Building links to your website and forging new partnerships can be a daunting experience, with the threat of penguins and pandas forever in the back of your mind. When you’ve created a shortlist of domains then begins the difficult process of short listing the good from the bad, the Panda proof from the Penguin penalised.
With that in mind, I have 5 tips that will help you to quickly and easily evaluate a domain.
1. Check the Page Rank
One of the single most telling quality metrics is Page Rank, which is one of few quality signals Google will ever give you about a domain. There are a plethora of tools available that will show you the Page Rank of a website such PageRank Status (Chrome), Bulk PR Checker (http://bulkprchecker.net/) and for Excel lovers, the excellent Niels Bosma SEO tools (http://nielsbosma.se/projects/seotools/) but beware as most will only return a score of between 0 – 10. Whilst this will certainly give you a good idea of the quality of a domain, what you really want to be looking for are domains with a Page Rank of -1 aka grey toolbar rank aka, no ranking. This is different to a Page Rank of 0 and effectively means a website has had their rank removed, or has not yet received one. Use the Niels Bosma excel add-on to check for this -1 Page Rank.
Given that the last Page Rank update was around 6 months ago, you can be relatively confident that if a domain was launched earlier than 6 months ago and has a Page Rank of -1 then it was probably Penguin penalised and should be avoided.
2. View their Social sharing stats
Taking a glance at a domains social sharing information will give you a good feel for how genuine a website is. Whilst not all genuine websites will have lots of social sharing information, most will have at least some so check for domains with no social sharing and earmark them for further investigation.
To quickly gather social share information use the aforementioned Niels Bosma Excel tools, ShareMetric by Content Harmony (Chrome) or Shared Count (http://www.sharedcount.com/).
3. Check the number of indexed pages
If a large website has relatively few or no pages indexed it suggests that there is something not right with their website such as suspicious linking practises or excessive low quality content causing the search engine not to index their pages. These domains should be avoided.
To check for the number of indexed pages for a domain you can use the search query “site:http://www.domainname.com/” this will work on both Google and Bing.
4. Look for contact information
It may sound surprising but purely looking at whether there is easily accessible contact information on a domain can be a strong indicator of quality.
It’s very rare that a good quality domain will not provide contact information of any kind, unless it is a personal blog which is probably the exception to this rule.
Of course to identify contact information you can just look around the website, but this can quickly turn in to a tedious game of where’s wally when attempted en mass. A quicker way is to view the source code of the page then ctrl+find either “@” (for email addresses) or “/contact”, both will usually return some form of contact info.
Alternatively, check out the SEO Gadget Data Gathering tool (http://tools.seogadget.co.uk/) which picks out contact information amongst other useful metrics.
5. Use a Site Analysis tool
There are a whole host of site analysis tools online at the moment that allow quick analysis across a wide set of metrics such as domain age, on-page and off-page SEO, social, content, code validation and more.
This is great for giving you all the information you need in one place to take a holistic view of domain evaluation.
Some of the best of these are Big Web Stats (http://www.bigwebstats.com/), HubSpot Marketing Grader (http://marketing.grader.com/) and Chlooe (http://chlooe.com/) and best of all they are all free.
This article is written by Jamie Englert. He is the SEO Manager at Car finance specialists Carfinance247.co.uk. He has a passion for SEO and all thing’s digital, always with one eye on the next big thing on the web.