I found an available domain name which I want to buy, and I realize that it was previously owned. I searched for it like site:domain.com in Google, and I only found one link, which is the homepage. Of course it's closed now, I looked at the cached copy of it, and it was an empty white page.

I also looked at Wayback Machine, which shows some copies from 2009 to August 2013, it says that it was used by a Spanish web design company.

I wonder if they have done something spammy and get dropped from Google's index. So,

  1. How do I find out if there is really a "blockage" on that domain?
  2. If there is, is there something I can do to get it indexed back?

You can try to analyze backlinks of this domain name to get some information of links campaign done.

However, if the homepage is already in Google index, it's a good indicator. It may mean Google didn't totally move the domain name in the sandbox. And just having the homepage indexed may be not a problem.

As the backlinks profile seems to be clean, if you use the domain name for a new site, just use it correctly by respecting Google guidelines and you'll see your pages indexed.

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  • You are right. And I have overlooked backlink checks. Doing that right now. Thanks for your help ! – jeff Sep 20 '13 at 9:56
  • It has 69 backlinks, like 65 of them are nofollow. Do nofollow links harm the site's rankings, if they are from bad-neighborhood sites ? – jeff Sep 20 '13 at 10:00
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    The answer of your question is yes. Moreover, the proportion of nofollow backlinks can be natural. Look at sites where backlinks come from. Are they about web design? or poker, sex and viagra? – Zistoloen Sep 20 '13 at 10:50
  • Might be your website is new and a new site takes to time to be completely indexed. until and unless you have Google bot blocked from access your whole website. – user2434 Sep 20 '13 at 11:28
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    +1 Even if the domain had been penalized in the past, it doesn't mean that it can never be used again - domains change hands all the time. I would suggest also making sure it wasn't used to send spam with by using a multi-RBL check like this one. – dan Sep 20 '13 at 12:25

Sign up for a Google Webmaster Tools account, then add your domain to the account. In a few days you'll get to see if the domain had malware or was hacked somehow recently.

Usually, if your site has been inactive for a long period, it's completely normal to be blank in SERPS, as it rarely gets crawled.

If you feel your site needs to be indexed again, submit a sitemap for your site in your Webmaster Tools Account, Google will instantly crawl it, and will index you back again in a few days.

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  • Thanks for your answer, Pascual! I want to be sure I'm not starting from negative, before I buy that domain. But are you saying that even if it was sandboxed or whatever, will it get back with not-spammy content? And moreover, I think the content was not spammy either, but I'm suspicious that they have done some bad-neighborhood backlink buying or something. – jeff Sep 20 '13 at 9:56
  • Matt Cutts explains in this video that a site might be affected by previous bad practices, but only on extreme cases. You can still make a reconsideration request so Google may treat your site as a new original site. – I.G. Pascual Sep 20 '13 at 11:01
  • Also, in your Webmaster Tools account, you can check all the backlinks pointing to your site: s18.postimg.org/u815i9l8p/Sin_t_tulo.png – I.G. Pascual Sep 20 '13 at 11:07

Check in sandbox to see if your domain is not spam by Google. Try to use some paid tool to check the status.

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  • All paid tools are not perfect and they won't give perfect result. – Sathiya Kumar Nov 17 '13 at 10:51
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    I'm not sure what "sandbox" is. Where can we find it? – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 17 '13 at 11:42

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