Many people use expired domains and their existing backlink structure to build links to their website or use it as a link building opportunity for their client’s website. One of the most important reasons this method works pretty well is because you can save an awful lot of time and effort and have a website with a decent authority and link structure within hours.
However, in recent years Google have made significant changes in their algorithm that requires a different approach to link building, which means that we need to be more careful when it comes to expired domain link building as well. It requires careful preparation to get the right domain that is worthy of purchasing, so that the invested time and effort will pay off. If you just jump into it the process without the necessary precaution you can end up being penalised easily.
How to find the right domain
There are a number of tools that help you find expired domains. Network solutions even has an email alert function that notifies you when a domain that contains your desired keyword combinations expires. You can also try domain auction sites. Here you can bid for your favourite domain. The advantage of these sites is that you can more than likely find something you need for a reasonable price. There are a couple of tools that can help you find the right domain:
PrDrop: A free tool to help you buy domains through a GoDaddy Auction.
TB Solutions: This site is highly recommended. It’s one of the best places to find high PR domains and start ranking high with your website on search engines. The domains are usually high quality with great, natural backlinks. It also provides very good customer support.
Prnator: also a great site to find high PR domains. They have a large database and offer discounts occasionally. The only disadvantage of this site is that it is in French, so you need to be able understand French or use the translator to get there where you want to be.
What to check when buying a high PR domain
Check 301 redirects
Checking the domain for any 301 redirecting to the domain to make it look like it has higher PR is a must. Some vendors just simply try to sell a worthless domain as a premium by forging its PageRank. It’s bad practice but many try this to make money. You need to be prepared when buying existing domains. There are multiple tools to help you out such as Link Research Tool. Also, remember to check if the domain has a lot of spammy 301s pointing to it. If it does, then this is a red flag.
Checking backlink structure
Checking the backlink structure of the site will tell you what you get for your money. If there are too many spammy links pointing to the site, then it’s best to stay away of the domain. You can disavow those links but this can be time consuming and is not worth the effort unless other preferences of the domain could justify that.
Use Wayback Machine
You can have a look at the previous versions of the website by going back in time with the Wayback Machine. It’s a handy tool to see if the previous versions were not up to the standards. It makes a huge difference if someone just didn’t care for web standards and had an educational website or someone owned this website and sold Viagra.
Check brand reputation
Dig a little deeper and discover if the previous owner of the domain had any brand reputation issues in the past. It could badly affect your rankings and cause a lot more trouble than you’d want.
How to use expired domains to build links
There are multiple ways to use expired domains for link building. Some people simply redirect them to their existing domain and pass the link juice over it. Others turn them into a standalone website or blog and using it as a link resource. Some people add them to their existing link network and interlink them, while others use them to sell links.
I’m not saying any one of these ways is right or wrong. Any of the above mentioned methods could work well or could go completely wrong when Google turns its attention to a specific link building method and decides it to be bad practice. Whichever method you use you need to follow Google’s best practices to get it right. Fix on-page issues, disavow bad backlinks and 301 the original URLs to the new ones. Obviously you want to make your new site theme as relevant as possible to your target theme. Remember the relevancy factor is one of the most important factors when it comes to link building.
- Title tags, meta description
- Image titles, alt tags
- Outbound links to some high authority sites
- Include some theme specific articles in the website blog
It doesn’t mean for example, if you have a personal trainer client you will only be able to use personal trainer sites. You can still use any sport related themed site, but obviously if you’re cited by the Men’s Health magazine’s website it’s going to be worth a lot more. Of course you buy existing domains for a reason, because you want its page rank and its existing backlinks to benefit your websites. If you need to disavow most of its backlinks then what is the point of buying it at a premium price?
Place links naturally
Now we have our theme specific website set up, it’s time to get the link juice transferred by placing our links in the most natural way possible.
Follow this method to get the most out of your anchor text structure:
- First link needs to be your primary keyword
- The second keyword should point to a high authority website in your niche
- Don’t forget to use internal linking to other related pages, but do not overuse them
- Image titles and alt tags must be used appropriately. It means you need to use your exact match primary keyword as well as some broad match variation of it. Do not use the same exact match keywords all the time because it will lead to keyword stuffing which usually comes with a penalty.
Expired domain link building could be a very effective link building method if it’s done right. Don’t be afraid to use it, but consider its pros and cons before you spend money to buy your first domain. This method could be costly if you don’t plan it out properly. Planning the project not only saves you money but also gives you a piece of mind that you have taken all safety measures before you start.
Another thing to take into consideration is, that Google changes its view on what it considers as safe link building and what it doesn’t. Every webmaster has different ideas about risk and many people make a lot of money using methods that I wouldn’t do personally. It all depends on what you do, how much time and effort you put into it and how much risk you can take to improve the rankings of your website.
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“Egg Printing” by Mark Turnauckas