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Web Metrics You Simply Can’t Afford not to Measure Before Buying a Website

by    |    Feb 14, 2018    |       3 min read

Buying a website is not only a seminal decision but a capital investment in itself. As you are buying ready-made and functional product, a website comes together with its operational history, bells and whistles and, most importantly, the potential for making your profit in the long run. However, a successful purchase means you need to pay close attention to underlying key web metrics. Evaluation of those metrics should form the basis for your final decision on purchasing a website of your interest. Let us look at critical metrics you need to examine to avoid stepping into the unknown and losing money in the process.

Traffic – Website Lifeblood Metrics

Buying a finished product in form of a website can save you precious time and effort provided that the site has a well-rounded user or customer base, meaning that you do not have to build it from scratch. However, the quality of said base mostly depends on what is largely described as the “lifeblood” of any site, i.e. its traffic as indispensable metrics in the evaluation of its purchase desirability. This should be among your primary parameters to be examined in appraising the site for potential purchase and one of its essential elements is assessing traffic sources that are mostly related to organic and social searches as well as referrals.

First thing to establish is whether the traffic comes from varied or stable sources, as well as determining its sustainability. Traffic can hardly be measured only by looking at the numbers, as its quality needs to be assessed meticulously, particularly in terms of whether it includes real and quality users or not. Potential website buyers need to be aware of the possibility of driving inorganic traffic to the site of their interest, meaning that its authenticity needs to be reviewed. Additionally, this information should help you study the demographics of the target site audience, helping you to plan ahead with developing your future website acquisition.

In addition to sources, website traffic as a whole exhibits various trends as well. These metrics need to be checked against analyses performed at various intervals, such as weeks or months. Traffic trends can exhibit positive and negative spikes, as well as consistency, meaning that all of those data need to be examined while providing a rationale for all of them. Intervals of inexplicably low traffic should be of considerable interest when determining the quality of its visitors as well as assessing potential vulnerabilities to Google penalties, such as that related to Penguin and Panda updates. These were originally used to penalize websites for employing various inappropriate SEO techniques, so it is recommended to look for considerable non-seasonal traffic drops and correlate available data with dates and history of the site.

traffic chart - website metric

Source: Keyword Rankings

In addition to traffic, another important metric to consider when buying a website is related to keyword visibility. When adding keywords in relation to the created content, the site owners need to consider the domain name as well, as their inclusion can be the key to their success. This means that it is necessary to regularly examine the movement of keywords and compare the ones it targets with those of your competition.

Services such as SEMRush allow you to check for keywords which are ranked in Google as well as their profiles for a particular domain. It also provides insight into the downward or upward trends related to rankings. Sites ranking for inaccurate keywords can still drive significant traffic, but if this is achieved for targeted ones, this can mean that their visitors have the potential to be converted to sales. Logically, negative trends point to the need for employing a wait-and-see approach with regard to the site you want to purchase or abandoning the idea altogether.

Checking Domain Authority

Domain authority metrics are directly connected to the traffic, as its higher values mean better search rankings and, consequently, more traffic is driven to the site of interest. Yet, these offer a somewhat different insight in terms of accuracy, as they are more firmly based on technical metrics, such as the number, and quality of links featured on a website or its pages. These metrics also represent the assessment of the quality of ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Moz is the platform of choice for measuring these metrics, as they involve assessing various parameters which are subsequently calculated as a numerical value between 0 and 100. A similar score is Domain MozRank which is a popularity metric with a 1-10 score. Establishing that the site you want to purchase scores well for domain authority metrics points to it having undergone quality optimization, which is an important signal of its overall attractiveness.

Keeping an Eye on Backlink Profiles

Another important metrics to consider when evaluating prospective website purchase are backlinks and their profiles. Although Google has made an evaluation of backlinks tighter, a website will not achieve great ranking if it features out-of-place backlinks from various unrelated websites and random content and text. Instead, it should have natural backlinks from the sites that are preferably deemed as having an adequate level of authority, so as to avoid having to deal with artificial backlink profiles. Spammy backlinks, as well as paid ones, point to problems with the website, along with those linking to gambling, pornographic or offensive content. Backlinks are usually checked with the help of various tools. Usually, all you need to do is provide the tool with the website’s URL and it will return an analysis report including a list of URLs with inbound links. We can recommend Majestic as a good tool, however, you are free to explore other options, as well.

All of these factors help with establishing a complete linking profile for the website you want to buy, together with observing its gradual grow or unexpected spikes. If it is established that the site has lost its strong links, this can point to it experiencing lower rankings, thus affecting potential buyer’s confidence in evaluation of its business value proposition.

Conclusion

To sum up, buying a website is an endeavor fraught with risks, making a careful evaluation of its metrics an essential requirement before starting the procedure itself. In many ways, this is more complex compared to building a website from scratch, as an existing website has its own numerous metrics to be monitored if one is to build upon its successes or weak spots. However, the experience gathered in the procedures involving assessments of these parameters can be invaluable not only in strengthening the performance of the sites you own but in preparing for making your future web acquisition a stepping stone in propelling your overall online business efforts.

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