Tutorial: How to find expired domains and why you need them

Filed in Blog, Expired Domains, Tutorials by on March 26, 2014 26 Comments

If you want to step it up a level and you are serious about ranking your sites, you better get good at finding expired domains!!

For a long time now I have been purchasing expired domains and building a private blog network. A while back I thought it would be a good idea to start picking up expired domains because the future benefits would be worth it.

We all know that SEO and ranking sites is getting tougher, so having your own private blog network is the only way to guarantee solid back links to your money site!

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not expert at expired domains, but I have learned a lot over the past couple of years and I’ve gathered a wealth of knowledge that I will share with you here.

 blognetwork1

 

 

So why are expired domains important?

If you have read my post on Building your own private blog network, you will know that expired domains are important to give us a big head start when building our network.

You see…  when a domain expires, it usually goes up for auction or becomes available to register again. Now the great thing about an expired domain is that it still carries forward all of it’s SEO metrics…

Such as:

  • Domain authority
  • Page authority
  • Page rank
  • Age
  • Trust flow

And everything else that contributes to the strength and authority of a domain!

By purchasing a domain that already has these metrics means that we don’t have to spend a whole lot of time doing SEO on a new domain.

We simply add content and links and build sites on these expired domains, we then link to our money sites to give them a shove up the rankings

 

What to do with my expired domain!

There are actually a few of things you can do with an expired domain.

301 direct to your money site.

This is the lazy way of doing it and is a good way of boosting the authority of your site.

By adding a 301 redirect from your expired domain to your money site means that when Google crawls the domain, it is re-directed to your site and the authority from that domain is also passed on.

Do this with a few different expired domains and you have immediately increased yours sites authority without actually building any links!!

Although this method used to be a great way to quickly rank sites, I wouldn’t 301 too many domains because this may look spammy. Therefore I would only recommend a small number, and then concentrate on building out Private blog network sites.

Here’s how to easily 301 re-direct your domain!

Put this html code into your public_html folder, usually you can access this via your cpanel or ftp.

—————————————————————————————————————-

<?php
$redirectlink = ‘http://www.urlToDirectTooGoesHere.com‘;
//do not edit below here
header (‘HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently’);
header(‘Location: ‘.$redirectlink);
exit;
?>

—————————————————————————————————————–

This will now pass the:

  • Page rank
  • Moz rank
  • Domain authority
  • back link profile

onto your money site!!

Warning – This is something I am going to come to shortly, but if you use this method, you must make sure that the expired domain from which you are 301 re-directing from, was in the same niche as your own site that you are directing too!!

It’s no good having an expired domain that used to be a site about cats, and has a back link profile from cat and pet websites if your site is about forex trading!

** You must have niche relevant domains.**

How do you check this? use a site called archive.com, keep reading and i’ll explain exactly how to use it and how to find niche related expired domains!

 

Build a blog network (or feeder sites)

 

blohnetdiagram

This is my favourite method and it’s something you should seriously consider. I wrote a post on How to build your own private blog network here.

This explains how to set up your PBN sites. You want to make them as natural as possible. Add unique articles, add images and videos.

Use different themes and topics.

Add links to other authority sites in your niche

Link to your money site!

You can find all the details right here

You should aim at building these kind of sites around your money site as it’s a great way to get high authority, niche related links! You also have total control over them so if you need to remove any, you can!

Aim for at least 5 PBN sites per money site. This will give you a real boost in the rankings! and this is a tactic that the big boys use to rank for highly competitive keywords!

I have many PBN sites in all different niches, just drop me an email if you are interested in acquiring links from them. These are my own personal sites. Not the rubbish you see on the forums! I don’t advertise them anywhere.

 

Build a site and sell for a profit

Something else worth thinking about is buying expired domains to sell on for a profit. If you can get your hands on a really good one, you can turn it into a website and sell it on sites like flippa!

Although this is not something I have done myself yet, I am actually in the process of doing one of these kind of sites, and it will be interesting to see what kind of profit I can make out of it!

I’ll keep you updated on that score!!

 

What am I looking for in a Domain?

When searching for an expired domain there are certain metrics that I am looking for, and here they are:

Domain Authority

I like to set a limit of at least 15 for Domain Authority. This is basically a metric by Moz that measures the actual domain according to age, popularity and size.

Now obviously the higher the DA, the more trustworthy it appears to search engines and the more authority is has! If a site has a high DA, then you know it has quality links pointing too it.

You can use opensiteexlorer to find the DA of a site.

Here is a full explanation of Domain Authority: http://moz.com/learn/seo/domain-authority

 

Page authority

Similar to DA, but this time Page authority looks at the probability of a specific page appearing on the search engines. it looks at the relevance of information and links to the page.

This is an important metric because we are looking for relevant ‘domains’ to purchase. So I always look for a PA of 20+

Here is a full explanation of Page Authority http://moz.com/learn/seo/page-authority

 

 Google Page Rank

PR is something that everybody focused on at one point, it was the bee’s all and end all of SEO metrics. The higher the PR the better.

However, times have changed and I don’t factor PR as important anymore. I would much prefer a site with good DA and PA than a site with PR4 that had a poor back link profile and low PA.

Don’t get me wrong, if you can find an expired domain with pr4+ then great! but make sure it is backed up with all of the other metrics!

There are tons of pr 5 and pr 6 sites that have no back links and poor DA and PA. These will not stand the test of time and the majority have fake pr’s. So keep away from them!

Remember, relevance is what we are looking for!!

 

Trust Flow

This is a metric from MajesticSEO.com and as you guessed, it measures the trustworthiness of a site.  I for a trust flow of 15+

Here is a detailed explanation on Trust Flow

 

Citation Flow

Another metric from MajesticSEO.com – Again it measures the likely hood of a site ranking depending on the links to it. Basically it’s measuring the popularity of the site. Again, look for 15+

 

Age

I try to get domains that are at least 2 years old. If you follow the requirements above, then you will probably find that the domains are aged anyway!

 

Guide:

  • Domain Authority = 15+
  • Page Authority = 20+
  • Page Rank = 0+
  • Trust Flow = 15+
  • Citation flow = 15+

 

These are the minimum requirements that you should be looking for, but don’t worry if you don’t meet all of them. You might find a great domain with high trust flow, high domain authority but the page authority is only 15.

It’s ok, you can easily improve that! these are just guidelines to follow.

 

Backlinks

When you find a suitable domain you need to check the back link profile to see if it has genuine, relevant backlinks, and nothing spammy going on!

I use Ahrefs and here are the things I look for:

– Number of links

– Number of referring domains

– Anchor links

 

 

Where to find expired domains

There are some good free sources to finding expired domains and my favourites are:

http://moonsy.com/expired_domains/

http://www.expireddomains.net/

This is the best place to start:

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 14.21.45

Head over to ExpiredDomains.net and sign up as a free user.

Now type in your niche or relevant keyword into the search box:

For this example I’ll use the muscle building niche:

Ok, I typed the word ‘muscle’ into the search box, and I was shown 8,040 domains!!

We now want to narrow this down a bit, so click on ‘show filter’

 

Expired Domains Guide

 

 

Now select – ‘no fake PR’s’

Select minimum back links 10+

 

How to find expired domains

 

Now click on ‘Adwords & SEO filter’

Select ‘min MOZ domain Authority’ 10

Select ‘min MOZ page authority’ 10

(It doesn’t give us the option to select 15, therefore I prefer to select 10 rather than 20)

Now click ‘Apply Filter’

This has now narrowed it down to 172 domains!

 

 

Expired Domains expireddomains.net

 

Already I can see some decent domains, starting with the first on the list. 3daymusclebuilding.com.  Currently on $10.

f there is a price (in green) next to the domain, then this means it’s a Godaddy auction and you can bid on that domain.

If it says ‘register’, then you can simply register that domain right now and pay just the small registrar fee!

These are the 2 types we are going to focus on.

 

 

Check the metrics and backlinks

Look through some of the domains that are either free to register or are in your price range.

Highlight the domain and copy it.

You will now need these 3 sites open in separate tabs:

http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/ – This is to check the DA and PA
http://ahrefs.com – This is to check the back link profile
http://archive.org/web/ – Here you can see what the site looked like in the past
http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php – This checks the Google PR

 

 

1) Check opensite explorer

Paste the domain and click ‘search’

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 10.31.37

 

As you can see, this domain has a DA 14 and PA 28, which is ok for us!!

It’s all showing that it has established backlinks, which is also what we are looking for.

 

 

2) Check the backlink profile

I personally use Ahrefs because I think they are the best. You can actually do this on MOZ opensightexplorer.

Paste the domain and click search:

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 10.35.35

 

Ahrefs is indicating that this domain has 176 backlinks from 6 reffering domains.

I would like to see more reffering domains, but at least it does have some.

Now click on ‘Anchors’

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 10.37.35

 

Just check to see that the anchors match the niche, and that there aren’t any spammy anchors such as adult or other spammy links.

Although this domain does not have many, it looks clean!!

 

3) Check the history of the domain

 

Go to http://archive.org/web/ and paste the domain and click ‘Browse History’

 

This will bring up a calendar. Now click one of the dates highlighted in blue. This will show you what the site looked like on that date.

In this example I clicked on August 7th, and it brought up a very good looking site on building muscle, which is exactly what were hoping for, and it proves that this site was used for that purpose!

You can go back and check other dates if you like.

Just make sure the domain has not been used a number of different times with completely different sites on there.

 

4) Check the PR is real

Go to http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php

Enter the domain and click ‘Check PR’

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 10.48.41
As you can see, this has confirmed that this domain is a PR 1, which is good.
Is this domain suitable?
It sure is!!!
And this is the first domain that we have researched, there are plenty more too!

 

 

Blog Networks will die out! Be smart, Be relevant!

 

We’ve all seen ads promoting high pr blog network links. Maybe something like….  ’50 pr2-6 private blog network links for $199′

or

’30 pr5 links for $85 a month!’

Problem is, although having 50 pr 2-6 backlinks sounds good, they are a waste of time because pretty much none of them will be relevant to your niche!

Not only that, but the sites from which they will come from will also be linking out to hundreds of other completely random sites.

Now this does not look good does it?

Google will be able to detect this sooner or later.

I would much prefer to have 5 highly relevant backlinks than 50 backlinks from random, none relevant sites!

Not only that, but if you purchase these link packages, there is a chance that the blog network will get shut down by Google, and you will be left with no links at all!!

So put a bit more time and effort in and build your own mini network that you can be certain is relevant and will not come under Googles radar! Or drop me an email if you would like to use some of my personal pbn sites!

 

 

Protect yourself, Don’t leave a footprint

When building your mini blog network with expired domains, it’s important that you don’t leave a footprint. If you stay 1 step ahead then your network will be completely safe!

Here are some things you can do to ensure that you don’t leave a footprint:

– Use different hosts. There are some cheap hosting accounts:

JustHost
Hostgator
Bluehost

There are tons of them!

– Don’t use SEOHost or SEOhosting as there is a good chance that Google monitors IP addresses from these host! Best to be on the safe side.

– Use a VPN when buying and setting up the new sites. I personally use HMA VPN which changes my IP address when Im working on Blog network sites

Make all of your sites different:

– Use different themes

– Use different usernames

– Don’t use exactly the same plugins on every site

– Use different images and videos

– Add a unique about page to each site

– NEVER interlink your sites

– Use different anchor text when linking back to your money site

– Interlink articles on the same site

– Vary the length of your posts

– Link out to other authority sites in your niche

– Add some form of monetization to some of your sites! Make it look real

– Basically, Just mix everything up as much as possible

 

Relevance, build a niche specific network!

Forget big blog networks and monthly packages! just forget them! If you want to get ahead in this game then build yourself a mini blog network for each niche that you are in.

For example, Im in the SEO niche, so I start out with a mini network that looks like this:

Expired Domain 1

Expired Domain 2

Expired Domain 3

Expired Domain 4

Expired Domain 5

web 2.0 (1)

Web 2.0 (2)

Web 2.0 (3)

Web 2.0 (3)

Web 2.9 (4)

Web 2.9 (5)

All 5 expired domains were sites originally based around SEO, internet marketing, blogging etc, they all have a decent backlink profile relevant to my niche!

The 5 Web 2.0’s are all SEO based blogs that I have created.

That’s 10 highly relevant authority blogs linking to my money site. This will boost my own DA and PA and also shoot me up the rankings!

 

Summary

Finding expired domains requires a bit of work, but the rewards are great. If you follow my advice you can pick up some really good domains for next to nothing.

Remember to focus on your niche and build a mini blog network around that!

This is a really powerful method to boosting your rankings. I have been purchasing domains for a few years. If you are looking for some niche specific blog network links, just drop me an email and I maybe able to help you out!

 

 





      


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Comments (26)

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  1. dave says:

    Nice post Jason! What’s the typical price you’re willing to pay for an ED based on the metrics?

    [Reply]

  2. Jack says:

    Good info mate

    I come across tons of dirt cheap PA 28 DA15 sites with clean backlinks profiles, but I pass up on them because of the weak DA, and the fact they are almost never super relevant. Also not usually worth the time to set up the site.

    Im surprised you buy domains with that low of DA.

    What do you have too see from a DA 15 domain to make it worth owning for you? And do you typically follow a habitual protocol with low DA sites, like totally re-brand or 301 them to not waste extra time on setting up weaker sites?

    I ask because I can get a ton of sites like that at reg fee, if they’re actually giving you some value.

    [Reply]

    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Hi Jack

    I only buy them if they are super relevant. I look at the domains history and backlink profile. If they are very relevant then I will register them. Im looking for relevancy with some authority! I sometimes build backlinks to them If I want to boost DA. Just use GSA or something like that. You may find that if you go after domains with DA 30+ you will probably have to pay a reasonable fee for them, and the DA is likely to drop a bit after you add your own content.

    So you may aswel register a DA 20 for free, and then spend a little to help boost the DA 🙂

    When I get time Im going to do an experiment to see the affects of registering these kind of free expired domains and just 301 them to see what impact that has!!

    [Reply]

  3. Craig says:

    Quick question, what do you when registering domains and hosting? Do you use fake details for domain registrar and hosting?

    [Reply]

    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    I just purchase the whois privacy when registering the domains!

    I don’t use fake info

    [Reply]

  4. David Longacre says:

    Hey Jason,

    Awesome tutorial. I have gotten bits and pieces around the blogs about ED, but very nice to see all together and taught me a couple of things. Question? Do you purchase the domain even if it’s not indexed in Google? If it has a good DA and PA and backlink profile, but its not indexed in Google does that matter? And why would it not be indexed anymore?

    [Reply]

    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Ahh yes good point David, that is something I forgot to mention. I do look to see if the domain is indexed in Google, because if it is not, it may have endured a penalty at some point and had been de-indexed!

    Although just because it’s not indexed does not always mean it’s been banned from Google. If it’s free to register then it maybe worth trying to to see if it get’s re-indexed once you start it again!

    [Reply]

  5. David Longacre says:

    Awesome! Exactly the answer I was looking for! I was not purchasing those before because they were not indexed, but yes if it’s free to register it’s worth a try. This tutorial was worth the waiting all month with no blog posts lol I know your a busy guy

    [Reply]

    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Yep, been busy, hopefully I can sneak one more in this month 🙂

    I’ve just registered 2 domains that are not indexed. I’ll let you know what happens with them!!

    [Reply]

  6. Jack says:

    Hey jason you’re right mate, my DA 26 site has been indexed for only 2-3 days now and it just dropped to 22 DA in the last hour.

    The site has been rebuilt on the exact same topic as it was before so I thought it would keep its DA. As I have a couple that have kept all their old DA.

    I dont own GSA, or UD and have never used any automated backlinking programs before. Was hoping PBNs would be enough…I guess its time to learn.

    Im pretty broke atm, is there a one program does all you recommend (GSA or UD?) that I can buy and use until I can afford the others? I’m only interested in building quality tier 1 and 2 links atm.

    [Reply]

    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Hey Jack

    GSA is the best all rounder, but if you can’t afford it yet, I think you can get some cheap back linking packages or even GSA fiverr gigs. Obviously you only want to use these with your Tier 1 and 2’s and not your money sites!

    [Reply]

  7. l says:

    There are a couple of other options for finding good expired domains. Domainjawa.com offers expired domains which are spam-checked so you don’t have to sort through the drop lists to find clean domains. You can also crawl the web to find them yourself by using the software from domainmining.co

    [Reply]

    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Cesar says:

    Hey Jason,

    I searched google for expired domain tips and came across your site. Interesting how everyone has different metrics for searching for expired domains. Nowadays I usually look for DAs in the 25+ range and spam check with archive.org as well as manually checking with majestic seo and ahrefs and take a quick look at the top backlinks for relevancy. Jason do you mind if I post my service for finding expired domains? You can edit it out if you don’t think it provides a useful service to your readers. The site is Domainpeel.com

    Thanks again and I enjoyed reading your thoughts and the input of your readers.

    Best,
    Cesar

    [Reply]

  9. Ranjith says:

    What can i say?? you made my day easier…been looking at several sites but your post seems to have summed up pretty much everything, now i need to get to work, keep posting bro.

    [Reply]

  10. Mike says:

    “301 direct to your money site.

    This is the lazy way of doing it and is a good way of boosting the authority of your site.”

    google tends to treat 301s to a (different) root domain as a 404, its better if you 301 to a specific page on the new domain

    [Reply]

  11. Lalit Shahi says:

    Hello Jason;
    First of all a very well prepared and nicely presented article.

    I had two doubts –

    1) first was about that indexing of domain ..but David’s question already cleared it.

    2) second is on expireddomains.net and moonsy.com i found some very good DA &PA sites. But when I checked the backlinks they were in some japenese or chinese type language. And some in other languages.

    So should I think to buy them or should start my search again for other domains?

    Thanks in advance. 🙂 hope you will reply ASAP.

    [Reply]

  12. Eric says:

    You would still recommend using those auctions sites after the last hit? I wouldn’t recommend those at all, except if you want your PBN to be found by Google in the future.

    [Reply]

  13. Scott says:

    Hi Eric,

    @Jason, hope you don’t mind me throwing my 2 cents in here.

    I am personally skeptical of buying domains from auctions or drop lists. If I were Google, I’d definitely be watching those domains (especially the drop lists) and when a site pops up on it, flag it in some way.

    There are 3 options at hand if you’re in the market for expired domains:

    Option A) Get a domain from a Drop list: Domain expires 29-Sep-2014. Domain gets re-registered 4-Oct-2014, 5 days later.

    Option B) Buy a domain at auction or via domain broker: Domain expires 29-Sep-2014, appears on a drop list. Domain has value and gets snatched up by broker. Domain gets re-registered 30-Sep-2014. Domain gets listed with a broker, domain changes owner (gets pushed via registrar) days/weeks later.

    Option C) Find an expired domain manually: Domain expires 13-Jan-2012. Domain gets re-registered 4-Oct-2014, 2.5 years later.

    Option A and B definitely leave a mark that’s traceable.

    Option C is a process which occurs naturally, as domains get forgotten/or are unloved and then inadvertently re-registered later down the track by someone else – without any prior knowledge of the previous owner.

    So let’s say you needed 5 expired domains for a single network…I’d think carefully about buying bounced domains. Bounced meaning they were dropped, and caught!

    And in regards to Option C, I wouldn’t register all the domains on the same day. I’d definitely register them all at different registrars, and buy the WHOIS privacy option (free at some registrars).

    Hope this helps!

    😉

    – Scott

    [Reply]

  14. clare says:

    Nice detailed, informative blog. Just as an fyi http://www.expired-domains.co has a bunch load of expired domains that some of the others don’t and is now mobile friendly and is completely free no subscription necessary.. Worth a look.

    [Reply]

  15. davido says:

    That’s the blog I was looking for, fucking perfect, congrats and keep it moving! 🙂

    [Reply]

  16. Marshall says:

    I’ve been trying to learn as much as possible about SEO this year. Stuff like this has eluded me as far as learning the proper ways to do it.

    What if you bought a bunch of domains and 301’d them to a blog post within a very large retail site? Would that look spammy eventually? How do you know when you’ve forwarded to many domains?

    [Reply]

    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    This method used to work but Google cut down on 301 directs. A few may help but there is no cut off point. Yes it would look spammy if you got a whole bunch of them!!

    [Reply]

  17. Simon Gare says:

    Hi, Can you mix and match the domains, e.g. PR 1 on one BL 46 on another etc etc?

    [Reply]

  18. Claus Rump says:

    GREAT post, Jayson. What do you think of Scott’s question?

    What do you mean when you say “web 2.0”?

    I’m a big fan of your blog – great stuff!

    [Reply]

  19. Elena says:

    Hi,
    Isn’t purchasing whois privacy for all blog network a footprint then?

    [Reply]

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