Comparison of Ranking an Article on a New vs Aged Domain
Today, I’m going to go through the rough timeline of ranking a new site. Then showing the ranking of a “kind of” aged domain (20 months) compared to a completely fresh domain.
Let’s first start off with the caveats.
I wasn’t targeting specific keywords on the articles I used. I was writing to an audience (you). This will hurt your prospects more than anything else you do (or don’t do) in terms of SEO.
There’s a total of 4 articles on my main domain that I’m using as a comparison while there’s 20+ on my Substack that will be compared against. This should naturally give the Substack a huge advantage.
I filtered out brand terms as to equalize the data. (Excluded bowtied terms)
The 4 articles and Substack were published at roughly the same time. I shifted the data to account for the difference.
The “aged domain” was roughly 20 months old. I wrote 12 very targeted articles, essentially forgot about it and let it sit.
Results can take longer or shorter depending on a ton of factors. One big factor is whether you’re building links.
The only links I’ve built on these two sites are interlinking the sites. This will actually help the Substack that doesn’t have PageRank or age.
The bowtiedopossum.com pages weren’t as “relevant” to my site as any other new article would have been. This will hurt the timeline for ranking those 4 pages.
Think of the below as an “on an article basis”. As you build more content, links, and domain age/authority, this process will go much quicker.
The Timeline of Ranking Your First Site
This is going to be disheartening for many of you that are building your first site. Even though it will be, I’m trying to set expectations so that you don’t get too frustrated and give up before you’ve even gotten started.
The First Month
Utter and complete nothing until one day you log in and see a spike in impressions. You get excited that Google is actually showing you for keywords. You think it’s going to continue on. Until the next day.
It goes back to 0.
At some point, you’ll start getting some impressions. Maybe even a click here or there. The important think to remember here is to not give up. It’s normal.
Keep writing content. Keep building links. Keep marketing your property.
You start getting some clicks and an occasional spike in traffic. Remember my first bullet point above. If you’re actually targeting keywords, this point should come a little quicker.
Since my Substack is only 3 months old, this is where the Substack data is cut off. Now I’ll switch to GA where I have older data of bowtiedopossum.com. Search Console data only goes back 16 months so I’ll have to use GA clicks.
At this point, you should be getting consistent clicks on most days.
Unless you’ve been putting in some serious work pumping out content and building links, this is where Google starts to “notice” most sites.
At this point, your pages should be ranking roughly where they’re going to stay at until you get more links. There will be updates that change your rankings and random increases of page position that seem to come out of nowhere.
BowTiedOpossum vs Substack
All of the above bullet points except for the domain age puts my Substack in a better position to rank faster.
So let’s look at the impression difference between the two.
As you can see, with normalizing the date, the Substack articles are still a month behind bowtiedopossum.com. Google is still figuring out what to rank the 20 articles for while it’s already caught hold of one of my articles on the .com and started to rank it.
It’s worth reiterating that outside of domain age, the bowtiedopossum.com was at a severe disadvantage.
It only has 4 articles in the comparison compared to over 20 for the Substack
The Substack has the benefit of being linked to by bowtiedopossum.com as much as possible.
The .com articles were off brand for the theme of the site.
Still, the 4 articles beat the 20 in terms of getting noticed and shown by Google.
Now let’s turn the tables and look at what actually matters. Clicks. Note that October is a partial month of only 7 days.
A whole lot of nothing for the Substack while the .com starts to pick up in the 3rd month.
So what to expect when you actually do start to rank? A knee in your traffic. Note Nov is also a partial month for the .com. No data for the Substack for Oct or Nov.
Wrapping Up and Action Items
So what does all of the above mean for *you*? It means you shouldn’t give up. Ranking a site takes time and a lot of hard work. It doesn’t matter if it’s an affiliate site, ecommerce site, or your personal consulting site. It takes time and work.
Don’t give up. Most people give up if they don’t have sales or a commission in the first month. If you’re relying on Google for your traffic, Google doesn’t even know you exist at that point.
Keep pumping out content. When the content finally does start to rank, the knee in traffic will happen very fast.
Build links to your site. Target keywords, keep building, and build links. That is your strategy.
I think the below fits in well here. Don’t skim. Read all of it.
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