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Schwartz on Cutts: Are old expired domains tainted by Google?


Matt Cutts, the baron of Google on SEO matters, doesn’t mince his words.

Except, when he does.

Google isn't exactly clear about how it treats expired domains.

Google isn’t exactly clear about how it treats expired domains.

When it comes down to expired domain names and hand-me-down Google penalties that might go with the package, Matt Cutts is beautifully ambiguous:

“The short answer is that it depends. If domain hasn’t really been on the web since 2001, I would expect any manual webspam actions to have expired a long time ago.

It’s possible that the domain did some things in 2001 that would lead to algorithmic ranking issues, but the web typically changes enough in ~12 years that I’d be surprised if you ran into issues. Typically when you buy a site and run into problems, it’s because someone was spamming more recently with the domain.”

In other words, nothing is certain and one thing is certain: Google will arbitrarily decide whether a domain will continue to be punished due to some borderline unlawful practices during its previous life.

Barry Schwartz, however, CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology, thinks otherwise:

“So clearly, if the domain expired years ago, you probably don’t need to worry about a manual action. But, to be safe, login to Webmaster Tools and see if it still has a manual action. If so, then submit a reconsideration request. I wouldn’t be surprised if it did have a manual action, that some algorithm is also impacting it.”

When acquiring expired domain names, keep in mind that your expectations of their performance should not solely depend on traffic data; most domain names that retain their reselling ability are either brandables or generics.

Read the full article by Barry Schwartz here.

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This post is 100% true!

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