Does Website Age Affect SEO ?

Contents:

  • What is the age of the domain ?
  • Does Website Domain Age Affect SEO ?
    • Analyze how long SEO takes for a new website
      • New Websites Facing Google Sandbox
  • Analyze website age ranking potential of website
    • Top Websites Domain Age
    • Example of ranking potential for a new website: Sparktoro.com
      • What can we learn from this example ?
    • Analyze businesses in a specific niche by website age
  • Potential SEO Ranking Factors That Impact Domain Age
    • Determine the backlink profile of a domain
      • Quality over quantity when it comes to backlinks
  • Contact Delante Media for SEO expertise and additional resources

Understanding the complexities of domain age is an essential part of your broader SEO efforts. It’s true what people say; SEO is for the long haul. Of course, these people aren’t literally talking about how long the website has been around, but it’s still worth exploring the effects of domain age on the ranking potential of new websites.

What is the age of the domain?

Domain age generally refers to the date a website owner first registered a website’s domain .

In SEO, domain age describes the age of the website and how long the website has been active. For search engines like Google, the age of a website is usually based on when it is first identified via a link on the Internet or when the website is first indexed.

Since this information is not publicly available from search engines, most website owners and SEO practitioners choose to look at domain age based on a website’s registration. , which is usually easier to identify.

Does Website Domain Age Affect SEO?

The role of domain age on a website’s SEO and ranking potential is frequently debated. So naturally domain age matters, but probably not as much as you might think.

While Google’s John Mueller said domain age has no direct impact on rankings, it would be inaccurate to say that domain age has no role in SEO. There is no causal relationship between the age of a higher ranked website than a newer website based on the age of the domain. But, domain age has a strong correlation with many factors related to how long a website has been around. Ultimately, new domains will struggle to outrank competitors with older domains until other things like content quality and backlinks can catch up.

Analyze how long SEO takes for a new website

If you were starting a new business website today, how long would it take to rank on Google?

Well, that depends. To answer this question, we need to break down what it takes for a website to appear on Google and what we mean by ranking on Google.

  • Crawled = a website has been discovered by Google, and it can use its web crawlers to fetch a website. To make this easier for a new website, just set up Google Search Console and submit the website to help Google crawl it within hours.
  • Indexed = Google has discovered your website and recognized it as a website capable of appearing in search results for potential search queries. Indexing should take place within days of first crawling your website, as long as there are no issues. To see if your website has been indexed; use the following search modifier “site:” when searching on Google.
  • Ranking = Your website appears in search results when you enter a specific search query. A website ranks on Google if it appears on any search results page, even though 91% of users never look beyond the first page of results. Therefore, it is crucial to clarify more specific goals for rankings, such as first page rankings, top 5 rankings, or #1 ranking for a particular search phrase.

There are also different types of search phrases that can be further broken down based on ranking difficulty.

  • Brand Phrase Ranking = Brand searches are specific phrases that directly relate to or include your company name or branded products. As long as your brand doesn’t overlap with common words or other businesses, you should see your site rank for branded search phrases within two weeks of being indexed.
  • Ranking for uncompetitive long-tail phrases = The level of competition and the specificity of the search phrase will impact how quickly you start ranking. A low-competition search query that is hyper-specific, such as “Mexican restaurant on Main Street in Stockton, CA.” For this type of long tail phrase, your website could rank within a month.
  • High Competition Phrase Ranking = These search phrases are often searched by millions of people every month and there are many companies vying for this web traffic. To rank for a phrase like “Nike running shoes,” you need to put significant effort into SEO over a long period of time. You should expect to do at least 3 years of SEO for the high end of competitive search phrases before you start ranking.
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New websites face the Google Sandbox

When a new website publishes content, SEO experts often notice that it is much more difficult to rank for search phrases compared to a more established existing website. This observation is often described as Google’s sandbox effect, a period that makes it harder for new websites to rank in Google’s search results.

While Google has turned down a probationary period that prevents new websites from ranking, it’s clear to see sandbox-like effects based on their algorithms. Google places a premium on trust and authority, which a new website will not have.

Below is a quote from John Mueller (Webmaster Trends Analyst) of Google on the sandbox effect from February 23, 2018.

“As for the sandbox, we don’t really have that traditional sandbox that a lot of SEOs were talking about in years past. We have a number of algorithms that may look similar, but they are basically just algorithms trying to figure out how the website fits in with the rest of the websites trying to rank for those queries. […] It’s always a bit tricky at first when you have a new website and you don’t really know where to put it.

It’s also important to recognize that Google doesn’t look at all industries or sectors equally. For example, medical, financial, and legal websites often face a tougher hurdle before Google trusts a new website enough to show it in the rankings for specific search phrases.

Fortunately, no specific domain age or duration must pass before a website can exit the sandbox; instead, it is a culmination of ranking signals that cause Google to recognize the website as high quality and trustworthy. Therefore, it is best to create high-quality content, build natural backlinks from trusted websites, design a positive user experience, and follow general SEO best practices.

With that in mind, once a website achieves a certain level of authority and trust, it can compete on par with older domains that have already escaped the Google Sandbox.

Analyze website age ranking potential of website

Now that we’ve discussed how long it takes for a new website to rank in general, let’s look at some examples of website rankings by domain age .

Top Websites Domain Age

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best websites on the internet in 2021 have been around for years. For example, Yahoo.com was ranked the 2nd most popular website in January 1996 and in 2021 remains the 8th most popular website in the world with over 3.7 billion visits in March 2021.

Although Yahoo is the only website to consistently stay in the top 10 most popular websites for the past 25 years, you’ll find that many of the top 10 websites have domain ages that go back several years. Below is a table of the top ten most visited websites in the United States in October 2021.

DomainDomain ageDomain creation dateCompany creation date
google.com24 years, 2 months9/15/97Sep-98
youtube.com16 years, 9 months02/15/0505 Feb
facebook.com24 years, 7 months03/29/97February 04
amazon.com27 years, 0 months11/1/94Jul-94
yahoo.com26 years, 9 months01/18/95Jan-94
twitter.com21 years, 9 months01/01/00March-06
wikipedia.org20 years, 10 months01/13/01January 01
instagram.com17 years, 5 months06/04/04October 10
reddit.com16 years, 6 months04/29/2005June 05
discord.com21 years, 0 months11/06/00May 15

The ranking of the top websites in this chart is taken from Similarweb’s Top Websites in the October 20201 US Report. The domain age of each website is based on WHOIS lookup information that was found using of several domain age verification tools. The company’s founding dates are taken from publicly quoted information about the start of each company.

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As you can see from the table, all of these companies are at least five years old and all but one were founded over ten years ago. You might also notice that the age of the domain doesn’t seem to match some of the company’s founding dates. This highlights another SEO practice that some companies use to avoid some of the inconvenience of starting a new website. Rather than registering a new domain, some businesses will buy an existing website or buy an expired domain that another website owner had already registered. The pros and cons of buying an existing domain is a bigger topic that we’ll cover in another blog.

Instead, let’s look at another example website and its performance over time.

Example of ranking potential for a new website: Sparktoro.com

Sparktoro.com is the perfect website to analyze to understand how a new website may perform in Google search rankings.Sparktoro was launched in 2018 by Rand Fishkin, former CEO and founder of SEO tool Moz.com, and a leader in shaping the SEO industry for nearly two decades. Therefore, we can be sure that this new website has been created under ideal conditions for the ranking of a new website. Sparktoro management has arguably the most advanced understanding of SEO of any new business and can create authoritative backlinks based on decades of experience in a related industry. Let’s take a look at the organic growth of Sparktoro.com since its launch and domain registration.

Domain registration date: September 12, 2017

Company Launch Announcement: February 2018

Screenshots of Ahrefs.com

As of April 29, 2018, just two months after its February launch, Sparktoro.com had over 2,500 referring domains, 2,911 organic traffic and 4,439 ranking keywords, according to Ahrefs. The website continued to grow for the remainder of its first year, reaching over 3,900 referring domains, 9,680 organic traffics, and 14,500 organic keyword rankings by the end of February 2019.

What can we learn from this example?

It is possible to quickly increase a website’s traffic and rankings with the right resources, content, and backlinks. It took only a year for Sparktoro.com to reach the level of organic traffic it sustained for the next three years. It is difficult to analyze the performance of a website over time without taking into account the amount of content published, the number of backlinks created, other marketing channels used, effort and concentration. referencing and other intangibles.

It’s important to avoid straying too far from the original goal of understanding how well a new website can rank on Google. Yet when we return to early November 2021, we see that Sparktoro.com referring domains continue to grow steadily, while organic traffic has largely plateaued. Additionally, the number of keyword rankings has declined since its first anniversary. The lack of continued growth is widely interpreted as a reflection of Sparktoro diverting its marketing plan away from SEO and content marketing.

Analyze businesses in a specific niche by website age

To explore the role of domain age in organic rankings and traffic, we chose a specific location and niche. In this case, we are focusing our attention on roofing companies in Denver, Colorado. I’ve selected four business examples below to analyze their organic traffic growth over time and hopefully figure out ways to apply it to other local niches and competing businesses.

elite-roofs.com = First recorded Ahrefs organic traffic identified September 2016 (Domain created May 2016)

Source: Ahrefs.com

This is the oldest website on the list, with a total of 325 referring domains (43UR/22 DR), according to Ahrefs. The organic traffic graph for this website shows steady growth over the first three years of organic traffic from 0 traffic to around 2,000 organic traffic. The website then experiences a period of rapid growth over three months to 3,500 organic traffic, followed by a massive drop to less than 1,000 organic traffic, likely indicating unnatural/blackhat SEO followed by a penalty algorithmic or manual. Since its takeover, it has maintained its organic traffic at around 2,200 organic traffics.

www.atozroofingdenver.com = First recorded Ahrefs organic traffic identified in November 2017 (Domain created in April 2001)

Source: Ahrefs.com

This website took a nice leap forward when it first saw measurable organic traffic in November 2017. The website then basically maintains around 150 organic traffic/month from January 2018 to January 2021. At this point, the website is starting to see growth take over. at its current organic traffic of 800. This change is likely an indication that the company started focusing on SEO in early 2021 and may have started working with an SEO company to increase its organic traffic.

a-denverroofing.com = First recorded Ahrefs organic traffic identified in October 2019 (Domain created in November 2013)

Source: Ahrefs.com

This website represents a relatively new ranking website with its first measurable organic traffic at the end of 2019. It only saw its organic traffic increase to 60 organic traffic in the first year ending November 2020. After the end from its first year, organic traffic increases. quickly with strong increases in Spring/Summer 2021 before stabilizing around 300 organic traffics by November 2021. This growth represents an increase of almost 500% in traffic generated by SEO compared to the previous year.

aspenleafroofing.com = First recorded Ahrefs organic traffic identified in April 2020 (Domain created in October 2019)

Source: Ahrefs.com

This website is brand new, with its first organic traffic identified about six months ago in April 2020. Although this website has not reached the traffic levels of any of the top three websites, its graph shows that this website reached 60 organic sessions in 6 months. , about half the time it took a-denverroofing.com.

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Potential SEO Ranking Factors That Impact Domain Age

Overall, domain age is only one factor in the complex SEO process. Nevertheless, older domains that maintain their website and continue to publish quality content tend to continue to drive traffic until they are upgraded.

A website simply existing longer will not impact the website’s ability to rank higher on Google’s SERPs (search engine ranking positions). Instead, the increased effort over time likely leads to higher rankings for older websites.

The longer a website has been around, the more likely it is to have created content on that website and gained backlinks from other websites on the internet. Therefore, if a website has built content and links over time, search engines will perceive it as more authoritative and trustworthy than a brand new website.

And because these older domains are more authoritative, they consistently show up on the first page of results for thousands of search queries. Most of the time, older domains rank well because they’ve had more time to build their authority. Sites like Huffpost.com, for example, have had years to acquire quality backlinks, garner traffic, and show the internet that they offer high-quality content.

On the other hand, an old domain is not automatically credible. Although an older domain name usually has more ranking potential, this is not a hard and fast rule. An old domain with poor content and bad or spammy links is no better than a brand new domain.

Determine the backlink profile of a domain

If you are unfamiliar with backlinks, backlinks are links from other domains that point to your site. Your domain’s backlink profile is not just about the number of links your domain has, but also about the quality of those links. Older domains have had time to establish their credibility. So, they usually have more websites linking to them naturally because they produce valuable content.

To view your site’s backlink profile, online tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz can be helpful. They will crawl (or analyze) a website and tell you where it gets backlinks.

Quality over quantity when it comes to backlinks

It may seem like more backlinks are better, but that’s not how Google operates these days. Links you receive from spammy forums, paid sources, or freelance sites provide no value. An older website with thousands of low quality backlinks will not perform well in organic search. A new site with fewer but higher quality backlinks will do quite well in comparison.

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