Search engine optimisation: Is domain age an important factor?

As well as good search engine optimisation practices, Google rankings come down to two things: opportunity and trust, according to one sector expert.

Writing for Hobo-Web.co.uk, Shaun Anderson questions whether an older site is likely to appear higher on search engine results than a newer site, simply because it has been around for longer.

However, he states that the real key to website promotion is ‘ranking factors’ – things such as effective use of keywords and links – rather than ‘ranking conditions’, for example domain age.

"Having a ten-year-old domain that Google knows nothing about is the same as having a brand new domain," Mr Anderson states.

To optimise a website to its best potential, the two issues must be considered hand-in-hand, he adds.

Another issue which may affect search engine ranking is the length and location of the domain name.

For example, a domain name which incorporates relevant keywords – especially exact keyword matches – is essential for effective SEO.

Google’s Matt Cutts has said that while one should not obsess about the order of keywords in a URL, the use of them "does help a little bit".

Equally, a website which is registered to the country from which it operates, for example com verses co.uk, is also likely to be easier for internet users to find directly.

However, a domain internet protocol (IP) and domain IP neighbours are far less important, as are domain external mentions, Mr Anderson says.

One thing that is worth spending time getting to grips with, though, is geo-targeting settings in Google Webmaster Tools – a free web service which allows site owners to check indexing status and optimise the visibility of their websites.

In conclusion, Mr Anderson states that the best way to improve the ranking factor of a website is to "think like a Google engineer" and consider the ranking factors and conditions that may be of benefit to SEO.

He adds that there are other more obvious and effective ways to improve search rankings than domain age.

"I don’t think it’s where you’re at, it’s what you do next that is important to improve rankings in 2010," he explains.

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