It seems Google has intensified the ranking factor of one key data point that is very tough to manipulate: the age of your domain name. I have been keeping an eye on trends with Google’s search results and it seems that there is an increasing trend towards "trusted sites" owning page one. A "trusted site" is loosely defined by me as: an older domain, a nice mix of anchor text, links built over time, links coming in from all kinds of c class blocks, maybe a .edu snuck in there, etc.
The factor I want to focus in on and get your thoughts on though is the age of the domain. This seems to me to be a very important factor in top search rankings for Google in today’s climate. I chatted with Ben Pheiffer who thinks that you have a distinct advantage if you have a pre 2002 domain name to work with. The exact year is of course debatable and there are countless exceptions to this rule but I do agree with the general thesis: when it comes to domain names, the older the better.
In my very unscientific test I looked at two commercial searches that I track regularly. I looked at the top 10 results from each of these searches and took each of the 10 domains in the results over to Whois Source to check to see when the domains were registered. The average domain in Set A was created in 1998 and the average domain in Set B was created in 1999! The most recently created domains out of the top 10 of either search was 2003.
OK now I am not naive enough to overlook the fact that old domains usually have the most incoming links because they have had time on their side. This is true but the trend of old domains ranking to the top goes deeper than that. One trend in particular is if you start with a "trusted site" then build a sub page topic on about anything and it will magically jump into top ranking contention.
As Andy Hagans has said when looking at today’s SERPS at Google, "Old domains can get away with murder". What he was referring to is this growing trend where people with old domains are adding new sub pages, building links at will to these pages without mixing anchor text or doing any "natural link building" and these pages seem to be on a rocket collision course to the top of the Google SERPS.
Simply put it seems you have almost an unfair advantage with an older domain in today’s Google, particularly if it passes some kind of "trusted site" test. I would like to keep writing on this but I am off to make some offers on some domains from the 1990′s17 Comments