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 (exhaustive list of ranking factors that we like, with 200 factors).
Among the ranking factors that we analyze on our platform are domain age and domain registration length. We use them as two among many factors to compare niches and keywords in terms of difficulty and opportunity.
Keywords with a lot of “young” domains 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”).
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”.
Then we also have another comment from John Mueller of Google that domain age does not matter for rankings (https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/852131131889790976).
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.
Before we get to analysis, let us quickly check quote from Google Patent regarding domain registration length:
“Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith.”
Registration Length Analysis
In 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.
For each niche or for a selection of niches. E.g., 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 result is the following chart:
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. 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. We have seen this in our analysis over and over again. Young domains with top positions are very rare.
So, if you have a young domain and want to have top positions. Statistically there is a difficult path ahead, except for perhaps entirely new niches.
But even for new niches, 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.
We would also note btw, that when we find young and top ranked domains, they are often a great source of ideas for how to rank. Finding such domains is also one of our very valuable tools within our platform.
All of our niches can be individually ranked on average domain age of ranked pages. If we examine niches with lowest average domain ages, we find among them e.g. 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 hover boards:
For keto food niche:
For drones niche:
Using average domain ages of ranked pages to find interesting keywords to rank for
Finally, we will examine a valuable tool in our platform, which helps in finding high opportunity, low difficulty keywords for any niche.
We determine averages of different metrics (such as strength of content optimization) on a keyword level and then combine these metrics in one score which gives a quantitative method of ranking the keywords.
We can e.g. filter out all keywords of a given niche where the ranked pages have weak page optimization, thin content, are dominated by a few top niche domains, etc.
In this blog post we are going to concentrate on just one of those many factors – domain age. Some of the most interesting keywords we usually find in a niche is by looking at the keywords which have the youngest ranked domains on average.
Keywords which are dominated with young domains can indicate various scenarios – a new subniche emerging within niche not yet noticed by older domains, neglected or overlooked keyword, etc.
With thousands of keywords in each niche there are bound to be interesting keyword opportunities found and this is exactly what we are seeing.
So what are some of the keywords with some of the youngest ranked domains on average?
Purchase one of our plans at unicornseo.com to access the analysis.