SEO Trick I Hadn’t Known About

I don’t know if this is actually useful or not, but I tried it a few weeks ago and my traffic is up.  Correlation != causation and all that aside, it only cost me about $8 so maybe you want to try it too.

WebsiteGrader, a project of Dharmesh Shah and the rest of the team at Hubspot, suggests that if you have a website domain registration which will expire in a year or less, then you may be penalized by search engines, which think you might be a fly-by-night spam site operator. 

Google and other search engines like to see domains that have been registered for extended periods of time as this shows a committment to the domain name. It also is an indicator that this website has not been setup as a temporary spam site.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had about half a year left on my registration.  When I read their inducement I went over  to GoDaddy and got myself another 2 years, plus prepaid my hosting for a year for a wee discount.  My rankings on Google et al are indeed up.  Again, I have no way of knowing whether that was caused by this tweak, and I have never heard this SEO tip on other sources of SEO information which I trust, so take it with a grain of salt.  That being said, if it isn’t true the most you are out is about $8 which you were going to pay eventually anyway, right?

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9 Comments on “SEO Trick I Hadn’t Known About”


  1. As the author of WebsiteGrader, thanks for the link and I hope you found the site useful.

    The domain expiration tip is a bit controversial. I have read arguments that Google does indeed use quickly expiring domain names as one possible signal of spam sites (because those guys set up thousands of domains and then keep the ones that get sufficient advertising revenue to oversome their annual registration cost). This makes sense to me as to why Google would do that. You wouldn’t think that a 3 year registration would stop the spammers that much, but it does. The economics of the “made for AdSense” businesses are that very little revenue gets made so they can’t afford to spend 3 year registration fees on a bunch of sites that they’re eventually going to need to terminate because there is no traffic.

    I’ve also read arguments that the domain expiration date has no impact whatsoever.

    My thinking is this: I’ve *never* read anywhere that it’s going to hurt you to have a domain registered for 5 years (and if you do indeed run a business or other type of long-term activity, it’s not really a waste of money). So, why not do it?

    By the way, WebsiteGrader.com is being upgraded in the next few days with several nice new features and non-obvious things to reccommend. I encourage you to revisit. We have a blog and email/rss signup now so you can be notified when the software is upgraded.

    Cheers,
    Dharmesh


  2. Hi. That’s an interesting theory about the length of registration. I hadn’t heard that before.

    I have heard that Google definitely does factor in how old your site is, and gives higher rankings to older sites.

    So it may just have been that your site was now 1 year older. And it may not have made any difference whether you reregistered for 1 or 2 years.

    Impossible to go back and try it the other way, so its a hard one to test.

    Louis Kessler
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

  3. Scott Meade Says:

    I don’t know about this one. It seems the content of the site should help Google determine how relevant it is. I’m not an SEO or Google expert, but I would hope the Google brains are bright enough to figure out that a domain with 3 year registration but junk content is probably not what a searcher is seeking. And if the content is not junk, then why not show it? Not all information is about a company or other offering that searchers expect to have staying power. Maybe there is information about a upcoming event or current project, and once the event is over, why keep the site other than for posterity. Nevertheless, I am extending my registrations because as Dharmesh points out, it can’t hurt so thanks for the tip!

  4. Paul Levine Says:

    Back in 2005, Google filed a patent to track, among other things, the length a domain is registered for. The longer the registration, it is assumed, the better your web site is looked upon. The patent was meant to be able to track the history of web site. For example, how often you update your site, how quickly people start linking to you etc..

    A few years ago I wrote an article in response to a customer’s questions regarding the patent. It basically sums up what the patent is all about and provides a link to the original patent;

    http://ragesw.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=168

    To sum it up;
    1) Register domains for at least 3 years
    2) Make consistent site updates, don’t add thousands of pages at once
    3) Build your link popularity gradually
    4) Improve your SERPs click through rate by creating a compelling page title


  5. Whether it works or not, how much does it HURT you? None. It costs you a few extra dollars (10? 20?) to register for 2 or three years.

    I think it’s a good investment anyhow. Shows that you think your business will be around for more than a few months. 🙂


  6. Here is another item you might want to look at. I didn’t check BingoCreator, so I don’t know if you suffer from this problem or not..

    How many “entry urls’ does your site have? Google will assign a PR to EACH ONE!

    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000797.html

  7. Scott Meade Says:

    I’ve submitted for 5 more years. Thanks for the tip. Here’s another: GoDaddy will give a free year if you transfer to them. A free year is not enough to go through a transfer unless you hat the current registrar you were at – which was my case.

  8. Magnus J Says:

    Well, this is very interesting. And when you think of it, it is not so surprising. To register your domain name for a longer time period is a rather clear signal that you have long-term plans. And the fact that Google uses this as a parameter in their ranking algoritm is a sound approach. I have only a 1 year recurrence payment on my domain name and will definitely make this a 2 or 3 year plan. Are there any ohter parameter than the Google ranking that one can expect improvements?

  9. Pete Says:

    I am not sure I go along with this school of thought. That said it is interesting and should not be dismissed. It is probably a rumour put about by domain sellers.


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