In his latest video, Google head of web spam (and, today, Boston Marathon runner) Matt Cutts offers a few quick tips to avoid purchasing a domain name that may have been previously destroyed by a spammer.
The video is in response to the following question from a site owner who purchased a bad domain:
How can we check to see if a domain (bought from a registrar) was previously in trouble with Google? I recently bought, and unbeknownst to me the domain isn’t being indexed and I’ve had to do a reconsideration request. How could I have prevented?
Cutts first recommends doing a site-colon search on the domain name (site: domain name), “If there’s no results at all from that domain, even if there’s content on that domain, that’s a pretty bad sign,” he says.
Cutts also suggests performing a simple search on the domain name – excluding .com or its extension – to research the site’s reputation.
Another resource recommended by Cutts is Archive.org where you can view previous versions of the site to see if it contained spammy, auto-generated content. If you are purchasing a site from a current owner, Cutts recommends asking to see the site’s traffic analytics so that you can identify any unusual trends.
“Overall, if you do a site-colon search, or you search for the domain name, or you look for it in internet archive, that’s a really fast, quick way to get an idea of whether it was owned by someone that used it for ill, or whether they were doing some good stuff with it,” says Cutts.
You can see his newest video here: