The short answer to the question is yes, domain age is an important SEO factor for your Google ranking. Among the hundreds of weighting factors that Google considers in determining how to rank search engine results is the age of your domain — in other words, how long that domain has been around.
It’s worth noting that domain age isn’t referring just to how long you have owned a given domain name, but instead how long it has been since Google first indexed that domain, or saw a link to the domain. Because of this many companies purchase “aged” domains that have been around for a while for the extra bit of Google oomph. Of course just because a domain has been registered for 10 years doesn’t mean that Google considers it 10 years old — it has to have actually had a site indexed by Google.
In other words a domain that’s been registered for 10 years but has no actual site up, or nothing that Google has ever found, is the same as a domain that you bought yesterday.
How Important is Domain Age for SEO & Ranking in Google?
There is a certain amount of debate about exactly how important domain age is to your ability to rank well, but testing and experience by SEO professionals paints a pretty clear picture that an older domain age competes for rankings a bit better. In fact, Google has even stepped forward to tell us a little bit about the importance of domain age, though as usual they’re still holding their cards close to their chest.
Here’s the basics of what we know:
- Domain age is a factor in determining Google rankings, and a part of our SEO.
- Sites are significantly devalued for the first few months after Google first discovers them. It is extremely challenging to rank well for competitive terms in those first few months. In fact, some SEO professionals simply won’t work with brand new domains.
- According to Google’s Matt Cutts, the difference between a domain that’s 6 months old and 12 months old is very small.
What Google’s matt Cutts has to say on domain age
Here is a video from Google’s Matt Cutts on the subject:
One of the very important things to note here is that Matt does not say that domain age doesn’t matter. There are a handful of people out there who insist this is the case, and cite Matt Cutts as the source. In point of fact, he clearly indicates that very young domains will struggle to rank, and goes on to mentions the difference between domain ages, saying that they are small… clearly indicating that there is, in fact, a difference.
“The difference between a domain that’s six months old vs one year old is really not that big at all. As long as you’ve been around for at least a couple of months, you should be able make sure that you can show up in search results.”
But as with all things in the SEO world, domain age is just one of many, many factors and it is certainly not one of the biggest factors (those would be on-page optimization and backlinks). Older domains will certainly have a little bit of an edge, but the importance of their age is often confused with the fact that older domains also tend to have a lot more backlinks (and natural backlinks) just due to the fact that they’ve had so many years to acquire them.
But as long as your site has been around for longer than those first few months when domain age is a big factor, you should be able to swing with the oldest of them and claw your way to the top of your Google rankings!