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DIY SEO: Domain Age and Registration Length

DIY SEO: Domain Age and Registration Length

Posted on 18.11.2009

OK, this is going to be a very short post. But there are two things that a lot of small business people don’t associate with search engine optimization. The date of registration plays a role in determining how old your domain is. Domains that have been around for a long time are given more emphasis than those that were just registered yesterday. This makes sense because the older the domain is, the less likely it is someone trying to get a quick ranking. So if you have been hanging on to some domains but haven’t done anything with them, they could actually be used to strategically support your online presence (something that we really enjoy doing at Yardstick).

The other factor that plays in your search engine optimization is the length of the registration period. If you have your small business website domain set to renew on an annual basis, you might want to consider renewing it for three years at a time. Google may or may not put more emphasis on domains that are registered for multiple years (see the comments below provided by Philip Renich). But is does signals that the domain owner is committed to the domain and is not looking to get a quick hit and then discard it. And unlike domain age which you just have to live with, you can actually change the registration period for a nominal cost of a few bucks a year.

Comments (2)

  • I have never seen information which validates this theory of long registrations help your ranking. Nothing more than, “It sounds good and makes sense.”A quote from a Google employee:”A bunch of TLDs do not publish expiration dates — how could we compare domains with expiration dates to domains without that information?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 :-).”
    I think the closest Google has come to saying that domain registration length matters is *historically* – aka, how old is it. But this hasn’t even been confirmed to be in their algorithm (see the video clip of Matt Cutts).

  • This is some great feedback and a great video. I totally agree with you that, in the grand scheme of things, the domain age and registration length plays a small part in SEO, if any. I have to admit that this is more anecdotal evidence than anything. Many of my clients have old domains that they have been sitting on for years. Without fail, building sites on those older domains results in faster and higher ranking than building sites on newly registered domains. I’ve had discussions with a number of SEO-heads who have experienced the same thing. Irregardless, the most important quote from the sources you provided is “make great content, don’t worry nearly as much about how many years your domain is registered.” I think we can all agree with that!
    Again, thanks Philip.

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