Computing Magazine

Did You Buy a Used Domain Name?

Posted on the 25 July 2012 by Dfennell @BloggerGo

When a blogger or web developer heads over to their favorite domain registration company to search for and purchase a new domain name, they need to ask themselves a very simple question:

Am I the first owner of this domain name, or did I buy a used domain that a previous owner let expire?

Often times, when a new owner searches for and secures a new domain name, they will mistakenly believe that they were the first person to ever come up with that particular name.  Were they just lucky?  Or did someone already own that specific domain and for whatever reason, they let it go?  I ran into this scenario, and there is a lesson to be learned for anyone who purchases a used domain name.

When I purchased the domain name of BloggerGo, I truly thought that I had struck gold among domain names.  I could not believe that this name was available for purchase, and that I was the only blogger who had ever thought of it. 

However I was wrong.  I quickly learned that my domain name had already been owned in the past, and for whatever reason, the previous owner let the name expire; hence why I was able to pick it up and starting using it.

How to tell if your domain name is used…

If you have recently purchased a domain name or have one in mind to purchase, you need to do a Google site search to see if there are any URLs indexed on the web under your new domain.  This can be done by simply going to Google and typing:

site:YourDomainName.com

Of course, you will need to replace “YourDomainName” with your actual name.

Google Site Search imageThis search query will list every single URL under that specific domain that is indexed with Google.  If any results are found, you will know that your domain is a used domain name, owned by a previous blogger or developer.

When I conducted this search, I found more than 500 URLs associated with my domain name.  The following screenshot is what I was looking at:

Used Domain Name Site Search imageYou will notice that these URLs do not even have a meta description.  This is because each and every one of them was returning 404 Errors (page not found errors).  These excessive errors are problematic for a new blog or website, and need to be taken care of immediately.

What to do if you own a used domain name

Now, if this is indeed the case for your new domain name, there is nothing to worry about.  You just need to simply delete or remove each URL from within your Google Webmaster Tools account.  If you do not already have a webmaster account with Google, you need to open one immediately.  If you are unfamiliar with this process, we have provided a tutorial to walk you through the process of removing URLs.

These URLs must be deleted as soon as possible if you are building a brand new site.  Each and every one of these URLs will be returning 404 Errors, and these errors will affect your on-page SEO efforts.  Over time, Google will most likely remove these 404 Error pages from their index, but they are slow about these things, and your Google Webmaster Tools account will take care of these issues within a couple of days.

Once you have successfully removed these URLs, buying and owning a used domain name is no problem.  However, the only other potential problem to keep in mind is when you go through the process of adding and claiming your site on blog directories.  Chances are if you own a used domain name, your site will have already been added in the past by the previous owner, and you will run into issues when it comes to claiming and proving ownership of your blog.

The benefit of owning a used domain name is that you will have an opportunity to learn what the previous owner was writing about.  In my particular case, the previous owner of BloggerGo was writing about everything under the sun, including topics varying from computer tips, face cleansers, whirlpool tubs, ecoli beef recalls, and anything in between.  It is no wonder that the previous owner was unsuccessful in building their blog and let the domain name expire.  By learning what previous owners were writing about, you can quickly learn what not to do in order to be successful.

Again, visit our tutorial if you own a used domain name and have never used your Google Webmaster Tools account to remove URLs.

Did You Buy a Used Domain Name? is a post from: BloggerGo

 


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