I read somewhere the other day someone who thinks that if you register a domain with the privacy option for whois that Google may look on your site as a spammer or otherwise devalue it in calculating rank.
Does anyone have any real knowledge or facts on the issue? In lieu of this, I would hear opinions as well.
thats absolute illogical tripe, of course successful sites have to use privacy options
When ever spammers come up with a new technique to try and game the system, google adjusts their system to penalize the spammers. One of the tricks used by spammers is to create many different domain names with redirects or links to the main domain names that they are trying to build up. This worked very well at boosting a sites search engine ranking until Google answered back with PageRank which meant you did not need a lot of links to your site you needed good links to your site.
The main fear behind whois privacy hurting your domain name is that it could make google think your domain name is just spam because it has the same whois information as all of these other domain names that are in fact spam.
It is understandable for a Registrant of a personal website to not want to have their personal information available to anyone who knows how to do a whois lookup. But why would a Registrant of a legitimate domain name need to hide their identity.
I know from my personal experience that domain names that use Domain Privacy are of a lower quality as domains that correctly list their whois information.
Google and other search engines certainly know how to access to the whois and they would be a miss not to use these details in their page ranking. Just ask yourself, "All else being equal, which would you rank higher, a domain that has correctly listed their contact information or a domain name that the owner does not feel comfortable revealing who they are?
In reality though, whois privacy is going to have little if any impact on your domains search ranking. As I always say, the best way to get top ranking is to have the best website for what people are looking for.
"...the best way to get top ranking is to have the best website for what people are looking for."
That sounds like some good advice.
Thanks for the responses. If I could just get clarification on this please:
Those statements seem slightly contradictory, so I have another question. If I am primarily setting up small niche sites with moderately low competition it shouldn't make a difference, and does that change the more competitive the niche is?
The first quote is merely an observation on the countless whois lookups I have done over the years. If you were to take a sampling of domain names, rate them for quality, then check if they use WHOIS privacy you will be able to see the correlation between the two. While you would most like have a mix at the lower and mid quality as you get higher into the higher quality domains you will see the decline in domain privacy used to the point where it will be come near null with the highest quality domains. I think I might have to setup an experiment on that.
The contradiction points to a naivety, when you manage and run any successful enterprise your time must be managed in such a way where your attention cannot be stolen by salesmen, fraudsters, those in need of jobs or advice etc. etc. whether you have a secretary, private mobile numbers etc. your contact info is just not available without jumping through some hoops.
In competitive web niches, its downright dangerous to your livelihood to have open whois reg, even if its not private..that info should lead to an intermediary and not yourself.
for a while it as popular to hear about .info's being poorly ranked due to their popularity w/ less quality webmasters and sites (there $2!)
I have seen and produced .info's to be serp leaders
these little rumors are never started by those who find success...just strected out excuses for bloggers who cant figure out why they arent mnaking it
Yes, the whois information is publicly available information which anyone can lookup and not somewhere you want your personal information. The email address you list in the WHOIS will get additional spam. You will also get junk mail telling you your domain is going to expire(when its not) and offers to improve your search engine ranking on any mailing address you list. These are why many people use WHOIS privacy services which are suppose to filter out the junk for you.
If the domain name is for a business entity you should register the domain name using that businesses information.
PO Boxes are great alternatives if you do not have a business address.
Great! Thanks sunforged! I haven't seen you give bad info, so I respect what you've said. I'm about to register another round of domains and since godaddy gives free privacy with bulk registrations I have taken it in the past, but wanted to make sure since I'm approaching a slightly more competitive niche this time.
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