The other day I talked about why you should be buying websites to develop or strengthen your influence within your niche on other sites you control. Today I’m going to talk about how to appraise websites so that you know the major points to consider when you’re looking to buy.
How to Appraise Websites
Exact Match Domain – First, ensure that the title of that domain is relevant to your niche. Ideally it’s an exact match domain for a keyword you’re targeting. Even in light of the Google update which diminishes the influence of exact match domains on some sites, I still believe in their value but you should obviously expect to pay more if it’s an EMD for a remotely high volume keyword.
Age – Now look at the age of the domain. The older a domain, the more authority it will have in Google’s eyes. This is in contrast to a newer site which was just registered in the last year or so which likely has relatively few links to go with it and still needs to prove its value to Google.
Page Rank – The page rank of a site is generally viewed as not being as important as it once was, but it’s still a good indication of the kinds of authority Google perceives that site as having and the kinds of backlinks and strength of those backlinks that site is receiving.
Traffic and Backlinks – Take a look at that site’s traffic for the last six months or longer, plus any and all backlinks it has. You should request access to their Google analytics for that site for the last several months and can run that site through Open Site Explorer. You don’t want to learn that most of the traffic is coming from non-English speaking countries or the backlinks are coming from spammy sites only after you’ve purchased that site.
Archive – You should input that site’s URL into Archive.org to see how that site looked and or was used in the past. Sometimes webmasters who are looking to sell will give the site a makeover and inflate its superficial stats anyway they can in the months leading up to that sale, so the further back you can look, the better.
Seller – Do a search on the seller to learn anything you can about them in terms of positive or negative feedback before inking the deal if you’re buying through a site such as Flippa.