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04|17|2008 04:33 pm EDT

Domain Age and Search Engine Positioning

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Search Engines

For quite some time, search engines have ranked websites based on the relevancy of keywords, the number of incoming links, and the rank of the pages sending the links. Microsoft has recently applied for a new patent that will add another factor into the mix: the age of the domains that are offering the links.

SEO by the Sea explains that as the cost of domains have become more affordable, spammers have been willing to spend extra money to purchase domains and build a network of links – allowing them to artificially increase their rankings with the major search engines.

Microsoft’s patent application clarifies the need for age as a factor by stating: “Less mature (i.e., newer) domains typically have a higher likelihood of being spam and/or being a part of a web farm that attempts to artificially inflate domain rankings for domains in the web farm.”

The method for ranking the domain age would involve domains being labeled as “mature” (established) or “immature” (new). A domain’s search engine positioning would be weighted most by links from mature domains rather than ones from immature domains.

For example, in an embodiment, domains that have been registered for more than ten years may contribute 100% of their accumulated ranks to a target domain’s rank; domains that have been registered from six to ten years may contribute 75% of their accumulated ranks to a target domain’s rank; domains that have been registered from three to six years may contribute 50% of their accumulated ranks to a target domain’s rank; domains that have been registered for one to three years may contribute 25% of their accumulated ranks to a target domain’s rank; and domains that have been registered for less than one year may only contribute 10% of their accumulated ranks.

Being one step ahead of the game, Microsoft has also considered resetting expired domains from “mature” to “immature” so spammers don’t end up purchasing large quantities of expired domains and using the same system as they have in the past.

With the added factor of age, established domains with a credible web presence will consistently rank higher than new domains who haven’t received a large number of links from mature sources. This will undoubtedly improve search engine quality and allow people to find the most trustworthy websites more often.

It has been suspected that others, such as Google, have already been using domain age as a contributing factor, but nothing has been made official until now.

[SEO by the Sea: Do Domain Ages Affect Search Rankings?]
[Microsoft Patent Application]

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