Disclaimer: The opinions and deductions here are based on my experience analyzing thousands of domains in order to find the best fits for what I needed. I am a domain seller, and none of the information shared here means you should buy from me. It is simply what works for me, and what I believe would benefit anyone buying domains for SEO purposes. It is not a fast process and not everything can be automated (which is why I sometimes need more time to find a domain that fits a criteria). If you have a question I might be able to answer, please post it below, and I?ll do my best to address it. The trust check Purchasing a domain is an SEO investment that can potentially make great returns. How that domain will perform depends on a handful of things, each of which you should pay attention to make sure you get your money?s worth. Before making sure the domain is powerful enough to suit your needs (and worthy of the asking price), first you must ensure that the domain in question isn?t penalized or otherwise untrustworthy. This consists of two parts ? checking the history of the website (archive.org comes to mind) and checking the links. We are very limited in terms of history as archive.org doesn?t always have a backed up copy, and sometimes people block the archive.org crawler to make sure their money site isn?t saved. However, more often than not, people overlook this aspect. Some of the most common issues when checking a site?s history: Hacked site (only a problem when the site was discontinued instead of repaired) Site previously used as part of a private blog network (often it?s niche related, but the exact anchor texts are easy to spot, almost always Wordpress is used on those) Site previously used as a moneysite for completely unrelated niche (Most of the time I see this for pharma/finance stuff ? ex. Housing domain with housing links and content related to payday loans) Previous site in a language you don?t want to pursue for the new site Each of these scenarios is a red flag. The only way to take the benefit of the links the domain has is if the search engines think that it?s still the old website, and maybe the owner decided to give it another run. The links link to the content that was on the site when the links were made, everything sense will raise a red flag (now or in the future). Links and metrics This is where most of the confusion comes for most people. The currently available metrics for evaluating a domain are: Page Rank (Google?s metric for link popularity) Majestic TrustFlow (metric based only on links that can be connected in a few steps to a seed list of handpicked high quality sites) Majestic Citation Flow(metric based on all links) Ahrefs rank (Ahrefs version of PR) Moz Domain Authority (Moz?s best prediction about how a website will perform in the search engine?s result pages) (there are more metrics available but these are the most used ones, so these are the ones I?ll be covering here, if anyone is interested in other metrics, let me know in a post below and I?ll do my best to address it) There are two MAJOR? M ? A ?J ? O ?R, that?s it, major problems when using these metrics to evaluate how your domain will perform in the search engines: They don?t have Google/Yahoo/WhateverEngineYouAreTryingToGame ?s index? what I mean by this is, they don?t have the same backlinks indexed as the search engines (compare any two of those services and see if they have ALL the links for a domain indexed, most of the time they have about 50% the same links ), so if they don?t have all the links indexed, how can their metrics be accurate? I can?t tell you how many times I?ve noticed important authority links not picked up by one service or another where they were indexed by Google They aren?t as good in identifying spam ? they often value links that are of no actual value, hence ?inflating? or ?gaming? the metrics as some would say. So, while it can be useful to use these metrics as a pointer, you should NEVER rely 100% on them (this doesn?t apply to PR). Q: So, how do I actually see if the links a domain has are any good? A: Easy ? Look for related links that have good PR (or come from a domain with a great PR). PR is the most important metric, as that?s what Google uses (hint: remember the days when you?d get a penalty for spamming and your domain?s PR would drop over night to N/A?), OR links from domains that are currently receiving organic traffic from Google ? the better they rank, the more Google trusts/values them, the more powerful their outgoing links are. Q: So, if it?s so important, why did Google say they?ll stop updating it? A: This is my opinion, and I might be wrong, but I think that Google deciding to make Page Rank private again is the best move the anti-spam team has made. It is how Google evaluates how ?popular?/?powerful? a page/domain should be, and without it being updated, it will make things a bit harder for SEOs, and force them to use the alternative metrics, which aren?t as accurate [as we discussed above]. Q: Is this the definitive and all inclusive informational package for evaluating a domain to purchasing? A: No, it is not but it can be a good guide for a lot of people that are making mistakes in purchasing domains and possibly help them make good choices that will aid them in ranking their sites long term.