Aaron Wall wrote a very good article about domains and the trust factor that goes into them. It’s amazing how people around me buy domains just because they “think” it will rank well. Instead what they should be doing is checking the domain for positive and negative history.
Here is what I mean.
Before you buy a domain be sure to see its history in Archive.org You’ll be amazed at what you can find there. What if the domain you’re looking to purchase was a spam site before? You can see it at Archive.org
How about checking who is linking to the domain at the moment? What you can also do is try to search for the domain’s name. EX. MyDomain. It’s always great if it’s in top 5 for it’s own name.
If the domain is crawled regularly this is a plus. If the last time it was crawled by Google was 4 months ago … you’ll have a lot to work on.
Oh and here is a common yet often ignored task. Check if the name of your domain has been trademarked!!! Sounds simple but many small businesses do not do this when they shop for a Domain name.