Monday, October 8, 2007
Domain Registration Length
Major search engines may look at length of domain registration as an indication of trust. Longer domain registration contracts are considered more trustworthy due to the commitment implied by the owner. Domain registrations of more than 5 years are generally considered more trusted by the major search engines. Additional Domains Publishing the Same Content. At times, site owners will build multiple sites from the same data or database using different branding to reach specific target markets or to try and extend their online presence. This practice can be harmful to all of the sites involved and usually the search engine rankings of these sites are impacted. In some cases this practice can be accomplished safely if the sites using the same data are completely different and separate. This is a rare circumstance and will not apply in most cases. Do not use multiple domains or sites to publish the same data or content. Multiple domains publishing nearly duplicate or identical content is not acceptable to the major search engines and may result in site filters, penalties or in extreme cases the sites being banned. There is no “fix” for this issue other than removing the duplicate sites and placing a 301 permanent redirect at the domain level to the primary site. If you must publish the same data on multiple domains, do not interlink the sites and make sure the site architecture and designs are different enough to help distinguish the sites as individual properties. All but the Primary domain should use the robots.txt file to block spider access from the domain and prevent potential duplicate content filters. Active Site Mirrors Very active or large sites may at times utilize site mirrors to help distribute their server loads to different machines or even domains. While a very common practice, if configured improperly this can lead to duplicate content issues in the search engines. When using site mirrors identify a primary server or domain and ensure that any additional servers or domains are not accessible to the search engine spiders. Internal server configurations as well as robots.txt files can be used to accomplish this. Domain Email Blacklist Status While this status is not directly linked to SEO, it may be applied to the trust of the domain if the site is on the black list. This in turn could affect the ability of the domain to obtain high rankings for desirable keywords or phrases. Additionally, it could affect the domain’s ability to be used in a business environment. Age of Current Design Changes to the architecture or underlying code of a site which can occur during a re-design may effect the indexing of a site in the major search engines. Sites which have under gone major re-design work within the past year will be reviewed using a slightly different set of guidelines. Only initiate a major re-design for the site if the current architecture is beyond repair or the branding/functionality of the site changes at a fundamental level.