I was working on a site recently that has been registered since 1997. So the Domain Age or how long the site has been out there on the Internet is over 10 years. It will be 12 years this December 2009 to be exact.
The site is completely hand-coded in html and has grown to over 70 pages. Back then we opened up a good old text editor and started creating websites. So you can imagine some of the old html code that’s still being used. We also didn’t know about or even care about SEO – Search Engine Optimization.
The website was more a project to be completed and left alone for years to come with very little content as well as design updates.
So as I worked on applying minimal CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) just to bring the site up to snuff as far as presentation goes, I wondered where it stood in the search engines for various keywords and keyword phrases.
Years ago the site ranked #1 in Google for a long time and I want to believe it was just because of Domain Age. But since it hadn’t been updated too much in any way, shape or form, it now ranked at #89 in Google for its main keyword. Ouch.
The site needed updating because it was about to be part of a campaign with an adjoining business (Business A for this example) to promote a new service along side Business B (the website I’m talking about). Although the “adjoining business” (Business A) is a separate business entity, the two businesses compliment each other.
Well the campaign started with the title of the campaign, again for example purposes, we’ll call the campaign title, “Go Get ‘Em!!” That is also our keyword phrase for the campaign. Albeit, not a very good keyword phrase but hey, this is an example. In other words, that keyword phrase represents what people might search on to find the services jointly provided by Business A and Business B.
Both businesses have separate websites and are both advertising the campaign by one web page per business. So here are the interesting findings and attributes of the websites.
- Domain Age: 2004 (approximately 5 years)
- Title Tag: Campaign Keyword Phrase – Business Name
- Meta Description Tag: No keywords in the description. The location of the campaign is in there. That’s not too good from an SEO point of view.
Blog SEO typically teaches that the keyword phrase should be the first part of the page title and then the business name if you provide a business name.
So for example, this blog post title is the title of the article – “Domain Age and Other Interesting SEO Observations – Bill Bolmeier”. So if I was trying to rank in Google for the keyword phrase “Domain Age“, then it’s good that the title of the page starts with the keyword phrase.
- Domain Age: 1997 (11+ years)
- Title Tag: Business Name – Keyword Phrase
- Meta Description Tag: Keyword phrase starts a sentence that describes what the page is about.
In this case, the Title Tag for Business B made a lot more sense then the keyword phrase placed first in the title.
Both campaign pages were put up in the same week.
The campaign page for Business B, along with the newly updated site for Business B, was added to Google Analytics as well as a site map that was registered at Google Webmaster Tools. The site map was submitted at 9am. By 3pm, the campaign page was ranked #1 in Google for its keyword phrase.
Using double quotes around the phrase, the Google search results for Business A was #2 and Business B – #1. Not bad.
And that’s why, if you are interested in starting a website, to pick a name that is good enough, register it, put a little welcome page up with some Google adsense maybe, and let it bake until you flesh out what you want to do with it. Don’t buy the domain and park it, which means you don’t put any content on it. That will only let the domain registrar put ads on it until you start using it.