Age before beauty? hmmm…
My thoughts are yes and no, there are many thinks to consider. But if you have a domain that you’ve but some time and effort in or you have the possibility to buy a domain that has a good legacy on the internet go for it.
Through my years of SEO/SEM I’ve had the luck to get to know some hands one samples where the age of the domain matter more than it’s name. A company I worked for recently had just bought a brand new domain, or so they thought, and asked me to market it for them. The owner had been brainstorming on a domain name that would short and say what needs to be said about his product and services. He was definitely not thinking about search engines at that period. After some time he came upon the name Arctic and to his surprise it was available.
But what he did not realise was that this domain had been around for nearly 7 years* and had previously been owned by a travel agency that had over the time gained a lot of quality link popularity.
So for some ten’s of dollars his company bought seven years of marketing and trust from the search engines, this URL’s legacy. Goes with out saying that this made my job fairly easy, even for competitive search term like Iceland, where they rock between the second and the fourth result page of 37,5 million results at Google and from over 90 million results at Yahoo they also rock between the same area and get this they do that through a custom 404 error page, but that’s another story. Their main goal was to rank well under as many Iceland related car rental search terms as possible and the do.
Another good example I know of here in Iceland is about a magazine called Iceland Review, a leading magazine in the tourism industry, the oldest and most respectable one. They for many years had been using the domain icenews.is until someone said “Why are we using icenews.is? It does not sell our brand, let’s switch to http://www.icelandreview.com/ and throw the other one away” and so they did. Little later a new tourism related publication was created, a snappy little bit less mainstream paper. Guess what they bought! Icenews.is and with it nearly eight years of legacy on the Internet.
In some cases like Yahoo www.icenews.is ranked even higher than Iceland Review, under the search term Iceland Review and to rub some salt into the wounds, the snappy one has not even opened up their new web. So imagine how they will do with a well optimized web! Remember the story of the Click here search at Google and Yahoo? This Iceland Review sample is also a good example how of page optimization can work.
So my theory in very simple terms is this:
As a part of their Algorithm search engines look to the age of your domain, does it have a legacy and constancy? You do not have to worry about Google’s nasty SandBox and the build in already made link popularity / Page Rank does the rest.
The conclusion? Don’t throw your old domain away, it might be worth much more than you think. One the side do you have custom 404 error pages?
* http://web.archive.org/ – Check your domain name here and see how it has developed over the years.