The Domain Age Factor in Links

by Gary on April 27, 2008 · 4 comments

in Back Links,Link Strategies,SEO

We all know that the age of a domain affects search ranking. Because of this many websites have resorted in buying old domain names in order to benefit from the aging. This is not a bad thing at all especially if the domain bought is relevant to the site’s theme and the new site being built contains quality content. However spammers are always there to exploit every loophole they could find thus using even this technique and then use the old domain for nothing more than a link farm. Spammers usually resort to link farms because even though aged domains are good lots of links carry more weight in getting a higher ranking. Obviously search engines hate this tactic and have been trying and are still trying to find ways to combat these link farms both “old” and new.

Microsoft has been trying to combat this problem by looking not only at the age of the domain and the number of sites linking to it but also the age of the domain of those sites.* What this means is that although link farms may get lots of inbound links those links wouldn’t hold as much weight as links from older and more reputable sites since most of the sites that join link farms are new ones.

On the other hand, what this means for ordinary sites is that it will make it a bit harder to do link building since we need to get more links from older sites. Add to the that the relevance of the site and all those factors what it simply means is that organic link building is making more and more sense since search engines are finding better ways to determine which sites are really offering something of worth and not.

For a more in depth discussion on how Microsoft ranks a site depending on the maturity of a domain you can read Bill Slawski’s post “Do Domain Ages Affect Search Ranking?“.

Source: Ranking Domains Using Domain Maturity (US Patent Application #20080086467)

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Matan Media May 1, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Hi Gary,

Nice post. You say “that organic link building is making more and more sense” and you are right, but only as part of a bigger link building campaign. Yes direct link building has become harder, as weak links from new sites are worth a lot less, but it is still vital to get some quality links from quality sites in – with correct anchor text and pointing to a relevant page on your site.

Organic link building is great, but does not always help you build links for specific keyword terms as more often than not you do not control the page in which the link is placed, you do not control the anchor text and you do not control where that link is pointing! You need these things to effectively rank for chosen keywords.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Gary May 1, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Hi guys. Thanks for the comments.

@Paintworkz – There isn’t anything bad about selling domains for good money but the point is that for those who do buy those domain names because of the age they should keep in mind that MSN (maybe other search engines too?) will also be looking at the age of external sites linking to that domain. So if they want to make the most of it they’d better be looking for ways to get inbound links from established sites.

@Matan – Good point. The reply might turn out a bit long so I’ll be doing a post instead. Quick answer though…I agree that you have to do something to make sure you get relevant keywords in the anchor text.

Matan Media May 1, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Cheers Gary, I’m looking forward to it!

michaelj72 July 19, 2009 at 12:59 pm

good points. i believe that not only is the domain age of the site linking to you/your site important but the age of the link per se affects page ranking. one reason i like to choose older directories to often submit too (but also realize that a relatively new directory or site today will be more ‘valued’ in 2 or 3 years too)

i always thought the major search engines would have access to info on when domains are bought and sold, and so would take that into consideration and generally discount links from an ‘old domain’ which has recently been bought – e.g. if an ‘older domain’ is bought and then suddenly gets 10,000 new links or whatever, I have the feeling the search engine would somehow flag that as unusual growth of links in a short period of time and look at it more closely