Google’s Matt Cutts: Don’t Be The Sucker That Buys The Spammy Domain

cutts-domain-spammedMatt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, posted a video answer to the question “Can I buy a domain that used to have spam on it and still rank?”

Matt explains that there can be two penalties here, one on the manual side and one on the algorithmic side. If this was a manual penalty, you can fix the spam and submit a reconsideration request. Manual spam also has a time out, where the penalty will auto-expire if the spam is cleaned up. If it was an algorithmic penalty, then you need to wait until the algorithm picks up on the changes.

Plus, if the spam was very aggressive, it would be much harder to recover from that penalty without going through all the spam and cleaning it all up.

Matt said it is not impossible, but he equates it to starting with a negative ranking, like digging yourself into a hole and then starting from below ground to just get back to ground level. But it is possible, but you would need to document the steps you took in detail when you submit a reconsideration request.

In this case, Matt said he would probably not buy the domain name. He would probably pass on this specific domain and probably start with a clean and fresh domain.

Matt explains there are many spammers out there that spam and burn the domain name into the ground, and then when it is caught, they try to sell it on a forum to get a little bit more out of the site. Matt said, “you don’t want to be the sucker who gets stuck with that bad domain name.”

Don’t be a sucker and research any domain name you may buy for spam issues.

Here is the video:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | SEO: Spamming


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • David Kwan

    How to detect if it is a spammy domain ? Any official checklist ?

  • Mathew Hammond

    Taking a look at the back-link profile is usually a good starting point. Look at the number of backlinks and referring domains, anchor text diversity, and the referring domains in general (are they directories, article sites or are they authoritative, relevant sites).

    Hope that helps.

  • newyorker_1

    what kind of people ask these questions? isn’t this something so obvious that a lady from Walmart could give the same “big no” answer…

  • Arun Jaiswal

    Few month BACK MC have Clearly mentioned, that it would be always a good AND Best Idea to GO for NEW domain if any website Affected with Panda and Penguin,

    In this video how could he support to buy a Domain which has Spammy Link..

    I think NOW MC = Matt cutt >= MAD cutt., We should not believe and follow his further assessment on google Search.

  • Arun Jaiswal

    appriciate :-)

  • The Douchetag

    You know, this would be less of an issue if ICANN’t would’ve done the right thing and gotten rid of canned TLDs entirely. Then we wouldn’t have this artificial “shortage” of domains. There’s no technical reason that a URL can’t end in any string.

    But as usual, ICANN has turned this into a massive rip-off, scam, and fiasco. At first it looked like we’d be rid of the obsolete and unenforced TLDs, but nope: ICANN is extorting massive amounts of money (on a continuous basis) from applicants who want to control free-form TLDs. No one should control them. You should be able to register anydomain.youwant at any registrar, period. Trademark disputes would be handled exactly as they are today.

    But nope. ICANN runs another scam, while doing nothing about squatters; that’s a problem that would actually require thought and ingenuity, instead of simply ripping people off.

    And where does Google get off on weighing in on “spammy domains”, after RENEGING ON THE ABILITY TO BLOCK SPAM DOMAINS FROM SEARCH RESULTS? Yep, this promised feature (which used to exist) has now been officially abolished by Google. So your results are full of bullshit spam from FixYa, StackOverflow content stealers, and other garbage.

    Don’t take advice or shit from hypocrites.

  • The Douchetag

    You should tour Walmarts giving seminars on the issue then, since you’re such an expert.

  • Divakar Mishra

    Thanks Barry for writing such a very helpful post.
    I have a question that how we can get to know that penalty is manual side or algorithmic side?

  • Naveen.S

    Hey Arun its the great line on MC = Matt Cutts or Mad Cutts and yes TBH i dont follow him too much.

  • Eman Payra

    How can 1 understand the domain is spam or not?

  • Criostoir

    if there is karma then google and the cutts of this world will get theirs, they act is if they own the internet when all they have is a search engine.

    web masters and the like should band together like in an union and boycott google.

  • Criostoir

    first what is a squatter, someone who registers a domain and pays the yearly fee then every domain owner is a squatter.
    second, google because it doesn’t know to run search decided to give weight to domains with backlinks pointing to them.

    now domains with backlinks are spammy.

    google created this and fools who think a legimate domain registrant is a squatter should not post comments regarding domain names.

  • Bradley Anderson

    ^ Feel dumb yet, Criostoir? A squatter is someone who buys up domains with the intent of sitting on them until he can unload them for a marked-up price on some unsuspecting sucker. They used to do it because they would then sell the name to big companies and stars for exorbitant amount, but then they started getting sued for that. You see, those companies and stars have money, which equates into power.

    Even President Obama has said he will sign into legislation a bill to stop this practice from happening because it is a problem that is out-of-control. Of course, whether or not that happens only time will tell.

    Perhaps someone who doesn’t even know what a squatter is should not post comments, either.

  • Mike Frensham

    Surely its about due diligence check the history before you buy! Look at the backlink profile, is the site still indexed and look at the waybackmachine archive to see what the site was being used for and was it legit!!
    Just a few steps I would take before buying a used domain!!

  • Jason Raffa

    Theres alot more to it being worth the $$ amount than this..What you stated is basic SEO checks that anyone whos picked up a SEO book knows.

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