Thanks to my buddy Zwielicht who PM'ed me some ideas for threads I can do. He bounced five killer ideas out at me on threads I could do. While they were all good and should have there own threads, I have a different spin on the topics and will be making just two threads. I hope to him this makes sense. First thing first, SEO is full of Guru love and myths being pushed as fact. Zwielicht gave me three ranking factors which are part 'myth' and part 'fact'. So I would like to dispel some illusions in the SEO landscape. This is not fact, it is my experience with some more obscure ranking factors.... Does Domain Age matter? I decided to take on the question which I felt the strongest about, and had the most experience with. Does the age of your domain matter? At surface value, no. When the domain was registered does not matter. Is domain age a ranking factor? Indirectly. Having an 'aged domain' brings some baggage with it. First of all is normally extended who is registration data and renewal date. In 2005 Google placed a patent on a historical domain data analysis. This 2005 patent essentially is googles admittance that the age of a domains registration is a ranking factor. This, in turn, means if you register a domain for one year it holds less value than a domain registered for two years. This also means a domain registered today plays a role. A domain registered today has less value than a domain registered thirty days ago. This is where the line of myth and fact blur. While all the aforementioned are 'facts' SEOs see patterns and assume they are fact as well and make false assumptions to how they relate and connect. One of these myths is that of a sandbox. The sandbox is really a period where new links CAN be devalued for a period of time. It does not mean all links will be, or that devalue means it will not count. The theory is a domain which was first registered in 2000 normally has a few good things going for it. Most importantly it has aged back links. As a new link can be devalued, an aged back link (In this case up to 16 years old) is at full power. Does this mean an older domain is better than a new domain? No. It just means old back links are better than new back links. Does Bounce Rate Matter? This one is interesting. From my experience, when it comes to SERPs it does matter when you get to top ten, albeit slightly and not enough to write home about. In general, how this question was posed...it depends. Why does it depend? In some respect you WANT your visitor to stay on your site, browse and sign up to your mailing list to make you money. In the other hand, on my affiliate sites, I want the user to read for about ten seconds, click my affiliate link and bounce to the vendors page and click buy. This all comes down to the intent of the person visiting your site. I categorize this in two ways: 1. Buying Clicks 2. Informational Clicks This will be horribly simplified but I will do what I can to explain my crazy logic. I have two types of websites / KWs / Visitors. One type is that of buying intent. Those are KWs which include 'Best' or 'Review'. People browsing some KWs have an intent to buy. My sites targeting these KWs are often landing pages and I WANT people to bounce fast to my offer. In the other hand, I have informational clicks. These are people who search a broad KW which is not laced with any buying intent. With these KWs my websites are structured to have people sign up for a mailing list or I set up a soft sales pitch or want visitors to come back. For each type of website you expect a vastly different bounce rate. So should you worry? If you are getting the action you desire out of your website, no. If you have a site designed to convert buying KWs then you expect sales when you get traffic. If you do not, then you need to look at your landing page and focus on ways to improve your pitch and bounce rate. If your informational website has traffic but a low list sign up rate, you need to go back to the drawing board and improve bounce rate. In the big picture I personally do NOT care what my bounce rate is as long as it converts to my desired action. Big picture vs small picture thinking here. Some people obsess over one site, I build many and ensure I make my projected ROI before moving onto a new project. Does CTR Affect Ranking? This is a mixed bag for me. Just like bounce rate, my experience tells me it plays a slight but over stated role in page one rankings. I tested this in harder niches in which my KW would 'stick' no matter how many links I threw at it. Fixing some on page things, improving CTR and Bounce Rate helped my KW move up. This was a consistent trend for KWs which got 'stuck'. I tested this by letting a 'stuck' KW sit for several weeks before trying these simple fixes. In my experience a combination of on page and user experience signals moves KWs which get 'stuck'. But, the value is often vastly overstated. This is not to know anyone but give this context. I most recently did this as a test with a KW I had Macdonjo3 sending real clicks to. The KW was top 30 and moving to the point where I would see CTR help improve rankings. What did I do? Since I knew Macdonjo3's service was providing real visits which would improve my CTR and SERPs I decided to sneakily remove a very strong PBN link. Despite the fact I had real visitors checking out my website for a few minutes a piece, after removing the link my website PLUMMETED in two days. Again, this is NO knock on Macdonjo3's service. It did in fact push my KW up two places within a couple days all on its own. Which is more evidence to my theory CTR does play a role in SERPs. *A side note, real visitors searching for your KW and staying on your site is the proper way to boost CTR, which Macdonjo3's service does which I was a beta tester for and it is the BEST CTR service I have seen, and does help move stubborn or 'stuck' KWs and if you get stuck, go with his service rather than spending $X,XXX on links. Trust me, I did that and it failed. The reality is, although CTR may have an affect, it is vastly inferior to regular ol' link building. So, my experience and opinion is improving CTR does play a slight role when you get to the top, it is not important for most KWs. You simply need more links. Also, no matter how good your CTR is, at this time, if you remove a powerful ranking factor like a link your website will fall in SERPs. Causation VS Correlation Correlation does not imply causation. I want you to drive this adage from statics into your head a few times. Just because a factor appears in several situations does not mean it is the cause. In SEO, a lot of people FORGET this is a game of manipulating a complex algo. This complexity makes this more of an art than a science, but part of that is because due to so many unknowns and moving parts we accept myth as fact and do not perform real tests on things. I am also guilty of this but I do try to find pure data. The CTR example is the best of this. If I did this test on two KWs and the SERPs knocked back or did not improve, one would correlate that CTR either has a negative impact OR had no impact. This is where you must be able to pull apart FACT and FICTION from SEO. Just because two elements appear in two different cases does not mean they are causes of an alike outcome. The one constant I do see in every case, which passes my test of 'causation vs correlation' is the impact of back links. Links move the needle in the VAST majority of cases bar a few exclusions caused by obscurities in SEO such as a devalue period or bad on page. The only fact I will stand behind is that links matter. Once you figure that out, then you can worry about your bounce rate.