Search Engines and Dropped Domains

Should I buy a dropped domain name for a new site? That’s the question that many web developers and SEOs have these days. They wonder whether there would be any SEO benefits to buying a dropped domain.

Here’s the long answer:

Dropped domains typically have backlinks that point to them because if it ever had a website sitting on it, there’s a chance that it could have accummulated backlinks over a period of time. And, as you know, backlinks are a big part of SEO. So, what people did in the past was, they would buy dropped domains and build sites on them hoping to get the SEO benefits from all the existing backlinks. This technique worked very effectively until Google caught on and put a stop to it.

Google’s Take

Google keeps track of domain drop dates, so they’ll know if someone has recently picked it up. Google WILL NOT give the new site credit for all the previous links that were intended for the original site.

Bing’s Take

I could not find any information on how Bing handles dropped domains, but my guess is that they probably don’t care.

Possible Issues with Dropped Domains

It is possible that a dropped domain could have been penalized for spam by Google. This spam penalty can take years to drop off. So, before you buy a dropped domain, you may want to do some due diligence.

Another potential problem with dropped domains is that it could be blacklisted by anti-spam services or ISPs. This is especially true with domains that were heavily used for spamming in the past.

My Take

If I really like a domain name, I will register it regardless of whether it was dropped or not. A penalty won’t last forever, and you can always ask for a reevaluation through Google or whoever has blacklisted your domain. Yes, it could take extra work, but if I like something, it will be worth the time investment. And if the domain is dropped with no penalty, then it’s no different from registering a brand new domain since you’re starting from scratch anyways. Furthermore, while Google may not count all the pre-existing backlinks, Bing probably will.

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