Finding quality domains for SEO purposes puts you a step ahead your competition and it can help you rank easier and faster. Obviously, buying a quality domain will give you a better return on your investment so it's vital to you understand which factors actually mater and which factors don't.
How You Shouldn't Analyze Domains
Before we tell you how you should analyze domains, we feel it's best you know that the most common ways you've been incorrectly analyzing domains. Do not make these mistakes and avoid relying on these factors to analyze a domain:
• External ranks like: PageAuthority, CitationFlow, TrustFlow, MozRank.
• The domains PR without any other factor.
The Deception of Ranking Tools
You'll soon find out that analyzing domains is not easy. It takes time, money, and effort. For that reason, a lot of SEOs look for shortcuts to outsource this task through various ranking tools (such as the ones we mentioned above). However, these ranking tools are often deceiving. They really do not reflect the real SEO value of a particular domain.
Essentially, ranking tools are not a good way to measure domain quality. If you're looking to invest in a quality domain, relying on these tools isn't much better than simply flipping a coin.
These factors do not work for a variety of reasons:
• These factors rely solely on numbers and basic data, instead of looking at the quality factors only humans can identify.
• Many of these services use outdated data and do not rely on recent algorithm updates. Therefore, they are not accurate with their domain evaluations.
Google PageRank (PR)
In the past, Google PageRank was the B-all and end-all of domain quality. However, this is not the case anymore. PageRank is still important and can be valuable to a domain's quality but it can also be faked as well, which is why you only need to consider it part of the piece to a quality domain.
There are really three main flaws with PageRank nowadays. First, Google PageRank is often very outdated. While Google keeps a live record for the entire web, the toolbar only displays the PageRank since the last public update. This means a domain could show a PR of 5, when in reality, it's down to a PR 2.
Second, the toolbar rounds up PageRank to the nearest whole number. The true PR of a domain could be 4.291842 but it will show a PR of 5 instead. In other words, the PR you see might not be the PR Google sees.
Third, Google simply doesn't rely on PageRank like it used to. Sure PR still plays a role in how they rank sites but unfortunately it is not nearly important as it once was. Therefore, you cannot simply rely on Google PageRank to determine whether or not your domain is truly valuable.
The Dangers of Spammy Backlinks
Backlinks should always be examined before purchasing a domain. Existing backlinks can be incredible powerful OR they can ruin an entire domain. Therefore, when looking for existing backlinks, you should avoid domains with:
• Low quality links or spam
• Links that look like they were purchased
Many shady domain sellers will also scam domain buyers by artificially adding links to their domain only to remove them as soon as the domain is purchased. If you want a quality domain and want to avoid being a victim of a penalty, it's best to avoid domains with history of spam and spammy links.
Analyzing Domains Properly
There are many noteworthy parameters and metrics to analyzing a domain, but for the sake of sanity we only plan on focusing on the most important factors. The two most important steps to analyzing a domain include:
• Looking at the diversity of the domain's backlinks
• Evaluating the history of the domain to ensure it's spam-free
At the end of the day, backlinks play the most important role in the quality of a domain. In fact, most SEO values rely solely on backlink quality. If you have a good idea of behind the domain's backlinks, then you can fully evaluate whether or not the domain is valuable.
A good domain has to have high PR backlinks. This is because high PR websites tend to be far more authoritative, which means Google looks more favorably on these domains. In addition, when you're dealing with multiple variables (in this case backlinks), you'll get a better idea of the site's true value. This is why you should always look at the PR of a domains backlinks and not the domain PR.
Essentially, you'll want a domain to have backlinks from a variety of sources and several different types of backlinks. This resembles what a natural site's backlink portfolio would look like and this will help you in the long-term.
Validating backlinks is another important step to determine domain value. You want to make sure that the link appears in the HTML code of the page and is a real visual link to visitors. No SEO tool is sophisticated enough to filter out false backlinks, which means you need to find out whether they are valid or not.
To do so, you can follow the steps blow in Google Chrome:
1. Open the url of the backlink.
2. Press the F12 key and go to the “elements” tab in the DevTools window
3. Press Ctrl+F to initiate a search.
4. Enter your domain name until you reach the link that should link to your domain.
5. Right click and choose the “scroll into view” option. Keep your mouse over the anchor element and see if your link truly exists.
For the most part, this method is very effective and works over 95% of the time. If the “scroll into view” step doesn't work, you should look around on the webpage being giving up.
After validating backlinks, it's time to look at whether or not the link was spam or not. Using your common sense is the best way to evaluate whether or not the link was spam.
• The backlink is on a page where anybody else can put their links on.
• The backlink is on a site that doesn't really contribute to anything. This includes links that are unrelated.
• The backlink doesn't seem to belong on the page and there appears no reason for the site to have said backlink.
In addition, poor quality links often put on sites that:
• Use auto-generated content
• “thin” or affiliate websites
• websites that have been hacked
Essentially, do your due diligence and look into the websites where a domain gets their backlinks from. If a domain's backlinks check out, then chances are you have a quality domain and can consider buying that domain.
Other Contributing Aspects:
Backlink diversity isn't the only factor to a domain's quality. In fact there are several other factors to a quality backlink profile, including:
• Authorization level: Websites like .edu, .gov, .mil, and other similar TLD suffixes are considered authority TLDs, meaning Google views them as more trustworthy.
• Position: Links within related text are often seen as better links that links in an unrelated website or links out of position (like blogrolls).
• Age: The older the backlinks are, the better. Google views aged backlinks more favorably and a link from 2008 isn't likely to be deleted if it hasn't already been deleted.
• Target URL: Although it's not always agreed upon, most people believe that backlinks that target your main page are more valuable than links to an inner page.
• Language: Most SEO experts agree that local languages have less of an influence that a generic language like English. Therefore, it's probably best to prefer links placed in English over a local language.
Fake Domain PageRank
As we just mentioned above, domain PR can and is often faked. The main way scammers fake domain PR is by placing a simple redirect in their domain, taking visitors to another website, normally with a higher PR. This causes the original domain's PR to appear much higher than it really is. Once a PR update occurs, the parasite domain looks to have a higher domain when in reality the domain quality is much lower.
Finding out whether PageRank is faked or not is very simple. If you make the query: “info:domain.com” it will show any redirects and sometimes redirects in the past. Many SEO tools utilize this feature and can tell you whether or not a domain is faked. However, in some cases, these domains can falsely validate a PR and therefore, you need to do further research.
In the end, the only way to determine whether or not a PageRank is legitimate or not is to analyze the domain's backlinks. If the backlinks PR range from 3-5, then chances are the domain will have a true PR in that range. In some cases, it can be lower or higher but for the most part you'll find that a domain will fit the range of most of its' backlinks.
Researching Buying SEO Domain Names Summary
To summarize, there are four main things to do when evaluating a domain's quality:
• Find the backlinks
• Evaluate the backlinks
• Check to make sure the PR is real
• Check the website's history
If you do these four things, you should have a good idea of whether or not a domain is worth buying or not. We hope this guide helped you learn some things about buying domains and we hope it will help you make smart, informed domain purchases in the future.