Finding Expired Domains for your Blog: More Traffic from Day 1

Are you starting a blog? In this article we’ll show you exactly how you can save at least 12 months of your time and hit the ground running with your blog getting traffic from day 1.

How? Well, before we get started, first think of starting your new blog like you were looking to start a brick and mortar business. One of the first things you would consider is where to start looking to set up shop, right?

Say if you were opening a restaurant, you might look to lease in an area with a busy nightlife. Ideally, it would be a place that had previously operated as an eatery so it less work had to be done to get it up to operational standards.

You may even find an existing business to buy outright so you can hit the ground running. This would allow you to start turning over revenue much quicker than if you had to build a restaurant from scratch.

So when it comes to your online business why should things be any different?

When most people are starting up a website their first step is to look for a domain name available to buy, and most people end up buying is a domain name that has never been used before.

This is the real-life equivalent of building your business in an empty lot on a non-commercial street. Putting the kitchen in yourself; dealing with all the industry regulation; starting completely from scratch.

This is fine if you want to use your own specific branding (and there might be times when this is unavoidable) but wouldn’t it be so much better if you could start your online business with a lot of the groundwork already done?

Well with a bit of patience and the technique below you can do exactly that.

The ‘Under New Management’ Technique

The ‘Under New Management’ expired domain technique is the most effective way to get authority and visibility for your website from the moment you set it live.

And I’m going to show you exactly how to do it step by step below.

But first I want to tell you why it is such a valuable idea.

This technique lets you leverage the work done by the previous tenants of your domain name and get results for your business or blog much faster.

What you are looking to do is find a website within your industry that is no longer hosted and use this online real estate to build your website.

When this is done right you can start off your websites with all the benefits that are usually only accessible after years of online presence. A domain name with a decent amount of age and authority and quality backlinks equates to traffic from the get go.

Read the steps below to find out exactly how to find an awesome domain name to get your blog off to a flying start.

 

Step 1 – Finding Your Source

So you’re probably already thinking: “this all sounds great, but how the heck will I find an authoritative domain in my niche, that is available to buy?”

Well, it is actually much easier than you think. You just have to know where to look.

There are websites that will deliver you lists of expired domains eg: expireddomains.net.

But the problem with scouring these types of sites is that there are so many spammy domains and non important domains to weed through.

Even though you are going to find a tonne of domains you can buy, you’ll have to sort through a lot of them to find an awesome site that ticks all the boxes to give you the head start you need.

Luckily, we’re sharing a technique that will let you search for expired domains in your niche in a way that is going to find much higher quality domains.

The best domains for the ‘Under New Management Technique’ are going to be domains that were once popular but, for one reason or another, are no longer around. These kind of websites were likely all the rage in the search results three years ago and got features from a range of valuable sources: best of lists, monthly round up posts, valuable resources pages and other similar bits of content.

In 2017 the results for these pages in Google’s index are probably buried way outside the top 100 results.

But if you use this simple little trick that we use as a Melbourne SEO agency you can find the sites that were popular several years ago:

  1. First go to Google and use a keyword like “Top x blogs” or “recommended x blogs” to find websites with articles that are round up posts of websites in your niche and industry. Obviously replace x with your niche, like travel, finance, health etc
  2. Then click ‘Tools’
  3. Click ‘Anytime’. Then Click Custom Range.
  4. Limit your search, in the ‘To’ field, some point several years back. You will want to play around with this to get the best results but generally 3 to 4 years will be good for most cases.

And, hey presto, you’ve got a bunch of blogs/sites related to your website idea that were once worthy of note.

Check out the full process:

 

Step 2 – Find the ones you can use

So now you’ve got a list of plenty of websites that were popular 3+ years ago.

Now you need to know which ones are no longer active and up for grabs.

You could open each link up in a new tab but, as usual, there is an easier way.

Click on a search result that has a decent amount of websites listed (50-100)

Then you want to install a link checking plugin to your browser. There are plenty out there but the one I use is Check My Links. This way you can see at a glance which websites that are listed on the page no longer point to an active website.

With Check My Links any links highlighted red or black will be viable targets for your expired domain hunt.

check-active-links

 

Step 3 – Find the availability

Not every domain that isn’t hosting a website is going to be available straight away. Just because it doesn’t host a website, doesn’t mean it is for sale.

Go to Crazy Domains or any other online domain seller to check the status of the domain name.

You will get one of two different situations:

  1. The domain will be available for purchase through the domain vendor
  2. The domain will be on ‘BACK ORDER’ which means someone else still owns the domain.

If the domain is owned by someone else then you will either need to create a backorder through a service provider like Snap Names who will buy the domain for you as soon as it becomes available again (this is a risk as it can be a tricky process to secure these domains that go back onto the market) or get in contact with the site owner via the domain’s WhoIs record to try and buy it off them (a better option).

Go to Who Is to see if you can find this out (it is possible this will be set to ‘Registration Private’, in which case you may be out of luck).

Record the contact detail in our ‘Expired Domain Spreadsheet’ which can be downloaded here. The remaining columns in this spreadsheet will be explained in the next step.

Looking up who.is records:

 

Step 3 – Sort the wheat from the chaff

Just because a website was in a ‘Best Of’ article doesn’t mean it is worth buying for your website. Here is a quick list of checks and balances you should go through with every website to see if it is worth your time.

Take you target website and put it into ahrefs and Majestic SEO.

Then enter the following information in the supplied ‘Expired Domain Spreadsheet’:

  • Domain Rank (ahrefs)
  • Trust Flow (Majestic)
  • Referring Domains (ahrefs)
  • Spam Score (manual evaluation)

Domain Rank

This is an internal metric ahrefs use to evaluate the strength of a website’s backlink profile. It is a score out of 100 and the bigger the number the stronger the profile. It will weight links from high authority websites as more important so it is influenced by more than just the overall number of backlinks.

 

Trust Flow

This is also a score that will fall between 0-100. It gives a score based on how closely a website is associated with ‘trusted seed sites’ that the Majestic SEO team reviews manually. While Majestic SEO does not claim to have reviewed every trusted website on the web, a high Trust Score is a strong indication that the site is within a network of legitimate sites.

 

Referring Domains

You can find your referring domains here. Referring Domains shows how many top level websites are linking to this url. Look out for sites with a suspicious looking ratio between their backlinks and their referring domains as high levels of backlinks from a small number of domains could be an indication of sitewide links. The number of referring domains has much more of an impact on rankings than the total number of links.

 

Spam Score

This is something you are going to have to do yourself. The best thing to do is to click on ‘Backlinks’ in ahrefs and scroll through the results.

Eyeball the list of links and judge the names of the website and the anchor text to decide if the link profile looks natural.

Some things to look out for that are a red flag:

  • High levels of exact -match keyword anchor text, especially when they seem commercially driven  (e.g. links pointing to the site with ‘buy travel insurance’ rather than a branded link like ‘journey of a million miles’ or ‘journeyofamillionmiles.com’
  • Mostly directory links
  • If the links aren’t relevant to your niche
  • Evidence the site has been hacked (links to viagra, sex sites etc)

So once you have completed these steps you should have a list of viable, quality domains related to your area of focus. From there you’ll need to either purchase a domain that is deleted and available to purchase like any other domain or negotiate with an owner the purchase of a domain that is not yet expired. It just comes down to your personal preference. The domain names you buy off an owner are likely to vary significantly in price, but when making your decision you have to consider how quickly you want to start getting genuine traction.

Using an expired domain can be a real game-changer when you are first starting out and can help you to immediately start competing with bigger websites for rankings, even though they have been doing it for years