As a website flipper and from helping investors acquire and operate content sites, I’ve personally looked at hundreds of web deals. I have developed an ability to quickly analyze a content site for search traffic and conversion upside. And unless you simply want to cashflow a website, there needs to be upside to be able to compound returns and be able to flip.
In terms of risks, I analyze backlink profiles and look for keyword dependencies. I’ve been burned in a deal in the past where a seller had used and removed PBN (private blog network) links which tanked the site after purchase. From this experience I’ve learned how to better evaluate a link profile to best reduce the risk. I also check to see if the majority of the site’s traffic is dependent on ranking on page 1 for a small number of big keywords or just a handful of pages which is a risk.
Below is the due diligence website checklist I use to assess whether to get involved in deals.
❏ Has the domain been dropped in the past and used as a PBN?
❏ Does the backlink profile look natural?
❏ Is the backlink profile trending up in Ahrefs?
❏ Can any PBNs be found (if non declared)?
❏ Are there any 301s or canonicals pointing to the site?
❏ Is the organic search trending up in Ahrefs?
❏ Is the majority of traffic from organic search? If not how is it being driven?
❏ Are there any keyword or page dependencies?
❏ Is the content quality strong?
❏ Is the content unique and evergreen?
❏ Is the site violating any affiliate program TOS?
❏ Is there obvious SEO upside (i.e. site structure)?
❏ Is there obvious CRO & monetization upside?
❏ What is the seller’s reason for selling?