Buying a domain for its backlink profile is similar to buying a used car, you could end up with a lemon

There has been a lot of talk over the years about buying a domain name specifically for its backlink profile. At the end of the day it is true that you can benefit from backlinks on a domain name that changes hands, but as John Mueller from Google points out, the experience can be a bit like buying a used car.

Someone recently took to Twitter to ask John, a Webmaster Trends analyst at Google if there’s any way to make sure you don’t end up buying a domain that is penalized by Google, here’s the thread:

Buying domains with backlinks

In short – when you buy a domain because you want the SEO juice from its backlinks, you could also end up dealing with the fallout from what turns out to be an ugly mess of backlinks, some good, some bad…and this could mean a lot of time (or money if you’re not an SEO guru yourself) to get it fixed. has a list of some common reasons why a domain you bought could end up with some serious clean up work before you’ll truly be able to benefit from its backlink profile:

Some domains have a poor history. Google de-indexes or blacklists websites associated with activities in the past such as the following:

Publishing duplicate content

– Keyword stuffing

– The overuse of anchor text

– Manipulating rankings using deceptive SEO methods

– Your site used to be a porn site

– Your site has been hacked

– Your site received a flood of malicious backlinks(Source –

Now all that being said, I think there are still a ton of advantages to buying a domain with backlinks vs. starting with a brand new domain. If you can find a domain that someone else spent years building backlinks on you can instantly benefit from years of work and rank way better, way faster.

Just try to do your homework and make sure you aren’t buying a lemon first, but know, like John says, it really is impossible to know ahead of time how much work/time it will take to get things cleaned up.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton