What If Your Domain Has a Bad History?

Choosing a domain name is an integral part of your SEO strategy. It can be a powerful tool in your efforts to build your brand and make you stand out from the competition. However, to be successful at any type of brand building and website marketing, you need to ensure your site meets all the conditions for success. For some site owners, that might be a problem.

Recently, some concerns have risen about the impacts of owning a domain with a bad history. That’s not something people tend to check when purchasing a domain, unaware that it might cause problems for them. The domain with a lousy history might impact you negatively, but only in some circumstances. Let’s have a closer look at the issue:

What Is Bad Domain History?

If someone has previously owned a domain you bought, there’s going to be domain history to worry about. No amount of website optimization will make Google rank you better if the domain has had some problems in the past. For example, a domain might have been used to host and distribute piracy content. More commonly, bad domain history manifests as poor quality backlinks and other practices Google frowns against.

That’s why it’s a good idea to check a domain’s history before purchasing it. Google recommends using archive.org for this, but there are other tools available as well. It should also give you an overview of how long the website has had involvement in these harmful activities. What you do next will depend on the information you find.

What to Do If Your Domain Has Bad History

If you’ve checked after purchasing it and uncovered that your domain indeed has some poor history attached to it, it’s time to review the situation. Assess how long the period of awful history is.  If it measures in years, then it can jeopardize your SEO strategy and ruin your chances of being successful at website marketing. You might want to start over with an original domain in that case.

However, if there was only a brief period in which the domain’s previous owner used it for unacceptable activities, you might be okay. In those cases, even Google advises waiting for it to disappear on its own. The decision entirely depends on how long the period lasted and how bad those activities were.

Having a well-planned SEO strategy means being ready for anything — even unexpected discoveries of lousy domain history. But SEO is not a magic bullet for ensuring better website optimization, at least not on its own.

It usually takes business owners months before they see tangible results with SEO. If you wish to start enjoying good results for your website faster, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to discuss your marketing strategy and help in any way I can.

Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.

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