With the sheer number of listings on most internet search engines, trying to make a new website with a high page rank from the ground-up can be a time-intensive task. At the end of it, you need to get your page rank high enough before you can even evaluate whether your website concept is viable in the first place. There has been a recent flurry of activity in which people seeking a high page rank (PR) simply purchase a website—carefully designed by the people selling them—off of an auction service like Ebay. These pages often have a PR of 4 or higher, but is this practice one that is healthy for the internet?

Buying a website with a high PR rank might not be an intrinsically bad thing, but it certainly comes with risks. Many high PR sites are not actually indexed by Google, rendering the purchase nearly worthless. Indexing is the name of the game when it comes to PR. The indexing “crawlers” at good check backlinks, keywords, and the like to determine your site’s PR. Thus, making proper use of Google Analytics and Webmaster tools can help you be an educated buyer when it comes to registering your domain name.

There are a number of basic facts to consider if you decide to purchase a domain name. First, know that a website’s page rank is dynamic: It changes over time just as your site might. Even a well-meaning seller cannot guarantee that the page rank will be maintained over any period of time—this mostly relies on the careful stewardship of an effective webmaster. Google’s ranking system is opaque, even to those who understanding the mathematics well enough to read the patented formulas that undergird it. However, Google assures that natural, fresh, and original content tends to increase page rank, assuming that a website is frequently updated and well indexed.

Second, ensure that the person you buy from is an authentic seller. You can imagine that, due to the non-material nature of the product and its extremely high demand, there exists a cottage industry of scam artists ready to sell you a complete dud, or even worse. Test the website for yourself to see if what the seller claims about it is true. Though it may seem obvious, make sure you know who the seller is by name. This is a critical part of any business transaction, and especially one involving the amount of money involved in buying a domain name.

Thus, it is critical that you plan carefully before you buy a domain. Keep in mind that, if the page is too expensive for your needs, you might be able to hire a web designer that could deliver similar results—and additional services—at a fraction of the price. Buying a high PR domain is not the end-all of your worries, since good maintenance and a sound plan of attack for the long term are critical for maintaining the page rank.