It was mentioned in their Histoical and Age Data Patent [webmasterworld.com] and some people (especially registrars) picked up the ball and ran with it.
In a discussion at PubCon Matt Cutts mentioned that it was a relatively small signal for Google, and possibly useful in reinforcing a verdict of spotting spammy intent if other signs were also present.
All .uk domains are registered for two years - never more, never less.
Most .com domains (including those at the top of the SERPs) appear to be renewed annually.
File this one under "SEO myth".
I'd say it gives a signal about how serious you are about the business.
Why de-sandbox a site (after a period of time) that's about to expire without any certainty of its renewal?
If I were them ... I'd consider it.
|I'd say it gives a signal about how serious you are about the business |
A stronger signal than the common registrar default of "renew annually in perpetuity"?
I don't think that length of domain registration stands for much on its own. Older domains that have been active since they were registered may count for more. Think of all of the old links that they have picked up over the years. A couple of the sites I am working with were launched in 1999, and I expect that when SEO changes are made, the sites will receive a fairly large increase in traffic, as they will be seen as more trustworthy than sites launched much more recently.
In a recent interview Udi Manber when it comes to algorithmic improvements says: "In 2007, we launched more than 450 new improvements, about 9 per week on the average" I hardly believe a single step like register your domain for five years make any significant difference.
|hardly believe a single step |
No single step will make or break your SEO unless you've been doing something stupid, but when something won't hurt, and might help a bit, why not?
There are other reasons besides SEO for keeping important domains registered well in advance.
If you get a new domain and a day later it has 1m pages, Google might scope it for other spam signals. I think age matters when there's content. It is a good sign with lots of links, etc. Every little bit helps. I prefer to build on old domains than new ones (if there are no penalty issues).
|when something won't hurt, and might help a bit, why not? |
It certainly won't hurt, and there is no reason why not - but it is not going to help your SEO.
On a crude level, what is being suggested would mean that any .uk domain (two year registration only) would have a built-in advantage over any .com domain that is renewed annually (my guess 95%). Likewise, it would mean that a .com registered for three or more years would have a built-in advantage over any .uk domain.
Now, you will say that Google is not that stupid - and I will be the first to agree. But by the same token, they are not going to be so stupid as to put the vast majority of .com domains that are set to renew annually in perpetuity at a disadvantage to those registered for a measly five years.
|In a discussion at PubCon Matt Cutts mentioned that it was a relatively small signal for Google, and possibly useful in reinforcing a verdict of spotting spammy intent if other signs were also present. |
Tedster on the ball, as usual.
When that first came out, I read it as that Google "might" attach some factor to the actual age of an active domain, not for how long it is registered for.
I dont know if it really helps but recently i renewed my registrar and ssl with go daddy and the customer service rep was trying to talk me into extending it for a even longer amount of time. He said that WHOIS will know how long the domain is registered for and that this will help you with ranking etc cause google and other sites will know it is a site that is going to be around for awhile.
|not for how long it is registered for |
Here is the relevant paragraph from the patent:
|Certain signals may be used to distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate domains. For example, domains can be renewed up to a period of 10 years. Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith. |
In fairness, it is easy to see how this could be interpreted as a signal to register all domains for as long as possible, but for the reasons outlined above there is no likelihood that it will give any SEO advantage (and no evidence either).
|the customer service rep was trying to talk me into extending it |
To use the famous quote from Mandy Rice-Davies, "well, he would, wouldn't he?".
I agree with buckworks -- if it might help, and it certainly won't hurt, why not renew for a few extra years?
Many SEO questions have a balance -- is "A" better or is "B" better? This isn't one of those. Extending a domain for a longer period of time either helps or makes no difference; it can't hurt.
|Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain |
I seriously doubt that Google would factor that in as part of SEO. They might flag short term domains for a little extra scrutiny - or maybe they just wanted to file the patent for protection and never used it.