Positioning in SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages is a major determining factor for a blog’s success. Search engines, after all, account for a considerable amount of traffic regardless of industry – that which determines the profitability of an online blog.
Simply put, you could be missing out on a huge revenue stream if you’re not ranking for any search engine, particularly Google which has the most online users. This is why at the heart of every online money-making endeavour lies Search Engine Optimization or SEO, for short.
However, SEO is expensive whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional. Not to mention that it can take weeks, if not months, before you get results. However, you can significantly cut the time needed for your blog to propagate in search results by buying and repurposing an expired domain.
But why buy an expired domain if registering a new one is cheap and easy with services like HostGator and NameCheap? First, let’s take a look at what makes expired domains special.
What are Expired Domains?
An expired domain is basically a domain that was no longer renewed. There are various reasons why an owner chooses to let a domain name to expire. It could be due to the lack of funds, the lack of profitability, or simply the lack of interest to maintain ownership. In which case, the domain can then be bought and used by someone else for a brand new site.
There are several advantages of buying an expired domain for a new blog. Most of which revolve around SEO. You see, expired domains retain certain metrics that affect its page rank; the most important ones being domain authority and backlink profile.
Do note that these often take several months, if not years to accumulate, especially if they were naturally built. Of course, the most obvious advantage of buying an expired domain for your new blog is the quick acquisition of these important metrics. These metrics as well as how to check them will be discussed shortly.
Remember that the domain is different from the website itself. Even if you buy an expired domain that’s several years of age, you still have to build the website that will be associated with that domain name. In short, you can have a brand new blog with an old domain you can use to jumpstart your SERPs performance.
Checking the Domain Authority
Some consider Domain Authority or DA as the most important metric when it comes to SEO. It is developed by Moz and is used by most, if not all, SEO professionals when evaluating the overall health and potential of a domain in search rankings. A website’s DA is represented by a score of anywhere from 1 to 100, with 1 being the lowest.
In SEO, DA is often considered as the hardest metric to increase. A website’s DA is influenced by several factors such as trust, number of links, and linking root domains. Only by optimizing these as well as dozens of other metrics can you increase the DA, which may take a very long time.
When considering expired domain names, you can check the domain authority of a domain name using a free tool called Open Site Explorer. Simply enter the domain in the URL field and hit enter.
Aside from the Domain Authority, you will also see other valuable metrics including Page Authority or PA for short. The difference between DA and PA is that Domain Authority evaluates the entire domain’s potential to rank for SERPs while Page Authority only evaluates a single page at a time.
A solid start for any website is to have a DA and PA score of at least 25 and 20 respectively. These figures indicate a strong domain that will rank well, but you often need to perform additional SEO to realize these advantages. Still, it should be significantly easier to garner traffic to your blog by targeting the right keywords and a few more backlinks, which will lead to the next important metric for SEO.
Reviewing the Backlink Profile
The backlink profile is the next thing you need to look at when considering expired domains. A backlink is simply a link coming from another website towards a domain name. Backlinks are useful for increasing a site’s DA. It is also possible for certain links to generate traffic.
When looking for expired domains, it is quite common to find expired domains with hundreds or thousands of backlinks. However, not all backlinks are the same. A domain with a few backlinks from highly-relevant websites will probably perform better than a domain with thousands of low-quality links that are often produced artificially with the use of link-building software. Keep in mind that this tactic is considered as a “black hat” SEO strategy, meaning you should try to avoid domains with artificially-built backlinks if you want to avoid being penalized by Google.
This is why you need to review a domain’s backlink profile when considering a purchase. You can perform a closer inspection of a domain’s backlink profile using Majestic SEO, which can be used freely for a few times a day.
Look at the individual metrics of each linking site (PA and DA) to help you gain an idea of the quality of these links. Basically, you would want your links to come from sites with metrics as good as yours (at least 15-20 DA and PA).
For a more solid backlink foundation, you should also review the anchor texts use in your backlinks. Basically, you need terms that are related to your desired niche. This is an important aspect of the backlink profile that helps determine the domain’s relevancy in that particular niche.
Today, experienced online marketers and bloggers buy expired domains mainly because they rank considerably faster in search engines. You can do the same so you can focus more on creating quality content for your blog with lesser effort on SEO. You can find lists of expired domains you can buy in sites like GoDaddy Auctions, Snap Names, and Expired Domains.
Just remember that you should also consider purchasing brandable domain names, which are hard to come by in today’s competitive market. Being unable to name your domain is perhaps the only downside to this tactic. This is why you need to weigh your options carefully and assess whether you really need the quick SEO metrics boost or not.