15 Sep 2005

I like ’em old.

When Leads come in, I review them, and either trash them, send them to Todd, or handle myself. Often when I send them to todd, I attach a small note like:

"Since 1999 (potential)" or "since 2003 – maybe"….today I sent one to Todd which said "since 1997"

Note, that these little notes don’t say "It’s a PR6" or "It’s got 500 links" or "product looks great" or anything like that….it’s the Year which means the most to me.

Why is the age so important? 

Let me try to make a case for the age of websites using a "Blue Widget" Test.
In viewing the top 10 sites in Google for literally "Blue Widgets" (without the quotes), I find these 8 sites rounding out the top 10 search results. Next to each site I put the month and year the site was registered on:

www.webmasterworld.com – 12/1999
www.nsa.gov  – can’t find, but it’s a gov and a pdf (double love…another story).
www.allfreeguide.com  3/2002
www.gruden.com  1/1998
www.ezinearticles.com  11/1999
www.newbiehangout.com  12/2001
www.seochat.com  6/2003
www.att.com  12/1993

The average age of these sites is around 6 years old and the newest site is seochat.com from which is just over 2 years old (and also shows hundreds of thousands of backlinks using Yahoo’s linkdomain search).

This theory holds that trying to rank high for "blue widgets" with a site registered in 2005 certainly can be done…but it will probably take a few years, if, during those years you’ve been working your butt off creating great content and gathering as many links as you can to your site.

New sites need Time for rankings. When the sandbox was first reported it was thought of as a 3 month phenonemom, then 6 month, then a year. I think some people are afraid to admit that it might be over a year depending on circumstances. I wish now that I hadn’t given a few sites thousands of links overnight early last year! I think those site are sitting in there longer now because of it.) now some sites are in over a year….it depends on several factors, but in 98% of the cases, you’re not going to see any "competitive" rankings for what I believe to be 6 months to a year and a half.  Keep in mind that if your website is less than a year old, chances are you’ll see almost no traffic from Google, no matter what you do.

In simple terms, the age of a website along with the age of backlinks, plays a large roll in rankings. Trusted Authority sites don’t spring up overnight (99%) of the time. Trusted Authorities come with Age and by sites obtaining constant new links over the course of Years.

See Google Sandbox Effect Papers and Google’s patent on Information retrieval based on historical data

There’s several methods of finding the "age" of a website.

To find when a domain was registered on you can use whois.sc or Networksolutions.com/whois/ 

But to get what may be a more accurate "age" would be to see when a search engine like Google might have found the site for the first time (when "birth" of the site might be – after all, someone could register a name and then not use it for a few years). To find when might have been close to "birth" use the Wayback Machine. We can figure that if the Internet Achieve found your site back then, then so did Google. You can also run a search, and grab the top 10 URL’s for that search and enter them into this age of website tool to get an idea of how old the top 10 sites are for your targeted phrases are at a glance.

Natural Link Growth.
Older sites have the advantage of gaining links within a community over the course of years.  New sites, unless they are spectacular and "of news" will not be able to even start to look into "fitting into the community" for a year or more (part sandbox – part Mike’s Filthy Linking Rich ideas). Google tends to like old established sites and trusts them more often over new sites.

The key is links over time.

The older the site the more "natural" the more probable that it has experienced some type of "natural link growth" and that it’s potential is far more than any sites started after the site in question.


  1. randfish September 21, 2005 at 12:05 PM

    Jim, I did a similiar survey of 10 search terms and the top 10 ranking sites and found the same thing – avg age was 1999 for 100 sites.

    BTW – I need to read this blog more regularly. You’ve got great stuff here.

  2. kservik October 27, 2005 at 11:34 AM

    I am working with a client in travel and their site is 6 months old.

    My advice to them so far is to buy a on topic domain, as the budget is too low to develop their current domain.

    Totally agreed, Rand. This blog is really readworthy.


  3. » Google bevorzugt alte Domains October 27, 2005 at 2:36 PM

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  4. Jason October 28, 2005 at 8:50 AM

    Hey Jim,

    Great piece but a small typo in the linkdomain url – You have a double http in there and funnily enough (at least in my install of FF) it ultimately sends you over to MSN 🙂

    Cheers mate


  5. Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog » Blog Archive » Playing with Google’s Domain Age Factor October 30, 2005 at 5:44 PM

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    […] Mehr dazu: Internetmarketing-News: Google bevorzugt alte Domains Netztaucherbrille: Problemlösungsstrategien Suchmaschinen News: Google Sandbox und Google Filter Jim Boykin’s Blog: I like ‘em old weitere Artikel zu: GoogleRanking, SEO   […]

  7. Webmaster & SEO Blog November 5, 2005 at 11:36 AM

    Google Sandbox Effekt vermeiden

    Jörg hat mich eben per Mail gefragt, ob ich ein Rezept für den Google Sandbox Effekt habe. Dazu sind mir folgenden Maßnahmen eingefallen:

    1. Valiierung des Linktextes
    Nicht immer mit dem gleichen Linktext verlinken!

    2. Anfangs keine hartumkä…

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  9. Shimon Sandler February 6, 2006 at 10:53 PM

    Jim, I like using a dns tool on http://www.dnsstuff.com to get whois info and a whole lot more:-)

  10. bob February 24, 2006 at 2:15 AM

    I managed to get a 1998 domain recently so it’ll be interesting to see if SEO comes easier now.

  11. Buying old domains - chat and ramble. - Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog April 8, 2006 at 3:18 PM

    […] So I can either try to get rid of that prospective SEO client caller (who has the new site) ASAP (which I so often do)….or I can explain all of this and add…ya know, there just might be a related site that’s been abandoned or someone who might sell you their old (related) website….and if we do it right, you might have related ranking traffic a lot sooner. (what would you do?) (I’ve only done that a couple of times….I’d rather have someone for a client where we’re working on their site they called my about…which basically means, if your site is less than 2 years old, I probably don’t want to work with you). […]

  12. Tyler Dewitt August 5, 2007 at 7:23 PM

    Jim I must be doing pretty good, I managed to get my website in the top 5 for the keyword website design in 5 1/2 months. I did not pay for one link, accept for directory sponsored links.

    When i first started I didn’t even have money to buy links :).

  13. Tyler Dewitt August 5, 2007 at 7:25 PM

    Another thing jim I totally agree with you on domain age, I had some guy the other day trying to tell me that domain age had no part in ranking and i was thinking you are crazy.

    The thing is I had a client I was doing custom programming for his domain was dated back to 1996, he had krap links but they were sooo old so you could consider them valuable, anyways he is ranking for very competitive keywords and owns 3 ware houses and is the largest reseller for hallmark ornaments the guy is banking, just off his site.

    He don’t even realize why either, he don’t even build links to it hardly. Its just been setting for so long and hes done some link building, but not considerably like you would a new site to get it going.

  14. nathan September 28, 2007 at 9:17 PM

    I’ve heard that age is important before, but this post is very descriptive, I liked it.

  15. hypotheek November 1, 2007 at 9:29 AM

    I do agree with this post, only i do believe it is still possible to get higher ranking with a young site than with an old one. Only you must work a little harder 🙂

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