Domain history not only includes its age (which is not one of Google’s ranking factors), but also many other factors and metrics. If you’re considering purchasing an aged domain, it would be wise to investigate the domain’s history first. Otherwise, you may end up with a dud.
So, yes, domain history can play a role in ranking on Google results pages. So, what exactly is domain history, how can you see a domain’s history, and how does it impact ranking? Let’s explore.
What is Domain History?
Domain history includes many factors, including its age, past ownership, registrar, and more. All of these factors can play a role in how well a domain ranks on Google. Depending on its history and popularity, an aged domain may have a significant advantage over a new one. However, there are some issues you may run into if you purchase a domain that has already been in use. For example:
- Trouble getting the pages indexed due to a history of spamming
- Having a negative reputation among users
These are just a couple of examples. So, how can you see a domain’s history?
How Do I Find My Domain History?
There are a few ways to find out the history of a domain, but don’t expect to find everything in one place.
- To get started, you can use a WHOIS search to find out the domain’s current registrar and contact information. Be prepared that you may not find much information here as owners are allowed to mask their personal information with private WHOIS registration.
- You can also check the Wayback Machine to see how the domain has been used in the past. If the domain has been involved in any legal proceedings, there may be records of that as well.
- Depending on how long the domain has been out of commission, you may be able to search Google for any indexed pages. To do this, go to Google’s search bar and enter site:example.com. This will give you only results for that domain.
- Similarly, you can enter the domain name in quotations like this: “example.com” to see any results for the domain, but this also includes results from other domains and may provide more historical clues. For example, if there were posts about it on a forum like Reddit, this type of search might uncover those results.
- Run the site in an SEO monitoring tool like Ahrefs. This will show you the site’s backlink profile, organic keywords, and other information that can give you clues about its history.
- If you’ve already purchased the site, add it to Google Analytics and Search Console and check the Manual Actions Report to see if there is any history of spam. Unfortunately, this is not something you can do without first having access to the domain, but you can also ask the current owner to provide this information before you purchase.
What Should I Look for in a Domain's History?
When you’re considering purchasing an aged domain, there are a few things you should look for:
- A clean backlink profile – You don’t want a domain that’s been involved in link schemes or other black hat SEO tactics. If it has, it may be more difficult to rank the site.
- A good reputation – If the domain has been used for spamming or other malicious activities, it may be difficult to get users to trust the site.
- A consistent registrar – If the domain has been transferred between registrars frequently, that’s a red flag. It could indicate that the previous owners were trying to hide something.
- Manual actions by Google – If the domain has been penalized by Google, it will be difficult to rank the site. You can check for this in Search Console.
How Can I Clean Up Domain History Issues?
If the domain you’re considering purchasing has issues, there are a few things to bring it back into Google’s good graces. But, you’ll need some patience. To clean up issues, try the following:
- Clean up the site – First and foremost, add information to the site and be as transparent as possible, especially if your site deals with YMYL topics. If there is any mention of the site’s shady past, make sure to address it.
- Do a link audit – If the domain has been involved in link schemes, you’ll need to remove as many of those links as possible. You can use a tool like Moz’s Link Explorer to help with this.
- Submit a reconsideration request – If the domain has been penalized by Google, you’ll need to submit a reconsideration request through Search Console. Include as much information as possible about the steps you’ve taken to clean up the site.
- Be patient – It can take weeks or even months for Google to take action on your request. In the meantime, continue working on improving the site following Google’s E-A-T principle.
To sum it up, yes, domain history is a factor that can impact ranking. However, it’s just one of many ranking factors. If you’re considering purchasing an aged domain, make sure to do your research to ensure that it doesn’t have any negative history that could impact your ability to rank the site.
If you need help, contact me! I can help you research an aged domain and clean up any history issues that may impact your ability to rank the site. I have experience with link audits, manual actions, and reconsideration requests.