Buying old sites, as with all SEO, involves a considerable amount of research.  The first  question to ask is why purchase the website?  These ten tips will enable you to gain a better understanding of the website’s value before parting with your cash.

  1. Has the website a 301/302 redirect or holding page? Use FF Web Developer (View Response Headers) to verify the HTTP Header
  2. Check the WHOIS information – Domain Tools
  3. Check that the IP of the site is hosted on isn’t listed within SpamHaus or their top 10 worst ISP list
  4. Use Open Site Explorer CSV Export to view all backlinks. This SEOMoz post demonstrates how to utilise OSE
  5. How frequent have the backlinks been created? Use Majestic SEO to see if there any patterns, anything that is cause for concern.
  6. Check the WHOIS information for those backlinks. Do you see any patterns? You don’t want hundreds of backlinks to vanish once the cash has been handed over.
  7. Do you have access to the analytics? Is the conversion rate fair and are your expectations realistic?
  8. How does SEMRush view the domain? Does it highlight a niche you have not considered or shown you a competitor you hadn’t viewed before?
  9. Are there any cash rich competitors willing to invest into PPC with new domains? Check SpyFU for semi accurate data.
  10. If you can gain access to the domains Google Adwords account, view the site using Google Search-base Keyword Tool. The data is half decent if you don’t have Adwords permission

These points only deal with the technical background and only really scratch the surface on the amount of research you can do.  Justifying the cost is the key.

We bought a domain 2 years ago which was #1 within the SERPs for one strong keyphrase. We stripped the skin, placed additional content and are now ranking for #1-3 for hundreds of keyphrases. We are always looking for domains with potential like this.