Domain History – What you need to know before you register

Domain History - What you need to know before you register

So you figured out a killer domain name for your new website maybe a .com, .net, or .org (those are the most common). Do you know your domain history? Who owned it before you, was there a website under the domain, was it used for nefarious purposes? Just because a domain is available doesn’t mean that it is the best choice for your website! The domain history could cause issues for your website if the previous owner caught the attention of Google or blacklist organizations. Your newly acquired domain could already be blacklisted because of it’s reputation which can cause your new website to have search visibility issues no matter how optimized the content is for SEO.

It’s important that you know the domain history before you purchase the domain for your website. You need to know if there are any actions that you need to take to rectify problems and clean up the reputation or in some cases – decide not to use a certain domain at all!


Domain History - previously hosted websites on your domain

You can check out what websites were hosted on the domain you are thinking about purchasing by going to and browsing the history of the domain. If you don’t see any results, your domain is most likely fresh, but it is also possible the previous owner blocked’s bot from accessing the domain to crawl it.

Use our quick form to search your domain history on

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Domain History - spammy or bad content

Just because your website doesn’t have a bad domain history on the archive doesn’t mean you are in the clear just yet! Classic spammy content includes posts about adult material, gambling, pills, and debt resolution. There’s also link spamming which domain owners use to generate links to their website. Google has gotten very good at spotting link spamming and blacklisting or burying the offending domains. You should do a Google search for your domain to see if you can find links posted in bad places (like comment sections on blogs).

You can see if your domain has been blacklilsted on just type your domain in the searchbar and analyze the results for negative results!

Use our quick form to search your domain history on

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Domain History - what to do next

So you’ve done your searching on your domain history and you’ve made one of three decisions.

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  • My domain history is clean – I can purchase this domain
  • My domain history is not clean – but I don’t think it will be hard to get it cleaned
  • Hell no – this is going to be too much work to clean, I better pick another domain name

If you’ve come to the first conclusion, that’s great – go forth and purchase your domain name! The other two options are a little less enticing, but maybe the domain history isn’t too bad and you want to take a stab at cleaning it up. The first thing to do is sign up for Google webmaster tools and contact them via the control console and see if any manual actions were taken against the domain name. Also ask them what steps you need to do to clear up and negative backlinks to your domain. They’ll probably tell you to use the disavow links function in the webmaster console to tell Google what incoming links to ignore – they’ll also tell you to contact the websites where the links are and have them removed. Use the previous search tool and contact all sites that are blacklisting your domain name, tell them that the domain is under new ownership and you want to have the blacklist flags removed. Sometimes this can take a while!

If this seems like too much work, or if the domain name seems like it’s too far gone already – you’ve arrived at the third conclusion. The good news is it doesn’t require any more action on your part to clean, the bad news is you have to find a new domain name and start this process all over again.

Need help researching your domain name? Give us a call or drop us a line!