How Can You Check a Domain Name’s History?
Already thought of a great domain name for your company and realise that someone else owns it. So, you’re negotiating to get it at the best purchase price.
Before you close the deal, make sure to conduct background research about the domain name. It must have a clean record to save your business from any issues and damages later.
It would also be a bonus if the domain name was used in the same niche as yours because its quality backlinks can help you get a head start on search rankings.
With that, you need to look at its history. Or else, you might run into these problems:
- Some domains have a record of “black hat” SEO. It could be that the owner bought backlinks and conducted other schemes to manipulate search engines. As a result, Google may have penalized the domain with bad search rankings.
- A domain name could’ve been used for something objectionable. Perhaps it was used for a gambling activity or an adult website which can compromise your credibility. Your website might carry the domain’s questionable history and could attract the wrong visitors.
4 Ways to Check a Domain’s History
1. Internet Archive
The Internet Archive is a digital library of websites, software, movies, and more. Its Wayback Machine feature lets users search the domain history of more than 500 billion web pages. All you need to do is enter a domain name on the search bar and you’ll see how a domain was used throughout time and other website details.
DomainIQ has multiple tools to help you identify a domain name’s history and health.
Search a domain name and DomainIQ will provide the following data:
Whois is a database of domain records. It shows the domain’s current owner and a snapshot of its previous owners. You can even use this to check the domain’s ‘title history’ to ensure that it does not have odd records or that it’s not stolen.
This feature allows you to see the IP addresses where the domain was pointed.
DomainIQ flags domains that have been involved in a cybersquatting dispute (related to adult domains or potential trademark domains) under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. However, you should conduct your investigation first before rejecting it.
Google is also a valuable resource for checking a domain’s credibility.
Search for a domain name and Google results should show all the indexed pages related to that domain name, including a parked page. If there are no results, you should investigate.
You can also check a domain name’s history through Google by entering a quoted search, like “domainname.com.” Doing so will let you see the references to the domain name like news stories. You should see a positive news story, not lawsuits and scams.
You can use SEMRush to check the backlink record of a domain name for free. Watch out for odd and spammy links because they could indicate a black hat SEO activity. As you may already know, Google hates it and penalises websites with low search rankings or worse – blacklists it.
But there are good websites that have toxic backlinks. Leverage SEMRush to do a backlink audit and see the ratio of toxic to non-toxic backlinks. If there are a lot more toxic than non-toxic, then it might be time to let go of that domain name.
Buy a Safe Domain
It’s not guaranteed that the domain name you’re buying is entirely safe. But the tools we have listed above will help you streamline issues you should look into.
Besides investigating it at your end, ask the previous owner a few questions about the usage of the domain name in the past and who did they buy it from.
BigRock has the WHOIS Lookup tool integrated into its website, which can help you check any website’s details and history, so you can make an informed decision before you buy a domain.