Does Domain Name Registration Length Affect Search Engine Rankings?
This has been discussed time and time again, but since Epik is now offering Forever Registrations of domain names, I thought that I would ask Google’s John Mueller if domain registration length is a search engine ranking factor. Or, whether or not Google prefers domain names that have been registered for a longer period of time. I asked John on Twitter, and here’s what he said:
Bill Hartzer: “Hey @johnmu I know you’ve mentioned this in the past (e.g., https://www.seroundtable.com/google-domain-registration-length-22952.html …) but with @EpikDotCom now offering “forever” domain registrations, I thought I’d ask again: does domain registration length matter?”
John Mueller: “Nope, no preference.”
So, there you have it, straight from a Google rep. Domain registration isn’t a search engine ranking factor. Barry has posted about it over and over again, I know. But honestly I just had to ask again, especially since Epik now offers Forever Registrations, meaning that you can register a domain name forever, and it will not expire. You don’t have to worry anymore about whether or not you domain name will expire, as it will never expire.
How Do You Determine Domain Length of Registration?
In order to determine exactly when a domain name will expire, you need to look at the official WHOIS record for the domain name. Here is a sample domain WHOIS record, for my domain name:
Domain Name: BILLHARTZER.COM Registry Domain ID: 63059632_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.domain.com Registrar URL: www.domain.com Updated Date: 2017-12-23T03:26:19 Creation Date: 2001-02-20T21:00:48 Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2019-02-20T21:00:48 Registrar: Domain.com, LLC Registrar IANA ID: 886 Reseller: Dotster.com Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientDeleteProhibited Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientUpdateProhibited Registry Registrant ID: Registrant Name: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant Organization: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant Street: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant City: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant State/Province: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant Postal Code: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant Country: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant Phone: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant Phone Ext: Registrant Fax: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registrant Fax Ext: Registrant Email: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registry Admin ID: Admin Name: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin Organization: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin Street: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin City: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin State/Province: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin Postal Code: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin Country: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin Phone: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin Phone Ext: Admin Fax: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Admin Fax Ext: Admin Email: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Registry Tech ID: Tech Name: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech Organization: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech Street: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech City: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech State/Province: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech Postal Code: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech Country: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech Phone: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech Phone Ext: Tech Fax: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Tech Fax Ext: Tech Email: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY Name Server: scott.ns.cloudflare.com Name Server: ingrid.ns.cloudflare.com Registrar Abuse Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.6027165396 URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System: http://wdprs.internic.net/ >>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2017-12-23T03:26:19 <<< "For more information on Whois status codes, please visit https://icann.org/epp" Registration Service Provider: Dotster.com, email@example.com +1.8004015250 This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords, DNS/Nameserver changes, and general domain support questions.
WHOIS records are open to the public for anyone to view. Because of GDPR, you can see that the name, address, phone number, etc. has been removed for privacy and GDPR compliance. As you can see, though, that there is some info that you can see, such as the create date and the expiration date. For domain name registration length, you would look at the expiration date. In this case, it is:
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2019-02-20T21:00:48
It expires on 2/20/19, or February 20, 2019. I do need to renew this domain name, and will do it after I get done writing this post. So, the theory is that if you register your domain name for a few years in advance (so it doesn't expire soon), then Google or any other search engine should trust the domain name more. You have registered the domain name for a while, so you are attached it for a longer period of time. That's at least the theory here. But as you can tell, my domain name will expire in a few months, and I don't have any problems ranking in the search engine results.
But now, I've confirmed with John Mueller from Google that Google has no preference for domain names registered for a longer period of time.
Domain Name Registration for Brand Protection
What makes more sense, though, is that if you are a brand, or you want to protect your company's brand, it's assets, you should register your domain name for a longer period of time. That's where Epik's Forever Registration makes complete sense. After all, it's your domain name, your company asset, your brand. So, why not make sure that the domain name doesn't expire? Domain name registration forever makes sense to me.
100 Year Domain Name Registrations
You might recall that Network Solutions offered a domain name registration length for 100 years, and there is a page still on the site about that offer. I was able to start a domain name registration just now for 3 domain names that haven't been registered, and they still offer the 100 year domain name registration:
I don't have any domain name registration numbers that show how many domain names have been registered into the next century, but I wouldn't imagine that it's a whole lot of domain names. I can see someone registering a domain name for 10 years, but not 100 years.
Now that Google has officially said that domain name registration length is apparently not a search engine ranking factor, I know there are people out that will test this. If you test this properly, I'd like to see the results. But show me your test results after I renew my domain name for a few more years.