Changing Domain Name Ownership Whois Information & Google Search Ranking Impact

Apr 7, 2006 • 4:22 pm | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Every since Google became a registrar in January 2005, SEOs wondered how Google would use the whois data. In mid-February we reported that Google admitted to using registrar data to "increase the quality" of the search results. Today a new thread was created at Cre8asite Forums named Changing Domain Ownership, Do's & Don'ts.

Webmasters and SEOs are afraid of changing the whois information of an established domain name, after changing ownership of the domain name. Bill Slawski goes through a logical breakdown of the rational Google would deploy in such whois data usage. In short, Bill explains that he doubts Google would penalize or lower the value of a site/page if the ownership changes. Why wouldn't Google do this? Well, what about large company mergers? What about someone buying out sites, like Incisive buying Search Engine Watch from Jupiter Media? However, Bill explains that if a domain is bought and there are other drastic changes, in terms of content and linkage, then maybe Google would reset the domain name?

For example, Search Engine Watch's whois information is still under the control of Jupiter. But what affect, if any will it have on Search Engine Watch's rankings, when Incisive takes over the domain name? There were significant change in content in the footer and headers of the pages. Would that classify enough to warrant the domain name to be reset? In my mind, absolutely not.

I asked Google for a comment on this, but they would not give me anything on it. So where does that leave us? Great question. I believe, the Webmasters and site owners have a right to know if changing ownership of a site will have a negative impact on a site's ranking. Often a business would buy an other business because of its reputation and success. If buying a company, solely because you bought it, removes any reputation that company had, then what?

Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.

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04/07/2006 09:42 pm

Wonder if domain reg info for will change since they were purchased earlier this week by readers digest. Could be somewhat of an interesting site to watch (serp wise) if they do change it.

Search Engines Web

04/07/2006 10:39 pm

The next question that should be of considered is - What happens to those who suddenly choose to make their Domains "PRIVATE"....??? One example, the top Domain Registrar - Suddenly announced Whois Privacy Sale for $1.95 Annually.... Probably many more Site owners took advantage of that rush offer - so the same "Private" Whois is showing on Many domain names... One Possibility is that, just like Google BANS sites - certain Whois info may be on a "RED FLAG" list of KNOWN Troublemakers. So if detected - that would automatically "Red Flag" a Domain.


04/09/2006 04:06 am

Wasn't ThreadWatch previously owned by someone else until Aaron Wall purchased it? Did it adversely affect on its rankings? I don't think so.

Igor The Troll

04/23/2008 11:25 pm

Tim Nash asking the same question While Google does not want Webmasters abusing domain integrity by using it for other than original purpose, I find it illogical to believe changing ownership devalues a business - domain.


06/16/2011 03:19 pm

I've been looking around on this and it seems that G has complex algorithms for dealing with things like this and may reset a pages rank when registrar changes depending on whether the content changes   around the same time. Obviously we'll never know, just keep guessing as best we can!


10/24/2011 08:57 pm

Guys, please help. I have a big problem on my website now. I had a domain which is which was pretty good ranging to 50-100 hits per day. Until one time deleted my domain because of traffic issues. Now to resolved, I bought a domain with 1&1 hosting for $.99 cents which is Then, another problem comes in, my page rank has been decreased and traffic as well. I already have verified the new domain on Google and remove the old URL and still it does not indexed every time I published post which was different from the old URL. Can you help me with this?

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