When purchasing an aged domain, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re getting a domain that will be valuable for your business. Aged domains can offer a number of benefits, including a history of high traffic, links from other websites, and strong brand identity. However, not all aged domains are created equal, and it’s important to be aware of potential issues that could impact the value of the domain. In this article, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when searching for a good aged domain.
Some background checks for domains can require a costly subscription to a data service but there are actually a lot of ways that you can evaluate the quality of a domain without having to spend anything.
What makes an Aged Domain good?
When buying an aged domain, there are several factors you should consider to ensure that you are getting a domain that will be valuable for your business:
- Domain history: It’s important to research the history of the domain to ensure that it does not have any negative reputation or issues like spammy content or links.
- Traffic history: A domain with a history of high traffic can be valuable for redirecting traffic to another website or for improving search engine rankings.
- Links from other websites: A domain with links from other high-quality websites can also be valuable for improving search engine rankings.
- Brand identity: An aged domain with a strong brand identity or that is easy to remember can be beneficial for businesses looking to establish an online presence.
- Pricing: It’s important to consider the price of the domain and ensure that it is a good value for the benefits it provides.
It’s also a good idea to be cautious when purchasing an aged domain. While they can offer many benefits, there also risks to consider when purchasing a domain.
What makes an Aged Domain bad?
There are several factors that can make an aged domain a bad choice:
- Negative reputation or history: An aged domain with a history of spammy content, links, or other negative reputation can be a bad choice. This can negatively impact your business and make it difficult to establish an online presence.
- Lack of backlinks: An aged domain with a history of few backlinks or an abundance of bad links from other websites may not provide much value or could be damaging.
- Difficult to remember or spell: An aged domain that is difficult to remember or spell may be less valuable, as it may be harder for people to find your website. This is important if you are looking to build a brand on the domain.
- High price: An aged domain that is priced significantly higher than similar domains may not be a good value.
It’s important to thoroughly research any aged domain before making a purchase to ensure that it does not have any of these issues.
Does TLD Matter?
If you are just looking to build a general purpose PBN for your own uses the TLD of your domains likely doesn’t matter much at all, however if you are looking to target a specific location you may have a preferred TLD that corresponds with that region.
Other times the TLD may be used to create or support the branding of the domain. An example of this would be goo.gl. This domain was owned by Google and was a link shortener.
It was a brandable domain that used an obscure TLD to serve a purpose, save characters in the address to provide a a shortened link.
Sometimes TLD does matter in a project but when it comes to domaining for a range of SEO purposes it is usually a low priority of concern on whether a domain is usable or not.
You can see information on all major domain extensions / TLDs on our site for more information.
Check Content History
One of the most important checks to perform before buying an aged domain is to check that it has a clean content history. The content is what is on the website, text, media and files.
As a search engine can see all of the public information on a website it is important that you don’t get lumbered with a domain that has an excessive background of spammy or illegal content as this likely will result in an unusable domain, or worse.
Luckily, it is quite easy and free to check this sort of thing, while some paid tools (such as Domain Hunter Gatherer Pro and URL Profiler) could speed up this process.
For this we will be using something known as The Wayback Machine, which has most websites archived in many forms. The Wayback Machine is a service provided by the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization that works to preserve the history of the internet. The Wayback Machine allows you to view old versions of websites, including the content and layout, as they appeared at different points in time.
To get started enter the domain that you are interested in into the search box in the Wayback Machine. This will bring up the available snapshots of the website that have been hosted on that domain.
As you can see from the history of the domainhuntergatherer.com domain, it has lots of snapshots spread throughout the year and it has changed throughout the years.
The image above alone can show us that the content history for this domain has been fairly consistent but not predictable, it looks quite natural. We should be looking for something that looks like a normal website update history, unfortunately that only comes with experience of looking at a lot of these snapshot reports but don’t worry, this will come with time.
If you click on one of the snapshots (blue circles) you will be able to view the website as it appeared on the date that you clicked.
If the content on that website looks spammy, created by a bot or just get’s your spidey senses tingling that would be considered a fairly major red flag. One spammy page might not be the end of the road for the domain, it may have been a rogue employee or an accept that got rectified quickly.
If you see something unsettling you may still want to continue looking at other snapshots in case it is a solo event, it may still be worth consideration, more than likely though it is signs of a pattern.
It is best to look through the history of a website, don’t just look at a couple of snapshots. I would always advise trying to look at at least one snapshot per year.
Things to look out for:
- Spammy Content: Does the content read as if it were written by a person or a script? Is it relevant to the website?
- Spammy Linking: Having spammy internal links with stuffed keywords is a bad sign, having spammy outbound links is worse
- Content Language: Is it in the expected language and is that language consistent over the years?
- Design Changes: Has there been a significant change to the style of the website and it’s content? If it’s just a redesign, no problem. If it is a completely different website that could be worth looking more deeply into to check it is nothing untoward.
- Long periods without a Snapshot: If an expired domain has some history without any snapshots that would not be surprising but if you are buying at auction or from a dealer you should ask why there were no snapshots for an extended period. Long periods of inactivity can be expected with an expired domain.
The first two checks carry the most weight with how important they are as individual factors. The last three I would use as a general guide of quality rather than reasons to turn down a domain opportunity.
Check Backlink History
This is also a very important part of checking the quality of a domain before purchasing. Unfortunately, to check the backlinks of a domain will usually mean adding cost to the process as most services that offer this kind of service will charge, and quite a lot in some cases.
While Domain Hunter Gatherer Pro will provide high level stats on a domain (Majestic stats, social stats and Moz stats) it won’t be able to provide the actual backlinks that point to a domain.
This is where domain stat companies come in. The following is a selection of the more notable domain stats services:
There are other services but as they become more obscure their databases of information become smaller and less useful. When you want the full picture you don’t want to be limited by the size of the database of information at hand.
The deals these services offer changes with time so I am reluctant to say anything concrete about pricing and features but most of them offer some amount of information for free and when starting out it is a good idea to use information from as many sources as possible so there is little reason to not sign up for all of them and squeeze every bit of info possible from each one.
When looking through a backlink profile you want to be considering the following:
- Quality of backlinks: The quality of the backlinks is more important than the quantity. Look for backlinks from reputable, high-authority websites.
- Anchor text diversity: A natural backlink profile will have a diverse range of anchor texts. If the majority of the backlinks use the same anchor text, it could be a red flag.
- Number of backlinks: While a high number of backlinks is generally a good thing, be wary of an overly large number of backlinks that seem to have been obtained artificially.
- Link sources: Check the sources of the backlinks. Are they from reputable websites, or do they come from low-quality websites?
Overall, the key is to look for a backlink profile that appears natural and well-rounded, rather than one that seems to have been manipulated or built artificially.
What’s in a name
The name itself should never be over looked.
If you are looking for a brandable domain name or to build a business on top of your website there will likely be instances of a person passing the domain name on to another person. Having an easy to remember domain name can help in “word of mouth” advertising.
If you ever want to have a well known brand your domain name absolutely cannot be excessively long or hard to spell for an average person. This is why most well known brands are built on single word domains or short simple names with recurring characters (google, amazon for example).
There are situations where this should be of no concern, however. If you are building a PBN for purely SEO purposes or you are looking for short term gain with little consideration for the website being memorable or easily passed on you can completely disregard this.
When you are building out for SEO rather than people you should not be overly concerned with the length and readability of a domain and put more emphasis on having a keyword in the domain or having a strong backlink profile.