Does domain registration length have any effect on SEO?


6

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A bunch of TLDs do not publish expiration dates -- how could we compare domains with expiration dates to domains without that information?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?

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asked Oct 7 '10 at 03:26
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Ryan B
168 points

7 Answers


4

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...

answered Oct 7 '10 at 17:09
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Ross
2,288 points
  • Thanks for the detailed response Ross. Are you saying that rather than affecting a site's rank, registering more than one year is a way to differentiate from spam sites? Sounds like the lines there are gray.. – Ryan B 7 years ago
  • AFAIK the short registration period is not liked by Google because a lot of spam sites are registered for short periods. Site rank is affected by different factors, one of them is classification of given site to given type, news sites, blogs, spam sites, directories, etc. and matching it against user search intent. – Ross 7 years ago
  • Can you provide a link for the multiple "-" affecting SERPS? I actually see sites with "-" in the domain name ranking better than those without. – Martin 7 years ago
  • Can't provide, sorry. It is well know legend, but I think I read some stat info on seomoz log time ago. – Ross 7 years ago
  • Im gonna say no to the point that Google looks at hosting as a result of spam sites. Think GoDaddy free hosting. This free hosting env. has all the sites a server carries under one IP address. In that idea, Your saying Google will nick me for using a shared hosting account owned by godaddy. As for other sites. Page rank, etc... should not be affected by many websites running the same IP, think clowd computing... – Spoiled Techie.Com 5 years ago
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1

I'm betting Google penalizes new domains that have been registered for a short period of time and generally goes on how long the domain has been indexed by Google, not how long it has been registered.

answered Oct 7 '10 at 07:05
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Pate
306 points
  • +1 because I think you have the right answer here. The important thing is not the registration of the domain, but when it was first indexed by Google (and other engines). – Smart Company Software 6 years ago
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0

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.

answered Oct 8 '10 at 02:32
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Keith De Long
5,091 points

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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!?

answered Nov 11 '12 at 12:16
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Mario
1 point

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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!

answered Oct 7 '10 at 05:17
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Since2001
98 points

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I don't think you have to go to the extreme of registering your domain for 10+ years, but I always keep my domain expiration date at least 1 year in the future.

answered Oct 7 '10 at 06:33
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Martin
1,340 points

0

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.

answered Oct 7 '10 at 06:35
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Sherif Buzz
462 points

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