Google seems to be using the domain age to for their ranking for a while already. Now it seems that MSN is to consider domain age of inbound links as part of the site’s overall ranking criteria, according to a new patent application from Microsoft.

The patent, called “Ranking Domains Using Domain Maturity” was published last week (but filed in late 2006), and assumes that newer domains have a higher likelihood of being spam and/or being part of a link farm–and should be judged accordingly. Thus, sites with a high influx of links from older domains would ultimately be ranked higher than sites with a host of links from newer domains.

The Microsoft patent application is:

Ranking Domains Using Domain Maturity
Invented by Janine Crumb, Krishna C Gade, Rangan Majumder, Vishnu Challam
Assigned to Microsoft
US Patent Application 20080086467
Published April 10, 2008
Filed October 10, 2006

Instead of distinquishing between domains linking to a domain as either a mature or immature, the age of contributing (linking) domain might be used to provide a percentage of ranking to a domain:

For example, in an embodiment, domains that have been registered for more than ten years may contribute 100% of their accumulated ranks to a target domain’s rank;

domains that have been registered from six to ten years may contribute 75% of their accumulated ranks to a target domain’s rank;

domains that have been registered from three to six years may contribute 50% of their accumulated ranks to a target domain’s rank;

domains that have been registered for one to three years may contribute 25% of their accumulated ranks to a target domain’s rank; and

domains that have been registered for less than one year may only contribute 10% of their accumulated ranks.

The implication of this patent is that you do need to aim getting more inbound links from domains with longer domain ages when you do link building for SEO purpose.

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