Expired domains and their SEO value
Every day, owners of websites and businesses on the Internet let their domain names expire. Maybe a company went under and the website is no longer viable. Or a website owner was too busy with other projects to think about renewing a recently expired domain.
In any case, domains often retain their vital statistics even after they expire, which can make them attractive to a variety of different types of businesses or individuals. However, there are some serious considerations you should make before taking the plunge into buying an expired domain.
What makes a good domain?
There are some key factors that help determine a good domain. Here is a brief breakdown of these factors:
1) domain history... not domain age
Until recently, many of us believed that the longer a domain name has been around, the more likely it is to rank. John Mueller has since stated that Google does not take this into account.
What Google does take into account, however, are previous penalties imposed on the site. If a domain was penalized while it was active, the penalty will be applied when the domain is reactivated. Before you buy an expired domain, you should use a tool like SEMRush to view the domain's historical traffic data.
2) Domain Authority (DA)
Originally created by Moz as an unofficial rating system for websites, Domain Authority was developed to indicate how well a website will rank on Google. The higher the score, the easier it will be for your website to rank in the top Google results. The two most important factors that are crucial for the Domain Authority of a website are:
- The number of websites that link to your website as a reference.
- The quality of the websites that link to your website as a reference.
Domain Authority is not a direct ranking factor for the Google algorithm. It merely reflects the chances of a website to rank at the top based on the quality of backlinks.
It also does not necessarily accurately determine the quality of the website, as the DA value can be easily manipulated and inflated. However, if you look at the quality of the backlinks, you will get a pretty good idea of the overall quality of the domain.
3) PageRank (PR)
PageRank, named after Larry Page, is exactly what it sounds like. The algorithm determines the authority of each page on a website based on the number and quality of links to each page.
Essentially, the PR ranking takes into account the same as the DA ranking - just on a per-page basis and not for the website as a whole. Although many believe that PageRank is no longer part of Google's algorithms, Google's John Mueller has confirmed that it still exists.
But you use page rank..— Leonie Mann 👩🏼💻 (@leoniejmann) February 24, 2020
Backlinks are hyperlinks from other websites that point back to your website. The higher the quality of the other websites, the higher your domain authority could be, depending on the number of total backlinks and their respective quality.
5) Number of ranking keywords
It is important to have a website with keywords that rank well in search results. This way, your website can be easily found when searchers are looking for answers to their questions.
What expired domains are used for
Expired domains are generally used for two main purposes: private blog networks (PBNs) and niche site creation.
PBN (Private Blog Network)
PBNs are websites that essentially artificially connect with each other to leverage the "link juice" of domains with higher DA to improve the rankings of members of the network.
Some people buy high-value domain names and add them to their PBN to artificially boost the authority of their main website.
PBN link building is considered blackhat SEO. Any website that tries to manipulate Google's algorithm usually gets caught. In the last seven years, there have been more and more cases of this type of website being blown up.
Google has made it very clear that it cracks down on websites that use PBNs. So if you want to get the best results, writing useful content that naturally attracts backlinks is the smartest way.
Setting up a new niche website
Another way to leverage expired premium domains is to create new websites around expired domain names that may already have some solid signals. An experienced publisher can revamp the site with great content and a new design, and then work to monetize it.
One possible advantage of setting up a website on an expired domain is that if the domain is still indexed in Google, you won't have to wait six months in the supposed "Google Sandbox" for your posts to rank.
However, you should always keep in mind that while an expired domain can be a good initial investment, your success is a marathon, not a sprint. You may see rapid growth at first, but creating a new website that generates a consistent level of traffic and sales will take just as much time and effort in the long run as building a website under a brand new domain.
Tips for building a great niche site on an expired domain
Expired domains are never a guarantee of winning. Even if you find one with exceptional links, that's only part of the equation. You still need to create compelling content, build quality backlinks, and have a comprehensive, growth-oriented content strategy.
Here you will learn how to revive an expired domain.
1) Create useful content based on what's available
You should always take a look at how the website looked when the domain was active. For this purpose, you can use a free tool like Wayback Machine.
If you give users the information they're looking for, your content can be pretty much any length.
Before you write an article, you should research and find out which articles already rank best on Google. By finding the posts that have proven to be the most successful on social media and attract the most successful backlinks, you can figure out the formula for success and incorporate it into your own content strategy.
2) Use a WordPress plugin to redirect all 404 links to the homepage.
Expired domains are likely to have backlinks pointing to pages that either no longer exist or for which you cannot create content. If you are rebuilding an expired domain on a WordPress site, there are many plugins that can automatically redirect those backlinks to the homepage of your new site.
3) Update old content on the website as needed.
Updating old content is one of the biggest failures of website owners. This is even more true when it comes to expired domains. Unless everything on the old domain was evergreen content, it's likely that the content will need to be reworked to keep it fresh and relevant in Google's eyes.
Should you use a new domain or an expired domain?
Whether you should consider an expired domain depends largely on your goals. If you want to start a business with your own name and brand, the best way is to create a new website and build it from scratch. This requires time, dedication and hard work. As many of us familiar with the world of search engine optimization know, there is no shortcut to this.
If you want to build a content site in a new niche, you can consider a used domain. But whether it's a new domain or an expired one, there's no way around the work required to implement and integrate a successful and holistic SEO strategy.