Choosing the right domain has become all the more important today amid a backdrop of increased cyber attacks, more stringent data protection laws, and tighter competition for search engine ranking. These days, opting for a random domain name just won’t cut it. Users also have to do much digging around to ensure that the domain they choose gets them the results they want.
But with 1,500 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) currently in use, choosing the right one has become more of a challenge. Listed below are the top 4 things those who are shopping around for a domain should keep in mind. We also included some advice on how to take advantage of WHOIS History Search for conducting domain research.
How Old Is The Domain?
Domain age plays a vital role in a website’s ability to make the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). A domain that’s ten years old, for instance, can make a new website appear just as old, too, in Google’s eyes. As seasoned marketers know, older sites get better search rankings.
That is precisely the reason why companies with deeper pockets are sometimes willing to snap up million-dollar domain names in the aftermarket. Since not everyone can afford an expensive domain name, users can opt for recently released domains as an alternative.
Ideally, a domain should be around 3–5 years old—though that is not to say that younger domains can’t rank. To identify a domain’s creation date, how its owner used it over the years, and how it changed hands, domain buyers can use a WHOIS history search tool to retrieve its historical records.
Is The Domain Aligned With Your Brand Targeting Efforts?
While older domains offer the advantage of being perceived as more reputable, these also have their own background to account for. Say, for example, that you are looking to launch a new brand and came across a good domain.
What you aren’t sure about, however, if whether it was priorly used in a totally different industry that may enter in conflict with your business goals. If so, it’s not impossible that this may confuse your prospective buyers about the nature and trustworthiness of your services.
One tool that can help with such domain investigation is WHOIS History Search. It allows domain buyers to identify a domain’s past owners. By knowing the individuals or companies behind a domain, users can work out how domains have been used in the past, such as for what type of product, service, or industry.
Does It Contain The Right Search Terms?
Exact-match domains (EMDs), such as those that contain industry-relevant keywords or key phrases, are still considered of high value. EMDs still work as long as the website it hosts doesn’t engage in keyword stuffing and offers valuable content.
For ideas, look closely at EMDs that get a lot of traffic or have been sold at a whopping price in your niche. Browse website flipping platforms for the latest industry sales. After that, find out who owns these domains using WHOIS History Search.
The tool enables buyers to retrieve a domain’s historical ownership records even if the present one has been redacted for privacy. The domain’s ownership records could clue you in on the parties who have invested in the domain, and thus, predict if you could indeed make money off it.
Is The Domain’s Usage Record Spotless?
Last but not least, domain buyers should verify if the domain name was ever blacklisted. Some domains find it harder to rank in SERPs because they were previously involved in cyber attacks. To avoid ending up with such domains, buyers can run checks on them using online Domain Name System (DNS) databases and spam blocklists as reference.
Buyers can also use a domain name history search tool to obtain the past registration details for a specific domain. A tool like WHOIS History Search, for instance, would reveal all the dates when a domain’s records changed before redaction.
It may help establish if a domain has had links to a cybercriminal owner or is dangerous. Other products that may be used for such purposes include Domain Reputation API and Threat Intelligence Platform, both of which review domain names from multiple security angles and provide a holistic safety score.
A website is every user’s most valuable piece of digital real estate. It needs a domain name that aptly conveys the right message, can rank high in SERPs, and has no ties to malicious campaigns. By observing the given tips, users can determine whether a domain name of interest is indeed worthy of use.
Author Bio: Jonathan Zhang is the founder and CEO of Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP)—a data, tool, and API provider that specializes in automated threat detection, security analysis, and threat intelligence solutions for Fortune 1000 and cybersecurity companies. TIP is part of the WhoisXML API family, a trusted intelligence vendor by over 50,000 clients.
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