Does Domain Expiry Date Really Matter?

While I was scanning through my list of blogs today, I came across a really interesting article from over at DailyBlogTips entitled, Renew Your Domain for Longer Periods. I found this article to be really interesting because frankly, it was not an aspect of SEO I really considered. Basically, the idea is that it’s possible that when considering where to rank your site in the search engine result pages (SERPs), Google may use the expiry date of your domain as one of the metrics of legitimacy for your site.

From a Google patent filed several years ago:

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.

Earlier this month, I posted a look at the inner workings of Google. In the source article, a top Google engineer mentions that they have more than 200 individual tests that are applied to a site to determine ranking in results. That fact alone would clearly argue that they probably cover most bases, so the fact that they might toss some weight behind domain expiry is not all that far fetched.

SEO is an ever changing field, and no one knows for sure if Google checks expiration dates. However, this is one of those things that it really doesn’t hurt you to fix. If you’re planning to keep a good domain forever anyway, why not renew it for multiple years? Many good domain registrars offer multiple year discounts, so in the long run you’ll actually save yourself a few bucks as well.

I know a few of my own domains are expiring later this year and I think I’ll definitely renew the ones I plan to keep for a long while for multiple years. What do you think of this idea? Have any of you ever noticed a bonus in ranking when renewing a domain for 5-10 years instead of just 1?

10 thoughts on “Does Domain Expiry Date Really Matter?”

  1. Thanks for picking this up.

    As mentioned I just renewed my domain for 5 years, I will keep an eye on possible consequences of that, although I think it will be really difficult to isolate that effect.

    Personally I think its something like this: I have nothing to lose, but maybe I will gain something, why not try then?

  2. Yeah, I completely agree. I think Fuzzy Future is up around the end of this year, so I’ll probably renew it for multiple years as well. The only thing it really hurts is the pocketbook if you’re short on cash, but really not that either when you think about what you save in the long run anyway…

  3. .co.uk domains can only be registered for a maximum of 2 years so we don’t much choice in the matter

  4. No idea – I’ve looked on Nominet.org.uk’s site to find a reason but there isn’t one – that’s just the way it is.

  5. I’ve considered renewing my domain for longer than a year for the simple reason that it’s one less thing to keep track of each year. The SEO benefit, however, is a bit of a mystery and probably very difficult to confirm. I did notice, however, that at Website Grader SEO Tool, they factor in the domain expiration when they attempt to “grade” your site. I’m probably going to renew my domain shortly and add a few extra years. I’ll keep track of the original Website Grader score and try to do a little before and after comparison. Stay tuned.

  6. I don’t understand why co.uk are only for 2 years either. It seems that if you buy or renew using a US registrar such as godaddy you can register it for basically as long as you like.

    With the co.uk domains I own I’m just going to continue using my current UK registrars as it doesn’t seem worth changing. I’ve checked my competitors and can’t find a single one which has been registered for more than 2 years.

  7. Yeah, I recently had to renew 4 domains that I have no intention of getting rid of, so I decided I might as well get them for 5 years. It’s actually cheaper anyway, and with godaddy you can always find a nice 10-15% reduction promo code so it’s better to save more on a big purchase then a tiny one :)

    I wonder how much Google takes it into consideration though. For example, one of my domains I’ve had registered since about 2001, and every year I was just picking it up for 1 year at a time (I know, not very business savvy). So even with my domain being only a 1 year registration, it’s been owned by the same person for 6 years and has never not been registered…

    They must put a lot more weight behind that I would think…

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