Before you launch your website, one idea to consider is purchasing a domain that has recently expired. Purchasing expired domains has long been a popular way to take advantage of the PageRank previously acquired by a domain.
Purchasing an expired domain can help you avoid the dreaded Google Sandbox effect that keeps new websites from showing up on Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs).
However, you can’t purchase just any expired domain and expect to benefit from its PageRank. If your website’s content is drastically different from the content that used to be on the domain, Google might penalize you.
You should always be patient when trying to build traffic to a website. The impact made by digital marketing is notoriously difficult to evaluate and, as such, it can be a while before you start seeing meaningful results from your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
In this article, we’ll give you six crucial tips to help you properly take advantage of expired domains and avoid being penalized by Google and other search engines.
1. Choose a domain that used to have content similar to your own content.
Google doesn’t publish the exact algorithms it uses to determine if a domain’s new content is similar to the domain’s old content. Nevertheless, research has shown that purchasing an expired domain helps with SEO so long as the domain continues to have content that users expect to find on that domain.
Therefore, make sure your content closely matches what used to be associated with the expired domain you’re considering. If your content doesn’t closely match what used to be on the domain, you should look for a different domain.
Remember that domains are a part of your online business’ identity and branding, so make sure the domain you’re choosing is one you can live with. The ideal domain name should consist of just 1 to 3 words, be easy to spell and pronounce, and come available with a .com extension.
2. Check the quality of the domain’s backlinks.
Expired domains are especially valuable when they have high-quality backlinks from authoritative and reputable websites, such as well-known publications and respected blogs.
On the other hand, expired domains that have poor quality backlinks can hurt SEO and PageRank. Poor quality backlinks include links from discussion forums, blog comments, and directory submission services. Always use a proper tool to analyze domain backlinks before purchasing an expired domain.
3. Use permanent redirects to transfer over equity from the expired domain
Permanent redirects, also known as 301 redirects, are a type of status response code sent by web servers to indicate that a web page has permanently moved to a new address or URL.
Using permanent redirects, you can capture an expired domain’s link juice while still keeping the existing domain for your website. For those uninitiated: link equity is the value and authority possessed, and a link can pass that on.
The way 301 redirects are configured varies between website hosting companies. Some hosting companies make the task more difficult than others. NameSilo has built an easy-to-use web-based interface that its customers can utilize to configure 301 redirects.
4. Utilize DNSSEC protection
One of the biggest security risks for domain names is DNS (domain name system) hijacking, or where cybercriminals can take control of a DNS request to locate your application or server and launch cache poisoning attacks. This means the hacker can replace your DNS database entry with a new malicious IP address that sends you to their own server so that they can access your data.
To prevent this from happening, you should invest in Domain Name Security Extensions, or DNSSEC, to protect your new domain name. As cybersecurity expert Mark Preston of Cloud Defense discusses, DNSSEC protection “can prevent your servers from being tricked by a bad actor by using a kind of foolproof ID system. Your DNS address will then be relatively safe from hijacking unless the would-be attacker uses another kind of disguise.”
5. Build a private blog network (PBN)
Finally, you can use an expired domain to boost the PageRank of your website by building a private blog network, or PBN, around your website.
To create a PBN, you first need to purchase multiple expired domains that have built up some authority. Then, you need to develop content for each of these domains. Links to your website are inserted into each domain’s content.
The sole purpose of building a PBN is to link to a main website, but we should note that PBNs are generally perceived as a risky way to boost PageRank. If Google suspects that a group of websites is a PBN, and the websites were built exclusively to link to a main website, heavy penalties such as complete delisting can be imposed.
6. Build a website that relates to an expired domain
Rather than trying to find an expired domain that’s a good match to your domain, you can operate in reverse and build your website on a new domain that is a good match to an expired one. To help you do this, you can utilize NameSilo’s domain search tool for finding domains similar to your search term.
If you choose to go this route and need to purchase a new domain, you should be attentive to the domain extension you’re going to use. Domain extensions are the “.com”, “.net”, “.org”, or the part that comes after the actual domain name.
The .com extension is often the most valuable, because it can encompass a wide variety of different website types, including commercial sites. However, many of the most sought after .com domains are already in use and can be quite expensive to purchase from the current owner.
7. Reach out to websites that have broken links to the expired domain
Last but not least, keep in mind that most websites do not routinely check to see if they have broken links to expired domains. You can capitalize on this fact by purchasing an expired domain that is being linked to from authoritative websites.
Purchasing an expired domain is just one way you can start driving traffic to your website. But as we’ve pointed out, using expired domain names to build your traffic needs to be done with care.
Otherwise, you risk Google and other search engines reducing your website’s PageRank, making it harder to get your website off the ground. By following the tips we’ve given you in this article, you can be sure to get the most out of the purchase of an expired domain.