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.