Does the Length of a Domain Registration Affect Your Search
Does the length of your website's domain name registration
affect the search results at Google? This question has come up recently and a
lot of website owners have been wondering about it, especially since it was
mentioned in a patent awarded to Google in April. According to the patent,
"Certain signals may be used to distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate
domains. For example, domains can be renewed up to a period of 10 years.
Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while
doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore,
the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in
predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated
therewith." According to this statement in the patent, domains that expire in 10
years are more valuable and legitimate than domains that will expire in less
than a year.
Google, in general, is always looking for ways to weed out the bad (spammers)
from the good (legitimate) websites. I suspect that they looked for a pattern
among the good, legitimate websites and found that most good, legitimate
websites have a commitment towards their business and their domain name-they
register it for a long period of time. In other words, the theory behind all of
this is that if you register a domain name for several years it shows Google
that you're committed to that domain name. If you register a domain name for 1
year then you're not as committed to that domain name. A lot of spammers use
"throw away" domain names and register them for only a year. So, Google uses the
length of time that a domain is registered to determine whether the owner of
that domain name is committed to it or not.
One domain name owner I talked to recently told me that renewing his domain
names once each year was a part of his business plan. He made a certain amount
of money each year from each domain name/website, and he didn't want to cut into
the profits of each site by renewing each domain name all at once for several
years. "Renewing a domain name for 10 years or even 2 years ahead of time means
that I have to spend more money. If I have to come up with $50 or $100 more per
year for the domain renewal fees it cuts into my profits", says John, who wished
to remain anonymous. John's website is probably exactly the type of website that
Google wishes to identify. Google is looking to identify quality,
well-established websites whose owners are committed to their domain names.
According to the statements made in Google's patent, Google thinks that websites
that have been renewed for a long period of time meet that standard.
Should you renew your domain name for a long period of time? And if so, how
long is long enough? If you want to stay ahead of your competition, then you
might consider looking at the length of time your competitors have registered
their domain names. If your competitors have generally renewed their domain
names for one or two years, you might consider registering your domain name for
5 or 10 years. While putting off your domain name's expiration date might help
your search engine rankings, keep in mind that this may be only a small boost
(or a "tie-breaker" among two websites) when it comes to the actual search
engine rankings. And, be aware that just because Google has a patent on the idea
it doesn't mean that they're actually using that criteria now to rank websites.
They, too, want to stay ahead of their competition (mainly Yahoo! and MSN).
I've registered the domains that I really care about for at least 10 years.
Initially, I registered these domains for a long period of time because I didn't
want to lose them-and I didn't want to go through the somewhat-lengthy annual
process of renewing them every year. Since most domain names I own come up for
renewal at different times during the year, it seemed as though I was renewing a
domain name at least once a month-and renewing them for a few years put it off
for a while.
Expired domain name buyers are prevalent nowadays. If your domain name
expires, there's a good chance that someone watching will register your domain
name within seconds after it expires. If, for whatever reason, you don't renew
your domain name, someone watching a 'watch list' of expiring domain names will
try to capitalize on the online business that you've built over the years. They
know that there is potential website traffic they can have simply by renewing
your old domain name. By renewing your domain name for several years, your
domain name won't expire for a while, and it won't be opened up to expired
domain name buyers.
If you really want to stay ahead of the competition, you might consider
registering or renewing your domain name for 100 years. Currently, Network
Solutions (www.netsol.com) is the only registrar offering the 100 year option,
which costs $999.00. GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com), currently offers to renew or
register a domain name for 10 years, at a discount of $6.95 per year. Dotster (www.dotster.com),
another leading registrar, offers domain name registration and renewals for up
to 10 years at a cost of $129.95.
What's the bottom line? If you're committed to your online business, your
website, and your domain name, then renewing your domain name for a long period
of time will not only stop expired domain buyers from registering your domain
name when it expires, it will show Google that you're committed to it-and that
may give you a boost in the search engine rankings, as well.
Bill Hartzer is a successful writer and search engine marketing expert who
has personally created hundreds of websites over the years. Extended bio info:
Bill created his first website back in 1996 to help promote his former
database software business. It was then when he learned about the power of the
search engines and web search, which helped potential customers find his
Bill Hartzer has over 15 years of professional writing experience. He has
survived stints as a writer for television, as well as a technical writer for
several computer software companies in Florida and in Texas. Mr. Hartzer
combines his writing and online skills to create compelling and useful websites
for corporations worldwide. Mr. Hartzer focuses on the optimization in the
business to business arena, but applies these optimization skills to business to
consumer websites, as well.
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