Google's algorithm is always going to be a mystery, like the ingredients of Coca Cola or how Colonel Sanders gets his chicken so crispy. Many have had a crack at figuring it out, in fact I keep coming back to a SEOmoz article from two years ago which although just a guess is likely to highlight the main factors in the Google algorithm.
At the heart of it all is the mystical page rank but I won't talk about that. What I want to look at here is the oft forgotten 'domain strength' or your commitment to the web. It's unclear quite how important Google believes this to be but I’ve been reminded about it by various respected SEO professionals at a couple of conferences so far this year. And the SEOmoz article above puts it on a par with inbound links.
What Google sees as commitment is your site's importance to a particular subject over time using the following criteria:
- History: How long has your URL existed online
- Future planning: How long is your URL bought for / got remaining
- Consistency: Has the site provided the same information for its entire history. If you try and change the focus of a site Google may not like you.
- Extreme example: Don't have a site selling cars for 5 years than change the same domain to a site about how to care for children.
- Also it's worth checking the previous usage of any domains you buy to find out what they have been used for previously as well as whether they might be associated with spam / banned from search engines. There are a number of ways to discover your domain history.
- Authenticity: Are you trying to cheat or spam search engines in any way? Whatever you do with your website be honest to the search engines - if it was previously a spam site, tell them and ask for re-inclusion. Be patient, pick a good domain then stick at it for many years.