Matt Cutts seems reluctant to confirm the true value of domain age...

Age-based ranking authority in URLs for SEO...

This page contains a few examples of how the possession of an old URL (web page address) tends to be a basic requirement when trying to rank highly for a very competitive search term.

There are exceptional circumstances, where fairly new URLs can rank very highly for very competitive search queries. But in such cases, there will usually be a much older URL linking to the newer URL. Indeed, in SEO, the age of the pages which link to your page is nearly as important a factor as the age of your own page itself.

This page will focus on the importance of the age of the URL of the page which you're trying to make rank high.

Example 1: SEO

I just went to Google UK (on 21st October 2009), and did a search for SEO, which returned 185,000,000 results. Now let's check the age of the top 6 results. Notice how most of these results are a few years old. We certainly aren't finding pages which were just made yesterday. But bear in mind that a search for "SEO" is going to produce some unexpected results, because all kinds of SEO experts will be trying short-lived black-hat tricks to climb into these search results.

Screenshot of Google UK, search for SEO

  1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization has archives going back to Jan 2004.

  2. www.justsearching.co.uk has archives going back to Oct 2004.

  3. www.seoconsult.co.uk has archives going back to Oct 2007.

  4. www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291 has archives going back to Jul 2008.

  5. www.ihaveawebsite-nowwhat.co.uk has archives going back to Feb 2003.

  6. www.seochat.com has archives going back to Feb 2003.

Example 2: UK

I did a Google UK search (on 21st October 2009) for the term "UK", which returned 1,340,000,000 results.

As expected, the pages which are ranking highest for this super-competitive search term are all very old, and many are over a decade old. Here we can see a classic example of how the oldest sites & pages are ranking highest for the most competitive of search terms.

Screenshot of Google UK, search for UK

  1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom has archives going back to Dec 2003.

  2. www.amazon.co.uk has archives going back to Oct 1997.

  3. maps.google.co.uk has archives going back to Apr 2005.

  4. uk.yahoo.com has archives going back to Nov 1999.

  5. www.direct.gov.uk has archives going back to Dec 1998.

  6. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/default.stm has archives going back to Aug 2002.

Example 3: Birmingham

Let's have one more example of how age of URL is such an important factor in SEO. This time I did a Google UK search (on 21st October 2009) for another very competitive search term, "Birmingham", and found 65,200,000 results.

Being a major city of the world, Google returns a bunch of pictures and airport links amoung these search results; so we're just going to check the first three main results listed, which would probably be the top three results even if this were a standard results page. Notice how the youngest URL is still nearly a decade old.

Screenshot of Google UK, search for Birmingham

  1. www.bham.ac.uk has archives going back to Jun 1997.

  2. www.birmingham.gov.uk has archives going back to Dec 1997.

  3. www.birminghamairport.co.uk has archives going back to Feb 2000.