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Check your Whois Private Info
SEOPTI




msg:3799682
 3:17 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I forgot to renew my private information and the domain whois info reverted back to real name, real street ...

Guess what happened? Google lowered my rankings lol
The machine probably thinks the owner has changed.

I call this Artificial Intelligence lol!

 

barney




msg:3799709
 4:18 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I highly doubt this was the case. Google doesn't use whois info to based its ranking.

azguy




msg:3799724
 4:48 am on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I highly doubt this was the case. Google doesn't use whois info to based its ranking.

Google did not become a registrar several years back for nothing. You can't register a domain with Google,so why would they become a registrar. Hmmmmmm......

If age of a domain is playing a role, they are using whois data to get the age. You can bet they use it for other things as well.

JohnDoealias




msg:3799920
 1:04 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yeap. Google use whois for many things.

SEOPTI




msg:3799964
 2:29 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

They definitely used the whois data in this case. I can clearly see the incoming links (PR) have been devalued by about 80% if not all of them at the time the non-private whois info came into play.

It's a site with only 5-7 URLs (offering a free widget) so I can rule out a lot of things. This site is 5 years old and never had any problems.

I reverted back to private and will see what happens.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 2:30 pm (utc) on Dec. 4, 2008]

potentialgeek




msg:3799966
 2:39 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Whois privacy services are usually well-labeled. Google could easily distinguish between whois privacy and an individual/corporation. Its patent on this topic says it can devalue links if the content of the site page is different from the old links.

You should get a whois service that automatically renews whois privacy. Enom, for example, has a setting to auto renew privacy 30 days before the domain expires.

On the topic of Google and whois, one site in my sector that is #2 in Google for a very competitive keyword uses whois privacy.

I suspect there are fewer potential problems wrt whois privacy related to Google than some of us might imagine. It's one of the best anti-spam services I ever got.

p/g

wyweb




msg:3799973
 2:52 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I removed privacy protection from 6 or 7 domains last summer, all with 5 and 6 PR. There has been absolutely no change in either PR or traffic levels.

Simsi




msg:3800032
 4:06 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Surely if you are a registrar you can see who owns the domain irresepctive of Privacy. Or else why do I keep getting sly renewal notices from registrars who don't look after my domain?

CainIV




msg:3800261
 8:58 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Google doesn't use whois info to based its ranking. "

I think this is speculation more than specifically being tested. Some people have reported drops, such as SEOPTI. However, it is difficult to measure those drops and whether other factors did not come into play in terms of that drop that coincided with the automatic change.

Personally, some of my domains are protected and some are not. I did not notice a ranking change when switching to privacy, however, none have ever reverted.

Would be a great control test for the purposes of evaluation!

wheel




msg:3800274
 9:10 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Surely if you are a registrar you can see who owns the domain irresepctive of Privacy.

I don't know - and I don't know that anyone's ever confirmed or denied this though it's beem suggested both ways.

Does anyone know for sure without speculating?

tedster




msg:3800280
 9:16 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have a client who changed the legal ownership of the domain (and business) twice within the past year. No changes in the SERPs followed on either time.

Other clients in the past have purchased other online businesses, changed the domain's Whois to reflect that, and also seen no ranking changes. Based on that, I'm thinking this is not an open-and-shut case of Whois changes influencing ranking.

Google has SAID they "might" reset things when a domain changes ownership, but I have yet to see it happen. It's certainly not a done deal, especially if there are no content changes following the Whois change.

Shaddows




msg:3800305
 9:35 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

First let me admit my ignorance. I do not own domains, I work for people who do, and whois has never really been part of my remit.

That said, selling domains seems to me to fall into two categories.
1) Purchasing a SITE. Imagine buying a company in the real world. You would not expect to have to build a new client list, renegotiate contracts and the like. Same here. Ownership is transferred along with all assets, including ranking and backlink profile

2) Purchasing a DOMAIN Imagine buying a brand. You would expect to have to set up new contacts (supplier or client), contracts, and effectively start a business. While you get some boost from the brand, you certainly do not buy a successful business. Thus, if you redevelop (and particularly repurpose) a site, you can expect to lose the ranking and backlink JUICE the previous owners developed. You will keep the visitors, unless and until the link-owners decide (or notice) the link is not somewhere they want to associate with.

Receptional Andy




msg:3800314
 9:43 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've not seen any impact of changing WHOIS information, from an edit or even via the adding or removal of "privacy protection" from a domain name.

I don't think it's improbable that WHOIS is a factor, but IMO it must be a small one, or one that can only be sufficiently amplified by other, unrelated, factors.

motwguy




msg:3802152
 11:19 pm on Dec 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

This may be old news here, but
I read a Matt Cutts quote that Google resets pagerank when ownership changes. I Googled "domain ownership cutts "and found several posts on this.

tedster




msg:3802203
 12:46 am on Dec 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

right - Matt has said that Google "might" reset things. However, from what I've seen that doesn't happen when the content doesn't change. That's what makes this report from SEOPTI a bit of an anomaly.

Chico_Loco




msg:3803358
 2:14 pm on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Remember... a domain name can change ownership in a variety of ways, the most notable of which are voluntary sale and expiration. I don't see why they would reset things in the case of a sale... because that doesn't necessarily change the Website's theme/purpose, particularly if the content remains the same.

An expiration on the other hand may justify a reset because the new owner may do something completely different with it. Inbound links may immediately become contextually unrelated.

SEOPTI - is your real name, address, etc. being used on other domains (or has it ever?) The anonymity registration service probably is on a whitelist, because blacklisting it would affect too many people. But, if you have done something naughty or questionable in the past under a domain registered with the real data then perhaps Google knew about it and decided to negatively flag this domain.

Also... if you're in a large building with multiple units then someone else may be using the same address as you to register domains. Perhaps they did something naughty.

Just a thought!

Gomvents




msg:3803395
 2:59 pm on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google only looks for change in registrar data when it matches a drastic onsite change. As I've site before if you buy a site from someone you should wait about three months before changing the content drastically if you change the registrar data right away (as you should). Also the "content" shouldn't really change. If the topic changes of course Google should devalue old rankings as it's no longer relevant.

Jack_Hughes




msg:3803400
 3:05 pm on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

A link from a site that is controlled by you probably doesn't count for as much as an editorially disconnected one.

For instance, movign of your sites that has a link to one of your other sites to an IP address identifiable as connected to you could mean that the link doesn't count for as much as it used to when google thought it wasn't controlled by you.

Perhaps by revealing the real owner of your site you revealed a connection to some other site linking to your site?

smallcompany




msg:3803560
 5:37 pm on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Matt has said that Google "might" reset things

Just like with everything else about Google - it should be pure logic (I hope).

The logic is that rankings could change if the content has changed, like Tedster pointed out.

The logic also is that rankings could change if the new owner is an entity marked as a blackhat, spammer, or whatever.

On the other side, if business is as usual, and Google is not suspicious about “so and so” site, there should not be rank change after WHOIS has changed.

I think that although privacy option can be abused and misused by domain owners, it should also be respected.
All of my domains are registered through a company that does not allow company name to show as legal owner (although corp is the real owner). In addition, they do not allow PO box to be used.
Well, since I work from home, I don’t want the address where my kids resign to be out there in the “here you are” fashion. One could say "rent an office", but working from home address is such a reality today which cannot be ignored or blamed.

I hope that Google is using a common sense in this case.

nealrodriguez




msg:3803663
 7:35 pm on Dec 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

i've renewed domains and changed their whois without any change in the rankings; i didn't touch the content either.

misterjinx




msg:3803857
 12:25 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not only... in historical data patents, Google can check
* the domain;
* informations about the the owner of the domain;
* how many time is the domain registered to the same person;
* how many years is the domain registered according to this logic: if I register a domain for 10 years it means I want to create a project and I believe in it. Differently domains yearly renewed could be an indicator of a lesser robust project (or spam). Nowadays I think this is a secondary factor but I never personally tested.

zeus




msg:3803913
 1:52 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

tedster - I have also changed name address on my sites, I by mistake made some spelling errors, also change from open to private no changes.

I dont think its a good Idea to change rankings based on ownership and why, when its still the same quality.

tedster




msg:3803922
 2:03 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I agree, zeus. That's why we don't see Google automatically doing this. However, in certain cases, they certainly "may" re-set backlinks to zero when the whois shows an ownership change. As with much of the algo, the shades of gray that are being programmed in are getting rather subtle.

[edited by: tedster at 4:42 am (utc) on Dec. 10, 2008]

kamikaze Optimizer




msg:3804040
 7:12 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I would tend to think that Google might do a devalue on a domain when the registrar info changes IF that domain has a history of pushing the envelope with regards to other algos.

But, this is pure guessing.

BradleyT




msg:3804071
 8:34 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I thought Google ranked web pages not website owners.

Seems silly to me unless there's a shift in content.

Shaddows




msg:3804112
 10:15 am on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I thought Google ranked web pages not website owners.
Seems silly to me unless there's a shift in content.

Two points. One is about bad neighbourhoods. Who you associate yourself with on the net and who you are in the real world might say alot about the site. As noted, its not automatic, as with many things, I'm guessing there is a trust threshold for an individual (for clarity, I'm not suggesting this is the case with the OP)

Secondly, as previously noted, revealing yourself to be associated with a site that contributes PR and other ranking points is likely to mean a depression of those ranking points. More likely to be automatic IMHO.

BradleyT




msg:3804411
 5:05 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Secondly, as previously noted, revealing yourself to be associated with a site that contributes PR and other ranking points is likely to mean a depression of those ranking points. More likely to be automatic IMHO.

In my own experience and based on competitors sites I would say that high trust will negate any potential devaluing of links that come from two sites with the same whois info.

Shaddows




msg:3804432
 5:24 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

fair point and I don't disagree, but runs contrary to "I thought Google ranked web pages not website owners" ;)

2clean




msg:3805047
 10:39 am on Dec 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

It would be daft for a search engine not to use some of the Whois information as part of an evaluation mechanism for determining whether something is legit or not. Although with all the domain name cloaking tools the extent to which this is still as effective as some years ago is questionable.

However, as G's results are now so much in flux, can you exclude that this is not just one of those situations.

Miamacs




msg:3815243
 10:57 pm on Dec 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

SEOPTI...

...so, what happened after you

reverted back

?

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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