Domain Age – Google Ranking Factor
by Farhan Majid
What is Domain Age?
Domain age refers to the length of time the domain has been registered or active on the web.
You’ll notice the definition consists of two important factors.
- The time from when the Domain was registered
- The time from when the Domain is Live or Active
Domain age plays an important role in how well your website ranks on Google. So the question arises why is domain age so important. The answer to it is simple. Search engines are always striving to show the best results to the users for their queries. The older your website is the more trustworthy it is in the eyes of Google assuming it has quality content compared to a website which is very new.
Does that mean my new website cannot rank in Google?
No, even though domain age is Google ranking factor, it doesn’t mean a new website can’t rank. There more than 200 other ranking factors that can help you rank however having an old domain will definitely help your cause.
How does Google take Domain Age into Account? Does it Rely on Whois Data?
The first thing that you need to know is that whois data is not generally available, even if you were a registrar. And whois data can vary from country code TLD. For example, .co.jp, .fi for Finland, .in for India.
It’s much easier is to say, when did Google first see a website, when did it first crawl it? Google did actually file a patent on using historical data in the search results and that issued back in 2005.
So there are a lot of ways you can think about the age of a domain. For example, when did Google first see a link to a domain as opposed to when did it first crawl it? And there are a lot of things you can look at, like how stale is the data and stuff like that.
But a good way to think about it is often the vast majority of the time, search engines will have coverage for when they first crawled a domain or when they first saw a link to a domain, and that’s going to be a lot more useful data than, perhaps whois data that they might not be able to get for every single domain.
How important is Domain Age for Website Authority?
Well, ideally you don’t have to worry that much if you’re competing against a website that is 6-8 months older than yours. The difference between a domain that’s six months old versus one year old is really not that big at all. So as long as you’ve been around for at least a couple months, a few months, you should be able to make sure that you’re able to show up in the search results.
It’s often good to go ahead and buy a website, put up a place holder page to tell people what’s coming, and then just go ahead and develop the website. And by the time you get your website live, often that’s two or three months down the line already. So just something to bear in mind, whois data is not generally available, even though Google is a registrar, a whois registrar is not something that you get automatically from being a registrar. Whereas, when you crawl the web, you end up finding new domains relatively quickly after they’re registered because of the links to those domains.
And when Google first crawls a domain or when it first is able to see a link to a domain, it can be a very nice way to measure how old a domain is. So a lot of the times, whenever you’re saying OK, search over some given subject– you know, Mayan art. You can see on the left-hand side there’s now a place where you can slice and dice by different dates. So that’s actually a combination of different dates, but for example, it could use when Google first saw a page or when it first saw a domain name. You might also take into account when it was last updated, all that sort of stuff.
But in general, I wouldn’t obsess about trying to have an old domain. The fact is it’s mostly the quality of your content and the sort of links that you get as a result of the quality of your content that determine how well you’re going to rank in the search engines. But nevertheless domain age can help you quicken your optimization efforts.
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