Every day, thousands of domain names expire, creating great opportunities for those who buy them.
Domain names expire when webmasters fail to renew them, even after the 30-day extension period. Once the domain name slips out of the owner's control, it is declared as expired or dropped.
As a blogger or domain name investor, it is essential to understand the importance of expired domains in growing your business. Let's explore some of the benefits of buying expired domains and what to consider when purchasing them.
Why people buy expired domains?
Here are some common reasons why people buy expired domain names instead of brand-new ones:
- Authority: Expired domains with quality backlinks can make setting up a new site and getting traffic easy. Using an established expired domain can also help shorten the time-consuming Google Sandbox period and give you a head start on your new venture in SEO.
- 301 redirect: You can buy an expired domain and redirect it to your main site to utilize the domain's authority. However, it is crucial to ensure that the domain name is contextually relevant to avoid backlink negation or manual unnatural links penalty.
- PBN: People build sites on expired domains they buy and use them as their PBN sites. When they have control over entire sites, it is easy to get really powerful homepage links to their money pages.
- Flipping: Buying great expired domains and selling them at a premium price for other SEO bloggers is a great technique. The most important thing here is to get the expired domain as quickly as possible and resell it at a higher price.
- Domain investing: As an investor, it is quite easy to find brandable domain names as thousands of them expire every day. One way to find these domains is by monitoring the daily expiration lists, as thousands of domains expire every day. However, it is important to conduct thorough research before investing in a domain.
💰 Many real estate investors are now considering domain investment due to lower risks and an easy point of entry.
Things to consider before buying expired domains
Check for topical relevancy
When you're picking an expired domain, one of the most crucial things to think about is topical relevancy.
This thing can make or break your site!
If you can find an expired domain that has a history that aligns with your niche, it can give you a huge SEO advantage.
To figure out if an expired domain is topically relevant, you can look at its past content and the context of its backlinks.
For example, if you're planning to build a website about pet care, an expired domain that used to host a pet blog or pet product store would be more beneficial than a domain that hosted a technology blog.
This is because the backlinks and content history of the pet-related domain would be more relevant to your niche, which can help with SEO.
The Wayback Machine is a great tool for checking the past content of an expired domain and determining its topical relevancy. is a great tool for doing this because it lets you see what kind of content was hosted on the domain before.
But, keep in mind that sometimes when a domain changes ownership, it can lose some of its SEO value.
So some folks even go as far as rebuilding the site with the previous content to keep the domain's SEO value. But, you need to be aware of the legal implications of this strategy!
That's why it's always better to create original, high-quality content that's relevant to your niche.
Check if expired domain has spam
Before buying expired domains for SEO or branding benefits, it is crucial to check if the domain was previously used for spam and could potentially affect your website.
To determine the content that was on an expired domain, you can use the Wayback Machine, available at https://archive.org/web/.
Simply head over to the website to get started.
To search for an expired domain for purchase, start by using a search engine. It's likely that the Wayback Machine has recorded snapshots of the pages that were previously on the domain. By viewing the content, you can determine if it was spam or not.
Reviewing how the website looked in the past can help you decide whether to buy the domain name or not.
Some possible spam indicators are:
- Non-English language
- Hacked content
- Keyword stuffing
- Duplicate content
- Porn/unsafe content
If you're considering buying an expired domain name, especially if it's a premium domain name, you cannot afford to skip checking its historic snapshots for any possible red flags.
I advise you to carefully search for spam indicators in expired domains before making any purchase decisions.
Determine if there are spam links
Another way to determine whether an expired domain was used for spamming or not is by checking its historic backlink profile.
One tool that can help with this is Majestic SEO.
When you navigate to the site, you will be presented with two options: fresh index and historic index.
Enter the URL of your expired domain, select the historic index, and press enter. This will display all of the old backlinks that once pointed to the domain.
By analyzing the backlinks, you can determine which ones may be spammy and which ones are not.
How do you define spam?
- Backlinks that are from “zero” authority sites
- Backlinks that are completely irrelevant
- Backlinks from Chinese or Russian sites
- Backlinks with spammy anchor text profile
You can use Ahrefs to check for all existing backlinks. Ahrefs has the biggest database of backlinks across the web.
If a domain has a few spammy backlinks, disavowing them after acquisition may not be a big issue. However, if there are hundreds or thousands of spammy backlinks, it is not recommended to purchase that domain.
👉 It is crucial to thoroughly analyze the backlink profile and determine whether the SEO benefit justifies the price you will pay. If you intend to buy a domain for SEO benefits, ensure that the purchased domain has a Domain Authority (D.A) of at least 15+ and is topically relevant to your niche.
Are you considering purchasing an expired domain solely for its brandability factor?
For example, when I purchased my domain BloggingX, it was already expired, and I bought it specifically to build a brand around it. I did not consider SEO when purchasing it.
If you plan to establish a long-term site with real authority using the expired domain name, brandability is crucial.
On the other hand, if you're using PBNs and 301 redirects, brandability is not important. As long as the authority is present, you're good to go.
Check Google AdSense ban
Check Trust Flow and Citation Flow
Checking Majestic metrics is a good way to determine the quality of existing backlinks to a domain.
The trust flow should be at least 25% of the citation flow of the domain (1:4). If the trust flow is much lower, the chances of spam backlinks increase.
If you are struggling to choose among multiple expired domains, buy the one with a relatively high trust flow to citation flow ratio.
This indicates that the backlink profile of the domain is mainly comprised of high-quality links!
Check Facebook ban
As a domain buyer, it's important for me to check whether an expired domain has been banned from Facebook due to spamming from the previous owner.
In the case of my domain, BloggingX, it was banned from Facebook before I acquired it. The previous owner had engaged in spamming on Facebook using the domain name, possibly by using an auto-Facebook group poster.
After acquiring the domain name, I created a professional homepage and published several blog posts. However, when attempting to run Facebook ads for the site, the ads were disapproved due to the domain's prior ban. To resolve this issue, I reached out to Facebook's business chat and explained the situation. This resulted in the domain being unbanned within 30 minutes.
Verify if it has any manual penalty
If you have used Google Search Console, you may have noticed the section called “Manual Actions”.
When purchasing a domain from a seller, it is essential to make use of the evaluation period and double-check with the seller for any manual penalties. This is because there is no way to check for manual penalties before buying a domain name.
After acquiring an expired domain, verify it with Google Search Console and wait for 5 days. If there are any manual penalties, they should appear in Search Console.
If no manual penalties are displayed, then the domain is safe to use.
If the site is blacklisted as spam by Google and has a manual penalty, submit a reconsideration request to Google with the subject line "Newly Acquired Domain".
Check Google index
To determine whether an expired domain is penalized and deindexed by Google, check if its pages are indexed on Google. If some pages are indexed, it's likely that the domain name is not penalized.
Use the following search query on Google:
Replace example.com with the domain that you are trying to buy.
However, even if the domain name has authoritative backlinks, it may not be indexed on Google. This could indicate that the domain name expired a long time ago.
It's often better to purchase recently expired domain names rather than those that expired many years ago.
Before purchasing any domain, especially expired domains, it is crucial to check if you will be infringing on any trademarks.
In some cases, domain names are dropped solely due to trademark infringement.
To avoid this, you may use the US Trademark Search Engine and search for the name of the domain.
For instance, you cannot create a website that includes the terms "WordPress", "Google", or "Facebook".
Check the number of drops
You can use DomainTools Whois to check how many times a domain name has expired before becoming available again.
If a domain name has been dropped more than five times, exercise extra caution when considering purchasing it. It's important to thoroughly examine the domain's historic and SEO data, and to be careful not to infringe on any copyrights.
In my opinion, it's best to altogether avoid domain names that have been dropped more than five times in the last 10 years.
Where to buy expired domain names?
GoDaddy is one of the biggest names in the world of domain registrars. Their selection of expired domains is diverse and vast. The steps to buying from GoDaddy are pretty straightforward.
Start by heading over to GoDaddy's Auctions page. This page has a list of domains that are close to expiring or have already expired and are now up for grabs.
Sift through this list, keeping an eye out for domains that check your boxes. This could be anything from the TLD and keywords to the domain age.
Once you've set your sights on a domain, sign up for a GoDaddy Auctions account (if you don't already have one) and start bidding.
If your bid comes out on top, the domain is transferred to your GoDaddy account. This is a fairly easy process, but remember, there's no guarantee of a win, as competition can be tough.
While GoDaddy is a domain registrar that also hosts auctions, SpamZilla takes a different approach.
It is a tool designed with the singular purpose of helping you find expired domains across multiple domain marketplaces with excellent SEO prospects.
It offers comprehensive information like backlinks and domain authority, which simplifies your task of assessing the domain's worth.
First things first, you need to sign up for a SpamZilla account. They offer a paid service with varying subscription levels based on what you need.
Once you're in, use the search tool to sort domains using different parameters such as domain authority, page rank, backlinks, etc.
After zeroing in on a domain, you can delve deeper into its details using SpamZilla's tools.
This will help you weed out any potential issues, like spammy backlinks, which could pose a risk to your SEO efforts.
Finally, once you've picked a domain, SpamZilla doesn't handle the sale.
Instead, it points you to the marketplace where the domain is listed. This could be an auction site like GoDaddy or a domain registrar like Namecheap.
DomCop is a great expired domain marketplace for you to buy cheap expired domains.
Like that of Freshdrop, they don’t have any free trials. Their plans start from $64/mo and all the way upto $198/month.
The expired domain section is only accessible with the Power plan. With the Newbie plan, you can only obtain a list of expiring domains.
Using metrics such as Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs, and SEMrush, you can search for domain names. This makes it easier for you to filter expired domains and narrow your search down to the results that matter most to you.
ExpiredDomains is a free tool that lets you easily find expired domains and buy them. This tool has very powerful filters for you to narrow down your search.
To get access to all the filters they’ve got to offer, you need to consider creating a free account with them.
They’ve only got the Majestic SEO API integration. The integration with Ahrefs and SEMrush is not there.
Considering it to be a free tool, it has some commendable features.
Acquiring expired domains can be really helpful for bloggers. However, it's important to make sure you're not buying a domain with a spammy history (use Wayback Machine to check), and that the backlinks are legit.
It's also important to ensure that the domain hasn't been banned by Google AdSense or Facebook.
Depending on your goals, you may also want to consider if the domain name is good for your brand.
Lastly, make sure the domain isn't being penalized or removed from Google's search results.
These are some things you should do before investing in an expired domain name.