Thousands of domain names get expired everyday. So there are great opportunities for you to get benefited by buying expired domain names.
The domain names get expired when the webmaster fails to renew the domain name, even after the 30-day extension period.
Once the domain name slips out of the owner’s control, it’ll be declared as expired/dropped.
As an SEO blogger or a domain name investor, it’s very essential for you to realize the importance of expired domains in growing your business.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of buying expired domains and as well as things to look while buying expired domain names.
People buy expired domains for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons why people buy expired domain names instead of a brand new domain name.
Authority: People buy expired domain names if the domain is being seen by Google as an authority site. If there are lots of quality backlinks already pointing to the domain, then it’s very easy for you to set up a new site and start getting traffic from day #1.
The most time-consuming thing in SEO is the Google Sandbox period. In this period, it’ll not be easy to rank your site.
On the other hand, building your site on an established expired domain helps you to cut-short this sandbox duration and get a headstart for your new venture.
301 redirect: When people are not interested in building their site around an expired domain, they can still make use of the authority of an expired domain. They do this by buying an expired domain, rebuilding it, and then 301 redirecting the expired domain to their main site.
With this, all the quality backlinks that were pointing to the expired domain now start pointing to their main money site. Now the rank/link juice the expired domain has can easily be directed to the money page.
Before buying an expired domain for 301 redirections, it’s very essential to make sure that the domain name you’re buying is contextually very relevant to your main site.
Or else, Google may negate the backlinks or you may face a 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’ll be 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: It’s often hard to find fresh brandable domain names. As an investor, it’ll be quite easy to find brandable domain names as thousands of them expire everyday.
Many real estate investors are now considering domain investment due to lower risks and an easy point of entry.
This is the first thing you need to check prior to buying expired domains for SEO or branding benefit.
If the expired domain was used for spam purposes by the previous webmaster, then there are huge chances that you will get affected by it.
The question is, how can you determine the content that was on an expired domain?
That’s where Wayback Machine comes into play.
Just head over to it.
Now here, search for the expired domain you are looking to buy.
Chances are there, Wayback machine has recorded the snapshots of the pages that were earlier on the domain. By seeing the content, you can determine whether the content was spam or not.
Just by looking at how the website looked years ago, you can 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
You can’t afford to buy an expired domain name, without looking it up for historic snapshots – especially if it’s a premium domain name.
I advise you to carefully look for spam indicators expired domains.
Another signal that determines whether the expired domain was used for spamming or not is by checking the historic backlink profile.
That’s where Majestic SEO comes to play.
When you head over to it, you’ll get two options – fresh index and historic index.
Enter your expired domain URL, select historic index and hit enter. You’ll get all the old backlinks that were pointing to the domain.
Just by analyzing the backlinks, you can determine whether they are spam or 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 also check all the existing backlinks using Ahrefs. It has the biggest database of backlinks across the web.
If the domain has a couple of spammy backlinks, it may not be a big issue to disavow them after acquiring them.
But, if there are hundreds and tons of spammy backlinks, the domain name would be not recommended.
If you are buying a domain for SEO benefit, you need to make sure that the domain you purchase has D.A of at least 15+ and is topically relevant to the niche you’re looking forward.
It’s very crucial to dig into the backlink profile in deep and analyze whether the SEO benefit you get justifies the price you’ll be paying.
Are you buying an expired domain mainly due to brandability factor?
For example, my domain BloggingX is an expired domain when I bought it and I bought it solely for building a brand around it. I didn’t consider SEO while buying it.
If you are thinking to set up a real authority long-term site on the expired domain name you get, brandability matters a lot.
On the other hand, if you’re into PBNs and 301 redirects, the brandability would not matters at all. As long as the authority is there, you’d be good to go.
Google bans AdSense on the domain names that do not comply with their terms and conditions. Chances are there, you may go for an expired domain that is banned by Google for displaying AdSense ads.
Even if you are starting an affiliate site, I recommend you check for AdSense ban, as plans often change in the future as your site starts to grow.
There is a tool called AdSense Sandbox. It displays the ads for the site when you enter the URL. Just enter the URL of the expired domain you are willing to buy. If the ads do not pop up for the URL, then it is banned by AdSense.
Checking Majestic metrics is a good way to determine the quality of the existing backlinks to the domain.
Although it’s crucial to manually analyze the quality of the backlinks, the trust flow metrics is a great way to validate your manual analysis and findings.
You can check out the scores at Majestic SEO.
The trust flow should be at least 25% of the citation flow of the domain (1:4). If the trust flow is way too low, chances of spam backlinks are more.
If you are in a dilemma to choose among multiple expired domains, buy the one that has relatively high trust flow when compared to its citation flow.
If there is a good trust flow, it means that the backlink profile of the domain is mainly comprised of high-quality links.
You need to also check whether an expired domain is banned from Facebook due to spamming.
BloggingX was banned from Facebook before I acquired it. The previous domain owner did some spamming on Facebook with the domain name.
Maybe used some auto FB group poster to spam?
Once I acquired the domain name, I created a very professional homepage and published a few blog posts. Now, I tried to run FB ads for my site and ads were disapproved.
I reached out the Facebook business chat and explained to them about the issue. It was unbanned from Facebook within 30 minutes.
But still, even though I knew Facebook has banned my domain on their domain, I took the risk, betted it for a premium price.
Sometimes, it may be quite hard to life the ban from Facebook.
You can check whether a domain name is banned from FB by trying to post a link to your timeline or message a friend with the link.
If you have used Google Search Console, you may have noticed the section called “Manual Actions”.
There's no way to check manual penalty before buying a domain name.
However, if you are buying it from a domain seller, you need to double check with him of any manual penalties.
Whenever you buy a new expired domain, just verify it with Google search console and wait for 5 days. If there are any manual penalties to the domain name, it should show up.
If no manual penalties come up in search console, you are safe.
If the site is blacklisted as spam by Google, there will be a manual penalty. If that’s the case, you need to submit a reconsideration request to Google with the subject – “Newly acquired domain”.
You need to check if the pages of the expired domain are indexed on Google.
If some of the pages of the expired domain are indexed in Google, you can be pretty sure that the domain name is not penalized and deindexed by Google.
Sometimes, even if the domain name has great authoritative backlinks, it’ll not be indexed on Google.
In those cases, it may mean that the domain name has expired a long time back. It’s often better to buy domain names that have expired recently than ages back.
Before buying any domain, especially expired domains, checking if you’ll be infringing any trademarks is very crucial.
There’ll be some cases where the domain names will be dropped solely due to the trademark infringement.
You may need to make use of US Trademark Search Engine, and just search for the name of the domain.
For example, you’re not allowed to start a site that has the terms “WordPress”, “Google”, “Facebook” in it.
You can make use of DomainTools Whois, to check how many times a domain name has been expired before being available again.
If a particular domain name has been dropped more than 5 times, you may need to be extra cautious buying the domain name. You need to dig in deep into historic data, SEO data and also be very careful about if you’re infringing any copyrights.
Personally, I would totally avoid getting domain names that have already been dropped more than 5 times in the last 10 years.
Freshdrop is the expired domain marketplace I recommend. It lets you easily research and buy expired or dropped domain names.
You can filter the domains based on buy it now, auction, backorder, bargains, etc.
There are various filters you can apply like search term, domain authority, backlinks, Google indexed, geography, and other filters.
Some additional features are only meant for pro members. Their plans start from $32.95 per month. There is also a 7-day free trial for their pro plan.
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 $56/mo and all the way upto $184+/month.
The expired domain section is only accessible with the power plan. With newbie plan, you can only get a list of expiring domains.
You can search the domain names based on Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs, SEMrush and other metrics. It helps you easier to filter the expired domains and narrow the search down to the results that matter the most for you.
This 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.
Moonsy is also a great tool comparable to ExpiredDomains.
It has access to Majestic and SEMrush data.
Along with that, you can also select if you want this tool to display only the expired domains having backlinks from authority sites.
This is a great feature to have when it comes to only getting domain names that have an authoritative link profile.
NameJet is a great platform for domain auctions, expired domains, and aftermarket domain names.
This platform is more suitable for you, if you’re into auctions and aftermarket sales.
It is more popular among domain investors rather than SEOs, mainly due to the brandability of the domain names available in this platform.
If you are building a long-term authority site, I advise you to go for a domain name that’s brandable.
If you manage to buy an expired domain name that’s both brandable and carries SEO-benefit, you hit a jackpot.
If you sacrifice the branding aspect by chasing behind SEO, you may regret it later.
If you’ve come across a great SEO-friendly domain name, that’s not at all brandable you may want to flip it for a higher price or use it for SEO of your own sites.
Hope this post discussed all the issues you need to consider before buying expired domains.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission with no additional cost incurred to you :-)