We have analysed domain ages of 380,000 ranked pages from over 200 niches – here is what we found out
Our platform offers SEO analysis of a large number of niches (you can also add your own), looking at a large number of ranking factors.
Among the ranking factors that we analyze on our platform are domain age and domain registration length. We use them as part of wider analysis to compare niches and keywords in terms of difficulty and opportunity.
Keywords that have a lot of “young” domains as top ranked pages often indicate great and neglected opportunities for getting organic search visits.
How important are domain age and domain registration length as search ranking factors and why? Google Patent referenced here has a lot of interesting quotes.
It suggests that domain age can potentially play several possible roles:
– it can help in calculating speed of link acquisition (which in turn allows other analysis, e.g. if a site is getting links too fast, it can potentially result in devaluation)
– impacting different queries (quote: “In some instances, older documents may be better than newer ones”).
On the other hand, we also have a quote from Google’s Matt Cutts (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pnpg00FWJY) regarding younger domains: “the difference between a domain that’s 6 months old and 12 months old is very small”.
As there are so many opinions and documents we were really interested to find out what the data says. You will see it in a moment.
Registration Length Analysis
On our platform, you can take any niche (or add your own with your own keywords) and examine how an average value of a factor changes for different rankings.
You can examine results for individual niches or for a selection of niches.
As an example, here is average URL length for different rankings, determined from 380,000 rankings positions results of 200 niches:
However, in this post we will focus on factors related to domain age and expiry.
For each domain we have determined its age and registration length and calculated their averages for 380,000 ranked pages for 200 niches considered.
The following chart demonstrates how the average domain registration length changes with ranking.
Trend is apparent, with slope amounting to around 3 months between 1. and 10. position. R2 statistics is 0.87*.
Note that the effect value is not necessarily direct factor attribution. It is possible that domains with longer purchased registration lengths may simply invest more resources in Search Engine Optimization and part of the effect may thus be of such secondary, indirect nature.
We also get a similar indication of significance of registration length if we compare:
- the average registration length of all domains from niches, which is 1.54 years
- average registration length by looking at ranked URLs, which is 2.03 years
For the first average, each domain is counted once, while for the second average it is counted as many times as it or one of its subpages are present in rankings.
With second average larger by half a year, it indicates that domains with longer registration lengths occur more often in top rankings.
* – as there are probably many factors related to domain age but not included in regression model, the result may be introduction of bias (so-called omitted variables bias)
Domain Age Analysis
Next, let us examine domain age averages for 380,000 ranked pages for 200 niches.
The apparent trend can be explained in various ways and not necessarily as a result of direct ranking factor at work.
Domains with longer domain ages exist longer and thus have more time to acquire strong and relevant links.
Note that one of the strongest ranking factors is not the speed of the link acquisition (though it may play a role) but the absolute amount of quality links.
So, the longer you are around, the better chances you have for ranking in top positions. And the chart may simply reflect this truth.
The chart also tells another very important story: top ranked pages are on average old, very old (15+ years). We have seen this in our analysis over and over again. Young domains with top positions are very rare.
When they do occur, investigating them can bring many interesting ideas for SEO, as they often employ innovative strategies for rankings.
It is important to realize that even when new niches emerge, older, established domains (e.g. news, product, review sites) can move in the new niche very easily and dominate it.
This is just one of many reasons why we think our Moneyball approach to SEO makes a lot of sense today and the future.
Average domain ages of niches
All of our niches can be individually ranked on average domain age of ranked pages. If we examine niches with lowest average domain ages, one of more prominent ones is Drop Shipping. But even here the average domain age is 10.7 years, see the profile below.
The slope is inverse, indicating that many top domains in the young niche are from relatively new players.
Domain Age Profiles
Our platform offers a wealth of analytical tools, one of them shows the domain age distributions for individual niches. Often, this is a way of validating prospect of the niche or understanding niche trends.
As a first example, let us look at the niche of brain supplements. We believe that an increasing number of people is interested in this sector due to fear of being replaced by AI in the future. Perhaps they view it as a hedge against those developments.
If one looks at the domain age profile, there is indeed a bump around 6-7 years ago which coincides with the first big successes of deep learning.
If we look on the other hand at another, more traditional niche – career planning, only very few of ranked domains are young, it is rather dominated by older domains:
And how do domain age profiles of some new trending niches look like? Here is an example for the drones niche:
Combining average domain ages of ranked pages with other factors to find interesting keywords to rank for
Our platform calculates average domain of ranked pages for each individual keyword. In combination with other factors of keywords that we compute, we can conduct advanced searches for keywords.
Some other factors that we calculate for each keyword are:
- on-page optimization strength of top ranked pages for a keyword (based on fuzzy match between words of the keyword and words in the title, description, h1, h2 of ranked pages)
- average content length of top ranked pages of the keyword
- % domination of keyword by the top domains of the niche. We estimate the total search volumes from niche keywords for each domain in rankings. We then calculate how much of the search volume of a keyword is taken by the 20 domains that have highest overall search volumes from the niche.
All these factors allow our keyword tool to find interesting keywords with great precision and in a way not offered by any other tools.
You can for example search for a keyword in the general field of “sports”, only an average domain age of 2 years, thin to normal content and with weak to normal on-page optimization.
In our blog post, we presented the results of in-depth analysis of domain age and registration lengths for over 380,000 ranked pages from about 200 niches.
Analysis shows that top ranked domains are on average very old (15 years or more) and that older domains tend to rank higher than younger ones.
We also established that domains with longer registration lengths tend to rank higher in search engines.
Finally, we discussed some other factors that calculate for keywords and how they can help find interesting keywords in your niche.