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.