The Pros and Cons of Buying Expired Domains with PageRank
Marketers, bloggers, and side-hustlers alike know the importance of SEO for search engine ranking and organic traffic.
Every domain owner wants some hack to fast-track their blog to a spot on Google's first page.
Few website owners know the one SEO technique that could launch their site to the coveted position: buying expired domains.
Digital marketing professionals have used expired domains to improve website rankings for years. Over a decade ago, most industry experts considered a website's PageRank (PR) the most essential SEO measurement.
PR is another name for the algorithm Google uses to determine how to rank web pages in its search engine results (SERPs) – a higher PR score means that your SEO tactics are yielding some very positive returns.
Google even provided the previously public-facing PR toolbar to test your site's ranking and check the order of other sites.
Ten years later, however, marketing professionals rarely mention PR today. But that doesn't mean that PR doesn't play a role in your website's SEO performance.
Business owners, marketing agencies, and bloggers can leverage expired domains for various purposes.
Whether they choose to redirect the domain to their current website or transfer their site's contents to the domain, their strategies yield wide-ranging results: from mediocre to massively successful. So make sure you learn how to renew an expired Google domain as this could be your life saving SEO tactic.
In this article, we've broken down the process of purchasing expired domains to help you understand why it may be a good choice for your website and how to audit a domain before purchase.
Why You Should Consider Buying an Expired Domain Name
Purchasing an expired domain will give you one significant advantage over your competitors: authority.
If you're on the fence about purchasing expired domains, you should consider four critical factors that will boost your site's SEO and drive more traffic to your pages.
1. The Google algorithm analyzes domain age when ranking websites.
Among other factors, Google considers domain age when ranking webpages. While this may seem arbitrary – a domain could have had little or no use for a decade – the search engine developers have two reasons for doing so:
- Junky spam sites don't usually last very long since spammers jump from one domain to another.
- An older domain is typically better-established.
That said, an older domain may not always carry more weight than a newer domain. Content quality heavily impacts search-engine-ranking position.
A site owner whose website publishes fresh material and has a strong SEO strategy may not want to take on an older domain name.
For a clearer picture of the age of your site, use Wayback Machine. Tools like WHOIS will tell you the date of registry, but WayBack Machine will provide you with the date the site premiered.
The "first crawl" date is one of the critical factors in the search engine algorithm.
2. Expiring domains have a backlink profile.
Thousands of domains expire each day. If you're able to purchase an expired domain from a publisher who focused on ranking highly in Google's search engine, you will likely discover a complete backlink structure with existing authority links.
Every SEO expert knows that building a site with superior backlinks requires time – and lots of it. Between content creation, promotion, and leveraging paid advertising strategies, you can expect a significant lag time for a new domain.
You should focus on building and implementing a backlink strategy. However, purchasing an expired domain full of backlinks can provide you with a foundation.
From there, you can continue expanding the previous owner's work.
3. Expired domain names help you target an existing audience.
More than likely, an expired domain already has an existing audience. You know that your site needs qualified traffic to thrive, but building an audience from scratch takes time.
You can accelerate the process in a few ways, including
- creating quality content
- implementing a link-building strategy for backlinks
- integrating linked internal and external pages
- optimizing keywords with a high search volume
However, similar to a backlink profile, purchasing an expired domain can provide you with a cushion of qualified, organic traffic.
4. High-PR expired domains have an established rank.
Google ranks web pages based on the site's PR score. A high PR score means a higher position in the company's search engine.
But achieving a high PR score takes time. A 2020 study indicated that top-ranking pages had been around for at least two years, if not longer. Consequently, only 5% of new websites make it into the top ten.
When you purchase an expired domain with a large number of quality backlinks, you stand a better chance of achieving a higher PR score in significantly less time.
The Downsides of Buying Expired Domain Names With PageRank
So far, we've mentioned quite a few benefits of purchasing expired domains. However, you should know that some domains could harm your marketing strategy.
Before purchasing an expiring domain, take a moment to consider the downsides of buying expired domains.
If the domain you hope to purchase has a poor history, you may end up with a de-indexed or blacklisted site.
These domains typically have low-quality traffic from bots, or several other negative factors, including:
- Duplicated content
- Manipulating anchor text
- Security breaches
- Spammy backlinks
- Keyword stuffing
Before purchasing a domain name for improved performance, ensure that you won't get hit with a penalty due to misuse or manipulative SEO tactics performed by the previous website owner.
When you purchase an expired domain, you expect it to stand up against your rivals.
However, if your domain name faces competition from several high-authority websites, you may want to consider another domain.
Rather than fighting for a position on Google's first page while using competitive keywords, consider a link-building strategy that integrates low-competition keywords.
These long-tail terms have decent monthly queries and make it much easier to rank.
Bidding Wars During Auctions
The bottom line is: Don't get into a bidding war over a domain.
If you're in search of a high-performing domain for your site, you can bet that others are, too. This increased interest will drive up the price, and you'll end up paying more for a domain name that likely won't be worth it in the long run.
Unless you can confidently determine that the SEO benefits will justify the price, wait for another domain name – or create your own.
Key Factors to Consider Before Buying Expired Domain Names
Choosing the best domain for your site requires a bit of vetting on your side. Rather than grabbing the first high-traffic or low-cost domain you see, check for a few SEO-boosting factors, including the following.
1. Domain History
Remember the domain penalties we referenced earlier? While a previous owner may have elicited the penalty, these marks transfer with the domain.
This means that you could end up stuck with a blacklisted site – and a major headache as you attempt to undo the damage.
Before you purchase a domain, head to the Internet Archive to verify its history. The free service will create a timeline of your domain's life.
You can even click on each year for a look at its previous use, backlinks, internal and external links, and more to determine:
- If the backlinks actually exist
- Whether or not the linked pages have a "NoFollow" tag
- The value and context of the link
- The number of outbound linked pages
2. Link Profile
You can choose between several resources to reveal the quality of your domain's link structure.
However, Ahrefs' backlink checker provides a comprehensive look at all of your domain's links, including:
- Follow and NoFollow links
- Issues with the site
- Internal links
- External links
- Your domain's previous IP addresses
- Growth of backlinks
The database will check each of the expired domain's links, allowing you to avoid a potentially complex purchase.
3. Domain and Page Authority
Before purchasing an expired domain, use the Moz SEO Toolbar to check the site's domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) data.
These metrics impact your search engine ranking and predict the likelihood that your site or web page will appear during a search.
Both metrics rate websites based on a score of 1-100. The Moz products will analyze the domain based on all of the site's content, backlinks, and other factors.
Additionally, SEMRush offers a SERP data analysis for your domain. Simply input the URL and get a reliable estimate on:
- Which keywords your domain ranks highly for
- The estimated organic traffic you would get each month
- The estimated cost to purchase the traffic that the site currently gets
4. Organic vs. Bot Traffic
If you've found the perfect name for your niche site, you may feel the urge to buy it without further research, especially if it boasts a high number of visitors.
However, before purchasing, you should look at the visitors to ensure that you're getting the right ones – not just spambots.
Input the domain into Google Analytics for a closer look at the traffic. Are there any significant increases in a short timeframe? Is the traffic always from a direct referral? Is the bounce rate close to 100%?
All of these questions provide insight into the quality of your domain's traffic.
If you notice a large number of one-page views, a bounce rate approaching 100%, and primarily new visitors, you may have a problem.
How to Buy Expiring Domains: PageRank Tips
You'll quickly find that buying expiring domains couldn't be simpler.
When domains expire, the domain host will register them as inactive and send them to auction at a site like GoDaddy, where hopeful owners can bid on various sites.
To find your domain's auction house, you can look up the URL, the date of its domain registration, and more on WHOIS.
From there, you can find the domain registrar and its auction partner. Though you can find a NameCheap expired domain at NameCheap's own aftermarket site.
After the host releases the domains for auction, you can make a choice between the available sites and join others in the bidding.
Remember, some people will attempt to drive up the price of a site. You will typically have better luck placing your bid at the end of the auction.
If you're unsure which kind of domains would suit your needs, you can use our simple Spamzilla tool to search for expiring sites.
Another method includes performing manual word and phrase searches through Google, though this method takes more time.
When people set out to purchase expired domains, they use one of the oldest tricks in the search engine optimization handbook.
Selecting expiring domains from a domain list offers a clear advantage to anyone willing to take the risk.
Though not all expired URLs yield the same outcomes, you may quickly discover that the SEO benefits are well worth the time and money.
If you want a powerful domain that will send your website to the top of the search results or form an integrated private blog network to enhance readership, our comprehensive search tools at SpamZilla is here for you.
From backlinks mining to custom filters that display new domain lists daily, you can enhance your blog, store, or business's performance faster with optimized domains from SpamZilla.