Many new website owners expect their site to hit the front page of search engines the day they launch. It can be soul-crushing to discover that the almighty Google does not agree. Google does not yet trust your website and isn’t prepared to put you forward as their preferred search result. But why?
Domain age is the duration passed since the first time the domain was indexed on Google.
When a new business launches they typically build a website. They are probably registering a domain name that has never been registered before and therefore has no past history on Google’s index. Think of this as a newborn baby domain, still learning the wonders of the internet.
An older business might have registered their domain name many years ago and have an established history on Google. They have an audience of customers and fans. Many know of and search for the business name. There is a perceived trust when a business has been around for a long time, and a website is no different.
In recent years, Google has released many statements about how domain age affects ranking. Within the first few months of owning a domain name, it is crawled by Google (and other search engines) to determine the quality of the website. It is important that within the first few months of having the domain name that you add high-quality content. Think of this as your first impression with Google. You also need to consider being mobile friendly and have an engaging, professional design to keep your visitors on your website.
Over time, Google will experiment by listing your website on certain searches it feels are relevant. They will then measure how their users interact with those results. Did they click on your website? If they did, how long did they stay on your website or did they just click back and go to another result? Google builds a historical profile of your website and how users engaged with you within their search results. Unfortunately this takes time, and it can be many months before Google has a clear picture of what your site is all about and if it’s worthy of ranking highly.
Generally speaking, the older a website is, the more likely it is to have acquired links to it from other websites (known as backlinks). Those links could be from news websites, blogs, directories, anything. The number of backlinks a website has is still widely regarded as the most important ranking factor within Google. Acquiring links to your website also takes a considerable amount of time and Google looks at the history of your link acquisition. Too many links all at once looks suspicious. But a good variety of websites regularly linking to your website that slowly increases over time is a huge trust signal.
So if you are just starting a new website, don’t be disheartened that you’re not rank 1 immediately. Instead, focus on how you can provide the best possible experience to customers. Over the long term, this customer-centric approach will not only benefit your customers but your website rankings too.