Domain Aging
October 16, 2008

Domain Aging – Fact or Fiction?

By Barry

Domain Aging – Fact or Fiction?


Domain age has been touted as a factor in the valuation of a domain but is this really true or is it a popular myth?

I was reading a french domaining blog post La valorisation des noms de domaine – l’ancienneté. I struggled through with my schoolbook french and a rather unhelpful Babelfish but caught the gist of the post.I wanted to weigh in with my own views and experience with this and hopefully hear your views.

Domain age since registration

Let me be blunt. I do not think that this gives a domain any advantage whatsoever and therefore should not factor into value. A domain that was registered back in the prehistoric times of the Internet is more likely to be valuable but that is due to the fact that high quality names were available then and so their value comes from the name itself, not the registration date.

Domain age in index

The length of time a domain have been indexed especially by Google is almost certainly a positive factor. A domain that has been continuously indexed for a good amount of time means that it is less likely to be a fly by night operation and less likely to be a spammy site. In short an element of “trust” has been established. This is the domain age factor that I believe is referred to in ranking patents from search engine companies. This is the age that should affect value but there are some qualifications to that as I will explain.

Domain age and parked pages

Parked pages in general are not indexed or may be indexed for short periods of time. They generally have little content and no back links. As such no matter when they were registered, they have not built any “trust”. Therefore again domain age in the index is what is key and parked pages don’t benefit.

Domain age and dropped domains

Dropped domains will often also drop out of the search engine’s indexes, lose inbound links to interior pages and often be treated like any newly registered domain hosting a website by the search engines. The value instead will come from the quality of the name itself and any residual traffic.

Domain age and its history

An old domain which has hosted a site that violated a search engine’s terms of service and was therefore penalized or de-indexed is likely to have lost some or all the benefits of index aging. To guard against this, you should always check the Internet Archive aka Wayback Machine to see how the domain has been used.

Domain age and theming

Perhaps more controversial is whether a domain name needs to have hosted websites that maintain a consistent theme e.g. being used for the planet mercury or being used for the element mercury. I am unsure if this is important but I would worry more about the pre-existing incoming links and whether they would be relevant if the theme is changed.

Domain age and inbound link age

Clearly inbound links rule indexing and ranking especially in Google. The age of the inbound link is certainly one factor that helps ranking and older domains with websites tend to accumulate and aged links.

The bottom line on domain age

Domain valuation is the estimated price a buyer will pay for a domain and as such is based on established facts but also on established myths and preconceptions. If the buyer thinks that a domain that was registered many years ago and left parked is better than a very similar domain that was only registered last year then they will be more willing to pay a higher price for the former. As a buyer though, that perceived value is unlikely to translate into any advantage in the indexing and ranking of their website.

Related post

What a buyer should look for

With regards to domain age, look for

  • domain age in index
  • continuous indexing
  • lack of search engine TOS violations
  • aged inbound links

I have had really good experiences with buying older domains with stable websites on them but of course these will cost you more money.

Next time I will talk about how to find such domains at reasonable cost. Also I will show you how to preserve the real value of those domains and websites because quite a few people make mistakes that destroy the advantages of buying such domains.