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Is Domain History a Google Ranking Factor?

Your domain name may have some history from previous owners.But does domain history affect your Google search rankings?

Unless you're lucky enough to register a domain name that no one thought of before, there's a good chance that a domain name registered today has a history associated with it.

Does the new owner of a domain name have any reason to worry about what the previous owner did to it?

Yes, the history of a domain name does matter, even after ownership has changed hands and repurposed for a new website.The truth is, domain name history is more important than website owners think.Unfortunately, some people don't know this until it's too late.

Read on to learn more about the claim of domain history as a ranking factor, and then we'll look at Google's supporting evidence.

Disclaimer: Domain history is a ranking factor

A domain name may have many different uses throughout its life cycle.

Domain names used by legitimate businesses today may have been used before by payday loan sites, piracy sites, or any other type of site that Google doesn't like.

Although the site itself is new, domain history is said to be a factor in Google search results today.This means that a new website may be blocked in Google searches, or have a chance of ranking.

Is this a real problem?Or is it all theoretical?

Evidence: Domain History as a Ranking Factor

Google has discussed domain history and its impact on rankings many times.

It has long been thought that how domains were used in the past may be a factor in how Google treats it today.

Effects range from moderate to severe.The most serious problem a website owner can have is acquiring a domain with a history of unresolved manual actions.

Google's manual actions don't go away on their own, even after the previous owner sells the domain name or lets the registration lapse.

If the penalties are not dealt with, the next owner of the domain name could find their site downgraded or de-indexed.

The issue was discussed in a video with former Google employee Matt Cutts, who suggested researching a domain name before buying one.

Site owners can immediately find out if their domain has manual actions on that domain by viewing the Manual Actions report in Google Search Console.

This is the worst case.But this is only a temporary setback, as all the manual work can be done.

In other cases, the domain name may not have penalties associated with it, but the relationship with Google still has a negative history.

In these cases, the site in the search results may still be affected.Google's John Mueller said the problem will resolve itself over time..

Fields with a brief history of bad activity are not a cause for concern, according to Mueller.Recovery may be more difficult if the negative medical history goes back 10 years or more.

The history of any domain can be found at Archive.org.

Domain History as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

Domain history has all but proven to be a ranking factor.

That's why Google recommends that you do your due diligence and research how your domain name is being used before you get it.

The impact of bad domain history varies in severity, the most harmful being unresolved Google manual actions that cause the index to disappear.

For the most part, unless the bad history lasts a decade or more, a new site can leapfrog its domain's questionable past and rank on its own merits.

Extended reading:

Core Web Vitals as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

Content as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

Top 8 Google Ranking Factors - What Really Matters for SEO

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