When selecting your website domain, you probably pay attention to its name, specific extensions and select the one that’s available and meets your expectations. Don’t forget to verify the history of the domain. If you skip this step, you may find it problematic to improve your Google visibility and advertise your brand. How to analyze domain history and when to do it?
If you’re just taking your first online steps, don’t have any experience but want to register your domain without consulting a specialist, you need to know that a wrong choice can complicate your future activity.
Let’s imagine that you offer certain services and you set up a website. However, it turned out that the selected domain was previously used for illegal activities because of which many people were cheated and the domain authority isn’t particularly positive. The Internet is full of such stories. A user looking for a contractor offering specific services will probably enter the website address into Google to access reviews. In some cases, unflattering headers can be enough to discourage them.
Do you need an example? Recently, one Internet user who sells domains offered the address: xtreem.pl. However, it turned out that it used to be a popular store, which declared bankruptcy in mid-2020. Approximately 800 customers were cheated and didn’t receive ordered goods. Now take a look to see what’s shown in Google after entering this address into the search bar.
Although the store has Google My Listing, customer reviews aren’t particularly flattering.
Now let's assume that your store operates at such an address. How many Internet users will give up on your offer after checking the domain in Google? Will the people previously harmed by the domain owners try to contact you once your website is launched? It’s very likely that there will be such cases.
These aren’t the only consequences of choosing a domain before verifying its history. The subsequent ones are related to SEO.
Domain History And SEO
Domain authority has a great impact on page visibility in Google. It’s possible that a given address was previously exposed to hundreds or even thousands of low-quality links from websites with very bad recognition. If you want to be ranked high in Google, such a domain can hinder the task. Of course, it’s possible to improve visibility, however, it may require an extensive budget and it might be hard to predict how long it’ll take.
So, when should you check domain history? In fact, almost always when you're going to set up a site to present the offer, run a store or a blog. Taking your time to check the domain can help you avoid numerous problems and wasted time.
If you haven’t analyzed the page when registering it, you can do it before performing SEO activities. Then, you’ll be able to determine whether it’s worth investing in the SEO process - it may turn out that problematic domain history predetermines the failure of the activities even before you do anything.
How To Check Domain History?
Verifying what has been going on with a given URL isn’t particularly complex. You already know why it’s worthchecking your domain history so it’s time to take action - how to check domain history? There are a few ways to do it.
The Internet never forgets. If a domain has the bad authority or was previously devoted to illegal activities and scams, you can easily access this information. Type the site address + “reviews” into Google. Go through a few pages of the search results to determine how a given store is evaluated.
Would you like to find out what website was under a given address a year or even a few years ago? It’s possible thanks to the Internet Archive, a service you’ll find at https://archive.org/web/.
Wayback Machine was developed back in 1996, however, it was made available to users 5 years later. The use of this tool is a piece of cake. Enter the address of the domain that’s of interest to you and see the available copies.
Then, choose the year. You’ll see a calendar with highlighted dates and assigned years. There may also be boxes marked in green in case of 301 redirects, in red when server errors occurred, or in orange when there was an attempt to archive a non-existent page that generated a 404 error.
When you move the cursor over a selected date, you'll see the exact time when the copy was saved (you may have access to copies from various time periods). Clicking on the hour will redirect you to the copy.
Thanks to the bar displayed at the top of the page, you can navigate between different versions from various days and time periods.
The tool is an appealing solution that allows you to see how your domain has changed over time or what was the design of the first websites (it’s worth noting that sometimes copies may not be available - e.g. in the case of new pages or if the robots collecting data couldn’t index the domain).
Does it matter when it comes to choosing your domain?
First of all, you can learn what types of websites were run at a given address throughout the years. Are these illegal pages whose dishonest activity could affect your recognition?
Based on that, you can also check the previous structure of the domain. Frequently it turns out that it’s really profitable to recreate it, which means preparing a similar type of content and placing it under the same address. Such an approach can help you quickly improve your visibility in Google.
Once you’ve determined the old domain structure, you can move on to preparing a map of 301 redirects that will improve certain elements of the site. Add redirects from previous URLs to new ones. Benefit from the sitemap to check how your website structure developed.
Another useful functionality of Wayback Machine enables checking if decreased visibility evidenced by tools such as Senuto or Ahrefs was caused by certain website modifications. Was the website infected or indexed out?
Although a thorough analysis requires a paid account, basic domain data can be obtained with the use of the free Backlink Checker tool.
Pay attention to a few pieces of information.
Firstly, focus on the number of linking domains - the more, the better. Providing that your DR (domain rating) is also impressive. This indicator rates your domain power on a scale from 0 to 100 and takes into account numerous elements such as links leading to the page.
Devote a few seconds to analyze the TOP5 anchors section. It would be ideal if it contained links like the one below. They include brand links and image links. The situation would be much worse if there were only exact match links whose anchor is the same as the word you do SEO for, e.g. “loans”, “car rental Boston” or “last minute” - depending on the website content.
Domains that have a positive history and have been used before can reach higher positions in Google easier than those that have never been active. It’s not entirely true that the older the domain, the better. It’s about quality and authority. If a specific URL has been used for a few years and has proper linking, you’ll be able to rank higher much easier.
But how to check how old your domain is? Well, it’s not particularly problematic.
Benefit from the Whois tool. Among many other pieces of data, it’ll inform you about the registration and creation date.
As you can see, domain history is truly important and can bring you benefits or work against you.
If you analyze it properly, you’ll be able to save the time and money you would normally spend on promoting a URL that isn’t likely to succeed. You already know how to check domain history - take advantage of the abovementioned tools to make sure that it’s worth selecting a particular URL.
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