On May 1st, SEOs and website owners were treated to a new opportunity to possibly increase page ranking through a positive change in domain buying possibilities.
The UK’s registry for domains originally announced in November that it would be changing the standard domain registration period from 2 years, to a choice of 1 to 10 years. The rule, brought into force this month, applies to .uk domains (often the most appropriate domain for businesses with UK-based customers). Extending your .co.uk, .org.uk or .me.uk domain for a longer period than the original 2 years can have a number of benefits.
Why would I want the commitment of a long-term domain?
A domain name which is bought for an extended period is thought to have a positive impact on a site’s ranking in the search engine results pages. It is widely believed that Google considers a domain’s expiry date (part of its domain authority) as a metric to determine PageRank. Of course, if it does, it would be a very minor factor, with hundreds of other signals also analysed in Google’s algorithms, but registering a domain name for 10 years shows search engines that you are here to stay. Google has a patent application on looking at this data, and although this doesn’t mean they use it, the view widely held in the SEO world is that a domain’s expiry date is relevant to ranking.
You may think that purchasing a long-term domain is a costly commitment when you cannot guarantee Google will use it at all, let alone to your benefit. And of course, a 10 year investment is not for all businesses. New websites may be risking too much, and for sites selling Justin Bieber merchandise, having a 10 year contract may be optimistic to say the least.
But for established businesses which realistically expect a steady flow of customers for years to come (if your site is about cars, gardening or any other long-term sector), registering a domain for an extended period is an easy and affordable way to hedge your bets with Google. In addition to potentially benefiting from SEO improvement due to an increased domain authority, you are sensibly securing your domain for your own prolonged use. The extended domains were made available partly to reduce cyber squatters; people who wait to buy domains once a site forgets to renew, then selling the contract back at a profit. With less time between renewals, you are less likely to forget to renew your domain, keeping your email, site content, ranking, customers and revenue. You’ll also be able to reduce the hassle of renewals, and may even pay a lower price per year if you purchase for an extended period.
Of course, each site is different. The good thing about the new extended leases is that they at least give the flexibility for site owners to choose the length of their registration.
If you need advice on how long to register your site’s domain for, more information on domain authority or help with choosing a domain, contact KPI for a chat.