Domain Age isn't a ranking factor

​Domain Age Doesn't Matter for SEO

When it comes to determining Google's ranking factors, any statement from Google or its employees themselves (official or unofficial) is worth noting. In this case, we have an answer to the question, "Does domain age matter for SEO?"

Yesterday on Twitter, John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, tweeted that domain age does not matter for ranking in Google.

I have never put any stock in the idea that because a domain has been registered longer it should have some sort of bonus. In fact, all of my personal tests have proven otherwise. I've taken plenty of new sites from no rankings to first page rankings in a week.

Why then has the SEO world gone into a tizzy over this supposed earth-shattering information?

  1. It contradicts the typical "SEO pundits" who have stated for years it matters.
  2. You'll find domain age all over the "200 ranking factor" lists.
  3. People confuse correlation with causation.​

Does domain age directly affect rankings? No.

Does domain age indirectly affect rankings? Yes

Simply because a domain is older doesn't give it a bonus. Age is not an input in the algorithm. However, an older domain should have content and links a newer domain does not. Therefore, indirectly an older domain should have an edge only because it has a head start.

Google is on a 'quality first' trajectory. Age and quality have nothing in common.

Marketing Action Items From This Post

  • Do not be afraid of having or starting a fresh domain name. Age doesn't matter!
  • Focus on what you can directly control like creating content that's better than any other results in the results page and earning those links to your site. 
  • Do not have blind faith in the lists of "ranking factors" floating around. The most reliable information comes from verifiable sources at Google and on their support pages.

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Pierre Aribaut - April 16, 2017 Reply

So if I buy a new domain and do 301 redirections from my old domain, it will rank as well as my old one ?

    Doug Lundberg - April 17, 2017 Reply

    Hi Pierre,

    In many cases, yes it will rank as well. There used to be a “certain amount of page rank” that was lost. Matt Cutts, former SEO guy at Google, stated the amount of page rank that dissipates through a 301 is almost exactly or identical to the same amount that dissipates through a link. Source: https://youtu.be/Filv4pP-1nw . That was recently (July 2016) done away with by Gary at Google stating the following in a tweet:

    I performed this exact test several times last year for clients with large websites in competitive markets and found either a complete retention of rankings (after a 2 week wait) or a tiny slide.

    Yesterday I 301 redirected one of my clients sites that ranked very well in Google to another existing website in an effort to consolidate sites for branding purposes. Slightly different concept than a brand new domain, but this “new” website hasn’t ranked as well. I’ll post those findings and let you know the if the “new” site gained rankings the old one had. The baggage attached to it may come into play.

    Bottom line, if you 301 redirect everything properly and do all of your proper webmaster tools items you should be just fine.

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