If you are planning to start a new website and buy a domain name you will probably need to spend time researching domain names that you’re considering. This article does not focus on finding the right domain name, but rather the research that should be done once you’ve found a domain that you want to use.
The domain name that you purchase may or may not have a history – and that’s what you need to know. It’s possible that the domain has been penalized by Google or other search engines for the practices of previous owners, which is certainly something that you will want to avoid. A domain with a negative history can carry over when you start hosting your site on that domain.
On the other hand, the domain may have some valuable elements as a result of a previous owner, such as Google PageRank, Alexa rank, inbound links, etc. In these situations the domain will typically be for sale by the owner or through some type or re-seller service, but not always.
One of the first places most people look, Whois will give you some basic information about the owner of the domain and where it is hosted. If the domain name isn’t currently registered you’ll simplify have the option to purchase it. The SEO Egghead Whois Search is another option to get the same information.
If the domain is existing, URL Trends will show some valuable information such as the PageRank, Alexa rank, and the number of incoming links recognized by search engines. The current data does not appear to be completely up-to-date.
The most useful feature of the Way Back Machine is that it can show you when the domain was being used. Older domains benefit by having more trust from search engines(assuming they haven’t been penalized).
If you want to see if a domain name has any type of history, this is a good tool. Enter the domain and you’ll see dates in which the history is recorded. In order to see details, you’ll have to upgrade, although it is free. If the domain has no history, you’ll see a message that there is no recorded history.
The page strength tool can be very helpful if you are evaluating a domain that has some history. It will show you a number of factors including PageRank, age of the domain, inbound links, and more.
Hopefully these tools can set you on the right track. For more related info check out these posts: