How does Google determine domain age, and is it important for ranking?
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How does Google determine domain age, and is it important for ranking?


Today’s question comes
from Maarten in Belgium. Maarten asks, “How does
Google determine domain age? Do they look at the whois data
or do they rely on the crawler? Example given. when it first indexed
the website. In general, how important is
it for website authority? Thanks! Good question. So the first thing that you
need to know is that whois data is not generally available,
even if you were a registrar. And whois data can vary
from country code TLD. For example, .co.jp, .fi for
Finland, .in for India. And in general, sometimes that
whois data is on websites and all that sort of stuff. So what’s much easier is to
say, when did we first see a website, when did
we first crawl it? We did actually file a patent
on using historical data in the search results and that issued,
I think, back in 2005. So there are a lot of
ways you can think about the age of a domain. For example, when did you first
see a link to a domain as opposed to when did
you first crawl it? And there are a lot of things
you can look at, like how stale is the data
and stuff like that. But a good way to think about
it is often the vast majority of the time, we’ll have
coverage for when we first crawled a domain or when we
first saw a link to a domain, and that’s going to be a lot
more useful data than, perhaps whois data that you might
not be able to get for every single domain. So in general, how important
is it for website authority? Well, my answer is not
to worry that much. The difference between a domain
that’s six months old versus one year old is really
not that big at all. So as long as you’ve been
around for at least a couple months, a few months, you
should be able to make sure that you’re able to show
up in the search results. So a lot of people are talking
about oh, I want to get pre-aged domains or I want to
get domains from 1994 or something like that. And that’s not typically
something that you need to worry about. I would say it’s often good to
go ahead and buy a website, put up a place holder page to tell
people what’s coming, and then just go ahead and
develop the website. And by the time you get your
website live, often that’s two or three months
down the line already. So just something to bear in
mind, whois data is not generally available, even
though Google is a registrar, a whois registrar, that’s not
something that you get automatically from
being a registrar. Whereas, when you crawl the
web, you end up finding new domains relatively quickly
after they’re registered because of the link
to those domains. And when you first crawl a
domain or when you first are able to see a link to a domain,
it can be a very nice way to measure how old a domain is. So a lot of the times, whenever
you’re saying OK, search over some given subject–
you know, Mayan art. You can see on the left-hand
side there’s now a place where you can slice and
dice by different dates. So that’s actually a
combination of different dates, but for example, it could use
when we first saw a page or when we first saw
a domain name. You might also take into
account when it was last updated, all that
sort of stuff. But in general, I wouldn’t
obsess about trying to have an old domain. The fact is it’s mostly the
quality of your content and the sort of links that you get as a
result of the quality of your content that determine how well
you’re going to rank in the search engines.

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