Bought a domain with a bad history?
Google’s John Mueller has provided some advice on what website owners ought to do if they’ve buy a website with unhealthy history connected to it.
This topic came up in a recent Google Webmaster Central conversation where a website owner was worried regarding the domain he bought having a history of piracy.
Here is the question:
“We took over a URL with our brand and after that, unfortunately, we found out that someone before us, maybe half a year or two years ago, used that URL for piracy content. And if we take a look at the Google transparency report we can see that there has been a lot of trouble with that URL.
Is there any way to get some kind of reset at Google? Because we do not have any connection to the former owner of that URL. And of course we do not have any piracy content in our editorial offerings. So what should we do?”
Mueller responded by saying that this can be an issue that ought to resolve itself over time. It mostly depends on the extent of the unhealthy history and how long it had been occurring for. If there was simply a short amount of unhealthy history then it’ll eventually disappear on its own, Mueller says. However, if the amount of unhealthy history goes back upwards of 10 years or longer, then it should be a cause for concern.
Mueller suggests checking out Archive.org to look at the history of the domain and see how long the unhealthy activity was occurring for. Site owners might need to “bite the bullet” and begin over with a brand new domain if it’s found that the address they’ve bought incorporates a significant stretch of negative activity.
If a address solely incorporates a brief amount of poor activity, then simply move forward and concentrate on business as usual.