February 20, 2016

How a Domain Name’s Dodgy Past Can Come Back to Haunt You

Buying a domain name is one of those banal and mundane tasks that no one gets particularly excited about; however, as boring as it may be, it is actually incredibly important for the success of your website. Your domain name is a huge factor in determining where in a SERP your website features, and in compelling internet surfers to click upon your URL and visit your site. Simply put, the right domain name can drive a high level of traffic to your site whereas the wrong domain name can cripple it entirely. So how do you avoid a bad domain name?

Check the Past Ownership Details

Although the majority of people will merely check if the desired name is available, that is really just the beginning. Just because it is available does not mean that it is a good domain to purchase. A good place to start is a WHOIS domain lookup like this one, which not only tells you whether the domain is available, but it gives you all of the publicly accessible information for that domain.

Check Past Ownership details - Domain Name

When you request a complete WHOIS data search, you receive information on who the domain is registered to, the domain ID, creation and expiration dates, the status of the domain, the registering organization, contact info, and any recorded abuses associated with the domain name. This last part is particularly important, as often a domain can be free because it has been banned by search engines due to penalties accrued. Trying to clear up this penalty history can be a long and complicated process.

Listen to the Voices of Reason

However, just because a domain doesn’t have a list of registered infractions does not mean that it has a clear history. In order to figure out whether the domain name has a good or bad history can be as simple as looking up the name (minus the .com extension) in a search engine and figuring out what people have had to say about it.

Check Reviews about Domain Names

Just like you would never choose a web host without reading reviews first, so it is also crucial to listen to the cyber chatter documenting the experiences people have had in the past with the particular domain name that you are considering. This will be able to tell you whether the domain name might have been previously linked to spamming behaviour and can be an indicator as to whether it might have search engine infractions and bans against it.

Consider the History

Not only will searching the name give you an idea of the domain’s past history, but searching the domain itself will also give you an idea of past performance by the type of search results that pop up. Remember to check it on multiple search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) to get the most comprehensive impression.

Consider the History of domain name

Furthermore, you can actually use a tool like the archive.org Way Back Machine to check what the previous site that was registered to this domain name looked like. This will help you gauge the reliability of the domain name, as you will be able to see if the website was legitimate or if it looked like it may have been involved in spam and other untoward activities.

Ultimately, you need to see the past of a domain name to be able to decipher whether it can have a successful future. With such a crucial component to the success of your business, this is not a process that you want to overlook. Take your time and go through the steps; you will be happy that you did because trying to clear up the tainted history of a bad domain is a long and arduous process.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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