online users, especially those who are about to register their first
domain name, believe that if a name shows up as available during the
pre-purchase search, it has to be brand-new, and it’s never been used.
many domains that you find, especially those that are surprisingly good
such as .com domains with a solid name, have been used before.
not a big deal if the domain has been registered and never used, but
sometimes people buy a domain that carries a Google penalty, because it
has been massively spammed with low-quality backlinks or they end up
with a domain that violates trademark laws.
That’s why, before you wire your money to the domain registrar, you should check at least some of the following 9 things:
1. Check the search engine results
of the first things that you can do when choosing a domain is search
for the domain name and check the Google results. If there’s nothing,
the domain is most likely brand-new or has been abandoned by the
previous owner before it became popular enough.
make sure that Google doesn't mistake your chosen domain name for a
typo as it can hurt your site. Many people still type company names in
Google to find the sites; if your domain name is a typo, they will not
even see it as Google will show them different search results, with a
word that it considers correct.
Another thing that you can check is to see what other websites appear
when you type in the domain name (with and without the chosen .tld). If
your name is too close to a web page of an authority site, it may be
harder to outrank it as Google may decide to leave the authority page on
2. Is your chosen name copyright and trademark free?
you hit the “register” button and pay a registration fee, make sure
your chosen domain name does not belong to another company. Even if your
choice is quite innocent, you may be in trouble. Starting a website
about e-commerce under “eBayHelp.com” is not the best idea unless you
like getting emails from corporate lawyers.
3. Can you brand it easily?
the domain name brand-able? A catchy domain can be much easier to
remember for your customers and hence word-of-mouth may spread faster.
Since exact-match domains lost their value in the eyes of Google, you
are free to experiment with the domain name. Likewise, you may want to
put your main keyword in the name, but make sure you think about your
SEO strategy before you do that.
4. Check the spelling and associations of your domain
Before you register domain names, one of the most obvious things to
start with is checking the spelling and potential domain associations.
You should pay special attention to spelling in two cases – when the
domain of your choice seems too good to be true and when certain words
in your domain are spelled differently depending on the version of
English you are using. In the latter case, you should make sure that it
fits your target audience.
associations are important because sometimes you may choose a name
which in everyday conversations doesn’t carry any negative associations,
while in the Internet slang or urban slang (or in the way your target
audience talks) it may have very negative connotations. On the other
hand, it’s great if you find a domain which can be positively associated
with something that your target audience values.
5. Check foreign meaning of your domain name
This is important especially if you are targeting the international
audience. Some words may have different meanings in various languages.
It’s not a big deal if the foreign meaning is not misleading, but some
names may hurt your brand and sabotage your marketing efforts.
6. Check the history of your chosen domain
When selecting a domain name, registrars usually don’t tell you right
away if your chosen domain name is brand new or an expired domain. Many
times, especially those ‘fancy-looking’ .com domains that you find
available, may be expired and blacklisted domains which have been
abandoned after they have been spammed to death.
Other times, the domain has been dropped by the owner because his
project didn’t work out well or he simply abandoned it. Whatever the
case, you can easily find out whether the domain has been expired by
either checking the Whois history (look for changes in ownership, date of first registration), the domain metrics, or any backlinks pointing to the site.
7. Check domain metrics and backlinks quality
This goes together with the above point. When thinking of a domain, it’s
good to check at least the Domain Authority (DA), PageRank (PR),
Backlinks (BL). If you want to learn even more about the domain, you can
also check Citation Flow and Trust Flow using Domain Majestic
Tool – this metric will show you the quality of links and their power
as not all the links are equal, and some are more valuable than other.
8. If there was a website on it in the past, check its niche and reputation.
Sometimes, you may find a domain which already had a website on it for
some time, and the site may have had some genuine, quality backlinks
pointing to it. In this case, it may sound like a great deal, but
there’s one other thing that you should consider. Check what kind
website was hosted on it before
and what the reputation of the previous site was (if any). If there was
a business similar to yours but it had terrible reputation (a lot of
negative opinions in Google results) you may want to re-think your
9. Age of the domain
Apart from all the metrics and backlinks, age may play a significant
role. First of all, if one person or company has owned the domain for x
consecutive years, there’s a chance it has a quality backlink profile
and some reputation. If the domain has changed its owner frequently,
there’s a chance it’s been used by spammers, who left the domain with
low-quality backlinks or even blacklisted. Check the domain first registration date and expiration date before making a purchase.
checking a backlink profile or metrics of the domain of your choice,
it’s good to use multiple tools as the results may vary. Similarly, do
some manual due diligence, especially if you are planning to optimize
your new websites in Google search results or to set up a business on it
(in this case, a domain with a beautiful backlink profile but a bad
reputation is not a good choice).
Following most of the above points should help you secure a great and valuable domain name.