BOCA RATON, FL – The history of domain name can have a decisively significant factor in terms of its Google ranking. If a user owns a domain that is new and has never been used before then they essentially have a clean slate, but if the domain name was previously owned and has changed hands – perhaps even more than once – how it was utilized by its previous owner and/or owners could absolutely have an impact on your ranking going forward.
Most people don’t pay much thought to the history attached to their domain, but reports say that’s something you should thoroughly research before taking the plunge to avoid encountering issues.
The fact is that a domain being used for a legitimate purpose now, may have had a previously darker history and could cause Google to negatively impact the site’s ranking; for example, it could have been a piracy site, a compromised spam site, or home to any number of other underhanded uses.
The mere act of a domain being purchased by a different party and utilized for a completely new purpose doesn’t necessarily wipe the slate clean; this could result in your website faring poorly in Google searches right out of the gate before you even had a legitimate chance to rank.
This isn’t mere speculation, as Google itself has stated that how a domain has been previously used can have a definite impact on how the search engine provider looks upon it now. The worst problem that a purchaser of a new domain could encounter is discovering that it has a history of unresolved manual actions, which are punitive actions taken against a website by a human reviewer that can result in the demotion or removal of the website from Google search results.
If the penalties associated with these manual actions aren’t dealt with, the negative effects remain attached to the domain even if it is sold or if the registration lapses; in such a case, a new domain owner may find their website demoted or deindexed as soon as it launches. However, you can find out if a domain has a manual action filed against it right away by checking the manual action report in Google Search Console.
Other issues a domain may have could include having a negative history with Google after having been previously used for nefarious purposes; normally, experts say this is an issue that will work itself out over time, although the issue may be more difficult to recover from if the negative history dates back 10 years or more. If you are worried, any domain’s history can be looked up at Archive.org.
Experts recommend that if you’re interested in purchasing a certain domain that you should do a great deal of research into discovering every facet of its history possible to ensure that you are getting a “clean” domain and a legitimate chance of being ranked fairly.
Domain history was originally discussed by former Googler Matt Cutts as far back as 2014 and was reiterated by Google’s John Mueller more recently. This serves as a good reminder that if you are purchasing expired domain names for the purposes of hosting websites on them, it’s important to include the domains specific previous use in your research.
- Domain History: Is It A Google Ranking Factor? – Matt G. Southern, October 2, 2023
- Domain History: Is It A Google Ranking Factor? – Matt G. Southern, October 31, 2021
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®