Is Domain Age a Ranking Factor?
Online businesses and site owners always conduct regular SEO domain analysis, and one of the questions they ask is whether older, established domains have more advantages than a brand-new domain name. For the past two decades, experts in SEO analysis have been debating the topic of domain age.
The SEO community also knows that Google considered domain age as part of their document scoring algorithm in the past, so many are curious if it is still relevant today.
Some SEOs Claim That Domain Age is a Ranking Factor
SEOs who believe that domain age is a ranking factor claim two things: firstly, the longer the domain stays in Google’s index, the more it will benefit one’s search rankings. And secondly, the longer the domain is registered, the more it will be more advantageous for one’s search rankings.
Suppose an SEO has registered one domain in 2010 and another in 2020. There was never a piece of content published on either website until three months ago. In this case, Google would think the 2010 domain is “stronger” and has more advantages simply because it was registered more than ten years prior to the second site. This means the former domain would have an easier time ranking.
Proof That Domain Age is a Ranking Factor
In 2007, many SEO professionals thought domain age was one of the top ten most crucial ranking factors. Some people have recently cited one of Matt Cutts’s videos as evidence that domain age is a Google ranking factor. In the video, Cutts said that the difference between a six-month-old and a one-year-old domain isn’t that significant. To others, this might imply that Google considers domain age to be a ranking signal – although not necessarily one of substantial significance.
Refuting the Claim
However, Cutts’s video was from 2010. And there were two things that Cutts emphasised. Firstly, he said that the registrar data isn’t important. It’s too time-consuming to collect, and Google couldn’t access enough of it for it to be a reliable signal. Secondly, what Google can measure was the time the website was first crawled and when it first received a link from another website. He also stated that a website’s quality content and links would determine how well it would rank in the search results.
In 2005, Matt Cutts, Paul Haahr, and other SEO experts invented a patent application called “Information retrieval based on historical data”. This patent allows SEOs to learn more about how Google saw domain signals back then.
It described a method for determining a document’s score and giving it a category. The data included:
- inception date data
- elapsed time computed from the inception date
- the frequency and manner in which the document’s content changes as time goes by
- the number of changes in a time period, the average time between the changes, and even the comparison of a rate of change in a current time period, along with the time period beforehand
- at least one of the following: how many new pages are associated with the document during a specific time period, how many pages a document has versus the rate of the total number of new pages with the document, and the percentage of the document’s content that has changed during a certain period
- the link’s behaviour relates to the appearance and disappearance of one or more links redirected to the document
There’s a lot more, but one can already see that this patent was never just about domain age. There are aspects related to links and content quality/freshness in there as well.
It’s possible that domain age was a factor in the past. However, there’s no direct evidence that it was a direct ranking factor so much as a weak signal embedded within a more comprehensive document history score.
In any case, Mueller has made it clear that Google does not consider domain age to be a ranking factor, and there is no reason for people to doubt them on this. Google’s search algorithm is unaffected by how long you register your domain.
Purchasing old domains doesn’t help a website rank higher or faster. In fact, a site owner may find junk links or other negative associations in old domains that might harm their SEO. However, it’s not because of the domain’s age; it’s because of the occurrences in the domain during those years.
Perform an SEO Analysis to Improve Domain Authority
An SEO domain analysis can provide site owners with significant insights into areas where improvements may be needed. They’ll uncover what changes they must make to keep their website fresh. It’s critical to run an SEO analysis on a regular basis because the industry is changing rapidly. And it will help them stay one step ahead of the game. Below are a few tips for conducting SEO analysis.
Check the website’s spam score
A website’s spam score has a significant impact on its rankings and domain authority. If a website contains a large number of inbound links from low-quality sites, it can raise its spam score. Site owners can check for and remove any bad inbound links as a result of this. This is critical because poor inbound connections might harm the site’s authority.
Analyse URLs and meta descriptions
URLs should be simple, clear, and contain only four or five words. If URLs are not optimised, publishers should change them to make them easier for search engine bots to comprehend. Similarly, meta descriptions must include correct keyword usage and be aesthetically appealing.
Check the site visibility on Google
One should check where they rank in Google and also examine how many pages of the website are in Google’s index.
Get An In-Depth SEO Analysis From Position1SEO
Position1SEO is a UK-based SEO company that specialises in conducting comprehensive SEO analysis reports. Our team of experts has years of experience and knowledge within the SEO industry, which we leverage to provide our clients with an objective assessment of their site’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement – as well as actionable recommendations.
Our no-stone approach combined with our experience allows us to conduct a detailed analysis that includes everything from domain health checks, Google Search Console reviews, malware and blacklist checks, social media research, and more. After completion of the analysis process, we schedule a free phone consultation so you can talk about our findings with one of our expert team members. Call us today for more information.