With age comes maturity, they say. And in the world of domain names, age can provide a whole lot more than just being a date stamp in the WHOIS database.
What are mature domains?
These are domain names that retain their original registration date of years ago; they can be decades old domains that represented businesses and active projects at some point. More rarely, they can be pristine brands that were never developed, never used—yet they were renewed year after year waiting for a loving home.
You can most definitely acquire mature domains in the domain aftermarket, such as the Uniregistry Market or Afternic. They offer an exceptional value to brand creators, as they can be searched by keyword and price range. GoDaddy also operates a large domain name marketplace that includes expired domain names, where anyone can bid to acquire them.
Today we'll focus on the SEO benefits that mature domains can offer to brand creators.
Simply put, mature domains can provide your project with a plethora of existing backlinks. By using a backlink checker tool you can evaluate the potential benefits that such backlinks may be able to deliver.
To possess such backlinks, a mature domain would have to have existed as an active source of content. The longer that content remained active on the web, the higher the domain's "juice" concentration.
From an SEO standpoint, mature domains that retained their "live" content for years eventually received mentions from authority websites in that particular niche. When creating a brand that is gifted such an instant reference by major publications such as Forbes, Wired, Business.com, Mashable, or CNet News for example, the brand's clout becomes stronger very quickly.
Keep in mind that keyword relativity is important when leveraging a mature domain as your leading brand. Taking a mature domain with backlinks about dog toys, for example, won't get your rankings far if you're trying to launch a clothing line for toddlers. Relativity is important not just for Google, but also for the purpose of human comprehension.
Using mature domains as forwarders might seem wasteful to an extent; if content once existed, you might be dumping all traffic to a single destination.
However, if you're trying to take advantage of a mature domain's generic keyword qualities, forwarding it to your main brand can be beneficial for ranking your project. You'll have to boost such traffic though with paid Google ads, if you want to re-purpose the generic domain as a brand.
There are some things to keep in mind when selecting a mature domain as your next brand's project.
First, ensure the domain is not banned by Google. A quick method is to open Google in your browser and search for "site:domain.com" without the quotes. If there are no results, the domain is banned by Google, and it's not a good idea to acquire it for any commercial purpose. If the only result returned is the domain name itself, that's also an indicator of a mature domain with problematic SEO potential and no useful backlinks.
Second, check the quality of prior content by visiting the Wayback Machine at Archive.org. It will help you review the content that existed on that domain in the past and decide whether it's suitable to reflect your brand's qualities. For example, it'd be a bad idea to build a brand on a domain that served adult content or if the prior business engaged in unlawful activities at the time.
In conclusion: Mature domains can offer SEO benefits to brand creators, as long as the domains are audited for clearance by Google, offering your brand SEO potential with no negative references.