 years old.

9. Keywords – After excluding “Adwords” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 12 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 8 years old.

10. Linking Strategies – The age of the oldest domain was 16 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 5 years old.

11. Marketing – After excluding “Entrepreneur.com” and “About.com” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 11 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 9 years old.

12. Page Rank – The age of the oldest domain was 13 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 5 years old.

13. Pay Per Click – After excluding “Adwords” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 13 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 1 year old.

14. RSS – After excluding “CNN.com” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 15 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 8 years old.

15. Search Engine Optimization – The age of the oldest domain was 16 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 7 years old.

16. Social Media – After excluding “About.com” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 12 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 1 year old.

17. Spam Protection – The age of the oldest domain was 19 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 6 years old.

18. Video Marketing – The age of the oldest domain was 6 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 2 years old.

19. Website Design – The age of the oldest domain was 15 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 6 years old.

20. Website Traffic – After excluding “Alexa.com” from the results, the age of the oldest domain was 7 years old. The age of the youngest domain was 8 months old.

Conclusion

Granted, this is just a tiny sampling of search terms and is by no means scientific. And yes, there are a variety of variables that have to be taken into consideration. For example, one could reasonably argue that the number and quality of inbound links of each domain were largely responsible for the results I obtained. That’s a very valid argument. However, inbound links notwithstanding, it still doesn’t alter the fact that the top ranking domains are still, overwhelmingly older domains. That fact simply cannot be denied, or explained away.

So am I suggesting that it’s impossible for newer domains to crack the top 10 search results? No, I’m not suggesting that at all. But my test results would seem to indicate that newer domains are definitely at a distinct disadvantage.


David Jackson is a marketing consultant, and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business! http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com

52 Responses to “Is Domain Age a Significant Factor in Website Rankings? – A SPN Exclusive Article

    avatar uptufocus says:

    very nice post about domain age.

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