I was recently playing around with the Website Grader at websitegrader.com and read this:
Google and other search engines may penalize websites with domains that are set to expire soon. The reason for this is that many spam sites are often registered for short periods of time. Most registrars support paying upfront for several years and the cost is usually only about $10-$20 per year, so it is generally worth it.I have heard this before but dismissed it after reading this comment from a Google employee:
A bunch of TLDs do not publish expiration dates -- how could we compare domains with expiration dates to domains without that information? It seems that would be pretty hard, and likely not worth the trouble. Even when we do have that data, what would it tell us when comparing sites that are otherwise equivalent? A year (the minimum duration, as far as I know) is pretty long in internet-time :-).Does anyone have anymore insight on this? Could registering my domain for 10 years significantly improve my site's authority?
Google uses Machine Learning algorithms to rank web sites. They feed these algorithms with a lot of properties that they can get publically. Additionally to properties related to web pages they use some related to domains: domain name, domain registration length, hosting IP etc.
Each one property is resulting to classification of each domain. Some combination of properties lead to classification in the group of spam sites.
You can change you properties in a way to avoid being in the same group as spam sites. For example do not: Using domain names with multiple "-", registering domain name for 1 year only, parking domain name for some period, hosting web site on shared hosting with a lot of spam sites on the same hosting etc...
Yes, but of course it isn't magic. SEO is all about site reputation. How long a site has been registered in the past and how long until the domain expires does communicate something related to your web site's reputation.
Said another way, a long domain registration is one good message you can send to customers and to the search engines.
For a well made site (no spam, keyword stuffing etc...), registration length will not influence ranking. This simply is because of common sense, as are most criteria in the algorithm.
Google has many ways to determine if a site is spammy or not. This implies that a completely legit website (owner) who doesn't know about domain age would get penalized because he registers for 1 year at a time or renews just before registration expires? 99% sure it is not like that!
The only reason I would consider a multi year registration is because most of the time you'll get a discount on the price from the registrar :)
Domain Age certainly has a limited effect on ranking, and we all know that a new website starts to get a "fixed" position in the SERP's after several (6+) months to fight spam sites. However I don't think that a domain that has an age of 10 years get a lot more credit than a domain that is 5 years online, simply because it would mean that it is impossible to outrank that 10 year old domain even with more and fresh content!?
I'm not 100% sure on that but I do know that Google and others change their rules a lot to optimize their search for users so it could be possible.
I also know the longer a domain has been out, the better Google and others rank it....
Hope this helps and I'm also interested in knowing this answer!
You have nothing to lose. If you are serious about success you will stump up the (relatively insignificant) sum to register for 4 or 5 years. don't sweat the little things, even if it does count towards ranking it's effect will be very small compared to what really matters - original, fresh content / quality backlinks / properly designed site.