As you may have heard, the whole Zebragate scandal appears to be coming to a close, with Daniel Rothamel offering to settle with The Lones Group. Once again, I am totally uninterested in weighing in on the legal issues themselves, unless someone wants to retain me as legal counsel, but this settlement will provide a rare, totally unexpected, learning experience for those of us interested in interactive marketing and things web-related.
See, in the settlement, Daniel has offered to surrender usage of the URL RealEstateZebra.com under which he has been blogging since October of 2006.
Within segments of the real estate marketing circles, we’ve been having a lot of speculation of late about the SEO value of blogs. There is significant suspicion that the older blogs have a major advantage over the newer ones because it is suspected that Google counts the age of the URL in its ranking algorithms. Thus, we theorize, blogs of people like Jay Thompson, Daniel Rothamel, Heather Elias, and others are solid lead generation sources because of the SEO value they provide, while the newer bloggers won’t see nearly as much benefit simply because of the age of the URL.
With Daniel, one of the oldest and most prolific members of the RE.net, having to surrender that URL, we’re about to see what the impact is on SEO and on lead generation.
I assume that Daniel will migrate all of his content over to the new blog/website. So all of the longtail keywords should remain exactly the same. I assume he’ll maintain the same blogging platform (WordPress), so there can’t be much of a difference there.
The major wrinkle in this is that all of the inbound links will likely break, unless Daniel somehow undertakes the significant effort of contacting everyone who has ever linked to his posts and to his site and gets them to change the linking URL. But if there aren’t thousands of such inbound links, he may even be able to get those replicated in due time.
The only factor that will have changed, then, is the actual age of the URL. This is a fantastic, rare learning experience. I hope Daniel will keep careful track of web stats over the next several months. In fact, I call upon Gahlord Dewald of Thoughtfaucet to work closely with Daniel, in exchange for that data and that insight. 🙂
I suppose you gotta look for some positives out of this whole mess. Might as well be this one.