Danny Sullivan, search engine guru, just published a post on this blog, SearchEngineLand.com, in which he got the “Official Word” from Matt Cutts of how Google treats existing links when a domain is transferred, sold or dropped:
Mr. Cutts distinguished between, “domain transfers ( e.g. genuine purchases of companies) where it can make perfect sense for existing links to transfer.” and the links from an “expired or effectively expired domains” of which he said:
“””The sort of stuff our systems would be designed to detect would be things like someone trying to buy expired domains or buying domains just for links.”””
So according to Mr Sullivan, having chatted with Mr. Cutts if you get an expired or dropping domain” chances are, the back links aren’t going to be counted by Google anymore.
Google detects domain transfers, resales, new registrations of previously owned domains and even domains obtained in domain drop auctions and in most cases of new registrations of existing domains or drop auction domains, will disregard all existing links.
According to Mr. Sullivan “If you buy a web site from an existing owner, and continue business on that site as normal, there seems to be a good chance that link credit will continue as normal.”
“If you get a domain due to a company acquisition – company A buys company B? You should be OK, thought it’s unclear how Google tells the difference here from an ordinary transfer. And no, Google wouldn’t share more on how they can tell the difference.”””
However on the question of does domain registration length effect your Google rank, Mr. Cutts told Mr. Sullivan:
“”To the best of my knowledge, no search engine has ever confirmed that they use length-of-registration as a factor in scoring. If a company is asserting that as a fact, that would be troubling.””
A very interesting article which I urge you to to read in its entirety.
One of the only times I have seen a representative of Google actually answer questions on how its search engine ranks sites.
Yesterday we wrote a post on why people pay more money from domains at drop service auctions rather than domains owned by people.
With this acknowledgment you might want to consider more private purchases, although if the content of the site changes, you may still not get credit for all existing links, but you would seem to have a better shot at it.