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How to pick a powerful expired domain for your next project

By: Peter Nyiri
April 8, 2019

When you start a new blog, one of the first things you do is pick a domain. Many people regret their choice later and it is not easy to find the perfect domain.

In this post, I am going to show you the tricks I used for picking domains for my blogs.

There are three ways you can go.

1. Start your blog on a brand new domain

This is what most people do. You are starting with a clean slate.

2. Purchase an existing domain

This is another choice — it can be lucrative, especially if there is a website attached to it, but at the same time such a domain could be very expensive.

3. Register an expired/deleted domain

This is the method I usually follow and I had good success with it. The advantage is that it is very inexpensive, but at the same time it also gives you an SEO advantage: once your domain becomes a few months old and gets picked up by Google, the backlinks built by the previous owner will give you a headstart and better rankings.

Using SEO SpyGlass to pick your domain

In November 2017 I came up with the idea to start a blog about sales funnels. The term has about 8,000 monthly searches, but obviously everyone who wants to sell products will need to have a sales funnel.

I went to ExpiredDomains.net (I recommend that you create a free account, because this way you have more features available.) I entered the keyword "funnel", set the filter to "Deleted domains", then sorted the results based on "DP", which means domain pop, which is the number of domains linking to the listed domain. (You can also sort the results based on "BL", which is the number of backlinks per Majestic.

These numbers are usually incorrect, but they give you a starting point.

You get a screen like this.

LE: Length of domain name in characters
BL: Number of backlinks
DP: Domain pop
ABY: First mention of domain in Archives.org
CF/TF: Majestic metrics

When choosing a domain name, stick to the following best practices:

  1. Make it easy to type.
  2. Keep the domain name short.
  3. Avoid numbers and hyphens.
  4. Try to choose memorable names.
  5. Pick the right domain name extension (especially important when you target a certain region).

The availability will depend on the keyword. For certain keywords you will find domains with great backlinks, while for others, you will only find domains with spam links. Either way, it's almost certain that you can find a domain that has a great name with a few backlinks.

Now you take the domain and enter it into SEO SpyGlass.

You will get a message that SEO SpyGlass cannot find such a web page, which is correct, because we are talking about an expired domain. Click on "Yes" to continue anyways.

When I originally did this research, I got the following result:

FunnelXpert.com — brandable name, 304 backlinks from 74 domains.

Its history goes back to 2012 and used to look like this — an internet marketing company operating in Australia and India:

I registered the domain for $8.99 and built a nice blog on it. I wrote in-depth posts for it, like this one on the subject of building an online course on your own blog in WordPress.

It was completely worth my investment, since this is what I got out of it thus far:

I have recently launched my own online course on it.

Here's one more example

Let's look at a different example real time. The keyword is "Paleo diet".

I pick the first domain, "PaleoDiet411.com" — 150 backlinks, 26 domains.

Next I take a look at the Linking Domains tab:

The link profile looks okay, it even has an .edu backlink.

Links from Chinese or Arabic domains would be a sign of spam.

Now I look at the Linked Pages tab:

You can see that the links point to several different pages, which is good, it's a balanced link structure. I would need to re-create these pages on the new blog if I decided to use this domain, this way the link juice is preserved.

Off-topic pages, such as iPhone and other branded stuff would disqualify the domain.

One more thing to check is Archive.org:

Make sure the domain isn't redirected or spammed.

It also makes sense to look at the prospective domain's InLink Rank (SEO PowerSuite's alternative to PageRank):

A few more tips before you purchase an expired domain

You can also follow the above procedure when you purchase an auction domain. You will find many times that purchasing such a domain would be a complete waste of your money, because it has thousands of backlinks, however most of them are from spam websites with Chinese anchor texts.

Also stay away from domains that have hundreds of links all pointing to the home page and nothing to other pages — such domains are over-optimized and will be penalized unless you plan to do massive link building to the individual pages, too.

I have also used this method for uncovering foreign language expired domains with beautiful backlink structure. I found two Hungarian domains, the first one would translate to seduction.net, the other one would be giftisland.com.

I must add that such foreign language domains require considerably fewer backlinks to rank and you can even get away with lower quality, such as link directory links and they will still rank well and get traffic. The reason is the lower level of competition in foreign languages.

Stealing great backlinks from expired domains

There's one more handy use of SEO SpyGlass, which is quite similar to the broken link building method:

  1. Enter a recently expired domain in your niche or one that is still being auctioned.
  2. Look at the backlinks pointing to this domain.
  3. Find backlinks that you could "steal"…
  4. Contact the owner of the website that is linking to this domain, tell them they are linking to an expired domain and ask them to link to your resource instead.

Here's an outreach template shared by Jason Acidre you can modify and use for your link building:

Subject: Found a broken link on [Site Name]

Hey [First Name],

This link directing to [Site Name with 404 page] doesn't work anymore:

[insert URL of the broken link]

Found this through your useful links section for [topic of their resource page]:

[insert URL of their resources page]

Also, just thought that this content from [Your Site] will perfectly fit your list of resources [additional comment on why your content deserves to make it on their list]. Your visitors should find that useful:

[insert URL to your page]

Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with 😃

Thanks, [First Name]!

[Your Name]

You will need to sort through some trash to find worthwhile backlinks, but this is a proven way to get started with link building.

Conclusion

So there you have it — now you know how to look for expired domains and how to choose the best ones for your next SEO project. I hope my recommendations will help you with your hunt for backlinks.

Have you ever purchased expired domains hoping to make use of their traffic and backlinks? Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below!


By: Peter Nyiri

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