Now that we’ve discussed the step-by-step prcess in checking the website ownership with Step 1 of the buying websites due diligence process, let me continue with Step 2 — how to delve into the website history. At this point, we try to answer the questions “What should we know about a website’s history?” and “What tools can be utilized to do this?”
Verify the Age of the Domain
When we talk of the domain age, we’re actually referring to how long a domain has been registered. This is essential because most online marketers are of the opinion that search engines are more “friendly” towards websites which have been existing for a longer period. Same as in Step 1, the Whois tool of DomainTools will prove to be very handy as it can provide the registration date of a website. Keep in mind though, that the domain age is separate from the website age. The former simply refers to the date when the domain was registered whereas the latter is the length of time when the actual website has been in existence.
Frequency of Transfers of Site Ownership
The Whois search will also yield information on the registration history of a domain, particularly on the frequency of ownership transfers. If it seems that the website has been sold too many times, try to find out why.
History of the IP
After retrieving the site’s IP address from your Whois search, go to YouGetSignal and do a reverse IP search by entering the Whois IP address. The reverse search will show if the seller is in fact, hosting the website in question using a shared server, and will even list down all other sites hosted by the same server. This may cause issues in the future particularly if the other sites on the server are either porn or spam sites, which could be potentially blocked.
How to Tell if the Website is Banned from Search Engines
Discovering if a particular website is banned by a search engine can be difficult as you can’t simply find this info in Whois, and there are no clearcut rules for this. If a site is banned or penalized by Google or other search engines like Yahoo or Bing good luck on getting it indexed or ranked. Try these methods to know if a website may be banned:
Perform a Google search for the www domain, without using the www (e.g. “websites.com” instead of “http://www.websites.com”). If the domain shows up in the search results sans hitch, then there isn’t any ban on the site. If it doesn’t appear in the results, you could be facing a problem with the site. Then, search for “site:www.websites.com” and “site:websites.com”. If no pages turn up in the search, this implies that no pages have been indexed and the site is really blocked.
Determining a Website Banned from Affiliate or Ad Networks
Other than checking if Google or any other search engine has banned the website, it’s also practical to check if the site is banned from any affiliate or ad networks as well. No site is worth the purchase after all if it can’t earn you any income. Ask the current site owner directly or try to contact the networks to get straight answers.
Checking the Backlink History
In online marketing, the greater the number of backlinks pointing to a site, the more “popular” the site is, which in turn, will result to better search engine rankings. Both quantity and quality backlinks matter, although you’d do best to focus more on quality backlinks, or those from authority and relevant sites. To know which kinds of backlinks were applied for a site, you can make use of the Yahoo! Site Explorer Tool.