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Domain name registration: 1 year or forever?

They say there are over 200 factors involved in search engine ranking (although others say it’s not true). However, one of the items which appears on most lists of considerations is domain name registration length. How old is the domain? And how long into the future is it registered?

The reason these might be considered a factor is common sense. Speculative or even scam domains probably won’t have been around for long, and the owners almost certainly won’t have invested in registering them for years into the future. However, while Google says it might consider these factors, more specific questioning reveals that in practice, it doesn’t do so. There’s no real need to consider the length of time a domain has been in existence if you’re also considering links to that domain, as these are partially a function of time anyway. As for length of registration, while a long-term investment might show the owner is ‘serious’, it would be unfair to relatively penalise those who just work from year to year.

One or two domain name registrars are offering 100-year or ‘eternal’ registrations now, but this sounds like a gimmick to me. If you want to help ensure you never lose your domain name, pay for a decent length of registration (e.g. 10 years) and – critically – ensure that the email contact on the registration is a general one which will always be in existence, not that of a specific individual who might not be at the company when re-registration time comes.

You can find out your domain registration date information here. I don’t believe that full contact information is openly available online any more, so you’ll probably need to visit your domain name registrar’s website to check that. But it is worth doing. If you don’t even know who your domain name registrar is, and how to access your account, it’s time to find out. Never leave this to someone else, such as an agency.