Whenever you register a domain name, details such as your name and address and the date of registration are held by an organisation called ICANN. If someone wants to determine who owns a website, they conduct a WHOIS search which will tell them. For privacy reasons many web owners hide these details, but this raises the question as to whether this will negatively impact on your SEO rankings?
To address this, we need to understand what Google’s entire ranking algorithm is designed to achieve. Google can only survive if web users continue to use it as a search engine. This means that the results which Google presents for any given search term need to be relevant and show websites that the user would be happy to visit.
The degree to which Google establishes whether any single website is worthy of showing up in its results is established by taking multiple factors in to consideration. For each of these, Google’s algorithms then apply a score to that site based on what it considers to be a positive or negative indicator.
When it comes to your WHOIS details there may be many valid reasons why you would want to keep your details private. It could be that you want to avoid your employer discovering that you are running a website. Another might be to avoid strangers knowing your home address. Whilst these are perfectly reasonable, unfortunately, Google knows private WHOIS registration is something that potential spammers use, and this is where it could impact your ranking.