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Domain Age one of the Biggest Factors

 4:14 pm on Jan 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Most of us know that the age of a domain is one of the single most important criteria of the Google algo. I'd put it as a top ten - maybe top five - filter. It is a gate keeper.

The real question to me is if that matters on a parked or doa domain? We have some domains 10years old this month that have never had sites on them. I am wondering if there is a default value there because of the age? Is it a pure whois thing? Or is it an age of the inbound links thing?



 4:54 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would guess, and it is a guess, that an old domain even if parked would have more residual value than a newer domain.

Simple thing is to A B test, as much as you can with natural SEO.


 4:58 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Assuming archive.org is a trust indicator, does that trust go to the domain name or to the web site?

Also, does anyone think G is smart enough to deal with canonical differences over a period of time?


 5:14 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does anyone really think that Google goes to a third party company for historical data? It's pretty safe to assume that they have never deleted anything since they first started and they're whole reason for being is to organise the world's information.

The only reason for relying on DMOZ in the past is probably that it is human edited, a good measure of quality in the days before the algos were so smart.

[edited by: Gissit at 5:15 pm (utc) on Jan. 12, 2007]


 5:56 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

[why would google need to use archive.org it's got its own records]

I'd have to ask the same and insert dmoz.org. Why would Google use the ODP?

Didn't, way back when Google first came online, it use DMOZ as a baseline to start the Google Directory?

I can remember when one way to be sure Gbot found your site, was to get into dmoz, too..


 6:24 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

There may be some other sub factors.
1. What about a change in whois for a domain that never expired?
2. Is a domain that was registered ten years ago for ten years better than one that has been re-registered each year for ten years?
3. If your domain is currently registered for a long term, did that happen immediately after Google let out that that may be a factor?;)
4. We've mentioned age of inbound links, but what about the age of domains that have linked to you recently.
5. What about old domains 301'd to new domains where the old domain has now expired?


 7:23 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

My 2 cents.

Yes age of domain is huge, as BT said upfront. That has been true since pre-sandbox days IMO; it only got further dialed up once the 'sandbox' phenomenon started, early 2004.

IMO whole "signals of quality" thing factors into the question of parked and dark domains. Right or wrong, we distinguish between the two kinds when it comes to potential for launching a new site. Based on our own experience/judgement/guesswork, if we think a newly acquired domain will be turned into a real site in the relatively near term, we do NOT allow the domain to resolve to a parked page.

IMO, age of domain matters, age of inbounds matter, age of inbounds is factored by quality of inbounds and growth pattern of inbounds (which can produce positiveor negative influence), templates matter, content matters, page update patterns matter (and sitewide issues play a role here), IP's matter.

Food for thought:

- As of a year ago (last time we played with this), linking to a parked domain, in some cases and under certain conditions, could pop it up temporarily in the SERP's. But IF it got in, it was also filtered out pretty quickly. That tells me a lot. I have thoughts on how the SE's filter those pages out, related to my comments above, but the thoughts are only speculation and frankly, I'm far more concerned with the 'what' here, than the 'how'.

- I've seen parked domains in AOL's SERP's in the top two pages, but those domains do not appear in G. Remember where AOL gets their search index from. ;-)

- Another reason to pay attention to log files. :P


 10:51 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have one site that didn't rank for any competitive one and two word keywords until exactly one year from the domain registration not the date I got hosting or the date the content went up...which was about 2 months later.

So with that as anecdotal evidence I'd guess your parked domains hold more value than a domain registered today.

Maybe Google assumes you start working on your site's content the day you reigister your domain...and gives you credit for it. ;).


 10:55 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

What Caveman said - I think its the age of the link.
Other factors play a role, like age of domain, them of link, etc, but age of the link is a really big one


 11:57 pm on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have old sites forgotten about that keep popping up in serps.No new pages, no new links , in fact hardly any links, no new content, no nothing.
It seems the less I work, the better I do.
I'm sleeping all the way to the bank.


 4:20 am on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Real life example, from two sites I created about a year ago.

Site 1: Domain first registered Dec. 2005. Domain name contains two keywords. Set up a CMS system, created some seed content, perhaps 20 pages, then left it alone. Minimal traffic, no user-contributed content - I did nothing to promote the site, and as far as I know, nobody was linking to it other than a few links on my personal site (which had related topical content.) Result? By Sept. 06, Toolbar PR = 5 (!) (other datacenters reported PR 4, but a few report PR5) So, I took the old CMS down, set up a different hosting account with a new IP addres, a LAMP stack, and a PHP-based CMS, moved some of the old site content, added free user-created classified ads to attract community contributed content. Much more traffic, good SERPs, more search engine hits. Toolbar PR is still 5 or 4, but the new PR updates may alter this - it's wait-and-see time.

Site 2: Domain first registered April 2005. Domain name is a combination of a noun and a slang word. Set up some placeholder content on an ASP-based hosting plan, while I went away and learned about CMS systems. The placeholder content consisted of about five pages, nothing much more than a navigation menu, some graphics, and a few paragraphs of text describing what was to come. Almost no inbound links, except from a couple of my other sites (each having PR4). Almost no traffic, content was completely static for almost a year. Result: PR4 (!) (Just as with Site 1, I've since moved the site to a new host, LAMP, true CMS system, and the result: very good SERPs for the keyword space, decent (and growing) traffic. Still at PR4, with some PR5 pages.)

So, from my experience, I conclude a couple of things:

1) Google gives some credit for mere stability - just for being around a while (perhaps 9 months or a year?) and having some non-spammy content (however thin). I've seen sites with almost no traffic and few IBLS with PR3 or PR4, just from being around for a year or so.

2) It seems like it is pretty easy to transfer some PR from an older, established site to one of your new sites - it just takes a little time. Nothing happens overnight. But it happens sooner than I would have thought.

I suppose the inbound links from two of my other PR4 sites may have contributed some PR, but if that's the case, then why all the stress over new domain names, sandboxing, low PR, etc? (I'm not being facetious - I've set up a few other new sites in the last six months, and wonder if I'm going to have significantly different experiences with the new sites...)


 4:48 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Pardon for my newbie opinion.

I've heard quite a lot of discussion about the value of domain age for SE. By some chance I've got an opportunity to seek some answers for it.

About half year ago, I create a domain with 2 words. Actually I created this domain as sort of mock up for my prospective client.

I built it for about 2 months, load it with related and very focus contents. Submit it to 3 major SE (Google, Yahoo, MSN). Do a little promotions in some respective forums by asking some comments and opinions for the site. That's it...

Recent PR update give that relatively new domain a value of 5. It is only a half year age domain.

So is it domain age one of the biggest factor? IMHO, I don't think so.


 8:44 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

A PR of 5 is irrelevant to the conversation. Age is one factor in ranking, PR is another. They are mutually independent.


 11:51 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think age is one of the top five ranking factors. Our site gains more traffic each month because we rank better each month (major disruptions aside...).

I picked up a domain name that first appeared in 2001 and stuck around until 2002. I picked up the name in 2004. In 2003 it was not to be found. My impression (based on the ummm... sandbox) is that the clock started over in 2004.


 1:33 am on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would agree that it's the age of the Link and my resoning is because it's claimed by Google spokesmen that it's the age of the links pointing at that site that finally pops it out of the sandbox.


 1:52 pm on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

"What Caveman said - I think its the age of the link.
Other factors play a role, like age of domain, them of link, etc, but age of the link is a really big one"

Ranking is based on a lot of factors. But in two niches that I watch, there are sites on page 1 that have minimal pagerank, minimal numbers of incoming links, and relatively low keyword density. And even the incoming links they do have aren't that great (low pagerank, bad anchor text) The only thing I can figure is that the domain and site content have simply been around so long. They're like redwood trees----securely anchored in place.

As far as ranking factors go, however, I don't think age affects only one's domain. Yes, 1. how long a site has been around is a factor and 2. how old an coming link is is a factor. But there's a third factor at work. And that's this: you want links from PAGES that are themselves very old and have been indexed in google for years. I think it has to do with trustrank. In my opinion, this is why links from .edu and .gov pages are so helpful, simply because the sites are very often old and "trusted". It actually has little to do with the fact that the tld is .edu or .gov. It has to do with their age, like fine wine.

Rx Recruiters

 2:05 pm on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

How does switching registrars affect the domain age variable? Most of us have switched to a cheaper registrar at some point in our site's online life.

Does changing the registrant's name change anything? Example is changing from your individual name to the company name, or adding a "private whois" as your company grows and you don't want everyone in the world to have your address.


 2:18 pm on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

is it unreasonable to suggest that the longer a site is in the google index, the more time google has to "taste" the site?

Furthermore, the long its around, the more time googles manual testers have to get to visiting the site and asigning a ranking value to the site , that either elevates or suppresses the site in algo calculation either

There only just so many money producing niches for google, an a couple of hundred reviewers could probably "fast" review say the top 1000 results for every productive niche over the course of 1 calender year,

even at US salaries that would cost ,,,hmm, say 200 x $70,000 ,,,say $14 million, not a lot for a company of googles size, especially if it where mission critical.

Then again, ,,, who knows


 4:17 am on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a few dozens doamins dating back between 1997 and 1999. Some redirect to an even older domain and some have never seen the light of day. I am launching a few of these in the coming months. It will be interesting to do some comaparative analysis, but no doubt that age has its privileges. The question is how much of a factor are the aged links that a couple have that the others dont have.


 4:25 am on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Age of the first incoming link(s) and if they are still in-tact and pointing to your aged domain would probably in the eye's of Google be the best thing. Have played around with pre 1998 web sites that had no sites under them between 2000->2004 and have put web sites back under those domains and they still kept there authority score.

[edited by: nuthin at 4:31 am (utc) on Jan. 17, 2007]


 4:28 am on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

P.s. I would rate domain age easily within the top 5 factors for me if not top 3.


 3:34 pm on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Great topic Brett -

My thoughts -

The three biggest factors in this category imo are:
1. Age of links

2. Trust (quality) of links

3. Age in index

A landing page domain that never got indexed is shot in the water if you ask me. If your smart - put five pages up and get a couple directory listings minimum. That being said I don't think raw whois age is all that important anyhow. It just gets seen that way because it's one of the best pieces of information that we have access to for measuring what really matters (the above factors).


 6:25 pm on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Domain Age is a factor, how many years online is the basis? Is google "grandfathering" these old site from new filters?


 12:20 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Whether it's the way back machine or Googles records I think the activity of a site is probably in there.

We also need to consider that a site that has been around for 10 or so years has had a lot of time to get natural links. For example my site was the only one addressing my niche topic back then so anyone interested might have linked if they had a site then.

There are sites out there that haven't been updated for years but at one time they were well known and have many inbound links. Some are still doing well in the serps.

how embarrassing it is to go back and find one's very first attempt at a web page

I just looked. Lordy, a background graphic that makes it hard to read the text. The menu graphics are a terrible. I mispelled American "Amercian" and it's archived for all history! It's a just post Compuserve sort of site.


 7:21 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here is my dilemma.

I own a ten year + old "domain.net" which has no major ranking.

I have been able to purchase the "domain.com" equivilant from the current owner who ranks #1 for the keyword.

I am trying to decide what to keep as my main domain, do I stay with the 10year old.net or keep the 8 year old .com?

All linking currently goes to the domain.com, but don't know if I should 302/301 to the .net due the age of the domain.

Also the 2nd part of the question is, so that it stays under the Google radar, how should I transfer the domain, should I leave the registrant the same, or is there a better way to take control of the domain with out making any major registrant changes?

Any help on this would be great.....


 11:34 am on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

trial & error my son.
I would personally 301 the .net to the .com
You pick up the .com, change registrant details and 301 the .net to it, over-time in theory the .com will harness the power of what the .net had.
Pretty simple set-up and tried and tested before. Expect a small delay of upwards of 2 to 8 weeks.


 3:44 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I vote for index age as opposed to domain age as well, maybe with a growth (PR?) or stability element factored in?
This is how I would pull in some value on age.
But again: if it was for me, they'd hired me a long time ago ;-)


 4:04 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Logically, to me, a parked domain is no better than a brand new domain. It would not make sense to assign a ranking value to something that technically hasn't existed. It would not make sense to have such a value assignment as part of a ranking algorithm.

Age of the domain/site combination does help though.


 6:26 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Most of us know that the age of a domain is one of the single most important criteria of the Google algo. I'd put it as a top ten - maybe top five - filter. It is a gate keeper.

The real question to me is if that matters on a parked or doa domain? We have some domains 10years old this month that have never had sites on them. I am wondering if there is a default value there because of the age? Is it a pure whois thing? Or is it an age of the inbound links thing?

it's neither.

the age of site is determined by how long it's been in google, basically. personally I'd try to get something that's been in the index consistantly for a long while, but from some experience of mine it also seems that it works just fine if the domain "lapsed" for a while and then became active again.

it's not about the "age power" of links. it's just about the "age power" of the domain-- as determined by how long it's been in the index.

parked domains CAN work... as long as it was parked with something that provides content that's unique/dynamic enough and if it has incoming links. most parked domains don't cut it though.


 2:05 pm on Jan 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think that
Age in index with "the same" content. So if your domain is 10 years old and 1 year ago it drastically changed content - it is 1 year old.
The same with parked domains - that are considered as new, when you create actual site on them.


 3:05 pm on Jan 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

One of my sites uses a domain that is less than a year old and the site ranks higher than IMDB and Wikipedia for the subject matter. How does domain age affect search engines again?

Or are you saying when the results have several sites of the same rank, the older domain will get the slight edge and appear higher?


 3:11 pm on Jan 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

While I think domain age is important, Google's aim is to ensure "quality" pages rank high. So one would imagine it will become less important as the algo's mature and become more effective at determing quality content. Same applies for any "non quality" factor.

So IMO any factor that is not quality-driven has a shelf life, although it may be a long one :) I think domain age is quite a good factor as it is trickier to manipulate as opposed to say "backlinks" which would be quicker to be devalued.

[edited by: Simsi at 3:13 pm (utc) on Jan. 19, 2007]

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