Website Age, Authority and SEO

June 17, 2011 - by admin · Filed Under Uncategorized Comments Off on Website Age, Authority and SEO 
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    SEO comprises of many skills and factors, but by far one of the most important and least understood elements of SEO is website age and authority.

    The truth is, and what many SEO blogs or forums won’t make it clear at the beginning, is that 70% of success in SEO comes from the age of the site and its backlinks.  You can build as many backlinks as you want to your new affiliate site but in reality you won’t see your website “realise” its true potential until at least 6 months in.

    The fact that age is such an important factor in SEO also makes it harder for new affiliates to get off the mark.  Even without SEO, it will take you at last 6 – 12 months before you start making income as a new affiliate.  The combination of skills (coding, CMS, hosting and domain services) hard work (content, links) and corrections (A/B page tests, calls to actions, starting projects over again) means it’s pretty much impossible to make money sooner, at least without the help or guidance of people who know what they’re doing.

    But even once you know what you’re doing, the age factor of SEO can be a real bite in the arse.  Personally, I think there are 3 stages of website maturity that you can categorise websites with.

    3 Stages of Website Maturity and SEO

    In the first 1-3 months your site will be a baby.  It will get traffic as you build links but it will be very susceptible to penalties, filters, google dances and sand box penalties (never experienced this personally).  This is probably the most difficult stage of SEO because you can’t afford to build links too quickly.  You’ll have a lot of money sunk into websites already in terms of content and web design but you won’t yet be making much ROI.  This is a very susceptible time for all affiliates with new websites.

    The next 3-6 months of your site is maturity.  This is where I think websites generally become more “trusted” by Google.  Adding regular unique content and maintaining a consistent link velocity will benefit your site a lot.  Adding a ton of high volume, low quality links or link wheels however is still a big risk.  In the 3-6 months of websites I’ve noticed a 100-300% increase in traffic without adding any links compared to the first 1-3 months.  The importance of age in SEO at this stage always becomes transparent. Websites will also start ranking for hundreds of more long tail keywords and internal pages then they did previously.

    Finally, the 6-12 months of your site will see it fully ripen.  Your traffic will virtually hit its peak and you’ll be much less susceptible to penalties.  Your website gains authority in the search engines and there’s actually very little you can do to get it penalised at this point.  Even “black hat” link wheels are unlikely to penalise your site after 12 months (although I would never recommend this).

    As your site gets older, its authority and traffic will still increase.  This should be reflected by the valuation of the website.  However, dodgy link tactics, selling links in posts or any other black hat SEO tactics can still devalue your site.

    Backlinks Become More Valuable with Age

    One of the reasons websites become more authoritative with age is that the backlinks become more valuable.  There’s a lot of conjecture on how much “value” backlinks pass.  Personally, I think that backlinks will only pass maybe 25% of their juice, then maybe 3-12 months down the line the value will gradually increase.

    The fact that the value of backlinks might increase is one of the problems of 301’ing a old website to a new domain.  If you 301 a website to a new domain than it should maintain all of its rankings and authority.  However, if you decide to go back and change the old backlinks to point to the new domain manually, than this could reset the age factor of the links, losing some your previous rankings.

    My Strategy for Building a Network of Affiliate Sites

    Something that has works well for me in the past is to have a “production line” of websites in different life cycles.

    For example, rather than having 5 matured sites and then launching 5 brand new sites, instead I will launch new sites every month so that I continuously have a production line of websites becoming aged and more authoritative.

    I am definitely spread too thinly right now with too many sites, but in terms of sites I have:

    • Three of my websites are 1-3 months old.
    • Four of my websites are 3-6 months old.
    • Five of my websites are 6-12 months old.
    • Three of my websites are 1 year+ old.

    Buying Existing Websites vs. Starting New Websites

    Because the age and authority of websites is so important in SEO, it very often makes more sense to buy an existing website if you’re targeting a new niche rather than starting a website from scratch.  For example, if I wanted to focus on the upcoming Mac gaming niche ranking for Mac Gambling Sites or a new casino niche such as “3D Roulette” than it would make more sense to buy an authority site (and then add a dozen pages on 3D roulette) rather than starting a new site 3DRouletteOnline.com and having to wait 6 months for it to mature whilst the competition increases.

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    Follow Me on Twitter @AffiliateFYI for Even More Affiliate, Business and SEO Updates!

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