Can a purchased domain’s history affect its trust in Google?
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Can a purchased domain’s history affect its trust in Google?

>>Today’s question comes from Dave Shuts
in Yorkshire, England. Dave wants to know, “I bought a domain 7 months
ago. The website I put on it still doesn’t show up in the search engine result pages. Since 2000, it’s had different owners – used
by a company in Oz. It’s then served ads, then “for sale” with
a company for four-ish years. Will it have trust issues in Google?” Well Dave, I think the answer to your question
is yes. In general, if you’ve had a domain for 7 months
and you search for that domain, maybe even the exact URL like and it
doesn’t show up in Google at all, it might be safe to conclude that the domain does have
trust issues with Google. Now maybe it’s a really esoteric country code. We’re having trouble finding links to it. But if you know of links pointing to the domain
and we still don’t show it at all after 7 months, there might be something goin’ on,
and to help you figure it out, let’s pretend to be a spammer. Okay, so now we’re black hats (evil laugh). What are we gonna do? We’re gonna buy a domain. We’re gonna use it up as much as we can until
it’s totally burnt to the ground and no other search engine will trust it. And then, if you are really evil, you’re gonna
sell that domain to some trusting innocent person. So, the thing to do whenever you’re thinkin’
about buyin’ a domain is to do a little bit of research on it. You can look in to see was this
is a porn domain in a former life or was it owned by someone who was doing something spammy
with it. You can also search for the domain in Google
and if the domain doesn’t show up at all in Google, there can be good reasons for that. Maybe somebody had blocked it with a no index
or a robust.text. But if there’s no mention of it at all and
the URL doesn’t show up in any way, shape, or form, that can be a little bit of a yellow
flag. So before you buy a domain that has some bit
of a checkered history or it looks like it might have been used for spammy purposes,
check to see whether it shows up in Google. And then that way when you’ve got a spammer
going (evil laugh), he’ll have to go around and try to find someone else to take advantage
of instead of you.


  • orrd

    Wow Matt, that's a really disappointing answer. It sounds like Google is just copping out of their responsibility to consider the complexity of changes in domain name ownership by putting all the responsibility on everyone else.

    Just because a domain like whitehouse-dot-com, business-dot-com, or whatever used to be something bad at some point in the past, that shouldn't mean that valuable domain name should be forever banished. Good domain names are too limited of a resource.

  • Brian Ussery

    Great information, I seem to recall that blocking can be a bad sign if other signals point at the dark side. Just wanted to share b/c I thought this was a great tip!

  • wearealltubes

    @orrd Idealism aside, how exactly would google – using an algo or people – go about checking each domain? (that's a rhetorical question – it's not possible).
    It may well be unfair: there just isn't another option apart from making the new site owner prove that the site is now legit via gg webmaster tools.

  • orrd

    @wearealltubes Reconsideration requests with webmaster tools is one way to do it. But if that was an option for purchased domains I don't know why Matt avoids suggesting it in this video (he basically just says sorry, the domain you purchased is worthless, you have to rebrand your company and start from scratch, tough luck!).

    Also I think Google's blacklisting should expire after a reasonable time period if there is no more nefarious activity and the use of the domain has clearly changed.

  • Imran khan

    mahahah evil laugh black hats very nicely explained matt…

    That's the reason i am fan of your video's

    Imran Khan

  • justinrussell

    @TechieGeek1 I wouldn't say there's never a reason. Say your company makes nothing but large, blue widgets. You notice that largebluewidgets(.)com is for sale or available. If you follow Matt's advice from many of these videos, you should create your site based on what's best for its users. A domain name is part of that: you want something that's simple and easy for the user to remember.

    The search engine should have to adjust, not the user; there should be a way to say, "hey, we're legit now."

  • Alexeixx3

    @justinrussell I think that google can "reconsider" a site, ive seen that option in google webmaster tools, i dont know whay he didnt mention it.
    I think that if one sees the perfect domain, one has to get it.

  • sunnycash7

    Lol…the part with the "now we*re Blackhats….muahahaha" was AmAzInG 🙂
    You probably would be a great actor in a horror movie ^^

  • Dana Adalaide

    Black hats muhwhahahahah, got to love it 🙂 But what??? Who would ever buy a de-indexed domain? The point of buying a used domain is that it has some ranking / backlinks that you can build upon so that you don't have to start totally from scratch.

  • MyIdeas

    So, does this advice apply to WordPress Blogs? The "All in One SEO" plugin places NOFOLLOW on categories, tags and archives.

    Is duplicate content an issue with WordPress blogs, should we "NOT" use NOFOLLOW on WordPress or should we be using NOFOLLOW on tags, archives and categories? .

  • KingDavidTV

    @daveashe Hey Dave, Its quite possible that Dave didn't buy this domain from another person, but from the normal domain market. Meaning that he chose a domain name, went to a registrar to see if it was available, it was so he registered it. But only realised later that it had a checkered past. One concern I do have is that do old parked domains showing related ads have trust issues with Google. As Matt says it's good due diligence to check any domain name's history in Cheers, Dave

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