SEO Question: Does The Length Of Time (Domain Age) That a Site Or Domain Name Has Existed Play In Search Engine Placement?
I want to change my domain name for a new one that’s more appropriate for our business, but we currently use a URL we have had since 2002. Will a new domain name without any domain age make a difference to our search results?
This is a great question and one we get asked a lot!
There are many pro’s and cons to switching domains. An old domain (if it hasn’t been over optimized) will normally always out rank a brand new URL.
Google trusts aged domains much more than new ones which it treats with suspicion.
This is magnified if you switch an old ‘Brand’ URL for a new keyword rich one.
Google is all about trust and authority and so brand building is considered to be an important factor. Amazon use amazon.com in preference to www.shopping.com, eBay use www.ebay.com in preference to www.onlineauction.com and Google likes that.
There are many instances in almost every niche of companies that use keyword rich URLs instead of Brand URLs and rank well.
This doesn’t mean that you can switch and do the same thing though. In the majority of instances, those businesses have a history of using that keyword rich domain for several years, so it helps them.
If you swap URLs on an existing site, you raise a red flag for Google who will treat the switch with suspicion. Your site may well be ‘sandboxed’ which is like quarantine for websites where you won’t rank for anything for at least 6 months until you build up a history of trustworthiness for the new domain.
It’s a gamble changing your domain for ranking purposes. For brand new sites it’s different and it’s common practice to set up a new site using a keyword rich TLD and having a Brand URL that redirects onto the TLD for use by people who know you.
The downside to this is that it’s a bigger challenge to make the TLD rank for your Brand and company name, but better for keyword searches.
There is a big ranking difference between having a hyphenated URL and no hyphens.
If you are choosing a URL, go for either a .com or a .co.uk (if you are UK based) as these are the two most powerful TLD URLs.
Avoid hyphens and your URL will work for you to one extent or another.