How registering your domain name for longer periods might help your search rankings.
 by Casey Markee

How registering your domain name for longer periods might help your search rankings.

  • I've heard that Google interprets longer domain registrations as a signal of quality. Is it true that Google will treat my site differently if I register or renew my domain for 10 years versus just two years?

Answer: The short answer is: It will never hurt your rankings and it might, theoretically from time to time, help your rankings ever-so-slightly—maybe, but probably not. Here's the deal.

A Google patent made public in 2005 referred to several ways by which Google may distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate domains. One aspect is the length of time a domain is registered for. According to the patent, legitimate domains are more likely to be paid for several years in advance, while doorway and spam-heavy domains are rarely registered for more than a year in advance, since the owner knows they'll likely be penalized anyway.

Based on the patent information, several domain registrars began prompting their customers to lock-in new registrations for long periods, claiming that doing so would help their search engine rankings.

However, since that patent was released our observations indicate that extended domain registrations don't have much, if any, impact on rankings. It certainly doesn't hurt, but you should not expect it to give you any major boost in the rankings.

Even so, it is interesting to note that Google's patent application does state that domain registration could be a potential ranking factor. But just because something is in a patent doesn't mean that it's actually being done. All it means is that the patent holder wants to reserve the right to possibly do it someday.

Also relevant is the fact that Google, as a domain registrar, only has access to the database of public (but not private) whois records. So, in theory, if you keep your domain registration private (as many do for privacy and personal security reasons) Google has no easy way of knowing how long your domain is registered for.

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