Before you go and buy an expired domain or a domain for your new business you should throughly check the history of the domain to ensure it hasn’t been used for spam purposes which will hurt your ability to rank.
Many people rush out and buy the first domain they like, maybe it’s the name of their brand or a domain relevant to their business. For example seoagency.co.nz is a domain that’s suited to my company, providing SEO services.
The issue with buying domains without checking their history is that another entrepreneur who may have owned the domain in a previous life may have used it for shady purposes, such as:
- Ecommerce spam (Fake nike shoes etc)
- Email spam (Get rich quickly scams)
- Promoting Chinese websites.
You see, it’s been nearly 20 years since the first .co.nz domains started appearing on the web, i think the first ever .co.nz was registered in 1996 and a domain name must be renewed every year. Eventually people pass away, businesses fail or domains aren’t renewed for whatever reason and are ultimately released into the public domain again.
While you may want a specific domain I recommend you thoroughly check for spam and if the domain shows any signs of a dodgy history, regardless of how important that domain is too your business, I’d pick something else.
Domains that have such backgrounds can:
- Have Google penalties meaning impossible to rank
- Be sandboxed by Google (Never show up in search results)
- Struggle to rank due to bad backlink profiles.
It’s not impossible to resurrect a domain name that has a poor history, but it’s very difficult. I offer a spam removal service whereby I can help you recover should your domain name be affected by any of the previous points.
If your business is simply not ranking on Google at all or keeps dropping off the search engine all together it’s highly likely you have a domain that’s incurred a penalty or has been sandboxed.
How To Check Domain History
Web Archive Lookup
The best way is to head over to web.archive.org which is an online archive of billions of web pages. You can go back in time and view web pages from the last 10 years and see what content was stored on the website.
Seeing Russian or Chinese characters or Nike shoes or a redirection to a spammy website? Move on. Some websites might not even show up here if they were never that popular or received little traffic.
Majestic Backlink Checker
One of my best seo tools is Majestic.com and you can quickly see a backlink profile of a specific website (i.e. what sites are linking to your website). This may be from blog comments, to guest posts to social media links.
Simply search the domain you’re thinking of buying and check the pie chart at the bottom. You’ll only be able to do this a few times with a free account. Below is an example domain.
If you see Chinese characters, google translate them to find out what they mean. If you see Russian text or words such as ‘Buy Nike Shoes’ then you know it’s been spammed in the past.
Google Site: Search
The last step is to search the domain on Google by using the site command, site:domain.co.nz and check on the results. If the domain shows up with many links with a description unrelated to the topic of the domain then you can be assured it’s a spam domain.
Looking at our example of adiveshop.co.nz we can see the following (Clear spam).
These are three of the best ways to check if your domain has a spam history or is has a clean profile and is ready to use for your business. While I would definitely recommend you choose a different domain if you discover your first choice has a poor history, it’s not always possible. If you need assistance with bad SEO removal, then we can help you, please contact us.