Does Domain Age Matter in SEO?

Domain age does not matter in SEO.

If you now buy a domain and leave it be, it doesn’t feel time. If you come back to it 2 years later and start churning out content, the time starts there.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to explain how Google’s algorithm works. Instead, I want to explain how it acts upon us in my experiences. 🙂

Why Care about Domain Age?

Google is known to “sandbox” new domains.

This means that new domains usually don’t get traffic for weeks or even months—no matter how good the content strategy is.

12 months and only 45 clicks on a blog

So the natural next question is: How about letting the domain get older and then start writing to it?

This way you can avoid the sandboxing period, right? Well, not so fast.

It’s not about that domain age. It’s all about the content your website has and the time it has taken for Google to trust your site.

Blogs Grow Very Slow

Google’s search results are all based on trust.

Google search results

Here’s roughly how it works:

  1. More content builds more trust.
  2. More trust means high rankings.
  3. High rankings bring in those visitors.

So if there’s a new website or a blog, Google won’t trust it because it hasn’t “shown its skills yet”.

This is how it works in the real world.

Think about someone new to a job. They won’t be given the highest position right off the bat. They’ll have to earn it.

In my experience, this applies perfectly to blog posts and websites.

To land on top of Google, you need to work hard. This is exactly what Google’s “sandboxing period” is meant for. It’s akin to a “trial period” of a new site. During that period, Google wants to carefully evaluate how the new site performs in the search results.

This takes time and there’s no way around it. And this is exactly why blogs grow very slowly.

For example, this blog that I launched almost 6 months ago still has less than 1,000 visitors a day—even with 200 blog posts.

Blog with 52k visitors in the past 6 months

This example blog of mine is only starting to get the feet off the ground. Google is slowly trusting the site more and more and bringing it higher in the search results.

Even with 200 blog posts, it takes a long time to get truly good amount of traffic. That’s the name of the game.

Just Let the Domain Age?

Instead of spending time writing and waiting for Google to trust your website, how about letting it age without any content?

That way you can come back 6-12 months later and start writing and immediately ranking, right?

But that’s not how it works.

The domain starts “aging” right after fresh content starts pouring in.

So even if you ditched your blog for a year, Google would still consider it new when you first start writing to it.

Just Write a Few Posts First?

A content-free domain doesn’t seem to “age” in the eyes of Google. But how about launching a new domain, writing 5-10 posts on it, and then leaving it be?

That still won’t cut it.

Think about starting a new job and working for 2 weeks and then taking a year off. That doesn’t mean you have a year of experience.

The same goes for websites and blogs.

There’s simply no way around Google’s sandboxing. It doesn’t have anything to do with the age of your domain. It’s all about the content.

As a matter of fact, even if you have a ton of content and an older domain, Google might still freeze it if you make big changes to your content.

Let me show you an example of this.

Case Study

I have a blog that’s almost 4 years old and has had about 15 blog posts on it for about 2 years. The blog consistently gets about 500-1,000 monthly visitors (even though it’s 100% inactive).

500 monthly page views

Steady traffic to my blog (with summers being quiet).

However, three weeks ago, I and my mate decided to breathe life into this inactive blog.

We changed the niche and turned it into an affiliate website. We spent about 100 hours writing 40 quality posts on it.

What happened next is surprising.

All the blog posts started to skyrocket for about a week…

Blog with sudden traffic spike and 100 daily views
Only days in and we almost hit 100 clicks per day

But then it all crashed down.

Blog with sudden traffic drop from 100 views to almost 0

Everything flipped. Google clearly must have restarted the whole evaluation process of the site.

Our blog posts started to rank with the wrong keywords. There’s basically no traffic to that website anymore.

But guess what. We actually expected to see this.

With such a surge of content (and changing the niche), Google basically considers this 4-year-old website a brand new site in the new niche.

And it is indeed going to re-evaluate the entire site. That will probably easily take 2-3 months before we hit that 100 clicks per day again.

The only surprising part was that those existing posts also got dropped from the rankings. Actually, we had one blog post that ranked #1 on Google for 12+ months. But now it’s not even in the top 100.

But in hindsight, that also makes sense. With such a rapid and major change on the site, Google shouldn’t treat it the same way it used to. It’s much wiser for them to reconsider everything!

Anyways, the age of your domain doesn’t directly matter. It’s the quality and quantity of blog posts that does.

But of course, time always plays a role indirectly.

Imagine you now published 1,000 amazing pieces of content. It would still take about 6-12 months for Google to evaluate, test, and trust those to rank them high.

Content Matters, Age Doesn’t

Remember, it’s the content that matters—not the age of your domain.

That being said, you can definitely make your blog grow faster by buying an older domain that Google trusts more.

Say you want to start a bowling blog but don’t want to wait for 6-12 months to see results.

To skip the waiting, you can buy an existing bowling blog and start writing posts there. That way you will most likely see much faster results.

But that’s still not about the age of the domain.

Instead, it’s all about how good a content strategy the previous owner had. If the domain has (or had) a ton of quality content, Google likely trusts it more to begin with.

For example, instead of starting on a brand new blog, if you owned, your blog posts would rank much faster. This is simply because they have a ton of high-quality content about bowling.

Blog posts about bowling


Google rankings reflect trust, not age.

If you have a blog with no posts, Google considers your domain a rookie whom it cannot trust. That has nothing to do with when the domain was registered.

Thus, it’s not a good idea to buy a domain and let it age. This will not gain you any advantage in the search results.

There are no shortcuts to success with Google. It’s all about hard work and dedication. Don’t expect old domains to do well because they’re old. They need to have (or to have had) a good content strategy and a ton of blog posts.

Thanks for reading!