What Is Domain Registration and Domain History?

Domain registration and domain history are crucial pieces of the SEO puzzle for your brand. Learn more about the two below.

What Is Domain Registration?

Domain registration is the process of registering a domain name, which can be used to identify a website or email address. Registration usually requires a fee, and you can typically renew your registration annually.

How Domain Registration Works

When registering a domain name, you must provide your personal contact information, such as your name, address, phone number, and email address, which will be made public in the WHOIS database. You can use a privacy service to keep your information private, but this will usually cost extra.

What Is Domain History?

Domain history is the record of a domain name’s ownership and usage over time. This information can be useful for research, security, or to satisfy your curiosity. 

If you’re interested in purchasing a domain name that is already in use, checking its history can give you some insight into why it might be for sale and whether it has been used for shady purposes in the past. Taking the time to do a little research can help you avoid problems down the road.

How Can Domain History Affect Your Website’s SEO?

A domain’s history can affect its SEO in a few different ways.

If a domain has been used for spam or other shady activities in the past, it may be penalized by Google and other search engines. Your website may have a harder time ranking well in search results despite all your optimization efforts. If a domain has changed hands multiple times, building trust and authority with search engines can be more difficult and also lead to a lower ranking in SERPs. 

On the flip side, if a domain has been owned by a reputable company or individual for many years, that can be seen as a positive signal by search engines and give it a boost in the SEO department. In short, it’s essential to do your research before purchasing a domain name to ensure you’re not inheriting any negative connotations that will hurt your ranking.

How to Check Domain History When Registering a Domain

Checking a domain ownership history is necessary as it provides crucial information for serious domain buyers. Looking up a domain’s history can tell you about the domain’s reputation with search engines and if the previous domain owners kept the domain clean. 

There are a few different ways to check a domain’s history before you purchase the domain:


WHOIS is a free public database storing information of registered domain name registrants –  it lists contact and technical information of domain registrants and all historical records of a domain name, which is useful for checking website ownership history. 

Every significant change to a domain name gets tracked in the WHOIS history, and you can use it to see who has owned a domain in the past and when with the right tools.

How to Lookup a Domain’s History in WHOIS?

There are two main types of WHOIS lookups: basic lookups for nuts and bolts information and history lookups, which provide more detailed information. 

A basic WHOIS lookup will only show you the domain’s current status, where it’s registered, what server it’s pointed at, and other relevant information tied to where it stands currently. A WHOIS history lookup, on the other hand, will provide you with all of that information but will also show you all past registrars, servers, and owners.

2. Tools & Services

Another way to check domain history is to use a service like DomainTools.com or Who.is, which offers a detailed history report for a small fee. This report will show you not only who owned the domain in the past but also when it was registered, when it expires, and other vital details.

What to Do If You Bought a Domain with Bad History?

What can you do if you learn that the domain you bought has a bad history? It depends on the severity and duration of the poor history behind it.

A brief period of negative history will eventually go away on its own. In that case, you can simply go on with your business as usual, and wait for the history to disappear, according to Google. 

However, if the domain you’ve acquired has a significant stretch of negative activity that has lasted for years, it can cause severe issues and damage your SEO strategy. In that case, it might be best to start over by registering with a new, original domain.

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