5 Ways to Use AI to Vet a Content Site Before Purchasing It

Savvy business owners need to appreciate the benefits of using AI technology to make the most out of their business models. Entrepreneurs considering purchasing existing businesses have discovered that AI technology can be highly useful.

You can use AI technology when you are considering purchasing a new website. You will be able to tell whether the site is likely to be profitable and provide enough of a sustainable revenue stream to make up for the investment.

AI Technology is Making It Easier to Identify Opportunities When Purchasing Websites

Making the right decision when purchasing a content site can be challenging. Part of the issue is that the standard due diligence one would apply to SaaS or eCommerce businesses may not always be enough to evaluate a content site’s value fully. Instead, you need to learn to recognize the common traits of a quality site. And more importantly, you must learn to look below the surface to ensure that all is as it appears. 

Fortunately, new AI tools make it easier for companies planning on purchasing a website to better evaluate them. This is just one of many ways AI is changing business. Here are some guidelines on using AI technology to better vet a website you would like to purchase.

Tip #1: Use AI Technology to Gauge the Quality of Your Content

The first thing you should look at when evaluating a content site is the content itself. Whether it’s a blog post, an infographic, or a video, all high-quality content shares a few common traits. These include: 

  • Specificity. Good content is written with a specific audience in mind, and targeted to a particular niche. 
  • Eloquent. It is well-written, without spelling or grammatical errors. It uses natural language and avoids awkward phrasing. 
  • Consistent. It follows a regular schedule. You need to ensure you can follow this same schedule after you’ve purchased the business. 
  • Engaging. It directly addresses the audience, and is designed to inspire their active participation with the brand. 
  • Strategic. Created as part of a forward-looking content marketing strategy and based on keyword, topic, and audience research.

Unfortunately, these kinds of judgment calls are very subjective. It can be difficult to figure out whether the content on a site will appeal to your audience long-term or avoid a penalty from Google, unless you really know what you are looking for.

This is where AI technology can be very helpful. A lot of tools like Moz use AI to come up with a spam score, which considers the value of the content when determining whether the site will likely be penalized in the future. There are also AI tools that can help assess content quality.

Use AI to Watch Out for Duplicates & Plagiarism

Unfortunately, there are multiple low-quality copycats for every high-quality content site on the web. The owners of these businesses want all the success of their more talented peers without having to put in any of the work. And while you aren’t likely to come across these plagiarists if you work with an established advisor, you should nevertheless practice vigilance. 

Fortunately, AI also helps assess sites for plagiarism. The easiest way to test whether or not a content site is original is via a tool such as Copyscape (for blog posts) or Turnitin (for video). You can even use machine learning to create your own plagiarism detection tool. Plug a few pieces of content into either of those tools and look at the results that pop up. Evaluate the following: 

  • Publication date
  • Awkward or unusual language
  • Spammy or underhanded practices
  • Layout/design

Tip #2: Use AI to Estimate Traffic

A website with consistently high traffic may look like a sound investment at first. But traffic is a metric that should never be evaluated in a vacuum. It’s not enough to look at how many visitors a content site gets. You must also consider the quality of each visitor. 

Ask the following questions: 

  • Does the traffic primarily originate from organic sources? 
  • Is the traffic qualified? How many of these visitors convert? 
  • If the site leverages ads, are the traffic and the revenue proportionate to one another?
  • What keywords generate the most traffic? Do these keywords align with the site’s brand? 

But Make Sure The Numbers Aren’t Fudged

While evaluating traffic quality, there are also several red flags you should look for: 

  • The site doesn’t rank organically for any of its primary keywords. 
  • The majority of traffic originates from sources other than social media, PPC ads, or searches. 
  • The traffic appears to be either trending downward or extremely unstable.
  • The seller refuses to show you live traffic numbers, instead preferring screenshots.  

Since sellers have an incentive to misrepresent their traffic numbers, you need to use third-party tools to estimate traffic numbers. The good news is that AI has made this much easier. Although Alexa is being discontinued this year, there are other AI-driven traffic estimator tools like Quantcast that you can use. You can also use AI-driven search engine analysis tools like SemRush and Ahrefs to see how well a site is ranking on Google, which will help you estimate the search engine traffic it is generating. You will just need to know what metrics to look at.

Tip #3: Excellent Design

One aspect shared between content sites, and other online businesses is the importance of the user experience. A good content site is streamlined and straightforward. It should be easy to use and understand without any extraneous visual elements. 

Use your best judgment — if you feel that a site is difficult to navigate, then it probably is.

But Make Sure It Performs Well, Too

As reported by CNBC, by 2025, 72.5% of people will access the web exclusively via their smartphones. Therefore, it’s imperative that you test the content site not just on desktop but with multiple different mobile devices. No matter how well-designed a site looks, if its performance on the small screen is poor, it’s not well-designed.

Tip #4: A Clearly-Established Monetization Plan

You’ve presumably already seen the numbers for your prospective purchase. So on paper, at least, the business appears profitable. But where do these profits originate? 

The seller should be willing to provide you with at least an overview of their content monetization strategy. For example, is their site generating revenue based on a clearly-established plan, or does most of their profits appear to be the result of luck? 

But Make Sure That Plan is Sustainable Post-Purchase

The more important question to ask is whether or not you can sustain the seller’s original monetization strategy after you’ve purchased the business. Is it reliant on expertise that only the seller possesses? Are there any partnerships that may not carry over with the acquisition?

You can use AI to also figure out how sustainable a revenue stream from a website will be. You can look at the types of traffic, the niche and probability of future Google penalties to predict future revenue. This is one of the best benefits of preditive analytics in this field.

Tip #5: A Strong Social Media Presence

Social media and content marketing go hand-in-hand. A high-quality content site will generally also maintain a strong presence on Facebook/Twitter, with an active and engaged community. Therefore, the site should also have a social media strategy alongside a content marketing and content monetization strategy.  

But Be Wary of Ill Will

Again, no metric should be evaluated in a vacuum. Even if a content site appears to maintain an active community at first glance, as part of your due diligence you must drill down into the nature of that community. How do people engage with the content site’s brand? 

Pay close attention to the general sentiment around the site and its content. If it’s highly damaging, that could signify that there’s an issue with ill will of which you are unaware. And that issue may well be why the seller is offloading the site.

Use AI to Look for Green Lights and Red Flags

Artificial intelligence technology is proving to be incredibly useful in many industries. Online entrepreneurs are among those that are benefiting from breakthroughs in AI. A content site can be an excellent investment. But it can also functionally serve as a money pit. The difference depends as much on you as it does on your ability to distinguish between a site with quality content and one that’s ultimately a lemon.

It all boils down to knowing what to look for — and now you do.

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