In the last post, I discussed one of Google’s last remaining SEO biases – its bias towards keyword optimized domain names.
Today, I want to look at something on the opposite end of the SEO domain spectrum – something almost impossible to influence…
…And then I want to show you some search engine jiu-jitsu that allows you to overcome this seemingly impossible SEO factor.
You see, there are a LOT of techniques that we use to try to come out on top in SEO – keyword placement in title tags and URLs, keyword-rich content throughout the site; submitting our pages to DMOZ and Yahoo! – all things that we can do almost instantly to make our pages more tempting to search engines.
But there’s one aspect of SEO that even the best Internet Marketer has trouble defying…
Some aspects of SEO just can’t be blitzed in the same way that others can – which is why search engines put a lot of “trust” in some factors above others when it comes to ranking pages.
For example – if you want to target your webpage to a specific keyword, within a minute you can immediately edit the page to add the keyword to the content. It’s not a hard thing to do, and it’s something you can influence almost instantly. So while having your keyword in your webpage’s content is beneficial, Google places little trust in this by itself.
A more trusted SEO factor is backlinks. Backlinks can be influenced, but it takes a lot more time and effort to build quality backlinks than it does to simply add a keyword to a page. Because this process is slow – because it’s harder to influence or manipulate or game – because it takes a lot of TIME and EFFORT to affect – Google can put a lot of trust into backlinks when it comes to deciding which pages should get top rankings.
But there is one “trust” factor that simply cannot be influenced using money or effort…
If you purchase a domain today and your competitor has already existed for two years, then when you hit that two year mark they’ll still be two years older. There is just nothing you can do to make your domain age at a faster rate than another domain.
Remember the “outrunning lions” story from our recent blog post?
The one that discussed why we should look for ways to be as-good or better-than our competitors in as many ways as possible if we want to outrank them?
Domain Age is one area in which a new site can’t expect to beat a competitor.
If you’re competing against aged competitors, their domain age creates a huge area of uncertainty. We might be able to draw close, or beat them in other areas – but they will always be ahead in domain age.
So we can’t be sure how much extra effort we’ll need to put into beating them in other areas (areas that we CAN influence) in order to outrank them – or even whether that effort will be successful.
If all of this sounds a bit hopeless – like some aspects of SEO just cannot be influenced, no matter how much effort you invest into them, and your older rivals will always have at least this one advantage over you – don’t give up just yet.
Here’s a tactic you can use to sidestep time.
It’s clear that we can’t make a domain older than it is – so instead, if we want to influence Domain Age, we have to work the other way. We need to find domains that already have age, and yet suit our needs.
The answer is to simply BUY an Aged Domain.
Aged Domains are domains that have been purchased in the past and have either fallen into disuse or were parked and never saw the light of day.
They can be great sources of pre-cultivated traffic, backlinks, sometimes even content.
But most importantly, they have that key feature that we’re looking for – established domain age.
Rather than trying to build domain age over time ourselves, we simply let someone else do the hard work for us – and then come in to reap the rewards.
The theory is very simple…
But getting your hands on a pre-owned domain can be a little trickier.
Typically aged domains only become available if they expire, or if their current owner decides they want to sell.
Some domain registrars, and sites such as Flippa.com, have created online marketplaces for aged domains.
The unique feature of Flippa is that it allows you to purchase entire web-sites, including all content – not just the domain name, like many registrars and auction sites do.
(There are a lot of “how-to’s” and tricks here that I want to come back to and show you in more detail in a later blog post. But for now, make sure you take some time to have a play with Flippa. It’s something that is going to be huge for internet marketers in the next 12 months.)
What if you can’t find the “right” domain for sale?
Well, there’s always the proactive approach.
If a registrant’s contact details appear in WHOIS records you can also approach them directly via email or phone and make them an offer.
Obviously if a site is well established then the owner may be less likely to sell – but if the domain is inactive then the owner may well part with it if you make it worth their while.
Watch the market regularly
Finally – if you’re buying domains in your market for age or other authority factors, don’t just check the auction or sales sites once.
Make sure you keep a regular eye on them so that you see the relevant, high-value domains that pop up in your market – before they get bought by someone else.
It’s effort-intensive, and time-intensive to search through all of the auction sites, sales sites, and domain registrars on a regular basis – but it’s one of the few effective ways to get your hands on high quality domains as they become available.
Plus, the potential SEO and traffic boosts involved in getting your hands on just a single high-quality, matured, keyword optimised domain can often repay your time investment many times over through the traffic that it brings.
P.S. – So far, our previous two blog posts have received over 375 comments [wow!].
Among the comments were a lot of questions about choosing the right keyword optimized domain: keyword selection; adding prefixes and suffixes; hyphens or no hyphens; .org, .net, .com, .info, etc – which is best; etc.
I want to get as many of these key questions answered for you as possible in the next few posts, plus go through a lot of the “how-to’s” – so I’ve asked a friend and SEO domain name expert to help share his knowledge and experience in these areas. It’s shaping up to be some killer content, but give us a day or two to finish it for you – there’s a lot for us to get through here.