Whether you’re launching a brand new business or seeking to enjoy the benefits of having an established domain’s backlinks redirected to your new website, buying an existing domain name can be a powerful way to energise your SEO strategies, particularly if the domain contains a sizeable amount of lucrative backlinks that are relevant to your target industry.

However, before taking the plunge and making the decision to purchase a second hand domain, it’s essential that the domain is thoroughly investigated to ensure that there are no undesirable links attached to it and no underlying issues associated with it, that could do irreparable damage to your fledging business.

The following is a list of 5 things that should be examined before you consider to purchase an existing domain.

1) Is the domain blacklisted?

A domain that is blacklisted due to malware infection or from a past history of sending excessive email spam, will also likely have its mail server on a ban list as well. There are a number of sites available that allow you to check the current health status of a given domain, including this one.

2) Google Analytics

If possible, get a hold of the Google Analytics account associated with the domain and look for any signs of unusual traffic data. Look to examine the referrals data to see if there are any hazardous sites directing traffic to the domain.

3) Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools)

Inspecting the domain with Google Search Console enables you to obtain a detailed look at the anatomy of the website, including notifications of any serious problems that may be compromising its security as well as any manual action penalties imposed on the domain.

Similarly, Bing Webmaster Tools can also be used to determine if the domain has any malignant issues. In particular, the malware, phishing and ‘track certificates’ tabs under the security heading, provide vital information.

4) Site Links (Internal & External)

With a site’s link profile now as important as ever for SEO purposes, it’s crucial that the domain you’re considering to purchase does not contain an inordinate number of poor quality links directed to it. On the contrary, the domain should ideally have a considerable quantity of prominent backlinks from reputable sources that are all relevant to your sector.

There are many ways for you to inspect the link profile of a given domain. One such method is using Google Search Console, accessed under Search Traffic > Links to Your Site. To obtain a more comprehensive assessment of a domain’s links however, a third party premium option will generally need to be used. This will provide you with a far greater insight into the overall quality of the links and value for SEO purposes.

5) Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA) is the measure of a domain’s influence and is composed of three primary elements; popularity, age and size. The DA value is represented by a score out of 100, where 0 is a brand new website and 100 is a true behemoth of immeasurable power. So why does DA matter for SEO? The number itself is a composite value that illustrates the ability of a website to rank in organic search. The higher a domain’s DA, the better it is for SEO.