Over the years there have been a lot of misconceptions about how Google determines domain rankings. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller was asked about one of the most widely held misconceptions in a recent hangout chat session. A participant wanted to know if domain age has an effect on ranking.
John noted that there are over 200 ranking signals, but the age of a domain isn’t necessarily one of them.
Domain Age Doesn’t Indicate Quality
Google’s top priority is to deliver search results that provide value to the user. That’s why high quality content is an SEO must. John makes a very logical point when he notes that the age of a domain doesn’t tell Googlebot anything about quality. A website that’s been parked on the Internet for a decade could offer far less value than a brand new site with updated information.
Instead Google pays more attention to the current situation. Unless a domain had a bad link building profile or dampening historical record, Googlebot isn’t registering what was on a site years ago. It’s only reading what’s on a web page now and how it’s being shared and linked. Given that Google algorithms regularly change, a new website that follows all the rules of the web could out rank an older site that hasn’t kept up with the algorithm updates.
Domain Age Also Doesn’t Translate to Relevancy
One of the most important factors for determining which webpages provide the most value is relevancy. The most relevant webpages for a search get to the top of the SERPs.
Like quality, domain age doesn’t indicate relevancy. How old a website is doesn’t tell Google what a page is about or how relevant the content is for a particular search.
But . . . Domain History Can Be Influential
What a webpage currently looks like is the most influential factor for ranking. However, the history of a domain can play a role. Typically, a website’s current state is a reflection of how it has developed over the years. If a website has been producing high quality content and offering value for years that will naturally help to boost its current performance.
Even though Google is primarily concerned with the current condition of a website, the collective history can influence a site’s rankings. So realistically, history can be an indirect factor.
At SearchRPM we always tell clients you have to continuously evaluate and update your websites in order to remain relevant and adhere to the latest Google algorithms. Our team works every day to stay on top of the algorithm changes, evaluate technical elements of client websites and help clients create high quality content that appeals to users and search engines. The results of those efforts are reflected in the SERPs.
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By Michael Ramirez
Michael Ramirez is the Founder of SearchRPM, an Austin, TX based search marketing company that’s well-versed in Search Engine Optimization best practices. You can follow Michael Ramirez on Twitter @openmic0323 or on Google+ to see what he’s up to next.