When you see a new opportunity do you rush to buy a relevant domain name? What do you do then? Many people record the domain details and put it aside until they can find time to put the website together. There’s a lot to organise: content, graphics and so on and you don’t want to rush it. However, while you find time to put all this together the domain could be doing valuable SEO work.
New domains need to be found and indexed by search engines like Google. Until this happens the website doesn’t exist for them. This is important because in the past so many websites were put up by spammers and black hat marketers that Google started delaying indexing new sites until they could determine whether they were legitimate. Any suspicious sites were not indexed, so a site that has been indexed for a long time implies that it is trustworthy. In other words the age of a website as seen by a search engine is an important factor in trusting and ranking that website. If you delay using your new domain you are missing the opportunity to get it trusted and ranked by the search engines.
So what should you do? Once you purchase a domain name set up hosting as soon as possible. Then quickly put some content up. It should be relevant to the purpose of the new website, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. An article from a directory, a PLR article or something you have put together in half an hour will do fine. If it is related to your website’s topic it should contain some useful keywords that the search engines can detect. Put a dated copyright notice at the bottom of the page and ideally put a title tag in place, but there’s no need to perform more SEO coding than that.
This will be enough to get the page indexed and start building search engine trust. To give the process a little nudge you could connect some links to it from high profile sites like Facebook and submit it to social bookmarking sites like delicious.
Some people set up websites practically on autopilot using old domain names. However be wary if you are purchasing an old domain. If it was previously associated with black hat or spamming practices the search engines may have categorised it detrimentally. They may automatically downgrade its ranking or not index it at all. Working on such a site would be a waste of time unless you have strategies other than SEO to drive traffic.
How can you tell if an old domain is okay? Put up a single page under the domain name and link it to a few pages that Google has already indexed. If the domain page is not indexed by Google after two weeks you know something is wrong.
You can discover if the page is in the Google index by searching for: site:thedomainname.com. If the search doesn’t match any documents then the page is not indexed.
The search engines use many factors to evaluate a website and the age of the site is only one of them. However if you have purchased domains and are not using them you are wasting an opportunity.