David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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Mature Domains – Ranking Advantage at Google

Those of us who have been paying attention new about the importance of domain maturity already a couple years ago.  But it looks like 2008 might be the year that the webmaster community starts to realize the importance of the issue, with Google’s United States Patent Application: 0080086467 being publicized.

The bottom line is that it is to your advantage to hold a domain that has been around — and in your ownership — for several years.  Maturity counts, and SEO gets easier as your domain ages.  It is also to your advantage to see links from mature domains, although I don’t think I would waste time checking the ages of every domain I hoped to get a link from (more on this in a moment).

Why are mature domains better?  Like so many things, especially on the Internet where much is ephemeral, a mature domain has stood the test of time and therefore is more likely than average to provide useful information or services.  An established domain is much, much less likely to be a spam site set up to turn a quick profit and disappear.  The bottom line is that a mature domain is more likely to be a trustworthy one.

And trust is what it is about.  When Google sends traffic to your site, it is placing trust in the site.  Maturity is one way Google can measure trust.  However, it is far from the only way.  PageRank is another.   There are likely dozens of measures of trust that Google employs, which is why I would not waste my time checking domain age.  A much better trust test is too see how well a site ranks for its own target search phrases.  If it ranks well, Google must trust it at least a fair amount, and therefore it is a good website to be associated with.

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2 Responses to “Mature Domains – Ranking Advantage at Google”

  1. Ben (4 comments) Says:

    This really interesting. I never really thought that there could be a link to how long a name has been registered to you. Does this mean however a domain that I have owned for a significant amount of time (but been inactive) will stand a better chance of good rankings than one I have recently purchased if all other factors (content links etc) are the same?

  2. admin (7 comments) Says:

    Until recently, I would have said “no”. Traditionally, a domain only exists when Google “finds” it by following a link from another website. However, since Google became a domain register, it knows how long the domain has existed inactive, too. Which of these pieces of information it uses to determine domain age we do not know, although I suspect that there are actually several measurements for domain age, including the age of the inbound links and the age of linking sites. I suspect that Google also measures inactivity, and if the site attracts no new inbound links for a certain period (for example, six months) it might very well restart the clock.

    Best practice is to get something on-topic up on a new domain ASAP and build a few easy links into the site right away and a few here and there every month until the site is live.

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