On X (formerly Twitter), someone wondered if domain age influences search rankings. Google’s John Mueller clarifies:
Tweet: “Does a domain’s age affect Google search rankings?”
SEOs have often observed that older domains tend to rank higher. However, correlations only sometimes provide a solid understanding.
Google’s Opinion about Domain Age
John Mueller from Google tweeted: “Mainly those looking to sell you older domains :-)”
And just to be clear, Mueller had tweeted before: “No, domain age doesn’t provide any benefits.”
What’s the stand of SEO experts?
SEOs have believed that domain age has played a crucial role in rankings for nearly two decades, considering it a significant factor. This belief may have stemmed from a Google patent named “Information retrieval based on historical data.”
However, the interpretation of this patent by SEOs was entirely wrong. The patent’s “Domain-Related Information” section focused on using domain data to spot spam sites, not on awarding higher ranking points based on a domain’s long registration. Identifying spam and granting ranking bonuses for domain age are different.
The patent aims to identify spam by using domain data to catch throwaway domains used by deceptive individuals. These spammers create “doorway” domains to attract traffic before being detected.
The crucial point that SEOs misunderstood is that this information isn’t employed to rank “legitimate” domains. Instead, the registration data is utilized to locate and penalize spam sites.
According to the patent, valuable (legitimate) domains are often prepaid for several years, while illegitimate (doorway) domains typically last less than a year. The statement emphasizes that the expiration date can predict the legitimacy of a domain within the context of identifying spam.
The patent discusses using DNS history information to pinpoint illegitimate domains in the same section. This involves analyzing data over time and identifying known-bad contact information, name servers, and IP addresses for predicting legitimacy.
The patent clarifies that the newness of a name server alone may not be harmful, but when combined with other factors, it could indicate a spam domain.
In essence, John Mueller’s assertion is accurate – domain age is not considered a ranking factor. No patent suggests otherwise; instead, these patents focus on detecting and penalizing spam, highlighting the importance of context in understanding their purpose.