If you want to build a new website, you need to have a domain in place. But you don’t have to buy a brand-new domain every time you want to start a new website. You can always buy expiring domains at a much cheaper price.
And, if you’re lucky enough to find a good expired domain, you can build your website with a head start. You can inherit domain authority for your new website from expired domains with traffic.
The challenge for you is to find the right expiring domains with a good link profile and spam history. If you want to know more about expiring domains, you might want to stick until the end. This article will help you understand everything you need to know about buying expiring domains.
What Are Expired Domains?
Before anything else, let’s first differentiate a domain from a website. Think of a domain as a telephone number you can use to contact a website. The domain name will lead you to the website — and these domains expire if not maintained.
Domains expire for multiple reasons. It can be that the site has gone out of business or the domain has billing dues that were not addressed.
And since these websites were (more or less) legitimate businesses before they went AWOL, they contain valuable links. These aged backlinks can be yours without spending too much money.
To obtain a domain name, you have to buy it from an auction (more on this later). And, like in an auction, you have to bid to get an expired domain. But there are more ways to gather a domain name aside from an auction. You can even reserve a slot for an expiring domain.
Buy Expired Domains for SEO
Like buying links, buying expired domains can also be employed as an alternative strategy — but not as the main strategy.
Regardless, when done right, buying expiring domains can still boost your site’s ranking. The key factor for expired domains to work as an SEO strategy is to maintain coherence between your site and the expiring domain.
For example, let’s say that your business is about furniture and your website is all about them. It’s not ideal to buy an expired domain with a gardening niche.
Imagine if you’re the user, and you’re searching for some gardening tools. You click on the expired domain, and you get a 301 redirect to a website about furniture. This would be bad for your user experience and your SEO.
Even Google’s John Mueller said that this technique is tricky and is being watched by Google. Here’s what he said in an interview at 40:05.
“So, finding those situations where essentially people are trying to abuse the system by picking up expired domains that are totally unrelated to what they’ve been working on and hoping to get them to rank well in search… uh… that’s something that’s sometimes a bit tricky.”John Mueller
However, Google’s algorithm is having some difficulty in pointing out the factors to identify spammy uses of expired domains. Most re-registered expired domains are used for legitimate business purposes. That’s why Google can’t just point out who is using expired domains for malicious intents.
Benefits of Buying Expiring Domains
1. Established Audience to Target
By buying an expired domain, you can capitalize on its existing audience pool. Old websites have an established audience that you can convert to your audience.
If you already have established traffic, it’s easier for your business to recover the capital you invested in buying the expired domain.
You can also use this to target the right traffic for your website. By analyzing your market demographics, you can target the right niche for your traffic. This will get your business prospective customers knocking at your door.
2. Established Link Profile
If the previous owner of the expired domain is seriously looking for organic traffic, chances are the expired domain has an established link profile. You can use these existing links to simplify your link building strategies.
By using the established link profile of the expired domain, you won’t need to start your link building efforts from scratch. This will save a lot of valuable time and effort for your link building.
3. Domain Age as a Ranking Factor
Most people don’t know it, but Google (and other search engines) consider the domain age as a ranking factor. The older the domain is, the more reputable it is. Thus, if you have an old expired domain, you have a bigger opportunity to rank high on Google.
Older domains are more trustworthy in the eyes of search engines. And unlike older domains, spammy domains don’t last that long. Usually, these spammers jump from one website to another to maintain their security.
Adding useful content to these old domains can greatly impact your site’s ranking. However, you should not discount other factors that can affect your ranking. Below is an example of an old expired domain from ExpiredDomains.net, a well-known web directory where you can buy expired domains.
Upon looking at the list, the domain farrix.com is one of the oldest on the list. But when you look at the backlink profile of the domain, most of the backlinks to the website came from Chinese websites.
If your niche has nothing to do with Chinese readers, then you won’t gain any benefits from buying this expiring domain. Doing this will only hurt your SEO if Google notices it. Make sure to consider other factors when choosing expiring domains.
4. Additional Backlink to Main Website
Expired domains can also link back to your main website if you have one. The more backlinks your main website has, the higher you can rank in SERPs. And owning a mini-website whose sole purpose is to link back to your main website can prove very useful.
To achieve this, you have to create valuable content on your newfound website. From this high-quality content, you can link back to your original website. Make sure that your readers will still find value when they are redirected to your main website.
Drawbacks When Buying Expiring Domains
1. Bidding Can Be Too Expensive
If you see an attractive domain with a lot of potentials, you can expect that you’re not the only one whose eyes are set on that. And in an auction, the prices can go way higher than the expected price of the expiring domain.
This can cost you a lot of money — even more money than getting a brand-new domain. People usually bid on the last few minutes to prevent the prices from getting too high. But this can be a waste of time because you have to check for it from time to time.
2. Vulnerability to Penalties
When you buy an expired domain, you’re opening yourself up to a lot of vulnerabilities. We all know that there are a lot of penalties associated with buying expired domains. You have to dig deep into the site’s profile and check if you’re vulnerable to some kind of penalty.
Here’s what you have to look out for:
- Keyword stuffing
- Overuse of keywords on anchor texts
- Duplicate content
- Black hat SEO practices
- Site history (if it used to be a porn site or any malicious site)
- Hacking history
- Malicious backlinks
If the backlink profile of the expired domain has any of these, don’t go for it. It would cost you more time and money to deal with the penalty.
3. Incompetent Domain
There are a lot of expired domains that are not competitive in their respective markets. The previous owner must have had a rough time dealing with the competition in the market. Thus, it’s important to gauge the competence of the expiring domain against its niche competitors.
It would be simpler to rank if you choose an expired domain that competes on low-competition keywords. You can make your rank higher on Google by concentrating on long-tail keywords with good monthly search volume.
Qualities of A Good Expired Domain
If you’re here thinking of buying an expired domain, you should check several factors first. These expired domains were made by people with limited SEO knowledge, making them different from each other.
You can evaluate an expired domain and separate those that can benefit and harm your SEO. Find expired domains with these qualities:
1. Backlink Profile
Checking the backlink profile of an expired domain will show you the kind of backlinks associated with the domain. You can check the quality of the backlink using Ahrefs Site Explorer Tool.
According to a survey conducted by LinkDoctor™, Domain Rating (DR) and Domain Authority (DA) are the preferred metrics to measure authority. By using Ahrefs, you can analyze your domain accurately. This can minimize the risk of having negative SEO on your newly acquired site.
2. Domain Authority (DA)
This metric from Moz is the second most preferred metric to measure the quality of the expired domain. This metric predicts the ranking potential of the whole domain.
Moz measures the DA of a domain through the quality of the content and the backlinks associated with the domain. The higher the DA, the more valuable the domain is.
3. Domain History
It’s important to know the milestones and pitfalls of expiring domains. A good domain history is clean from malicious use and spam links. You can use Wayback Machine to view the website’s activities over the years.
Using this tool, you can check if the domain was used for gambling, porn, or any other content with malicious intent. You can also check the domain for any sign of hacking before.
If you find that the expired domain was used for any of these, don’t buy that domain. This will result in multiple penalties that are difficult to resolve and damage your SEO.
4. Page Speed and Responsiveness
Page speed and responsiveness are two factors that can affect a website’s SEO. This can also affect the user experience of your site.
If the domain has a slow page speed and responsiveness, it will reflect on the website that you’re creating. Plugins, image size, image quality, and ads are some of the factors that can cause a website to become unresponsive and slow.
You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to check the page speed and responsiveness of your expired domain. This tool will help you decide which domains to keep. It also gives suggestions for optimizing the page for better performance.
5. Quality of Traffic
Lastly, you have to check for the quality of the traffic your expired domain is receiving. Don’t be fooled by numbers because some of these “traffic” are bots.
Here are some pointers to check whether your expired domain is receiving bot traffic:
- Bots will appear as direct traffic
- Bot traffic appears as New Visitors
- High bounce rate is an indicator of bot traffic
- Bots always view only 1 page per session
A good expired domain must have authentic traffic. Most of the traffic must be organic. You can check this using Google Analytics.
Where to Buy Expired Domains
Domains that expire are released to the public through an auction. These auctions are hosted by websites like GoDaddy or NameJet. These websites host a marketplace for people that wants to buy expired domains.
Buying expired domains is a lot easier than it’s been in the past years. These websites allow you to monitor every bid and price change that’s happening on your target domain.
Using expired domains for SEO benefits has its benefits and drawbacks. However, these drawbacks can be minimized by finding the right expired domain for your needs. Whether it’s for a new site, a 301 redirect domain, or a mini-blog, your expired domain should be competitive enough to keep up.