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After purchasing a domain, you may see that it is not at all in the index of many search engines, which makes it virtually non-existent. Some very old domains may still be not indexed at all. Such purchases may prove to be worthless. Read further to know what to do before purchasing a domain.
1. Check in Google
Always check in Google if the domain is already in the indexes. Some sellers may tell you that the domain is already established. This is true only if at least the home page URL is indexed in the search engine and there is no blackhat technique that causes it to be blocked from the indexes. Use the site:URL operator to see how many pages are indexed from the domain.
2. Go and Check in the WayBack Machine
Get to the Wayback Machine (Internet Archive) and actually see if your domain is there in the archives. This is important in case of old, established domains. The archive will tell you if the claim is true. What you should be most careful about is if the website has been doing any blackhat SEO tactics, such as hidden text, doorway pages, keyword stuffing, link sales, etc. Any website that is already engaging in such activities is not a good purchase.
3. Be Cautious About TLD, Trademark, and Misspellings
This is an important consideration. Make a list of domains that you find interesting and are matching to your business. Whichever niche you are in, having the targeted keywords on the domain name itself is very important.
Research the domain name to see if it can be the misspelling of any popular company or domain name; be careful to avoid legal troubles due to trademark violations. Also, check if your domain name has any negative meaning. For these, simply Google "your domain name". If Google gives you any spelling suggestion, it is a bad indication. For instance, search for "Fearcebook.com" and you will see a spelling suggestion.
Make sure you have searched for TLD (Top Level Domain) variants of your domain (domain.com, domain.net, domain.org, etc.)
4. Check the IP Address of the Domain
This is very important. There are quite a few IP blacklist databases where you need to check if the IP address of the domain is listed. This can negatively affect the domain's trust and search engine positions. Check the IP address here: http://whatismyipaddress.com/staticpages/index.php/is-my-ip-address-blacklisted
Having listed in several databases is not good for a domain. Sharing IP address with a blacklisted domain is also not a good indication.
5. Check Incoming and Outgoing Links
See which domains give link to the domain in question. Bad neighborhood links, such as links from porn sites or illegal sites, are not good. Also, when checking in the Wayback Machine, see if the site or any page links to bad neighborhoods.
Understand that purchasing a domain requires the hardest exercise of your discretion. The theory that "If it's too good to be true, it probably is" applies here well. If you find a really dramatic offer, be wary.