How to Buy an Old Expired Domain for SEO
One of them is because they want to spam the hell out of Google, make as much money as quickly as possible, and then disappear when Google finally penalizes their website.
Darren Taylor: In this video, I’m going to break down how you should go about buying an expired web domain. Now, if you don’t know from my previous videos, I actually purchased an expired domain for my website, the semacademy.com, and I had a few issues when buying it, because first of all, I didn’t know it was an expired domain because I didn’t check, and as a result of that, when I plugged the domain into the Google search console I had a manual action penalty for spamming.
I had to go back to Google and explain I’m the new website owner, and they’ve removed the penalty now, and now I’m starting to show up on the Google search results, which is fantastic, but because of that, I felt it would make sense to make a video about buying an expired domain and the process you should go through and the reasons you would actually go ahead and buy one. Let’s bring some clarity on the issue so you can understand if buying an expired domain is right for you.
First off, there are generally a couple of reasons people buy an expired domain in terms of business. One of them is because they want to spam the hell out of Google, make as much money as quickly as possible, and then disappear when Google finally penalizes their website. This can happen and people have done this and have made money doing this through different website niches and things like that, but ultimately what I really hope you’re watching this video for is because you want to know if buying an expired domain is right for your business, and a business obviously has longevity. We’re not scamming people here on this channel, so I’d imagine you’re in camp number two.
Let’s go into this in a bit more detail so you can understand the implications, but before I go into detail, the first thing you need to know about buying an expired domain is how to find an expired domain.
There are a few websites out there. They all work very similarly. For example, sedo.com, expireddomains.net. These kinds of websites are basically an aggregator of expired domains. Generally speaking, you see the same kinds of information on all of these websites. You get a list of expired domains grouped by niche and searchable, but you can also see their relative scores in terms of their authority. For example, the most score for authority is called Domain Authority, then there’s Ahrefs that have a score, Semrush has a score.
All of these different SEO tools and providers have various ways of scoring the relative authority of a domain and you get to see that information as well. Now, the disclaimer is, of course, these aren’t Google’s scores. They are the SEO tools’ scores. They’re basically used as a benchmark, but they don’t necessarily mean that the domain is actually authoritative, but it’s pretty much the best we’ve got when it comes to the expired domain market, and the content market, and the link building market. It’s a good understanding to the performance of a website domain.
Once you go on these websites and you do your searches and you find the perfect expired domain for you and your business, you don’t just go ahead and buy it straight away. You actually need to do a few checks beforehand in order to make sure the domain is right for you. Let’s take a look at how to do that. The first thing is to understand is you need a paid SEO tool. For example, Semrush, or Moz, or Majestic SEO, or Ahrefs. All of these tools will be great in explaining and seeing the backlink profile of a given domain.
The Google search console can do this too, but until you own the domain, you can’t actually see any metrics in the Google search console. Go onto one of these tools and take a look at the backlinks pointing to the domain. In fact, I’m going to show you guys how to do this using Moz because that’s my favorite SEO tool. Not sponsored.
I’ve jumped onto sedo.com here, because I want to show you guys how this works. Here’s a list of domains. I’ve not done any specific searches for any niches or done any filters. I’ve just gone on and shown their list of expired domains just because I want to show this for demonstrating purposes.
Let’s take a look at the first domain. If you’re going to buy this domain in the expired aftermarket, you want to do your due diligence. I’m going to copy this domain. I’m going to jump across to this tab in Moz, which is an SEO tool. Because this tool is essentially going to audit the backlink. It’s a paid tool, so you need to make sure that you’re paying in order to use this.
By putting the domain into this tool, I can actually go ahead and check the spam score. Spam score on Moz for this particular domain is 1%, the relative domain authority, which is a score of 0 to 100 is 39. Meaning that it’s actually quite an authoritative domain. All things considered, it’s got a spam score of 1%. Now, again, these aren’t Google metrics. Google can determine this website as spam, but this should just be used as an index to see potentially what the spam could be of the website.
With a spam score of 1%, generally speaking, this website is probably okay. What will happen with a website with a potentially low spam score is that if it is seen as an illicit website with bad backlinks, Google may just ignore them. That’s something Google do quite often for bad links. You don’t necessarily always need to be disavowing bad links. Google will just ignore them.
This is pretty low risk in terms of an expired domain, but what about the other ones? Let’s go into this one here, this darcythompson.org domain. If I put this into the link explorer and analyze, you will see the spam score is 54%, which is really high. The spam score is essentially an index of what Moz deem as a spammy website, based on the number of links pointing to the domains linking to you and the potential spam of those domains. They give every single domain a score. Loads of spamming links pointing to your website means it’s spam, but there’s a number of other factors that go into this as well in terms of the power of some of these spammy domains.
You’ll see it looks like it’s got loads of good domains here linking to it, and only a few bad domains, but some of those bad domains are absolutely horrendous. Meaning the spam score is 54%. This is a domain that’s expired. You think a domain authority of 32 is going to help you get out of the gates and rank on Google, but in all honesty, this is a really spammy domain. If you try to rank this website, you’re probably never going to do it unless you disavow a ton of links and have a lot of patience and really, really want the domain darcythompson.org.
Now you’ve checked over the domain. You understand what the backlink profile is like, you can make a decision on whether or not you want to buy the domain, but before you buy the domain, again, I’m going to pause you before buying it, you need to understand how you’re going to use it.
You might ask me, what do you mean how am I going to use it? What do I need to do with the domain? I’m going to use it in a normal way. However, generally, there are three different types of ways people use expired domains for SEO. These three ways generally have different levels of risk. The first one is just to use it as your normal domain. The second way is, of course, 301 permanently redirecting the old expired domain to your good domain, and the third thing is using what’s called a PBN, a private blog network.
Let’s go into each of these three things in a bit more detail, so you can understand the implications of when you’re using these strategies. Let’s start off keeping it simple. If you’re going to use the domain as your main website, as long as you’re happy that the spam levels of the backlinks are okay, and things that are sustainable, then you can go ahead and just buy the domain and use it as your main domain and hopefully get the benefits and the boost of having an older expired domain in the eyes of Google and get those benefits as a result of that.
If there are issues, once you’re connected up to the Google search console in terms of manual action penalties, you can resolve content ones quite easily because you’re a new website owner the same way I did, or if it’s a link building penalty, you’ll have to go ahead and disavow all bad links pointing to the domain, which is quite a straightforward process, but it’s a bit annoying to do anyway. Just be careful when buying a domain to use as your main one.
301 redirecting. Now, this strategy is a bit different because what you’re doing with this is using the power of an expired domain and pointing it to your current main domain. This is a medium-risk strategy because, of course, because you’re using it as a 301 redirect, it means your domain is separate from this potentially spammy domain, meaning there’s less risk of your site being penalized.
However, if Google deem your redirection as an illicit link-building technique, there is a chance you could still be penalized. You still have to be careful when doing this, but generally speaking, it’s a lower risk strategy than using the domain outright because it separates you from the domain a little bit more, and it allows you to redirect and get some of that authority from the old domain into your current website. It’s a strategy that can work, but however, I will say the data is showing that this strategy is reducing in power every single year that goes by.
A few years ago it used to work pretty well. A few years before that, it used to work amazingly well. In the last couple of years, generally speaking, in the SEO forums I speak in and see online, generally speaking, this technique is starting to slow down. Google are becoming wise to this, so the longevity of doing this is shortening, but it’s low risk. If you want to use this technique, is something you can do.
Finally, we have PBN, which is Private Blog Network. Now, this is something if you haven’t heard of a PBN is essentially a way some website developers and people who own websites use this technique to manage their backlinks very closely. A PBN is essentially a list of websites that you purchase as a website owner, build content on those websites and then point links from those websites to your main website.
Now this is called a PBN because, of course, all the websites you buy in order to create content on to point towards your main website, that is your blog network. Essentially it’s private because you own all the websites. They’re not different website owners. You own all the websites in the tree, therefore, they’re all pointing to your main website and that is your Private Blog Network.
Now this used to be a very, very good SEO technique. It used to work amazingly well, and it used to get websites to skyrocket up the rankings, but the problem is now Google are becoming wise to this. Check out this tweet from John Mueller at Google, he’s responding to somebody who’s basically asking if somebody tells Google that someone else’s website is in a PBN, does Google go ahead and punish them? His response even preempts that, and it just simply says that Google can tell if a website is using PBNs very easily and they can make decisions on penalties with automation in terms of algorithms or they can do it manually as well.
It’s basically showing that Google are getting much better at detecting PBNs, meaning that this technique is also coming towards its end as well. I’ve seen studies and data in the SEO world showing PBNs are still working in some regards, but if you’re trying to build a business with a long-lasting domain, I wouldn’t risk it necessarily as a long-term technique. It’s something that you need to be very careful when considering if you are using an expired domain for a PBN.
There you have it, guys, that is how you would go about buying an expired domain and deciding on how to use it in order to improve your website SEO. There are techniques in there from the very risky to the low risk, and to, of course, very minimal risk as well. Tell me in the comments below what your favorite technique is and the reason you would buy an expired domain. Or if you have any other questions about SEO, hit me up because I reply to pretty much every single comment I get on new videos. Like this video if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content across the channel, and I’ll see you, guys, on my next video.