Thursday, January 5, 2017

Two Key SEO Lessons: Domain Age and Refreshed Content/Data

Domain age can influence the ranking of a website--usually in a positive way, unless the data is "stale," as Matt Cutts, Google's old Webmaster, notes in this YouTube video. In this video, Cutts answers the question: "How does Google determine domain age, and is it important for ranking?"

"The difference between a domain that’s six-months-old versus one year old is really not that big at all," Cutts says.

Of course, this is not the same as saying the difference between a domain that's six-months-old and six-years-old is not that big at allIn terms of SEO, the latter, older domain will have had more time to build page and domain authority as well as backlinks. Yet, even beyond optimization, many SEO experts believe domain age is important.

In his list of 200 Google Ranking Factors, Brian Dean, of Backlinko, cites domain age first, yet he adds the Cutts quote above, and notes, "In other words, they do use domain age…but it’s not very important."

Neil Patel, on the other hand, cites domain age as one of the top reasons sites rank high on Google when they are not optimized:

"Most of the sites that rank high are at least a few years old. Sure, most of these older sites have more backlinks and content as they have been around for longer, but not all of them. What I’ve noticed is that if you take a brand new website, build tons of relevant links, and add high quality content, you still won’t get as much search traffic as older sites will."

Based on our own observations, we agree with Patel's assessment: older sites often rank high, with or without good SEO. The lesson here is simple: Age matters. And this lesson speaks to an adage we often promote on The Organic SEO Blog: SEO takes time.

SEO Takes Time [Photo Source]
Domain Age and SEO: Change is Key

Do you have an older website that ranks high? Perhaps your website is a beneficiary of domain age. Even without on-going optimization, a site can maintain a high ranking in industries with little competition. Of course, it is best to not rest on your laurels. A previous optimization campaign might've boosted you to the first page. Without change, though, your website will appear "stale" to Google. Without change, you essentially create an opening for a new, optimized website to take your place--and perhaps your profits.

So yes, age matters--but age is not enough. If you enjoy a high ranking in a highly competitive industry, you must evolve to face new competition. In the end, content is much more important than age. In this way, it is possible for a relatively new site to beat a site that has benefited from domain age.

For websites old and new, the goal is clear: To maintain a high ranking, you must create dynamic content. For websites both old and new, then, we offer one more SEO adage: Change is key.

In practice, however, change is not merely about creating dynamic content.

Change can also be about refreshing old content and updating your website's data.

We've entered the New Year. Now is the perfect time to think about these two crucial SEO practices.

Refreshing Old Content 

Even older websites with good traffic, which rank high, and have inspired a variety of links, can suffer from a decrease in the factors that had once inspired a high ranking--like great content.

 As Erin Everhart notes at Search Engine Land: "That old content is probably still ranking well, but it’s outdated — technology has changed, new information has been presented, or there’s a better way to accomplish the same task."

The key, then, for any website, is to find pages that rank well, or once ranked well, and refresh the content in a way that increase the page's current relevance.

To do so, we suggest optimizing for new keywords, joining the current cultural conversation, and re-promoting. To learn more about these specific strategies, check out our post: How to Refresh Old Content.

Updating Your Website's Data

As Matt Cutts says, to Google, a "finished" website is a "stale" website.

A fast, appealing site is a great beginning. However, too many small businesses stop at the beginning. Over time, a website that does not update its website data risks losing traffic and rankings.

To meet the demands of today's browser, you must improve your content and your website's underlying structure. A static site will falter. A dynamic site will maintain rankings and increase traffic.

To learn more about website design and structure, check out our post: SEO 101: The Importance of Website Structure.

An SEO Company That Understands The Importance of Change: Stepman's PC!

To build an effective, fully-optimized website, you need a web development company that understands SEO. Stepman's PC is the rare company that offers a host of SEO and marketing professionals to optimize your website. The New Year is the best time to contact an experienced SEO professional. Call Stepman's PC today to learn how you can improve your website's performance: 215-900-9398.