Thursday, June 14, 2012

Domain Registration Term and SEO

Should you take the advice of experts to register your new domain for at least two years or more? Search engine algorithms evolve constantly, and the value of your domain registration term and SEO, or search engine optimization, has changed. Website SEO strategy needs to be revised over time to be effective.

Being aware of constant changes in Google and other major search engines for SEO factors is necessary to maintain a successful website optimization strategy. Ranking well in search results depends on many factors, yet domain registration length is one where the number of years advice for SEO is irrelevant.

Search engines tweak their top secret algorithms used by the crawlers to evaluate websites for trust and credibility. Their goal is providing the best and most relevant search results, so details of how they determine relevance leaves SEO experts guessing on the importance of topics like domain registration term and SEO.

Website owners face the task of creating content to attract favorable search position in Google and the other major search engines. The value of on-page original quality content added often is still the essence for online success. The example external SEO factor of the number of years for your domain registration is no longer significant for SEO, trust, and credibility.

Our advice when buying a new domain license is still registration for two years, or longer up to five years. However, today the reason for that advice is based on convenience and not SEO, so why did that search engine optimization strategy change? The reason to register five years will be explained in a moment, but first some SEO background information.

Years ago SEO experts including us advised new site owners to register longer than one year to demonstrate a commitment to be online. The SEO logic was search engine robots crawling the internet can access your worldwide registration data and discover the term in years, and were suspicious of new websites registered for just one year.

Short registration is typical of scam website owners who make online offers to take your money without ever delivering a product or service. Shutting down a website one step ahead of the authorities and opening a new site even in a new country was easy. As a result, all new websites registered for just one year were thought to be placed in what web designers call the Google sandbox. This imaginary place was in theory a holding pattern where the website would be indexed yet not show up in search results until their content established trust and credibility.

Until recently, our SEO advice was expect a new site launch to take 3-6 months or as much as a year to show up in search results. In the last year actual site performance has meant Google page one results in weeks, not months, for custom cms web designs launched for clients. Obviously site owners were very pleased.

Google provides SEO advice for creating quality websites even though their algorithms are still top secret. Search for Google Webmaster Tools to sign up for a free account, and then view their advice for design strategy and other SEO tactics to avoid. You may want to search for Google webmaster videos, too. Earlier in 2009 they released a video that confirms there is no SEO penalty for a one year domain registration.

Were the SEO experts wrong? Not necessarily. The difference is how content is indexed now versus years ago. If you create a site for your visitors first without attempting SEO tactics to game the search engines, Google and the others can determine the value and sort out sites that may be deceptive. High quality original content added often will stand up to scrutiny. Scam websites are detected based on content and not just a one year registration, so they are unlikely to show up on page one results.

Our advice is for a two to five year registration because your domain price should be less than $10 USD per year. Keep in mind no one owns a domain. Your registration is an exclusive license for a fixed period of time only. The cost for five years is nominal, so your domain renewal is less frequent and you can remain focused on SEO for developing your site content and expanding your customer base.

To add credibility to any website with a new domain registration, provide detailed contact information in the footer on every page and include your name or company name, a physical address and not a postal box, plus a phone number and email link. If your budget only allows launching with a one page site, having the contact details will help with establishing trust and credibility. Unless your theme is extremely unique, it may take months for a one page website to show in search results, so make adding content a priority.

Your domain registration term and SEO should not be a concern as long as you are adding new and original quality content often. The previous comment stated earlier bears repeating. Being aware of constant changes in Google and other major search engines for SEO factors is necessary to maintain a successful website optimization strategy. Design website content for a positive visitor experience and take what you learn about SEO to enhance your site with ongoing improvements.

Jim Degerstrom, owner of Custom CMS Design LLC, offers custom CMS web design services and proven SEO advice for search engine optimization with custom CMS web designs that allow website owners to add, edit, or delete content in plain text without technical skills.

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