So, how important is the domain name age for SEO?
Choosing the right domain (name and age), can have a huge impact on your business. So it's important to get it right.
How to Find the Age of a Domain Name
Finding the age of a domain name is fairly easy and there are a handful of online tools available. I'd recommend using http://www.webconfs.com/domain-age.php. It'll let you drop in multiple domains at a time, making it easier if you have a handful, or big list, of potential domain options.
What Domain Name Age Will Do For You and What It Won't
Back in the early days of SEO it was simple to by an old domain, especially if it included keywords, and build a small website on it to get it ranking. The days of exact match domains and old domains just popping up at the top of results are over, but do they still have value? In our research we've seen that launching a website on an aged domain name will almost always rank faster on Google that if the website was on a never-used domain name. The Google Sandbox is a real thing and website that a brand new and haven't made their way out of the sandbox yet, often will be stuck in the mud trying to gain traction.
In 2015 we worked with a client who wanted to sell wheels and rims online. The client asked for our help in choosing a domain name and we were able to purchase a domain that was 12 years old and use to have website on it. There were even still a few in-bound links coming into it. The links can be helpful if they are quality links, so be sure to check the link profile on a domain you purchase.
Within 12 months of launching the website we were driving 15,000 unique organic visits a month. I believe the aged domain name had a lot to do with seeing success that quickly.
An aged domain will help your efforts, but the website must still be a quality website. The domain will not make up for a lack of quality content and on-site technical SEO.
The Risk of Purchasing an Aged Domain
Be sure to do your due diligence on what the domain was used for previously and determine if you feel the domain may have ever been penalized in Google. If the website did previously have a penalty, chances are you could be in for a major uphill SEO battle. Use tools like Ahrefs.com to do a backlink audit and see who is linking to the website. If there are shady domains linking to it, you'll want to stay away from purchasing that domain. Another great tool is the Wayback Machine. This will allow you to see what the previous website looked like that was on the domain. If the website focused on the same topic you plan to focus on, that will make a big difference in your potential success. The better the previous website was, the better chances you'll have of ranking quick. If you can find a way to talk with the owner of the domain, do it. Ask them why the shut down the website or why they are looking to sell the domain.
Don't just purchase a domain without doing your research. Getting a bad domain, even if it has age, can set you back more than a brand new domain would.