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Cases 24 min read

Online Business Brokering with Serpstat: How to Find a Website for Sale

Екатерина Гордиенко
Customer Support & Education Specialist at Serpstat
A ready-made website is a specific product, and its payback for the new owner will depend on many factors. It is possible to achieve success in the business brokerage market subject to a balanced approach to decision-making and a comprehensive audit of the site.

Read the article to learn how to find and analyze a site for sale using Serpstat tools.

Features of the business brokerage niche of online projects

Business broker - legal or individual entity, an intermediary between the seller and the buyer of a ready-made business, as well as an agent for business mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

The scope of such brokers includes the search for businesses at the request of the buyer, analysis of market demand, preliminary assessment, transaction support, and consultation. Business selling agencies are paid for their services as the deal is completed, and the fee usually consists of an agreed percentage.

In the niche of business brokerage, there are large exchanges and small directories that allow you to choose a business for every taste.

Benefits of buying a ready-made business

Under the influence of many economic and psychological factors, economic incentives for doing business can be lost. When the previous owner decides to exit the market, the site is put up for sale, attracting the attention of brokers and those who want to try their hand at a niche.

An online store, a business card site, a news portal, a social network page, or a blog can become a unique business project for a new owner. Among the advantages of buying a ready-made site, one can name the fact that a high-quality web resource will allow you to start earning immediately, you don’t have to spend time launching and promoting it.

Many Internet business buyers are looking for a source of passive income by choosing fully automated projects that do not require careful attention. Such a site can be monetized through direct, teaser, or banner advertising, work with partner CPA networks, and placement of links.

Another possible reason to buy a site is to take over a competitor to strengthen your business. This strategy is used by both large and small, niche companies.

The price of a finished site, most often, will be lower than that developed from scratch. But you should understand that a good, trusted site with a large number of visitors will cost more.

Before buying a site, you need to determine whether the site fell under the ban of search engines, whether copyrights were observed when publishing images, and also to exclude the presence of temporary links used for quick promotion. In addition, you need to take into account that the price will be formed taking into account the subject matter, the uniqueness of the content, and the technical characteristics that affect the ranking.

Brokers and exchanges value their reputation, so they select such businesses especially carefully. The administration of well-known exchanges checks individual resources with its own security systems, and seller ratings and reviews will help make the final purchase decision.

How to find a business for sale?

Serpstat will help you choose promising projects or niches for purchase, which are worth presenting on your exchange or in the brokerage catalog. With the help of SERP Crawling for a specific pool of search queries, you can not only get a general idea of ​​​​the direction of the business but also find domains that are poorly represented in the search results for the further buyout of the business. If a broker specializes in a certain direction (IT business brokerage, agricultural sector, hotel, and restaurant business), queries can be crawled by topic.

An example of working with SERP Crawling to complete the task:
1
Make a request for crawling by key in the region. You can choose the appropriate region in the documentation.
2
Get the result and analyze the domains that require optimization:
3
During a subsequent check in the GoDaddy service, it turned out that the domain registration expires on 2022-07-18
4
Next, you can fix the expiration date of the domain and set yourself a reminder to check the status of the site at that moment. Another option is to view similar domains for sale.
Register for a free demo of the service and our experts will explain how SERP Crawling can automate routine tasks!
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The API will also help analyze drops (abandoned domains that were not paid on time) for purchase. You can find potential drops using Serpstat Batch Analysis:
1
Collect information on domains from the list of marker queries (you can use toponyms to search by region), using the Competitors method in the selected region:
2
Sort the results to find domains with negative keyword dynamics, low visibility, and traffic.
3
Paste the list of domains into Netpeak Checker, and set parameters for Whois (availability, expiration time).
4
Analyzing the data and paying attention to the dates:
After selecting several projects, it is important to prioritize the sites on which you need to spend energy in the first place for the purpose of selling or partnering. When analyzing risks, it may turn out that the niche is overloaded and the site is most likely abandoned due to low or no client flow.

You can find the drops of a specific site in Backlink Analysis — use the Referring Domains tab (domains that completely redirect to the analyzed one). Upon further analysis, you can see that the links in the report lead to the analyzed site, although in the results they can be ranked by different keys and displayed at a different address.
To find a suitable project, it is important that the drop has good positions in high frequency keys. A broker can buy promising sites to quickly restore traffic, and then either sell the site to a buyer in a niche, or agree on a partnership (in order to transfer targeted traffic).

What are the criteria for assessing a resource's suitability for purchase and sale?

Niche and competition analysis

When choosing a site for implementation, it is necessary to take into account the important components of payback:

  • the number of visitors and views,
  • source and nature of traffic,
  • amount of monthly income,
  • content type and quality,
  • maintenance costs.

In order to correctly evaluate a project and calculate its payback, the first thing a broker does is dive into the niche as deeply as possible. For a comprehensive study of the niche of the project, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the competitors.

The main information for niche analysis can be found in the Competitors report. By sorting the sites in the report by relevance, common keywords, as well as viewing their visibility, one can conclude about the success of the analyzed domain in the niche and assess its potential most accurately.
The competitors' report in Serpstat is available both for the domain and for the keyword that fully characterizes the niche.

Сompetitors' Analysis by domain will help determine traffic, the number of keys by which competitors rank in the Top 100, and a column with missing semantics will be needed in the optimization process.
It is necessary to analyze additional parameters in order to assess the level of competition in a niche:

  • Assessing Competition in Organic Search
If you are analyzing competitors for a large marketplace or aggregator, then searching for them in one query is not entirely correct. Such sites are promoted by a huge number of queries and topics, so the analysis in Google Spread Sheets for several queries at once will be more accurate. It's important to look at who you're competing against in terms of search visibility.
1
We specify the query pool and view the top results from the search.
2
We study the result, look at what special elements competitors use in snippets.
  • Evaluation of competition in a niche in paid search.
Competition in PPC can be seen by marker keyword phrases of the domain, which reveal the subject and specialization of the site.
Additionally, we recommend that you check examples of ads and landing pages of competitors.

The PPC Competition metric in keyword reports reflects how difficult it will be to rank for a given keyword in contextual search results. The more domains use a phrase in paid search results by region, the higher the level of competition.

Project traffic estimation

The organic traffic that a site receives per month from a search engine will also help you gauge potential. This is an indicative indicator that correlates with real traffic and is calculated based on the click through rate of the site (CTR - Click Through Rate).
The graph of traffic dynamics, together with the Visibility dynamics, shows data for the entire existence of the site in the Serpstat database. This functionality will allow you to check the site for "gaps" and sharp drops in indicators, which may indicate search engine sanctions or signal technical problems (site unavailability due to server problems, unpaid hosting, problems with the site builder).

Visibility and traffic trend

To view the history of changes in indicators for a domain for a year in JSON format, you can use the Serpstat public API, Domain History method.
Dynamics of keywords and other indicators of the domain in the top
Need help choosing an API method or additional advice?

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It is also worth analyzing the sources of traffic — the more there are, the more expensive the Internet business will cost. It is most convenient to view traffic distribution using Similarweb.
Analysis of traffic sources on the page with the Similarweb plugin

Preliminary technical audit

Checking the internal optimization of the resource will help assess the scope of the upcoming work with the site, as well as help analyze possible shortcomings that affect behavioral factors.

In order not to miss anything, you can use a specialized technical audit check-list.

With a full SEO audit, you can identify errors that are grouped by priority (from high-priority server issues to recommendations related to site loading speed). The full list of internal optimization items that Serpstat checks:
Response codes (broken links and server 500-599)
Meta tags (duplicate title, description, h1, their absence)
Headings (more than one h1 heading)
Multimedia (broken images, alt attribute)
Indexing (noindex tag, invalid canonical)
Redirects (multi-step redirects, redirects to relevant pages)
Links (more than 5 GET parameters in the URL, no Favicon, rel="nofollow" is not used for external links, but is present on internal ones)
Server settings (redirects to www version)
HTTPS certificate (HSTS, old version of the certificate, items are not secured with HTTPS)
hreflang attributes (multilingual not configured)
AMP Checks (Mobile Accelerated Pages not configured)
Markup checks (schema.org, Open Graph, Twitter Card for creating informative and presentable social media previews)
Load speed for mobile (based on Google PageSpeed)
Proper audit setup will help you set the necessary pages, sections, and categories of the site on which you would like to concentrate. Other templates for analysis, such as website redesign, can be found inside the Task List tool.

A critical technical error or an obvious flaw can affect traffic, visibility, and rankings. Many visitors form their opinion of a website based on page load speed, so the above points of technical optimization should be checked very carefully.

Backlink Volume Check

Before buying a site, it is worth checking whether the owner used unscrupulous methods to build a link profile and assess the quality of the backlink volume. For example, the site may have links of questionable content, backlink volume built using spammy sites with low trust, or links leading to irrelevant pages.

You can check the site's backlinks for the presence of malicious donors, as well as the authority of the analyzed resource from the standpoint of external optimization, in the Backlink Analysis module.

First of all, we pay attention to Serpstat Domain Rank - an indicator of domain authority from 0 to 100. It takes into account all sites associated with the analyzed domain.
The second factor to pay attention to is the presence of malicious links that Serpstat collects based on the Google Transparency Report, as well as in cooperation with the Federal Office for Information Security.

Illustrative blocks for such an analysis are also the Map of domain zones by the origin of links to the site and graphs of the dynamics of increasing the backlink volume.
Distribution of referring domains by top-level domain zones
The presence of penalties from the search engine can be checked by the site owner through the Google Search Console in the Security and Manual actions/Manual actions tab:
It is also important to check the domain for buying/selling for the presence of PBN. Such websites might have different URLs, but in fact are the same, sell and provide the same goods and services, and are promoted by the same requests. Their goal is to promote the same business to the top in order to monopolize search results and reach a larger target audience.

Matt Cutts, who was the head of Google's search spam team, spoke about the search engine's attitude towards such optimization in this video.

The main features of such websites are shared hosting, IP address, physical address, company name, subject, and content. Special search operators will help to check the content for uniqueness:
  • inurl: to search for results with a specific word or phrase in the URL
  • intitle: to search for results with the occurrence of a word or phrase in the title
  • intext: to look up the occurrence of a phrase or word in the text on a page
  • related: to search for websites with similar content
An example from SERP using the special inurl: operator
A large corporate network is usually divided into subnets. This is convenient from the point of view of administration — for each department, the system administrator allocates his own local network, you can use different network architectures, but at the same time, they will communicate with each other. Subnets are often used to create affiliates.

You can check referring IP subnets in Serpstat's Backlink Analysis Dashboard. The service displays the number of unique IP subnets (by class C mask) referring to the analyzed domain.
A detailed Backlink Analysis Check-list will help you not to miss anything.

Black hat SEO techniques give a short-term positive effect, but in the long run, they discredit the business, both for search engines and for users.
Want to do a full backlink analysis?

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Website Age

Another factor that affects the price of the site is the time the business existed.

To find out the age of a domain, you will need to analyze the WHOIS protocol, which can be carried out immediately on the site by the Serpstat SEO Checker plugin.
When buying a ready-made site, it is worth clarifying additionally:

  • how much does site maintenance cost (hosting, CMS, SEO, advertising);
  • how unique is the content?
  • what additional methods of monetization the owner used or planned to use.
Please note that if there is no data for a particular site in Serpstat at all or there is too little of it, this may indicate several factors:
1
The domain you are looking for is not ranked in the Top 100 of Google search results;
2
The keywords that the domain is being promoted for are not in the Serpstat database. The reason for their absence may be the low frequency or narrow focus of topics;
3
The site was created recently and Serpstat did not have time to collect the necessary data.
Regardless of your goals, to improve an existing business, resell or generate additional income, buying a site requires a comprehensive audit, detailed analysis, and verification of all factors that will further affect the payback.

A large number of SEO tools will help you cope with all stages of such an analysis better and faster. Buying a website is a long-term investment, and selling it can become a profitable and attractive business if you correctly assess the product and its development potential.

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