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While I was renewing a domain of mine with a well-known domain registrar, the support person who was on call with me said that I'd improve the SEO ranking of my domain if I increased the registration length from 1 year to 5 years instead.

The explanation that he gave me was something along the lines that a search engine like Google doesn't like to send users to domains and businesses that may no longer exist, and that by registering my domain for 5 years instead of just 1, Google would have higher confidence that I'm serious about keeping my business around for the long-term.

Needless to say, I was quite skeptical.

Does the registration/renewal length of a domain name affect its SEO and search result ranking for search engines such as Google?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Matt Cutt, an engineer at Google, was asked the following question regarding domain registration length's effect on SEO and search results:

How much weight does the number of years a domain is registered for have on your ranking?

This was Matt's response (bold emphasis mine):

My short answer is not to worry about that very much. Not very much at all, in fact.

Danny Sullivan had asked about this recently because there were some registrars that were sending around emails...that said "Did you know that Google gives you a bonus in ranking if you register your site for 3 or more years?". Just to clarify, that's not based on anything that we've said.

My short answer is make great content, don't worry nearly as much about how many years your domain is registered for. Just because someone is sending you an email that says "Google does" or even may use this in ranking, it doesn't mean that you should automatically take them at face-value.

What makes a really big difference is the quality of your site, and the sort of links that you have pointing to you, not "Is my site registered for 3 or 4 years, instead of 1 or 2 years?"

So while domain registration length might have an effect on ranking, there are other factors that are much more important, such as quality content and quality back-links.

Personally, if I'm on a very small and tight budget, then I think that the potential benefit of a tiny increase to ranking just doesn't justify the cost, in my opinion. If I'm going to register a domain for 4-5 years, I'm going to do it because I really believe that my website will be around for that long, not because I'm trying to manipulate Google into ranking me higher.

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I second that! The only factor, and it is a minor one, is trust scores. Not worth spending money for normally. Especially if all the other factors are lacking or not there yet. And considering the registrar and host, if their quality is not tip-top, then there really is no trust score of any value. In that case, the difference in trust score would not help at all. – closetnoc May 8 '14 at 0:39
Good question and answer here. Sounds like a marketing pitch from the registrar. I've seen many large sites with domain registrations that are renewed every year, whom also place at the top of searches. – dan May 8 '14 at 23:29

Yes it could matter. Google's lot of energy goes into finding spam sites. And most of spam sites don't last more than a year.

Registering for longer duration could reduce some chance that the site could be spam one. So at least it could influence the Google's sandbox affect for newer sites.

Also it is well known that higher age domains have higher trust factor than newer domains in the eyes of search engines.

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You don't cite any sources, so I'm skeptical. Also, the argument I made in my answer was that although registration length might have an influence, it's not nearly as important as having quality content and quality back-links. I'm not going to pay to have a domain registered for 5 years just to bump up my domain's SEO ranking by a tiny amount, when having quality content and back-links matters so much more. The potential benefit of a tiny increase to ranking doesn't justify the cost, in my opinion. – Cupcake May 15 '14 at 5:30
I agree with you and also have upvoted your answer. But unfortunately Google, Bing can't disclose such technical theories, so we can't have authoritative references for this answer. Matt's quoted answer does not directly answer this question. However this is closest reference you or I could get for this. – AgA May 15 '14 at 5:55

This is a big concern since I have registered my domains at 1&1 - they will ONLY register for one year and simply offer auto renew. There is NO way to register for more than one year.

Matt Cutt's response is almost an attempt to be politically correct and if I read his words precisely then he is saying that is does indeed matter. "My short answer is not to worry about that very much. Not very much at all, in fact."

For businesses that are in gear to do their BEST even this one point cannot be ignored.

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