Don't Bother Ranking Expired Domains

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Hello!

With all of the craziness going on in Google updates, I wanted to share some information about expired domains. For quite some time, people have been purchasing expired domains and ranking them for various keywords. Not too long ago, you could rank a general expired domain for almost any keyword, regardless of what the site used to be about.

Then, Google changed something, which made it nearly impossible to rank general expired domains for topics that weren't closely related to the former site's content. For example, it would be nearly impossible to rank a site that was about traffic courts for a keyword like "best weight loss diet".

I'm not sure of the exact date, but I believe sometime last year Google has flipped another switch and changed things yet again. Recently, I purchased two expired domains from Godaddy auctions. Both of these domains were former ice cream businesses.

Both sites had decent DA, PA, TF and CF metrics. DA was 25 for one site and 29 for the other. The sites had good enough metrics to be used in a powerful link network. All of the backlinks to each site contained the site's brand name, which was the business name, which included the words 'ice cream'. I attempted to build out a site on each of these domains targeting affiliate commissions from Amazon.

I had to wait about a week before the domains were released from the auctions. Once released, I immediately setup a 5-page wordpress site on each domain. All unique content targeting buyer keywords, like I would with a normal affiliate site. I let the sites site for about three weeks to see where Google would rank them naturally, without sending any links to them.

Even with the targeted content and natural links already pointing at the site, Google refused to rank the sites anywhere. Finally, Google started ranking the sites between pages 10 to 30 -- or 100 to 300 in the SERPs. Take a look at the recent RankTrack data for both sites.

Site 1:


Site 2:


I just realized I didn't load the search volume for the keywords shown in the pictures. It's about anywhere from 50 to 3,400 exact local monthly searches. The pictures shown were taken about a month after I sent 30 high PR links to each of the sites. You can see absolutely no movement.

Here is an image showing one of the keywords, which gets 170 exact monthly searches:
http://cloudfortunes.com/wp-content/...4/warrior3.png

You would think that the domain should be able to rank by itself for such low volume keywords. However, Google is acting like it has something against the site. It's like it wants to rank it -- but something is stopping it.

Both of the sites were PR 3 with absolutely no spam or previous penalties. This is a very small test sample, but based on this sample alone, considering both of the sites are laser-targeted to the topic I tried to rebuild them with, I would conclude that Google has adding some type of filter that doesn't let domains that have expired rank for new topics. Or if they do, it's very hit and miss.

The affect of 30 high PR links, which should've skyrocketed these aged, relevant domains to the top positions for the keywords I targeted with them were completely null. To make things interesting, I sent the same links to a site that is on the exact same topic that I tried to rebuild the expired domains on. The difference is that, unlike the expired domains, the other site I sent links to has been targeting the keywords since inception.

In other words, it has just been sitting with one page of content targeting the keywords for about 9 months. Look at the results just TWO DAYS after I sent links to this site...


Look at this picture showing one keyword for the site that has been targeting the desired keywords since birth:


The links sent to this site gave it about 15 new #1 positions from positions 10+ almost overnight. What can we conclude from this data? I believe that Google might rank re-purposed expired domains, but based on this data, I think it would actually be FAR BETTER to start a brand new, fresh domain on your target keywords.

Something interesting that I found was that expired domains that were re-purposed BEFORE Google implemented this new change seem to still be ranking for whatever keywords they were made to target, so it's as if Google has grandfathered in any expired domains that were re-purposed and ranked before the 'filter' was added.

I would say from a ROI perspective, it makes far more sense to just start on a brand new domain. However, the exception would be if you had the chance to purchase an aged, indexed domain that hasn't expired and is already targeting your keywords, which I think would be a very rare find anyway.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you been able to rank re-purposed, relevant or irrelevant expired domains within the last 5-6 months? If so, how did it go? Keep in mind, I'm talking about recently launched and re-purposed expired domains, as I believe other re-purposed domains have been 'grandfathered' into the SERPs.
#bother #domains #expired #ranking
  • Profile picture of the author SEO Power
    I bought and re-purposed a PR 3 expired domain with absolutely no spam and completely natural links about a month ago and it behaved similarly. Till now, it's still ranking in pos 130+ for it's main keyword (which is the only keyword I'm tracking). It's a 9K searches per month keyword and I'm targeting it for Amazon affiliate commissions, just like yours.

    Another interesting phenomenon is Google's refusal to change the title in the serps. They continued displaying the title of the old site even after changing it to a new title containing my target keyword. I had to publish the article on a subpage to get Google to display my desired title.

    Google alters the algorithm all the time to combat spam and they are known to devalue pervasive techniques. We just have to adapt.
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    • Profile picture of the author Houlian
      Interesting about the title changing -- I haven't bothered to see if that is the case with these test sites. You could almost look at the number and think Google is eventually going to let the sites rank, but I have enough experience to know the sites should be ranking far better. It's like they've just been filtered for ranking for anything but their previous topic.

      I would like to add that the sites have many links pointing to them for a specific city, such as California, and they're still ranking just fine for those terms. Close to #1 in fact. But, for what I purchased the sites for, those terms are useless.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Nikolz
    Correlation does not imply causation. Your two examples are not enough to make such colligation as you did.

    I'm building a lot of sites on dropped domains and if backlinks and anchor profile are alright and there is nothing bad in archive.org, the sites are just jumping into index. Well maybe 1-2 domains of 10 are not.
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  • Profile picture of the author godoveryou
    Most expired domains repurpose just fine... sorry that your two did not.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEO Power
      Originally Posted by Mike Nikolz View Post

      Correlation does not imply causation. Your two examples are not enough to make such colligation as you did.

      I'm building a lot of sites on dropped domains and if backlinks and anchor profile are alright and there is nothing bad in archive.org, the sites are just jumping into index. Well maybe 1-2 domains of 10 are not.
      Originally Posted by godoveryou View Post

      Most expired domains repurpose just fine... sorry that your two did not.
      You guys are probably using domains that expired completely, got deleted and deindexed, and were later reindexed after you bought and started using them. We are talking about domains that never really expired but retained their age (the type of domains you can get from godaddy auctions.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
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        Originally Posted by SEO Power View Post

        You guys are probably using domains that expired completely, got deleted and deindexed, and were later reindexed after you bought and started using them. We are talking about domains that never really expired but retained their age (the type of domains you can get from godaddy auctions.
        ...which nothing to do with existing link profiles.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Backlinks don't expire, either they exist or they don't.

    Do a live link check on the link profile. Done.
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  • Profile picture of the author Houlian
    @ mike and godoveryou

    I'm curious -- do you two have any sort of screenshots you can take of some recent expired domains you've launched and got ranking well -- without sharing the actual URLs of course? It's more believable when someone makes a claim and offers some form of proof to back it up. Thanks for your opinions!
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  • Profile picture of the author Houlian
    Yeah,

    We're, in fact, talking about domains that never got deleted. E.g domains from Godaddyauctions that never get dropped from the index. @Yukon not sure what you're talking about? What does link profiles have to do with anything? So Confused! Anyway, it would still be cool to hear from anyone else who has purchased domains from auctions ( that haven't dropped from Google's index) and had success or failure re-purposing them and trying to rank them for keywords that have nothing to do with the site's existing link profile.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Houlian View Post

      Yeah,

      We're, in fact, talking about domains that never got deleted. E.g domains from Godaddyauctions that never get dropped from the index. @Yukon not sure what you're talking about? What does link profiles have to do with anything? So Confused! Anyway, it would still be cool to hear from anyone else who has purchased domains from auctions ( that haven't dropped from Google's index) and had success or failure re-purposing them and trying to rank them for keywords that have nothing to do with the site's existing link profile.
      You don't make a bit of sense.

      You're not going to rank anything without links (shocking). Domains on their own don't have magical ranking powers.

      Keep ignoring links.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    A link profile check won't show if the domain got tanked by the previous owner, but it can often show some clues.

    I've owned a lot of tanked domains that have awesome looking metrics but are toxic to future auction shoppers. Moz, Majestic, Ahref only show the positive affects a link has. Google's a bit smarter than that.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
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      Originally Posted by Fraggler View Post

      A link profile check won't show if the domain got tanked by the previous owner, but it can often show some clues.

      I've owned a lot of tanked domains that have awesome looking metrics but are toxic to future auction shoppers. Moz, Majestic, Ahref only show the positive affects a link has. Google's a bit smarter than that.
      A link profile doesn't lie, basically shows If a domain has been abused.

      OP is talking about having problems ranking pages, not about problems indexing pages (Google slap/deindexed).

      Doesn't matter, he's ignoring links good or bad.
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      • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        You don't make a bit of sense.

        You're not going to rank anything without links (shocking). Domains on their own don't have magical ranking powers.

        Keep ignoring links.
        There's a massive amount of evidence that suggests otherwise. While backlinking can't be ignored, plenty of times I've ranked keywords with nothing but on page optimization.

        And talking about local SEO... domain carries so much weight that I've had a test site with an EMD ranking #1 locally (attorney) for the last 4 years, WITHOUT anything other than a down for maintenance page LOL.
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        • Profile picture of the author yukon
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          Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

          There's a massive amount of evidence that suggests otherwise. While backlinking can't be ignored, plenty of times I've ranked keywords with nothing but on page optimization.

          And talking about local SEO... domain carries so much weight that I've had a test site with an EMD ranking #1 locally (attorney) for the last 4 years, WITHOUT anything other than a down for maintenance page LOL.

          No doubt If the keyword is best bass fishing kendrick idaho (population 303).
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  • Profile picture of the author zimmerseo
    I've been building out PBN's on expired domains for a year or so and one crucial aspect of any PBN is relevance. Google measures relevance in two ways. The content of the site and the content and anchor text of site linking to it.

    If I buy an expired domain, the first thing I do is change everything. Title, description, content, the whole lot.

    There's no point in having a domain about 'car parts' if every single site that links to it is about 'foot care'. It just wouldn't make any sense for Google to rank the new site for anything else other than 'foot care' but since the site's content has changed, it will rank for neither in any meaningful way.

    If my new domain has 10 inbound links about 'foot care', I build 50 about 'car parts' over a period of 6 weeks or so, with another 100 tier-2, using Rankwyz and Senuke. The links need to be heavily contextual, like web 2.0 sites and articles.

    I basically convert the sites niche to something else. This does take time, but you end up with a very decent PBN site in the end.

    Just as a side note, I completely ignore TF and CF metrics. They are less than useless when determining a sites true quality. All I care about is the inbound links and content on the the sites they come from, thats all Google cares about and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author patadeperro
      Originally Posted by Houlian View Post

      Yeah,

      We're, in fact, talking about domains that never got deleted. E.g domains from Godaddyauctions that never get dropped from the index. @Yukon not sure what you're talking about? What does link profiles have to do with anything? So Confused! .
      What Yukon is saying is the reason you buy old domains is for their backlink profile, it does not matter if the domain is dropped or not, if the backlinks exist once you set up the domain the backlinks/linkjuice/and traffic will flow to the new domain.

      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      And talking about local SEO... domain carries so much weight that I've had a test site with an EMD ranking #1 locally (attorney) for the last 4 years, WITHOUT anything other than a down for maintenance page LOL.
      Domain nam is still important, the difference IAmnameless is that local SEO sometime has less competition but backlinks are crucial to rank when the competition know what they are doing example: I bet you that you cant rank for "Real Estate NY" just with an EMD.

      Originally Posted by zimmerseo View Post

      I've been building out PBN's on expired domains for a year or so and one crucial aspect of any PBN is relevance.
      This is very important to create certain kind of relevancy on the content, you can even go as far as to create a "Silo structure" PBN where each site focus on a specific problem/vertical and you funnel your traffic to your money making site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Houlian
    Lol, @ Yukon -- did you even read the whole initial post? Either you didn't or you're not seeming to understand what this whole post is about. Ignoring links? What is this jibberish you're talking about?

    The initial post states that EVERYTHING about the expired domains is relevant. Nobody is ignoring links. Virtually all of the existing links pointing to the site are 'brand name' links of the business, and the business name happens to have a couple of the keywords I tried to re-purpose the site for in its name.

    This is the case with both of the test sites. Also, as mentioned in the initial post, I sent about 30 high PR links from my expired domain link network to both test sites, which many partial match anchors. The same link campaign that has worked and continues to work for all of the niche sites I build. I have no idea how what you're talking about has anything to do with the point of this post.

    I think you should go back and read the initial post. Anyway -- an interesting follow-up test would be to grab two domains with similar metrics from auction and re-purpose them for a topic that is completely different than the topic of the original sites, such as what zimmerseo was saying.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
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      Originally Posted by Houlian View Post

      Lol, @ Yukon -- did you even read the whole initial post? Either you didn't or you're not seeming to understand what this whole post is about. Ignoring links? What is this jibberish you're talking about?

      The initial post states that EVERYTHING about the expired domains is relevant. Nobody is ignoring links. Virtually all of the existing links pointing to the site are 'brand name' links of the business, and the business name happens to have a couple of the keywords I tried to re-purpose the site for in its name.

      This is the case with both of the test sites. Also, as mentioned in the initial post, I sent about 30 high PR links from my expired domain link network to both test sites, which many partial match anchors. The same link campaign that has worked and continues to work for all of the niche sites I build. I have no idea how what you're talking about has anything to do with the point of this post.

      I think you should go back and read the initial post. Anyway -- an interesting follow-up test would be to grab two domains with similar metrics from auction and re-purpose them for a topic that is completely different than the topic of the original sites, such as what zimmerseo was saying.
      I read it, you think Google killed off domains that have been dropped but still indexed & building out a site for irrelevant niches. Not buying it.

      Two domains doesn't equal the internet.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmanD
    Ranking expired domains that I buy at auction still works for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEWARRIOR
      Its interesting that your expired domain not ranking but to my knowledge most seo guy doing well with expired domain and infact its their bread and butter right now. Many be google be working on it but 2 domain may had some other issue which you may have overlooked. if some other guys throw light on their recently brought expired domain that could clear the issue
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  • Profile picture of the author jimbobo2779
    Expired domains still work just fine. You can ask anyone using my software to find lots of amazing expired domains and they will say that you are dead wrong on this.


    It is true that a domain that has been abused in the past could be harder to rank initially but if you are looking for only good domains with good stats and a clean backlink profile it will be far easier to rank than a fresh domain.


    Backlink profiles don't just disappear as soon as a domain expires.
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  • Profile picture of the author SENukeVPS
    thats very interesting, I had not seen someone show a case study on this.
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