Your Domain And Its History - Semalt Tips
The chances of you registering a domain name no one has used before are so slim that it's safe to say it's impossible. Almost every domain name has a history, and we often find ourselves wondering if that history can somehow influence how Google sees the domain even after it has a new owner.
Yes, a domain's history matters even after ownership changes, and it gets repurposed. While some website owners are conscious of this fact, many fail to understand how important a domain history is until it's too late.
Why Is A Domain's History Important?
If you haven't figured this out, Google is very smart, and it's very difficult to fool them for long. Search engines, in general, are always looking for better and more accurate ways to rank a website. One of the ways a search engine knows how to rank a website and whether or not it can be trusted is by looking at the domain history.
In fact, the domain history is considered as a ranking factor. In the lifetime of any domain, it can serve different and varying purposes, which are determined by its owner or owners. As a legitimate business owner, your current domain name may have been previously used by a piracy website, a payday loan website, or any one of the many types of website Google frowns upon.
So it is possible that you have a new and rebranded website but a domain name with a bad history. But because Google looks at the domain history, new websites can get held back without even realizing why. These websites hardly have an idea of what's going on, and they stay dormant without even getting the chance to rank.
The Impact of A Domains History on Its Ranking
Google has publicly addressed the rumours around domain history and the impact it has on a site's ranking on several occasions. In each of the publications we've seen, Google makes it clear that it considers a domain's history as a ranking factor.
The impact of the history of every domain is, however, different. Its consequences can fall anywhere between moderate to severe. In the worst-case scenario, a site owner could be using a domain with a history of unresolved manual actions.
This is the worst thing that could happen to a site owner because manual actions do not go away on their own. They linger even after the previous owner sells the domain or lets the registration lapse. When these issues are not dealt with properly, the next owner will get punished. The new owner will eventually realize that their website isn't ranking; it gets demoted or completely deindexed from SERP.
This is why research is very important before purchasing any new domain names. With adequate research, a buyer can see if a domain has manual actions against it. One way to find out if a domain has manual actions against it is by checking the manual action report in Google Search Console.
Remember that we are discussing the worst-case scenario. In other not so severe cases, the domain may not have penalties against it, but the new user may still suffer setbacks that could have been easily avoided.
In such cases, the site may still be negatively impacted in search results. These problems will, however, solve themselves over time, says John Mueller of Google. Mueller also says that a domain with a brief history of bad activity may not always affect the new website. A good time frame will be ten years. When a domain name has been associated with bad activities for more than ten years, it's best you do not purchase said domain as it may be very difficult to recover from.
Practical Ways To Improve Your Domain's Reputation
There are many possible reasons why domains have bad histories. To correct this, you must understand what gave your domain its bad reputation. This is also one of the most challenging steps in fixing a damaged domain.
Optimize your basic website setup
Before you start linking your website, it is important to make sure that your website has been properly optimized for users. The best way to show Google that a domain is under new authority is by creating the perfect website. Here are some quick steps to follow when optimizing your website for search engines:
- Your website should be fast. It should be able to load and become responsive in under 3 seconds.
- Your website should be mobile-friendly.
- Create a proper internal linking structure so search engines can find as many pages as possible.
As you maintain a properly functioning site and good user experience, the bad history of your site will no longer have the same negative effect as it once did. As you optimize your site, you should research your domain and find out what want went wrong in the first place. This will help you map out a plan of which areas need the most attention as you attempt to optimize your site.
Create Quality Content
The core of any website is its content. A lot of factors are considered when ranking content, but the content itself plays a vital role. If you want to delete the bad history of a domain, creating quality content can be a good way to go about it.
To build quality content, you need to start by researching what your business does and how it can align with the needs of everyday consumers. Ideally, every business should be created to satisfy consumers' needs.
Once you've identified your products/services as a solution to any specific problem, you then create content. It is important to create quality content so your target audience is well informed of the reasons why your brand is better and more suitable than your competition's.
Make sure that your content:
- Focuses on evergreen content that will keep on being the solution center for a long time.
- Use short sentences and headings tags in your content.
- Add images and videos to your posts. This helps break your content, and it makes your web pages more interesting.
Our Position on Domain History As A Ranking Factor
It is easy to understand why Google insists on using a domain's history as a ranking factor. There are only so many ways a website can show itself to be trustworthy. So something as important as the history of a domain cannot be overlooked.
This is why Google advises us to do due diligence and research on how any domain has been used in the past. In most cases, a domain may have a few blemishes here and there. And unless the situation is too critical, you can go ahead to purchase the domain.
By too critical, we mean that the domain has a poor history that went on for decades or more. Google will flag that domain, and it may be impossible to dig yourself out that well. However, in other cases, especially less severe ones, a website can rise above the bad history of its domain and show Google that there is a new sheriff in town.
If you need to learn more about the subject of SEO and website promotion, we invite you to visit our Semalt blog.