Is private registration a bad thing in Google’s eyes?
 by Casey Markee

Is private registration a bad thing in Google's eyes?

  • I use private whois registration on all my domains because I work from home and wish to avoid making my home address public.

    However, I've recently heard that Google doesn't like private registrations to the degree that they might even asses penalties to sites that are privately registered. Is there any truth to this rumor?

Answer: Private registrations by themselves are not a problem, and we've never seen anyone penalized for them. However, if you're doing a lot of little things that look like red flags to Google, such as:

  • Large numbers of reciprocal links.
  • Crosslinking many of your own sites.
  • Redirecting expired domains to your site (especially when they're off-topic)

...you could end up on Google's radar screen and then they might check your registration, see that it's "private" and that would appear as another red flag to add to the others. Not good.

Of course, any one of these attributes by itself isn't enough to typically result in a penalty or ban. However, add them all together and things start looking a bit too suspicious to Google and you could be risking a ban.

Whenever isolated as stand-alone attributes, small terms of service infractions are often ignored by Google because they know that most webmasters have never read the Google webmaster guidelines and don't know exactly what the rules are. Thus, Google often gives webmasters the benefit of the doubt and assumes these stand-alone, scattered infractions are innocent mistakes.

However, when they see many small infractions occurring in an organized fashion and all at the same time on the same site, then it clearly forms the pattern of an aggressive SEO who's intentionally bending for the sole purpose of gaining improve rankings.

In short, if your site is very white-hat you'll never have problems with private registration. But if you like to play a bit close to the edge, and ...

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