Many have asked whether the age of a domain name matters to SEO. The answer is yes and no. A domain name with no or little content will have no SEO value. But take 2 sites with the same SEO optimization and SEO-friendly content. The site that is indexed on a new domain will struggle competing against the one that is on an aged domain.
But here is the caveat. The aged domain should have a history of being used for a website. In other words, it should have a history of being indexed on Google and, better still, have had links pointed to it as a result.
Matt Cutts said in a video that the age of domains is determined by when Google first crawled it and when first links to the site appeared, not by whois data. He was a bit coy about the importance of domain age, but at the same time did not definitively state that age has no value.
The point is, the historical data of a domain does matter. It would seem that registering a new domain for multiple years is not as important since it would still lack history.
When considering a domain you want to learn as much about its history as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to use the Wayback Machine on Archive.org. Try it using Google.com as an example.
However there are other reasons why the age of a domain name matters.
Perception and trust
Older domain names, especially those registered 10 or more years ago, are generally of much better quality than domains available for registration today. And still more importantly if they were registered by a domain investor. This is because experienced domain investors are trained to look for domains that make ideal names for branding new businesses and products or are generic names that define a market or industry. And they also are careful not to register a domain that would infringe on an existing trademark. It would be a business killer to register a new domain, only to later have a lawsuit against you because of a trademark violation.
Domain age matters and not just for Google or SEO. An aged domain tends to be of higher quality, name wise. And it projects authority and greater trust in the perception of the visitors.