Question: How does the age of a domain name affect SEO? Is it better to purchase an older domain or a newer domain?
It’s a common myth that the older a domain name is, the better it will perform in search engine rankings. It’s very easy to see why this myth would become popular: the older a domain is, the more content it’s likely to have — and, thus, the better it will perform in terms of SEO. Even worse, some domain services themselves have touted the benefits of having an older, well-seasoned domain, especially services selling already registered domains.
According to Google, there’s really no difference between a site that is two years old, three years old or five years old. It’s all about the actual content on the site. Additionally, Google doesn’t use whois data to determine the age of a website — they use when the website was first crawled by them or when they first saw a link to the domain.
However, Google has stated that website age doesn’t matter “as long as the site is two months, three months” old. So that indicates that very new sites may see some form of penalty initially — though not a significant one. This could either be intentional or just a by-product of the algorithm not having enough information yet on how to place the site.
Finally, when considering the purchase of older domains, don’t forget that a domain can carry baggage. If the domain has had black hat SEO techniques used by a webmaster before, there might still be some harmful links out there just waiting to hurt your new site’s search engine rankings.
Answer: After the first few months, the age of a domain does not affect it significantly in terms of SEO. It’s better to worry about the quality of a domain than its age.
Question: Are sub-domains on a website considered to be part of that domain? Is there any advantage to using sub-domains over sub-directories, or sub-directories over sub-domains? Will it hurt my website to move one from the other?
The question of subdomains vs. subdirectories is a great example of SEO voodoo. According to Matt Cutts, using a subdomain is, to Google, materially identical to using a subdirectory. There’s no advantage to using one or the other except for purposes of ease-of-use or simple preference.
Yet many marketers will swear up and down that subdirectories are better.
In fact, the thought leaders at Moz go so far as to imply that Matt Cutts is lying by omission and that Google really does rank sub-domains differently from the domain.
“I think the important word you used in describing Matt’s video is “implied.” He’s very careful not to speak in specifics, and often, I think the truth is buried in that non-specific language, rather than in the broader implied phrasing.”
Because why not trick the people you’re trying to educate? Just for kicks.
The example Moz uses is moving a guide from http://guides.moz.com to http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-SEO.
But that’s not comparable at all. A comparable move would be from beginners-guide-to-SEO.moz.com. They moved their guide from one non-optimized URL to an optimized URL; of course this would make a dramatic difference. It has nothing to do with domain structure.
It’s often repeated that subdomains are looked at as entirely different sites from the main domain. We know, from Google, that this is just not true — and there’s truly no reason for Google to lie about this. And many marketers state that they’ve moved content from a subdomain to a subdirectory and seen an incredible increase in traffic. But it’s very likely that this is due to some other change that they’ve made — or simply due to the fact that the content has then been up for longer.
Answer: Google has stated subdomains and subdirectories are materially identical. Others in the industry agree. It’s a persistent myth that probably has much more to do with voodoo than fact.