22 Apr Buying a Domain? Check the Domain History First
If you are planning to buy a new domain name, then it is a good idea to check the history of the domain before making a purchase. Matt Cutts recently addressed this topic in his newest video. Researching the domain before making the purchase helps you to avoid buying a domain that has been mistreated by a spammer in the past.
Matt suggests following a few steps before making the decision to buy the domain:
1. Search for the Domain
When you search for the domain in Google, you can try looking for it in several methods. First, do a search with these search terms:
(Replacing domainname.com with the domain that you would like to purchase.)
If you do this site search and see that no results show up for the domain name, then it’s a pretty bad sign and probably indicates that the domain name has been deindexed. If it is a parked domain, then you don’t necessarily need to be worried, because usually parked domains are removed from the search results. But, if the site has content on it and there are no pages showing up in the search results, then it is a warning sign that there were problems with the domain name.
Another search that you can do is a basic search for the name of the website or the domain name, like this:
This search (without site: in the search terms), will help you to see the reputation of the domain name. When you search for the domain name, you will be able to see results that come up which reference that particular website, and you might be able to tell if people were spamming with the domain name or if there was any conversation happening online about that website. Look to see if the conversation was positive or negative, and see if you can get a feel for the way the domain was used.
2. Use the Internet Archive
Another way that you can look up past information about a website, is by going to archive.org. Enter in the domain name, and then the archive will show you how the site looked in previous versions. You can look at the way the site was setup and the type of content that was on the domain, in order to determine if it was a spammy website. If there is any indication that it was a spammy website, then you might consider choosing a different domain name instead.
Warning signs to watch for in the content include auto-generated content, or content that is very low quality and not written to provide a good user experience for website visitors.
3. Talk With the Previous Owner
If you are purchasing a website from someone who already owns it, instead of buying a domain name from a registrar, then you should ask the previous owner if you can view the analytics information. Looking at the analytics reports will help you to see the type of traffic that was coming to the website.
In the analytics, if you see that there was a sudden drop in traffic, then it might be a reason to avoid the domain name and choose a different one instead. So, watch the overall traffic trends for the website, as well as the traffic sources.
4. If All Else Fails: Do a Reconsideration Request
You might find yourself in a situation where you have already purchased a domain name, and you find that it is having a hard time in the search engines. If this is the case then you might do a reconsideration request with Google.
Sometimes you can do a disavow for all of the previous links that were spammy, and it might help with the website rankings.
These steps can help you to avoid the headache of having to dig a domain name out of a hole that the previous owner dug. If the domain was associated with suspicious activity online, then it could potentially take a lot of work on your part in order to get the domain name to be found in the search engines.