A couple of years ago, I came across an interesting theory or idea. It went something like this: “If you register your domain name for a longer period than one year, and preferably up to ten years, Google’s algorithms will take that into account because it would appear you are serious about your business.”
As well, it was discovered that Google had taken out a patent that included a time based criteria including domain name registration length of time.
It was an interesting idea. But is it true? Well, some people in the SEO business still seem to think so. In fact, I just had a “hot” report cross my desk, in which there is a “Breakdown” of some “Components of Google’s Ranking Algorithm.” And in that report, it gives a score of 6% to “related to registration data (tip: register all your domain names for at least 2 to 5 years to show Google you are serious about your website).”
Now, before you go off and give your registrar more money, let’s find out the truth about this statement. My own experience is that there is little truth to it. All things being considered, a 6% rating is fairly significant in this case. So, a couple of years ago, when I first came across this theory, I increased the domain registration time for several of the websites I look after, both maintenance and SEO.
They were already ranking well – on the first page, and those domains that ranked higher had a registration period left of between less than a year and two years. Did I see any significant increase in my search engine rankings? Not one iota. In fact, it had zero effect on any of the domains that I had paid for a longer period of registration (in this case, it was ten years).
I find it hard to believe that this myth is still being promulgated in SEO circles. If there is any benefit, it is very minute, at least at this time. I’ve had brand new sites ranking on page 1 for mid level competition keywords within three months, and they were outranking sites that had been around for a lot longer, or that had longer domain name registration periods. That in itself tells me that if there is any benefit to a long domain name registration as far as search engine rankings in Google, it’s insignificant.
Of course, the domain name registrars would love to have you believe this is the case too. Obviously, the longer you register a domain name for, the more money up front you are putting in their hands, and taking out of your hands.
Is there anything wrong with registering your domain for periods of time longer than a year? No, except your accountant or financial advisor might raise their eyebrows. Sure, it’s only maybe 12 bucks a year, but why hand over so much upfront (multiply each year’s fee by 10), when you don’t have to?
Put it this way.. a site that has had great search engine rankings for years, has “authority,” and suddenly Google discovers that there is only 6 months left on the domain name registration, is Google really going to drop that site in the SERP’s?
Don’t believe me? Well here’s Matt Cutts of Google Webmaster fame, in a video explaining a bit more:
Hopefully this will help dispel another SEO myth. Now, let’s get on with the important stuff. That works.