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Does the Length of a Domain Registration Affect Your Search Engine Rank?

Does the length of your website’s domain name registration affect the search results at Google? This question has come up recently and a lot of website owners have been wondering about it, especially since it was mentioned in a patent awarded to Google in April. According to the patent, “Certain signals cialis online 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.” According to this statement in the patent, domains that expire in 10 years are more valuable and legitimate than domains that will expire in less than a year.

Google, in general, is always looking for ways to weed out the bad (spammers) from the good (legitimate) websites. I suspect that they looked for a pattern among the good, legitimate websites and found that most good, legitimate websites have a commitment towards their business and their domain name-they register it for a long period of time. In other words, the theory behind all of this is that if you register a domain name for several years it shows Google that you’re committed to that domain name. If you register a domain name for 1 year then you’re not as committed to that domain name. A lot of spammers use “throw away” domain names and register them for only a year. So, Google uses the length of time that a domain is registered to determine whether the owner of that domain name is committed to it or not.

One domain name owner I talked to recently told me that renewing his domain names once each year was a part of his business plan. He made a certain amount of money each year from each domain name/website, and he didn’t want to cut into the profits of each site by renewing each domain name all at once for several years. “Renewing a domain name for 10 years or even 2 years ahead of time means that I have to spend more money. If I have to come up with $50 or $100 more per year for the domain renewal fees it cuts into my profits”, says John, who wished to remain anonymous. John’s website is probably exactly the type of website that Google wishes to identify. Google is looking to identify quality, well-established websites whose owners are committed to their domain names. According to the statements made in Google’s patent, Google thinks that websites that have been renewed for a long period of time meet that standard.

Should you renew your domain name for a long period of time? And if so, how long is long enough? If you want to stay ahead of your competition, then you might consider looking at the length of time your competitors have registered their domain names. If your competitors have generally renewed their domain names for one or two years, you might consider registering your domain name for 5 or 10 years. While putting off your domain name’s expiration date might help your search engine rankings, keep in mind that this may be only a small boost (or a “tie-breaker” among two websites) when it comes to the actual search engine rankings. And, be aware that just because Google has a patent on the idea it doesn’t mean that they’re actually using that criteria now to rank websites. They, too, want to stay ahead of their competition (mainly Yahoo! and MSN).

I’ve registered the domains that I really care about for at least 10 years. Initially, I registered these domains for a long period of time because I didn’t want to lose them-and I didn’t want to go through the somewhat-lengthy annual process of renewing them every year. Since most domain names I own come up for renewal at different times during the year, it seemed as though I was renewing a domain name at least once a month-and renewing them for a few years put it off for a while.

Expired domain name buyers are prevalent nowadays. If your domain name expires, there’s a good chance that someone watching will register your domain name within seconds after it expires. If, for whatever reason, you don’t renew your domain name, someone watching a ‘watch list’ of expiring domain names will try to capitalize on the online business that you’ve built over the years. They know that there is potential website traffic they can have simply by renewing your old domain name. By renewing your domain name for several years, your domain name won’t expire for a while, and it won’t be opened up to expired domain name buyers.

If you really want to stay ahead of the competition, you might consider registering or renewing your domain name for 100 years. Currently, Network Solutions (www.netsol.com) is the only registrar offering the 100 year option, which costs $999.00. GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com), currently offers to renew or register a domain name for 10 years, at a discount of $6.95 per year. Dotster (www.dotster.com), another leading registrar, offers domain name registration and renewals for up to 10 years at a cost of $129.95.

What’s the bottom line? If you’re committed to your online business, your website, and your domain name, then renewing your domain name for a long period of time will not only stop expired domain buyers from registering your domain name when it expires, it will show Google that you’re committed to it-and that may give you a boost in the search engine rankings, as well.

Bill Hartzer is a successful writer and search engine marketing expert who has personally created hundreds of websites over the years. Extended bio info:

Bill created his first website back in 1996 to help promote his former database software business. It was then when he learned about the power of the search engines and web search, which helped potential customers find his business online.

Bill Hartzer has over 15 years of professional writing experience. He has survived stints as a writer for television, as well as a technical writer for several computer software companies in Florida and in Texas. Mr. Hartzer combines his writing and online skills to create compelling and useful websites for corporations worldwide. Mr. Hartzer focuses on the optimization in the business to business arena, but applies these optimization skills to business to consumer websites, as well.

The Sub-Domain – An Affiliates Friend

It’s surprising, at least to me, the amount of Affiliates who aren’t aware of the value and flexibility that the ‘sub-domain’ can give their promotional website activities. Set up in the right way, a single domain through a host who includes multiple ‘sub-domains’ in their hosting package can fill ALL the online needs of even the busiest and most diversified Affiliate.

Firstly, for those who need to know, a ‘sub-domain’ is simply a separate, individual web folder, which can be attached to a ‘main’ domain and treated in all respects as a separate entity online. It is similar to a ‘sub-web’, which most hosting facilities include except that it is, in it’s own right, treated as a separate domain by the SEs rather than a sub-folder under a domain.

The way in which they are represented online as URLs is as follows:

For instance, if you have a domain name, ‘domain.com’ and you add a sub-domain named ‘bubble’, the URL to that particular ‘website’ (which is what each sub-domain amounts to, a separate website) will be ‘bubble.domain.com’. No doubt, many have seen these types of URLs online and in promo emails etc. The ‘dot’ between the sub-domain and main domain is not to be confused with the ‘dash’ that can be used as part of a main domain. For instance, ‘bubble-domain.com’ would need to be registered and propagated in it’s own right whereas, sub-domains can be created under a main domain in a matter of seconds, with their own FTP password, image, private and cgi-bin folders etc.

What makes them so valuable a tool, if it’s not so obvious already, is that an Affiliate can create a separate website for totally unrelated products or services, fill each website with the necessary pages of content, links and facilities etc and promote each to the Search Engines and other directories, virtually as if it were a different main domain. As I’ve said, the SEs treat each sub-domain as a separate entity and categorize them as such. A very handy ability when it comes to Affiliate programs that supply a website or webpage for their Affiliates to use and promote. In such a case, you can basically make that page or site your very own in every respect, optimizing for SEs and presenting it how ever you please (provided no agreements are broken).

Obviously, having a ‘generic’ main domain name is essential to getting the best out of this cost, time and trouble saving method of creating multiple websites. If you have a main domain name ‘pillshop.net’ (perhaps your initial Affiliate endeavor involved promoting this type of product) it is really only going to be useful for the one type of product or service. Alternatively, something more generic like ‘online-plus.biz’ is going to be useful for promoting almost anything because it has no specific meaning. For instance, in the case of promoting a Singles Dating Affiliate program, something like ‘singles.online-plus.biz’ would work as well as ‘pills.online-plus.biz’ or even ‘dogs.online-plus.biz’. However, ‘singles.pillshop.net’ just doesn’t work, does it? (Although, I have seen some pretty weird URLs around!)

The only problem you will be presented with, concerns the traffic ranking facility Alexa. Alexa will read all sub-domains as their parent ‘main domain’, so the traffic ranking for each website will be the same, as will all the other Alexa information. However, this isn’t such a great problem when you consider that the total traffic indicated for each website will actually be the total for ALL of them. In my opinion, not so much of a problem, at all.

So, for the Affiliate at least, choosing the right type of domain name and a hosting facility that includes multiple sub-domains in their package is very important, especially if there’s any possibility that you’re going to be venturing into promoting unrelated products and services. The first hosting facility I was involved with a few years ago, charged $10 to create each sub-domain. The one I’ve been with for the last couple of years, allows unlimited free sub-domains (contact me at one of my websites if you want to know who they are).

The 2005 Edition of Steve Brennan’s popular ebook title ‘The Affiliate Guide Book‘ is available now. He also operates a number of Affiliate wesbites which include Hair Loss Remedy and Diet & Weight Loss Place.

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