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How domain age and history might factor in rankings?

     
1:49 am on Jan 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hello all,

I have a domain I have been using since 2004 but its terrible branding wise. Hyphens and doesnt match my actual company name but it has ranked well since 2006 or so. This past summer some of my top pages got hit in SERPs went from 20 or so to > 100. I haven't been keeping up my seo for years, so links have decayed over time. before I restart my SEO efforts I was going to move to better domain with no hyphens and actually represents my company name. It has zero links to it and has been parked for years apparently. its not even in the Googles index.

In short I was told not to move to the new domain until I fix whatever issue is affecting my recent drop, which is fine by me. Then I was told I need to switch my site completely to https. I have both http for non sensitive pages and run https for login and checkout pages. I was told this is now considered bad for many reasons. I looked what I needed to do then saw the help file on Google Webmaster page and says https migration is actually considered a site move. If this is true then why not to the new domain?

If you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, Google treats this as a site move with a URL change. This can temporarily affect some of your traffic numbers. See the site move overview page to learn more.


Since my current domain has a history with Google and trust factor, regardless of the recent drop, will it recover faster 301 redirects than a complete move to new domain thats been parked for years. I see quite a few horror story posts about https migrations on existing domains taking 6-10 months.

So my options are:
1. Do nothing and keep current domain with non-sensitve pages on http, and https on checkout and login pages. (I was told my drop is most likely non SSL pages)
2. Migrate to https across the board on current domain
3. Migrate to better branded domain (without hyphens) as https since I was going to do #2 anyways

Any insight or help is appreciated.
4:12 am on Jan 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The domain served its purpose - move on, 301 to the nice domain name and build that on https.
5:22 am on Jan 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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^ agree
2:13 pm on Jan 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I would think Domain age plays a role. It makes sense that something that has been trusted and around for years is a more trusted source than a brand new domain with no real trust signals. Then again a 301 redirect should hopefully point all those signals (including links to the old domain) to the new domain and pages. I would think it would also be a good time to move the entire site to https since you have to do a redirect anyways and do a site move on Google.

Just remember that you should keep the old domain and the redirects around for a long time (maybe forever) to make sure those signals are always passed.

On a related note I think domain expiry plays a very minor role (and I mean minor) in rank as well. You would think a domain that was renewed for only 1 year may not be trusted as much by Google as a domain that was renewed for 5 years.
3:03 pm on Jan 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I agree with all of you guys (seoskunk, keyplyr, JesterMagic). Dmac42 you need to move your site to a better domain. Make sure to redirect using 301 and then you are ready to implement https. I'm in the process on moving a customer site to a different hosting company. Lucky me, I'm keeping the same domain.
11:14 pm on Jan 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies. The reason for the question if something as small as https, even on the same domain, can sandbox sites for 6-9 months, I can only imagine a new non history domain could be sandboxed for more than a year. I should have done it years ago. I cant stand my current domain with stupid hyphens. Its embarrassing to tell our customers support @ blank "hyphen, yes the dash" blank. I guess I have to make decision I just cant afford 120K this next holiday season in adwords and bingads.

I understand different urls are seen as different pages even if its something as small querystring parameter but honestly the fact that Google is judging the protocol as a different identifier just doesnt make sense at all. Different subdomains, domains, pages, and querystrings I understand, So webmasters are forced into monitoring 4 versions of their domain in the console for duplicate content. So much for AI.

http://example.com
http://www.example.com
https://example.com
https://www.example.com

-----
Mod's note: Use example.com to post examples. It doesn't auto-link in forum software, and it can never be owned.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:21 pm (utc) on Jan 4, 2018]
[edit reason] Changed to example.com [/edit]

9:18 am on Jan 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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While at first blush it appears a "new" site, that's not quite true. Your initial traffic will come from the domain with dash to the https superdomainname. As with any site change there will be a breaking in period. How quickly this will happen depends on how accurate the 301s are, the new site hierarchy and, of course, the content, content, content.

Apparently this has been back burner for some time so you've had many thoughts about such a move. Time is now. Go for it.
12:20 pm on Jan 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The domain served its purpose - move on, 301 to the nice domain name and build that on https.


Plus ensure you use a quality responsive template and, personally, try to avoid WordPress type of templates, however you may need that for shopping purposes.

Once launched I would expect to see positive results within 2-3 months maximum. I launched a site under a new name 15th October 2017 301'ing another site to it. It was indexed very quickly, rankings started happening within a month and now nearly all pages are on the first page for their keyword phrases plus many images are also now ranking as well.
1:34 pm on Jan 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've moved several sites to https and really saw no dip in traffic through the entire process. Most pages had an updated URL in the SERPS with in a week with the entire process probably taking under 3 weeks. I realize others have had a different experience but I think they are a small minority.

@RedBar Why avoid WordPress type of templates? What does that exactly mean as a lot of templates from different CMS (Joomla, Drupal, etc.) look pretty similar.
3:48 pm on Jan 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Why avoid WordPress type of templates?


IME constant security updates however the worst thing I have found is the incredibly bloaty coding and duplication of files etc plus back-ups can be a nightmare and especially so if/when moving servers.

I know some people have a great experience with these type of templates however my experience is not one I would wish to repeat. There are some fantastic html5 responsive ready-made templates available for $25-150 which can be hacked to suit almost any niche ... it's also good fun learning the coding with those templates as opposed to letting the "template" do it all for you and not knowing what to do when things go wrong ... as they invariably do.
 

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