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?