You’ve chosen a perfect domain name for your business/blog. You thought about easy spelling, good keywords, length, memorability, considered new hip domains (TLDs), and you have a good registrar. But, have you thought about your domain’s history, backlinks, previous owners, rankings?
If you’ve already bought a domain second hand, it might be too late. Sounds like I’m exaggerating? Let’s investigate.
Whether you know it or not, your digital actions leave footprints on the web. Every domain name leaves digital footprints of previous owners too.
It’s like when you are buying a used car, you should know who drove it, was it damaged along the way or even if they committed a crime with it.
The reason why you should check a domain name’s history is connected to its previous owner and all he could have used the domain for. It directly impacts the SEO of your future website, as backlinks to the domain can rank your website lower than you deserve. Your domain can have a Googlemanual penalty and could be marked with bad trust score. Even worse – you could be blocked by many anti-viruses as a spammy domain.
Let’s start simple
Go to Google.com and type “site: and then your domain”:
This search will show if the domain is still active in Google index. Indexing is the process of adding webpages into Google search. Basically, if your domain name had a website Google would have known for it (if the previous owner didn’t use a no-index tag, but this is not a place to talk about that). If something shows up, that is your first sign that you should keep digging. Although, I would recommend you keep digging no matter either way.
Next, check out Norton.com , often recommended as a fast check if your domain was used for spammy operations. Just type in your domain and you’ll get, hopefully, that Norton Safe Web found no issues with your site.
History of ownership
After that check comes whois history, which shows who were previous owners of the domain. There are a number of tools which might be expensive if you’re doing it just for one domain, but here some free versions:
Whois shows you the name of the previous owners, website info, history, DNS records, and diagnostics.