Everything You Need To Know About Buying a Pre-Owned Domain (Part 1)

Everything you need to know about buying a pre-owned domain name

A recent report indicated that there are more than one billion websites on the World Wide today. It is, therefore, no surprise that the domain name that you select may already be owned by someone. Luckily, the current owner may be willing to sell the domain to you – for the right price.

Buying a pre-owned domain can have a significant impact on your digital marketing and SEO efforts. You need to carry out extensive research before making the purchase. Note that the domain may have been sold to different users in the past.

Today, we look at four primary factors that you need to consider before getting a pre-owned domain.

Use Google Analytics or Bing Master Tools

Request access to the Google Analytics accounts associated with the domain and check for abnormal traffic patterns and other anomalies that could compromise your SEO efforts. Check if spammy websites were used to drive traffic to the site.

Bing Master Tools platform also has a security section that you can access to get information about phishing attempts, malware, as well as any changes to the site SSL certificate that occurred in the past. Also, in Reports & Data section, click on “Page Traffic” to know all the top landing pages.

SERP Analysis

This analysis is also referred to as site indexation. Type (site: yourwebsite.com) to check for any malicious or spammy landing pages that may be associated with the domain. You can also use (inurl: keyword), replace the “keyword” with any undesired terms such as porn, gambling, online games, etc.

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Note that even though Google displays warning in search engine results page if it detects that a site has been hacked, not all content published on the site is flagged.

External and Internal Linking

Inbound and outbound links are two of the most powerful signals used by search engines to rank websites. Link manipulation is one of the signs of domain misuse. For instance, the domain may excessively use an anchor text phrase to link out to spammy or low-value content. In a bid to avoid link manipulation detection, hackers usually do not change the anchor text.

Luckily, advanced tools such as Scream Frog can help you crawl all the internal and external links in seconds and without breaking the bank. Majestic is one of the best tools that you can use to carry out external linking analysis. This tool will give you an accurate backlink profile of the domain before you start evaluating other off-page factors such as the sources of most of the backlinks.

Usage of Anchor Text

Anchor text is one of the most crucial yet the most ignored off-page factor that you need to consider before purchasing a pre-owned domain. Anchor text is the word or phrase that is hyperlinked and used to direct a user to the target website.

Now, if you intend to delete all the content published on the site, the anchor text phrases used by the previous owner of the domain will result in 404 pages. This will not affect your site SEO in any way. However, if there are links to the home page that uses anchor texts that are not related to your content, it is advisable to get in touch with the webmasters and request them to either delete the links or update the text.

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Domain Authority (DA)

Domain Authority is metric that was developed by Moz, and its primary objective is to help determine the ranking potential of a domain. The higher the DA value, the higher the chances that the site will be displayed in SERPs. A backlink is one of the factors that are used to calculate DA.

In an ideal world, the domain you intend to purchase should have a higher DA value than your site. If the value is lower, you will need to come up with a long-term SEO strategy to improve the score. 


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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