Website Design Lesson 1 - Novices
Buying and Finding Expired Domains
In this lesson we take a look at what you need to be aware of when buying expired and expiring domains but how to also find those expired domains in the frist place
Expired | Expiring | Deleted
We look at the different types of domains and the terminology
Key Points When buying expired domains
We look at 4 key points to look out for when wanting to by and search for you perfect domain
How to search for expired domains
How to search for those elusive good, expired domains in an easy to follow way.
Introduction to Expired and Expiring Domains
So, you want to buy an expired domain? Maybe you’re thinking about growing your own PBN or just want a decent domain name that has already got a history – after all, if it’s got a history it must be a great domain, right? Wrong.
In this tutorial will look at 6 key points to remember when buying an expired/expiring or old domain and how to do so properly.
Within this tutorial I will be referring to one particular site that I used in the past – ExpiredDomains.net – why? Well, I am not affiliated with them in any way at all so you can guarantee that any site I mention is for a reason. I found them to be easy to use and simplified the process of finding expired/expiring domains in an easy to follow way which I will explain later.
There are many other sites out there you may want to use or explore but for simplicity this is the one I will be using. It’s also totally free to use which really does help! Many other ‘how to buy expired domains’ articles will have links to sites they are affiliated with and I don’t always think that the best position to be in when reviewing services or sending visitors through to them from a ‘tutorial’. – just my opinion.
You have heard about expired domains but what are they?
‘Expired’ + ‘Domains’ = domains that have expired or are in the grace period to become expired and no longer being used! Simple right? The concept of any expired domain is that it has been dropped by the original owner or is about to be dropped (expiring). Remember – a domain name may be ‘dropped’ straight away (see Deleted) be the owner in which case it is up for grabs rather than being in that grace period on it’s road to being expired.
Expired domains – When an expired domain has been dropped (immediately or after the grace period) it then becomes available for others to ‘grab’ after that grace period in which the owner can still take back control of said domain. It may have been expired for many hours, days, weeks, months or even years and there may be a good reason for that (later discussed!). Some people just choose not to keep the domain in which case it lands in ‘expiring’ and others get rid of them.
Expiring domains – Sometimes, services will ‘catch’ these expiring domains for prospective clients (later discussed) for which you pay a fee. If the domain name is sought after (high authority, good backlinks etc) then you will struggle to attain this domain, even with the help of a catch service. Often the domain ill then goes into the ‘auction’ section where you can pay hundreds or thousands depending, again, on the demand for domain.
Deleted – So it can be a little confusing to use deleted’ as some registrants use expired and deleted interchangeably. In essence, it is when the owner ‘drops’ the domain but it may still be in the registration period. They just got rid and so it becomes available.
Important – You will be seeing that I do not refer to ‘deleted’ domains within this article often as I prefer the term ‘expired’. So when I say ‘expired’ it means that one that has be dropped by the domain owner and/or deleted by the registrant. And is therefore available to buy.
What can you use an expired domain for?
Expired Domains and Authority Site Building
One of the post popular ways to use an expired domain is for building an authority site and that is what many people are wanting to achieve. Many fail as they may think that the site has good authority and so on (discussed later) but the reality if they need to build the site up from the domain as it may have lost all it’s authority and even be having a negative impact on the sites development because of the domain history.
301 Redirecting with Expired Domains
Another way in which people utilise those expired domains is by redirecting them to another site – usually a ‘money’ site – as if the expired domain has that authority I already touched upon, then there could be a good chance that that ‘backlink juice’ helping that domain will then filter on down to the main site – helping to build ranking and authority. This is not something I suggest as I think it’s not good practice in this day and age, but it works for some folk still.
I do not discuss this in my tutorials as I consider it quite greyhat and a great way to really learn how to get your site up and running for long term stability. You can easily find out how to do 301 redirects on any search engine.
PBN Network Building (Private Blog Network)
Again. This is not something I teach about nor condone as it is just another way to circumnavigate hard work and attain long lasting results for your sites. People buy expired domains with authority (sometimes no little authority or value) and build numerous ‘blogs’ with often poor content on them. They then link those blogs to their main website to, again, get ranking improvements.
Again – lots of articles and tutorials on how to do that and simple to do but not something I condone here.
That’s not trying to be all moralistic but I just don’t want to start anyone off on the wrong foot as we are after building experience and longevity here – something you will be proud of and pleased with in the future rather than a churn and burn website.
One of the most frustrating things about buying expiring domains is that there will always be others after that domain too. You will find a great domain with some authority, try and ‘catch’ it or buy it in an auction and then it is snatched by one of the ‘big’ folk – whomever they may be!
Then, when you go to look at the domain you will find it’s either been given a plain landing/holding page or is up for sale at a ridiculous price. That’s the nature of the beast! Some people are just resellers and that’s their main job and aim so they are very, very good at it.
4 Key Points to Remember when Buying
Expired or Expiring Domains in 2020
Key Point 1
Don’t trust everything you see with expired domain names
Know what you are doing but be prepared to make mistakes! When you first start looking for a domain, try and have an idea of what you are wanting to use the domain for.
I am going to assume that you want to build an authoritative site in your chosen niche and that you have already gone the ’pre-thought’ of your website journey looked at in Lesson 1 – the WWW +1 Lesson.
Before you press that ‘bid’ or ‘buy’ button on your domain try to remember that the person selling it, especially in auctions, often only shows you some elements of the domains good side – such as making you aware of the DA (Domain authority), Trust Flow and so on. There may be some elements that you have not seen or are not aware of. Do you research as per the points below!
Also, remember that there are some very clever people out there and the domain metrics may not be all what they seem – always check on other platforms (discussed later) to see different points of views.
Key Point 2
What’s up PA?
If you are reading this tutorial and information, then you already know about DA/PA and so on. You know that there are other metrics that need to be checked too, such as trust flow. Check these all the time and especially so before buying your domain. You want a high DA/PA of course but not at the expense of it being banned by Google (See Key Point 4) or having thousands of spam backlinks (See Key Point 3) unless you really want that churn and burn site.
The reality is that if you are after a high DA/PA domain then you will have to pay higher amounts for it as if you find one that has been expired a while then there is a very good reason why it’s not been picked up already.
That’s’ not to say that there are not some great domains out there to be had or about to expire but if they have been expired a long time then that chances of them retaining that authority or age will be very little under the eyes of Google.
Indeed it is still debated amongst those in the world of WWW/SEO how Big G and other search engines ‘see’ these expired domains – see this discussion, one of many, on Google. Indeed, Google takes a very dim view of domains /sites it catches using backlink services and so on – so be aware.
From my own point of view – you are looking for a domain that suits you brand and site. If that is expired but safe to use and has had (or got) some authority already and Is ‘clean’ from spam links – then great.
Key Point 3
Check those Spam Backlinks!
This is massive and I cannot stress enough how important this is. You get all excited because you have seen a great domain name you want, and it’s got thousands of backlinks and looks amazing! Too good to be true? Probably! After buying it you check the backlinks and find they all link from Chinese or Russians sources (or other countries!) and have been used only to rank the original site in the first place. Your site will probably not get very far or will take a lot of work to remove those spam links manually.
You have ways of checking these links before hand as well as checking the history of the site itself (discuss in the tutorial below). So, take the time to check the backlink and history of the domain first and you won’t regret it later!
Key Point 4
Has the Expired Domain Been Banned in Google?
When we say banned, sure the site may struggle to get indexed because of those spammy backlinks discussed above, but also if you are thinking about using for Googles Adsense program or other affiliate pogroms then there could be a good chance it has been banned.
You can search for ‘Google ban check’ online to check your domain before hand and you can even put a request in to Big G to look at your domain again – telling them it is now in new hands and that you are removing the bad links etc.
For those wanting to utilize those services (AdSense etc) then this is obviously key as you setup a site, add some great content but find all that hard work is in pace but you cant monetize it they way you wanted. Unless such a ban is lifted of course.
In previous tutorials I have also mentioned the term ‘sandbox’. Now this is something that is again hotly debate, as to whether it is real or not, but there could be a chance you don’t see any ranking on your sites pages/posts at all – regardless of that domain you just bought. This could be that you website needs to build trust and show that it’s actually worth listing in the indexes of the major search engines. Even if you submit your site to Google and Bing that is no guarantee that it will be indexed. In fact, it could take days, weeks, months or longer before you start to show in the listings, hence the ‘sandbox’
Again – this is hotly debated but don’t start thinking that you should be using link building companies or spamming social media with links to try and boost your sites rankings. Instead, continue to work on your site naturally and, in time and as long as that domain is ‘clean’, you will see the benefits of natural growth.
Don’t forget, sometimes it is worth just starting over again with a completely new domain and building your own domain authority slowly and surely! It’s great to see your domain grow (with your site) and at least you know what backlinks have been achieved, the history of the domain and so on.
Go to ExpiredDomains.net and register your free account.
Once registered you can then login (be aware you may need to confirm your email) and start to look at both expiring and expired/deleted domains.
Important – try not to be overwhelmed by the site – you can explore other features in your own time so for now let’s just concentrate on a simple search.
You will see that there is a ‘deleted’ domains tabs. We are just going to choose ‘deleted’ as you can look at the other tabs using the same options once you get to grips with the site and searching. So, go ahead and click on ‘Deleted Domains’.
You will see that there are lots of sites with all kinds of names. Now you should be starting to see just how much ‘junk’ there is and why it’s probably up for grabs! So let’s filter through these.
Next click on ‘filter’.
You will start under the ‘common’ tab. Under the common tab we are going to enter some basic values – again, don’t be tempted to go too far into the values here, little steps and then take a look in your own time.
You will have the option under ‘Domain Settings’ to choose ‘no numbers’ and ‘no hyphens. So go ahead and click both those. Again, if you don’t mind a number or hyphen in your domain then later you can keep these unchecked. You will find a lot of spam domain names are just made up of numbers and you will get used to seeing these. You will also see other options under ‘domain settings’ which you can play with later depending upon your preferences.
On the right you will see country flags, for the language, so we are going to choose English.
You will then click on the ‘additional‘ tab and tick com net & org (see image) as these are the key gTLDs we usually want. If you want a country specific on the take a look at the others and tick the one that you need to show.
You will notice that there is also the “Adwords & SEO” and “Majestic Tabs” and these are for the advanced levels really. Take a look at them but do try and just stick with this tuorial first if as you will miss some key points (the basics!).
At the bottom left of the page you can now click on ‘Apply Filter’ and that is then going to updated the results with the selections (filters) you have chosen.
You will now see you have a list of lots of domains as per your filter. The key here is to ensure you look at the right under the ‘status’ column. You will now see those that are registered and those that are available. I have left these in as you can get an idea of how many get registered quite quickly! But to remove these just choose “only available domains” under filter and the ‘common tab’ (image 2). What we want to do is look for the BL and DP columns. The aim is, in short, to look for domains that have both high BL (backlinks) and a number of backlinks from different domains as they tend to be ones that have a better DA/PA (not always though!) So go ahead an click on DP to see what comes up. Read down the list until you find some interesting BL & DP numbers together. If something reads in Chinese, such as the top on in the image, leave it as it will probably be a spam domain.
You can see that quite easily that I have found one that has lots of BL’s and generally some good numbers including with Alexa. It was dropped today. Now, remember that this may mean nothing until you check it out. It might not be even a domain name you like so then you would just keep on searching!
Next, take that domain you have found and take a look at it in a site such as https://www.prepostseo.com/domain-authority-checker one that checks the DA/PA for you (this is just an example and there are lots of better ones out there!).
When I check the domain it gave me a DA of 14 and PA of 33. Not too bad for a quick search but you can find one that suits – this is just an example remember.
Now – remember when I said you need to check if the website has been banned by Big G? Well this can be difficult for older domains that were dropped some time ago as they may no longer be indexed and could give a false reading. You can take a look and check for yourself but do be aware of this.
Next, however, I want to check the backlink history so I would use a service such as https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker and have a look. If I start to see too many spammy looking backlinks then leave it and run. You can see that this still has some high da links but I would check them out by clicking on them or just scanning – if I see tons of Chinese links then leave it.
So if you are still interested in that domain and all looks good so far, then head over to Way Back Machine. If you have not used this before then you really have been missing out! Enter the URL in the search box and hit enter. You will then see some bar charts, dates and under that a calendar with some circles in it (blue and green usually). Forget the green ones for now (they are redirects) and see what blue ones there are on specific dates. Click on one and see the page it opens.
From there you can really get an idea of what the site was up to (content etc) and when. What content was one there and what the site (and with it the domain) was doing over the years. It will give you a really good idea if it was a legit site or if it was taken over at some point and used as a spammy backlink or PBN.
Expired and Deleted Domains Better Understood?
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