When purchasing a new domain or analyzing a current one, it’s important to consider factors such as:
- Domain Age
- Domain Backlink Profile
- Google Penalties and Filters
- Current Indexing
- Internet Archive
In theory, the older the domain, the better – new domains have to earn authority in Google’s eyes. Therefore, it’s essential to check the age of a domain during analysis, and opt for a “mature” domain when buying one. However, keep in mind that quality is still crucial. Tools like Duplichecker and Webcon can help you check a domain’s age.
Example: The age of youtube.com checked using Duplichecker.
Domain Backlink Profile
Even more important than age are the links that point to the web domain. When buying a new domain, ensure it doesn’t have links that could be:
- Gateway pages
- Toxic links
- PR-damaging links like negative reviews of the company previously promoted on the domain
You can analyze the backlink profile using tools like Ahrefs:
- Insert the domain link in the Site Explorer option
- Choose the Backlinks panel
- Export the backlink database to sheets
- Filter and check the ratio of bad to good links and search for toxic backlinks
Example: Backlink analysis panel for youtube.com in Ahrefs.
Filters and Penalties
Sometimes, previous domain owners receive penalties for practices that violate Google’s policy. Google may then apply filters, penalties, or bans that can be temporary or permanent. You can receive penalties for:
- Unnatural inbound links
- Unnatural outbound links
- Hacked site
- Pure spam
- User-generated spam
- Cloaking and/or sneaky redirects
- Hidden text or keyword stuffing
- Spammy free hosts
- Spammy structured markup
- Thin content
- Cloaking: First Click Free violation
- Cloaked images
Check any undesired restrictions by examining the domain in Google Search Console, under the Security → Manual Actions tab.
For a domain that has been functional for some time, you can also check its indexing using the site:yourdomain.com command, typed directly into Chrome’s URL field or Google search. The results will show which specific pages linked to a particular domain have been indexed for specific phrases in Google. You may find some infected links or pages you don’t want to be associated with.
What Was Here Before?
You can use the Wayback Machine to check what was on a particular domain in the past. This way, you can verify whether the domain was previously related to the topic you want to use it for, which can impact the structure of external links.
When analyzing or considering purchasing a domain, there are several key factors to keep in mind to ensure your site’s effectiveness in SEO. The age of the domain, its backlink profile, potential Google penalties, current indexing, and history of content can all affect a site’s ultimate success in search engines. By utilizing the right tools and strategies, you can thoroughly analyze each of these aspects, ensuring your domain has a strong foundation for building authority and achieving high online visibility.