The most important element of search engine optimization is content. The next is high-quality links from relevant websites to your website. Google has told us this, and they know. But there are other advantages that you might have — and you should make the most of them. One of these advantages is having an old domain.
Your domain is the web address you use. This website, for example, is on the domain www.hadeninteractive.com. You pay a fee each year to use your domain. While you can’t get a .gov or .edu domain without proving that you are really a government agency or a school, and you can’t use .gop without being Republican, there are plenty of other top level endings you can have just by paying that fee. Google doesn’t seem to pay a lot of attention to keywords in your domain name any more, but the age of your domain continues to help your SEO.
Why is an old domain valuable?
Google uses more than 200 factors to determine how valuable your web page is. Then, when someone searches for what you have to offer, Google uses that information to decide whether to show your website or your competitors’ site to the person who is searching.
If your content is the best, most relevant and useful answer to the question the searcher is asking, then your site wins. If your competitors are offering an equally good answer, Google has to decide whose site is best.
A lot of the factors that go into that decision have to do with trust. If Google steers searchers to spammy sites that don’t have what searchers want, they’ll lose out to their competitors. So Google always wants to offer the best, most trustworthy websites. Websites that have been active for a long time are less likely to be spammy sites. In fact, they’re more likely to be high quality websites representing established, high quality businesses.
How can you get the most from your old domain?
If you have an old domain, you have an advantage. We’re talking right now with a couple of companies with websites which have been active since the 20th century. In our experience, optimizing an old website gives fast results in rankings and performance. We’re excited to work with old domains, because we are all about the results.
If your website is doing pretty well because it’s on an old domain, optimize the content and you should see great results more quickly than a newer domain would. It doesn’t make sense to lose out on the benefits of your old domain by failing to optimize your content.
If you have a good, well-optimized website on an old domain, be sure to add fresh, original content regularly. Owning an old domain is good, but keeping your website active on an old domain is much better.
What if you don’t have an old domain?
If you’re setting up a new website now, can you get the benefits of an old domain? Possibly.
You can try to find an appropriate, relevant old domain that has expired. If you’re Esposito Dental Clinic and you find that www.espositodental.com is available (it is, as of this writing), you can take some further steps to see its history.
Go to the Wayback Machine and you’ll find that this domain was active from 2008 to 2011. That’s not as good as if it had been active from 2008 till last month, but it is still good. You should go for that domain.
If you have a website already but your domain is just a few years old, follow this advice:
- Don’t change your domain. Sometimes you need to change your domain, as when for example you change your business name. Sometimes it makes sense because you made a bad choice in the first place. If you got www.cheepteethfixer.biz for your Esposito Dental Clinic website, you should change right away. But once you have a good domain name, stick with it. You will eventually get the benefits of an old domain name.
- Don’t redirect myriad other domain names to your website. This is a waste of money. There is no SEO value. If there is likely to be traffic to another domain name — for example, if people might type www.espositodentalclinic.com into the search bar — then it could be useful to get that domain name. (It’s also available as of this writing.) The common trick of buying up lots of domain names and redirecting them has not been shown to provide any value.
- Keep your website active with regular, fresh content. A blog is the #1 best thing you can do for your website. Fresh, original content added to your website on a regular basis will pay off as your website matures. It’s like compound interest — the best time to start saving or investing is in the past. But the next best time is now.