Once upon a time, expired domains were critical to SEO. The thinking went that if you could get your hands on an expired domain with a high Domain Authority (DA), you could quickly improve the ranking of your website.
Today, expired domains are significantly less powerful - but they still have an impact. Unfortunately, most affiliate website owners and search engine professionals have overly devalued their use.
This represents an opportunity. With expired domains being slept-on by many professionals, you can snag a high-value domain for a fraction of the price and use the DA to offset Google's recent decrease in PageRank (PR) weighting.
Finding expired domains is a subject in and of itself, but there are a few key methods that you can use:
Google search for "expired domains" or "domain auctions". You'll find a number of services and websites that allow you to search for expired domains, like expireddomains.net. That said, note that you won't be the first person to think of this; competition for the best domains on websites like these are high.
Use a backlink checker tool such as Ahrefs or Majestic to find links to major news or review articles from five or ten years ago. Many of the websites linked to in these articles will have since expired or stopped being updated; you can either search for these websites on a domain name search engine or reach out directly to their owners. This strategy takes significantly longer, but often yields better results.
Monitor social media accounts of journalists or bloggers who have recently moved on from their job. Many times, these individuals will give away domains they own or no longer have use for, and journalists/bloggers are much less likely to understand the value of a high DA domain.
Next, you'll have to 'sanitize' the domain. You can use Search Console or Google's disavow tool to remove any links that you don't want associated with your site. This is an important step, as a domain with spammy links will likely receive a penalty from Google - even if the website is expired.
Note that, despite removals, some websites are simply irredeemable - pay close attention to their spam scores on platforms like Moz and Ahrefs to give you a general idea as to their trustworthiness.
Afterwards, set up a temporary website on the domain and 301 redirect all of the old links (and any new content you add) to pages on the new site. Ideally, your new website would be similar in content nature to the old website - this will help retain any link juice the domain has.
If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, reach out to a web developer who can help set up the redirects for you. They're critical to maintaining the domain's SEO value.
Lastly, rank it as usual. If you've done everything correctly, your website should see an improvement in time-to-rank due to the high DA of the domain.
Of course, as with anything SEO-related, there are no guarantees. But there's a reason the top experts in the field still use expired domains - they can provide a noticeable boost to your rank speed, and when it comes to SEO, every minute helps.
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Thanks for reading!