The Importance Of Checking Inbound Links

High PR Site, All Search Engine Traffic

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I came across this auction on Sitepoint today. The site receives a decent amount of traffic and revenue is $900/month, though no information about costs/work commitment are given. But here is the red flag:

all website traffic is the result of organic search engine results.

That’s good isn’t it? Organic search traffic means no nasty PPC expenses, right? The domain is being advertised as being PR5 too, so that’s a bonus. I’ve already checked the cache of the page for any sneaky redirect jiggery pokery to fake the PR and everything looks ok. So, why don’t we delve a little deeper and have a look at the inbound links to this site, as links mean PR and search engine traffic.

Our trusty tool, Yahoo Site Explorer shows us that there aren’t many inbound links. This means that the alleged PR5 is due to one or two particularly powerful links. Spider senses tingling. The site is only 3 months old, so the high PR smells fishy.

Incestuous Linking

The first link I find in Site Explorer is one from ibuilt.net and looky here, it’s on a PR6 page (according to my toolbar, anyway). There aren’t too many links on the page, so this link is mighty strong. If anything should happen to this link, the site being sold would suffer. I know, let’s see who owns both domains.

The whois doesn’t show anything telling for ibuilt.net (it’s the usual Domains by Proxy protection). However, the owner of ithinkorganic.com is iBuilt.net LLC. So the two domains are owned by the same person. They are using an existing high PR site to jump start their new site. The danger here is that the potential buyer doesn’t know this.

We already know that the search engine rankings for this site are a critical factor. The auction holder freely admits that this is the source of all traffic. That high PR link is really helping those rankings. If that link mysteriously disappears after the sale of the site, the new owner is goosed. What should the potential bidder do? Personally I would walk away. But if you have your heart set on the site, you could always ask the seller to sign a contract saying that the link will stay. But then you have all the problems of enforcing the contract if the seller lives a thousand miles away in a country that has different laws. It could be that when the new owner takes over the site, the previous owner removes the link, rankings, traffic and therefore revenue plummet and there is nothing the new owner can do about it.

Sellers are are largely a crooked, deceptive bunch…

So you can see the importance of doing your due diligence properly when thinking about buying a site. An exploration into a site’s inbound links is especially important if the selling points of the site are PR and rankings, as in this case. If this site gets sold, I have a feeling the new owner is in for a nasty surprise.

Auction Details

Sitepoint Listing
**Organics** Niche Organic Farming Supply website w/traffic and sales

iThinkOrganic.com is a PR5 site built using the iBui.lt Website Management system.

URL: http://www.ithinkorganic.com/

  • Established: Thu Feb 05 2009
  • Page views/month: 18,000
  • Monthly Revenue (USD): 900
  • Google Pagerank: 5
  • Uniques/Month: 3,683
  • Listed: Yesterday 22:01

Description:

This site is only a couple of months old and already has over 30 orders. The solid PR5 has allowed many of the pages to be indexed and I just added 20+ descriptions to the organic soil amendments products which will help improve results even further. Buy this organics related niche website and domain name while it is still available. iThinkOrganic.com is waiting to become a brand name that people recognize. a brand people associate with. Think t-shirts, hats, branded gardening tools, etc. Do you think organic?
Revenue Details:

the gross sales for April 2009 were over $900 earned from sales of organic soil amendments and fertilizers.
Traffic Details:

all website traffic is the result of organic search engine results. Contact me for most recent result as we expect teh latest content additions to increase the traffic even more.