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Red Flags When Buying a Website

It’s no secret that buying and selling websites is a big business. It’s estimated that the market for web properties was worth $6 billion in 2014 and is only getting bigger. While this may be good news for site owners looking to cash in on their sites, it also means that there are plenty of would-be online entrepreneurs out there on the hunt for a bargain. So how do you make sure you’re not getting scammed when buying a website? Here are four red flags to look out for.

Is This a Profitable Niche?

Some niches have a lot of traffic but limited income potential. While some website builders are content with low display ad RPMs and restricted affiliate possibilities due to the significant number of visitors, that isn’t the perfect niche.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is not always the automatic Google hit that many believe it to be. However, if a website is a news site and contains the same information as other sources, it is still a problem unless it has been massively revised or copied from another source. 

Even if Google does not directly penalize duplicate content, it is less likely to rank well. When the material does not provide anything new or exciting, it isn’t providing value in Google’s view. Therefore, this content is significantly less likely to rank over time.

Sketchy Backlink Profile

Spammy Backlinks

Keep an eye out for spammy backlinks. Every backlink profile will contain unusual-looking junk links if there are many backlinks from scraped websites or social media sites. 2.0 websites with unclear registration information or sites with “illicit” or “typical” “bad neighborhood” issues that are unconnected.

Identify PBN backlinks

Most PBN-hosted websites are easy to identify. They don’t have a contact page, and there isn’t much information about them online, but they do contain many guest articles on a wide range of subjects unrelated to one other. The outbound links on the guest posts are frequently linked to interior pages via keyword anchoring.

Junk Links

Many foreign or sketchy, or doubtful backlinks are a significant warning sign. Scrapers and worldwide backlinks are a big red flag in this case. Of course, not all international links are good, but if your site has a lot of content in Chinese or from Russia, it’s usually an indication of spam or hacking.

Excessive Traffic from Non-organic Sources

Most of the traffic should come from organic traffic from search engines like Google. While Pinterest can work in specific niches, the traffic from search engines should make a significant portion of the income. This is simple to check in Google Analytics, and other tools may also calculate that data. Suppose a substantial proportion of the visitors to your site are from social media, direct, or paid traffic. In that case, those are big red flags that there may be some seriously unsavory business going on.


When buying a website, it’s essential to be aware of the red flags that could indicate a scam. By being vigilant and asking the right questions, you can protect yourself from losing your hard-earned money.

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