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Tips For Avoiding Dodgy Domains

April 22, 2014

If you are thinking of buying an existing domain; it's wise to perform some due diligence to try and ascertain if it's in Google's bad books.

With Google providing the majority of traffic for many web sites; it's 'opinion' of a domain is probably well worth noting.

One of the most common reasons for a domain to have a bad reputation with Google is due to the operator attempting to "spam" his or her way to high rankings.

Head of Google's web spam team, Matt Cutts, has offered some suggestions on how to research the reputation of a domain with regard to Google.

Mr. Cutts advises running a site search on the domain name via Google; which is performed in the following way


If no results appear, Mr. Cutts says this is a "bad sign" if the domain has a live site associated with it (i.e. not just a parked domain).

He also suggests search on the domain name without its extension to get a vibe about the site's reputation - how it may have been marketed and what others may have said about it.

A really valuable tool is the "Wayback Machine" available at Assuming the service's robot hasn't been blocked from the site in question - which may have been done for valid reasons - can show snapshots of the site over the years and perhaps flag "spammy" content.  

Other suggestions include requesting records relating to site traffic to see if there was a sudden dropoff in the site's history. Here's the full video of  Matt Cutts discussing the topic in more detail.


Domains - New Vs. 'Used'
Buying an established name does have some potential advantages, but there are also benefits in starting fresh by registering a new name that hasn't been in use previously. Read more

How do I buy a .au domain name?
The concept of being able to buy domain names isn't technically correct; but you can certainly have control over a new or existing domain under a lease type arrangement - learn more here.

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