Does Letting Your Domain Come Close To Expiring Affect SEO?
In one of Google’s granted patents, there’s a section that discusses different domain elements and how they might affect the classification and subsequent treatment of that domain. One such domain element included in the section is the length of time before domain expiry – the inclusion of which has led to one of many SEO myths; that letting your domain come to within a year of expiry will have a negative effect on your SEO.
As you might have gathered from the previous statement, the answer to the above question is no – at least in my personal opinion. It is common practise for a lot of website owners to set up auto renewal on their domains (which only renews on or just before the expiry date) and to punish them for this would be ludicrous. Besides this, we’ve worked with numerous client-owned domains that aren’t renewed particularly early (often only a week or two before expiry) and have never seen any kind of noticeable ranking penalty as a result.
If you don’t agree, I’d suggest you watch this video from Matt Cutts, where he addresses this very subject.
If your SEO engineer suggests this could be a reason for your drop in rankings, it’s more likely that either he doesn’t know why you’ve dropped, or he’s engaged in one of the numerous forms of contentious SEO practices or worse (and probably more likely), he’s bought a dofollow link or twenty and has been reported for it.