So you’ve heard that expired domains are GOOD for SEO and rankings, so what are you waiting for?
It’s pretty simple.
Well, if you get lucky, then you could land a great domain straight off the bat. But if you don’t fancy gambling your money on domains, then this short guide to finding the right domain should help you.
So let’s get started, but firstly…
Why Buy Expiring Domains?
It’s said that domains are like fine wine, they get better with age. However, if it isn’t treated with respect then that “wine” is going to taste like vinegar and leave a bad taste in your mouth.
If however, it has been treated well throughout it’s life, with quality links pointing to the domain, no spam and the content has stayed on (or at least close) topic with the domain name, then you could have yourself a keeper.
Your “Good Domain” checklist
Here are a handful of metrics that you should check before you go into more details. It’s not important that you have EVERY metric covered, but say at least 3 out of 4 of those should at least meet the criteria 1 to 4 below.
1. Page authority>20
2. Domain authority>15
*You can check points 1 and 2 for free with the Moz.com Open Site Explorer.
3. Trust Flow>15
4. Citation Flow>15
*Points 3 and 4 be checked with a free (but limited) account at Majestic Seo.
It’s all very well having great metrics, but if the domain has been spammed in the past, it’s a no go.
You’ll have to use a bit of sound judgment on this one, but some of the “tell-tale” clues are things such as;
- Chinese or foreign language back links
- Extremely high percentage of “same match” anchor texts
- Tons of low quality links (PR N/A, free platforms, software generated etc etc)
Getting Reliable Information On Your Backlinks
There are tons of back link checkers, and none of them are 100% reliable.
However, there’s a huge difference between the subscription based services and those FREE back link checkers such as this one.
If you’re going to be buying a domain, USE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES OR LOCAL SOFTWARE to do the job.
Here’s a few recommendations (all of which have free/limited options)
Great service with loads of easy-to-use insights. A bit pricey but this is a personal favourite of mine.
- Moz.com (Pro subscription)
If you didn’t know. Moz is one of the biggest authorities in SEO, headed by Rand Fishkin. Aside from the analytics side of things, you can learn a lot about SEO over there.
Probably the best option if all you’re doing is buying domains for your yourself. Starts at $49 but you can even share the costs with a friend. Why not eh?
Anchor Text %
Generally speaking, when I personally build links for 1 target keyword, I keep the percentage of exact match anchor text around 20% or less to avoid an Over-Optimization Penalty. The remaining 80% being closely related keywords or generic keywords such as click here, visit this site etc etc.
When checking the back link profile of a domain you’re interested in, make sure the anchor text of the target keyword(s) found are 20% or below.
You should make sure the domain hasn’t been dropped too many times. The more times it’s been dropped, the more likely it’s been abused and should be avoided. An aged domain usually does have history so some sound judgment is needed here.
Checking Previous Content
You should take a look at the content over the years. If the content topic has swung widely from one niche to another, it’s sensible to avoid buying the domain.
To view what the site looked like before it went up for auction, punch in the domain name over at archive.org
And that’s it! If you have all these points covered, you’ve probably got a decent domain up for grabs. There are a couple of additional points that I’ll be adding to this in the future, but for now, I hope this helped.
Tip: If you can run through these checks super fast, domains that have literally minutes left on the Godaddy Auctions are your best chance of picking up a good deal.
In my experience (and this is just a theory of mine really), bidding on a domain with days to go creates attention and makes the other bidders feel like they’re missing out on something.
Some of the best domains I currently own, have been picked up right at the end of an auction.
Have fun and let me know if you pick up something special!