Choosing the best domain for your website is the first step to online success. But how do you know which domain is the best for you to buy? There are innumerable scammy domains available with high page ranks and others that people have purchased for large sums of money only to realize they are completely worthless.
This article focuses on some of the things you need to look at in order to avoid buying scammy expired domains.
When searching for domains to purchase, focus on those that have been around the longest. The reason for this is because search engines favor older or even expired domains because they are more trustworthy than the newer ones.
Check when the domain was first registered. However, this is not the only thing search engines focus on since it is common for people to purchase domain names and take months or even years to create a website. Therefore, search engines look at the date on which the website was first crawled. There are several online archives you can use to determine the birthdate of a website.
The tip here is to look for domains that have been around the longest. It takes a while to amass adequate page rank and older domains will facilitate this. However, you should not be worried if you can’t find a domain that has been around for more than a decade.
PR (Page Rank)
The Page Rank is the metric most SEOs rely on to judge the value of a domain. This is a number given by the Google toolbar for a specific website and it ranges from 0 to 10. This scale is logarithmic in that PR 4 is 10 times better than PR3. This page rank is continuously been calculated and is used to determine the ranking of a website on search results. The data displayed on the toolbar is not real-time data since Google only updates this data once every couple of months.
You should also note that the PR of a domain can be faked. This is often done by forwarding the domain to a site with high PR such as Facebook.com. When Google crawls, it will save Facebook’s PR as the domain and hence the toolbar will display high PR.
However, Google recently announced that it will no longer be showing Page Rank in the toolbar. This is a great relief as it will mean an end to PR. Even so, do not purchase a domain without looking at its page rank first.
When searching for PR domains, be wary of the expired domains with a PR that is greater than 6. These are more often than not scam.
Moz is an SEO Software Company based in Seattle that offers metrics that are similar to page rank. They also give details on the backlinks. When using this option, you should check for the following:
- Domain Authority. This is also known as DA. It is a metric that runs from 0 to 100 and predicts how well a site performs in SERPs. You should consider using this tool to compare two domains rather than measuring the value of a specific domain.
- Page Authority. Also known as PA, Page Authority is a metric that indicates the chance of a page to rank in SERPs. It focuses on the metrics of a website’s homepage.
- MozRank (MA). This is a metric that runs from 0 to 10 and indicates how good a page’s backlinks are. A higher MozRank means a page has good quality links to the homepage.
- Back Links data. This shows the total number of backlinks that a domain has and the backlinks that really pass juice to the domain.
The index of Moz is updated typically on a monthly basis. When researching a domain, focus on one with a DA that is more than 30.
Other Research Tools
There are many research tools you can use to determine the value of a domain before purchasing it. Make sure you check your domain with at least three tools. Other popular tools you can consider using include:
- Majestic SEO Metrics
- SEMrush Metrics
- SimilarWeb Metrics
- Complete Metrics
- Alexa Metrics
Back Link Data
Away from using research tools, you need to pay close attention to the backlink data of the domains you are considering. Focus on the backlinks that will stay after the domain has been purchased. Again, the aforementioned research tools will help check the number and type of backlinks a domain has.
When checking the quality of backlinks, check the following:
- Does the link really exist?
- Follow versus no follow
- Contextual link. A good link will be surrounded by text and will be part of a related article.
- Total number of outbound links
- Website’s category should be in the same category as the domain
When purchasing domains, be very wary of expired domains with no page indexes. Lack of indexes may be a result of penalties which may be a result of black hat SEO tactics. If the domain has been de-indexed, you will be able to see evidence of black hat SEO. However, if there are no clear indications, there is a good chance the domain has an algorithmic penalty. Algorithmic penalties can be reversed.
Prior to buying an expired domain, it is critical that you know what kind of website existed on that domain. If it is a site that doesn’t fit your industry or category, you should steer clear of it. Check the history of the domain to know which websites existed on the domain. A domain from the same industry or sector as your business will benefit your business.
Last but not least, if the domain you are considering has been shared through social networks, this shows the website was functioning. The domain will be beneficial.
The above points will guide you as you search for a domain. Make sure you only purchase the domains you fully understand. Don’t invest in a ghost.
Paul McKenzie is a full time web developer working with Samaven, a web development company based in India. When he is not developing websites, he uses his knowledge to educate webmasters on how to select high PR domains.