The process of starting a brand-new website can sound daunting. You’ll likely put in hours of work creating content but, even so, still remain unnoticed for a long time—but not if you take advantage of buying an expired domain.

Every day, domain owners toss out domains with an expired shelf life. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use them.

On the contrary, expired domains often come already embedded with strong backlink profiles and targeted traffic that can give you a leg up on your competition.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a near-endless expired domains list at your fingertips so that you could find the best ones?

Allow our experts at Spamzilla to walk you through the process of finding a high-quality expired domain.

What Is an Expired Domain?

When someone purchases a domain, it comes with a contract that they must renew by a certain time. A domain expires when the domain owner doesn’t renew the contract by the expiry date.

At this point, another buyer can buy expired domains, re-register the domains and do whatever they please with their content.

So if you are thinking, oh geez when does my domain expire? Make sure you're already tracking your domain expiration date, especially if your domain has strong backlinks.

Benefits of Using Expired Domain Names

The process of buying and repurposing expired domains can give your website a major SEO advantage, which you can use in a few different ways, as follows.

Building Authority Sites

A high-authority site will rank higher in search results, but the process of building up authority usually takes time and money. However, an expired domain might already bring some accrued authority to the table.

You can use all of that authority to give your new website a head start compared to the blank slate you’d get with a brand-new domain.

Depending on your goals, you can either build on the existing website content or start from scratch. Either way, a content-rich website will hold more authority.

If you want to use the expired domain’s authority to add to an existing website, you can create a microsite with relevant content. Your main website and microsite don’t have to share one domain name to boost brand awareness or rank higher in search results.

Redirecting Relevant Traffic to Your Website

If the domain’s original website covered the same content area as yours, you might be able to get its users to convert to your website using a 301 redirect.

A 302 redirect refers to the HTTP status code of the webpage that's no longer in service and the embedded command to send a visitor to a new page instead.

The redirect setup process will depend on your web server, but in general, a 301 redirect highlights the path to the most relevant webpage—that is, the one on your website—instead of the old webpage. As a result, you’ll pass all of the link juice from the old website to your blog.

Building a Private Blog Network

You can also use an expired domain to create a blog that links back to your monetized website.

If you complete this process a handful of times with different domains, you can build a private network of high-authority websites in one specific content area, which will help you grow incoming links and rank higher on Google.

For this process to work, though, remember that you’ll have to keep posting quality content on each site and monitor how well your network of links is performing.

Reselling the Domain for a Profit

Domain flipping entails adding more SEO value to an expired domain and then reselling it for a higher price than what you paid.

Depending on how many domains you sell per week, you could add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your income each month.

Ways to Find Expired Domain Names

If you already have a domain name in mind, you can use one of the many free WHOIS lookup tools to run a domain expiry check to learn its expiration date, the current owner, and the owner's contact information. This does not require an expired domain search.

If you haven’t settled on a particular domain name yet—or can’t obtain your first choice—then you can start the process and search expiring domains on our Spamzilla software from a variety of angles:

  • Search by keyword: Enter keywords related to your content area to get a list of expired domains with backlinks from websites ranking for those keywords. Most people use this method.
  • Search via websites: Crawl a website to find expired domains it links to.
  • Reverse-search domains: Use another domain’s backlinks to scan for expired domains.
  • Search via web 2.0: Web 2.0 refers to web platforms that emphasize user-generated content, including social media. You can scan several different web 2.0 platforms to find relevant expired domains.

Best Places to Find Expired Domain Names

In addition to a dedicated search site like ours at Spamzilla, you can look for expired domains in three types of places: domain registrars, auction sites, and domain name marketplaces.

Domain Registrars

Simply put, this type of business helps people buy and manage their domain names; think of GoDaddy, for example.

A licensed domain registrar handles the domain allocation process, as well as the process of assigning an IP address to each domain name.

The registrar stores all domain records in a dedicated registry. You can search this vast domain list for ones that suit the website you want to create.

Auction Sites

When a domain expires, the registrar may enter it into an auction. However, the sale only goes through if the website owner doesn’t renew the domain before the 30-day redemption period ends.

Otherwise, domain auctions work much like any other type of auction: Potential buyers bid on the expired domain over a specified period of time—usually seven days—and keep making counteroffers until the highest bidder wins the domain.

First, the seller estimates a starting bid based on traffic, age, content area, and SEO ranks.

Sometimes, although not often, an auction may display this estimated cost as a fixed price, which means you can simply buy the domain instead of bidding.

You can narrow your search for domains to bid on by filters such as domain extension, bid amount, expiration date, and others.

Domain Name Marketplaces

As you could probably guess, domain sales occur on a marketplace website.

Sellers typically set the price of marketplace domains, or you may have to make an initial offer to begin the buying process.

If you want to find your domain without spending a cent, you can search through expiring domains on Spamzilla.

When you create your free account, you can review 25 randomly selected domains to find your perfect match.

However, if you want to own multiple domains or get into the domain flipping business, you may want to upgrade to our paid plan on Spamzilla, which gives you access to millions of expired domains, plus useful tools and SEO metrics.

How to Find Good Expired Domains

So, you've found an expired domain that would work well for your business or personal site, but how do you know whether or not it's any good?

When searching for quality expired domains, the vetting process involves looking for a number of criteria, including the following.

If you want to use a particular domain name extension like .com or .net, you need to make sure that the expired domain you want is available for that extension.

Otherwise, you might have to resort to more obscure extensions that might make your website harder for users to remember.

Old Domain Age

Provided they have a clean history, older domains typically boast more SEO value than newer ones. A domain’s age dates back to its first registration.

However, keep in mind that domain age doesn’t equate with website age, which starts over if you build a brand-new website with the domain.

The best domains have valid backlinks from other websites within your content area, including large, reputable platforms as well as small blogs.

Unfortunately, some expired domains contain spammy backlinks with anchor text—that is, the clickable text in a hyperlink—in various languages, especially Chinese.

You want to find a domain with a natural-looking backlink profile for maximum search engine results page (SERP) visibility.

As the only expired domain database with backlink data, we provide a powerful tool for scanning backlinks.

High Domain Authority and Page Authority Scores

In addition to its backlinks, the domain itself should have high authority, meaning that search engines recognize the site as a source of high-quality, original content instead of a site built for the sole purpose of farming links.

Two metrics that will give you an idea of an expired domain’s authority include domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA).

Note that the latter refers to a single webpage, not the whole site. The SEO software Moz scores DA and PA on a scale from zero to 100.

Few domains achieve a score of 100, so just focus on grabbing an expired domain with a higher score than that of your competitors’ domains. At minimum, look for DA 25+.

Indexed on Google

Google plays a major part in a domain’s value, as only indexed pages will show up on the Internet.

You can check a domain’s index status using the free Google Console tool, which will show you what the website looked like the last time Google crawled it.

If the search reveals that Google never indexed the website, you should consider a different expired domain.

A non-indexed domain can take a long time to reinstate, if you can even reinstate it at all.

Allowed on Google Adsense

If you plan to monetize your website, you need to make sure that Google Adsense hasn’t banned the expired domain you want to use.

High Website Traffic

If available, you should check a domain’s traffic numbers to see how well it performed in the past. Alexa ranks sites based on traffic regarding content areas and “search” keywords.

Relevant Content

A domain with content unrelated to your niche won’t help you attract the traffic you want. As a result, the bounce rate of your website will increase.

To view your desired domain’s previous content, enter the name into the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which saves content from public sites dating all the way back to 1996.

No Spam History

Spammers often send emails from domains that anti-spam filters haven’t blocked yet, eventually rendering the domain useless because search engines ban it from their indexes.

Our Spamzilla service scores expired domains by their cleanliness, analyzing multiple data points throughout the domain’s life for potential spam.

Find the Best Expired Domains on Spamzilla

Now that you know how to find expired domains, you can use that knowledge to browse our vast domain lists.  

Sign up today to start the process, and feel free to contact our team for more info!