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Building PBN: What Are Expired Domains And Where To Get Them

This is the second post from the series about how I build a PBN for my money websites. The first one was an introduction to private blog networks, and this one is about the very first stepping stone of building a private blog network: Expired domains.

In this post I will tell you what expired domains are, where to find them by revealing my three favorite places, how to do basic checks, and what are the steps to get a website built on an expired domain indexed by Google. This is basically everything I know myself at this moment.

Since I am a very newbie, I won’t try to teach you anything. I will simply share my own experience and discoveries. If you have any questions or comments – or you see that I am wrong – feel free to drop a line in the comments!

What Are Expired Domains And Why Are They Important?

For building a PBN, it is essential to own expired domains with proper SEO metrics. But what is an expired domain?

If a domain name is not renewed by its expiry date, it is not immediately deleted, although it does cease to operate. From this point on, it is considered to be “expired” (from here).

Expired domains tend to keep almost all the backlinks and metrics that they acquired during their life. When buying an expired domain, we also buy its authority on the internet, and then the domain will pass it on our money website.

Domain Authority

While talking about expired domains, I will often use a term “DA” or “domain authority”. What is it?

Domain authority is a measure of the power of a domain name and is one of many search engine ranking factors. Domain authority is based on three factors: Age, Popularity, and Size. SEO gurus Moz can be credited with the metric known as DA or domain authority (from here)

Domain authority can be checked by using following tools:

  • Open Site Explorer by Moz – only a handful checks a day is available for free
  • Free Domain Authority Checker by moonsy.com – I use it all the time, but sometimes it does not work
  • CheckMoz – I have started using it recently, it can check DA of up to 100 URLs at once
  • SEO Toolbar for Chrome and Firefox by Moz – a convenient tool if you need quickly see a DA of a website you are browsing. I have it installed and I use it every day; however, the toolbar is slow and sometimes slows down a browser a lot.

How To Choose Expired Domains

It is important to choose expired domains wisely while knowing what you want to achieve. The backlink profile of each domain need to be studied carefully to ensure the domain did not used to belong to a spammer network.

Josh Kelly from Hammerhead Domains wrote an excellent post about how to choose and validate expired domains. I use his post as a guide while searching for new expired domains.

Problems You May Face

First of all, domains with good metrics can be spammy and won’t index. There are so many other guys out there who buy expired domains for their private blog networks. When Google discovers a PBN, it penalizes all websites that belong to the network. This makes the owners abandon the websites and let the domain names expire. When the names expire, they will become available again – but they already have a penalty by Google and won’t get indexed in the future. Buying such domains is a pure waist of money and time.

Also, the backlinks pointing to the domain name and thus its metrics may deteriorate with time. The backlinks get removed if the owners of the websites where they are coming from do a clean-up and get rid of links that give 404. This deteriorates the domain’s quality, sometimes significantly.

When I choose an expired domain, I always look at how many backlinks from relevant websites point to the domain. If it is only one link – or even if it comes from one domain only – I usually do not buy such domain. If this link is lost – or the domain owner realizes the website is no longer alive – all my link juice would evaporate With it, my money and time invested in the website would be wasted.

Three Places Where To Get Expired Domains

Hammerhead Domains

Hammerhead Domains (HHD) is a pool of expired domains that gets updated regularly or every day (depending on the service). This is the service I use on permanent basis checking for new expired domains every day.

I have already registered more than 20 domains I got from them. I have been using the service for about 4 months, so in average, I register 5 domains a month.

Pros:

  • affordable price for decent expired domains; you can get expired domains with DA <= 15 for free (!) – just register for free to see them
  • new domains every day
  • basic check for domain spam-iness

Cons:

  • the majority of the domains have DA < 30
  • not so many domains with a high DA to choose from – but it may be because their spam filtering system that removes domains with a spammy profile from the list
  • no filters, nothing – you have to manually go through each domain to figure out whether it fits your needs
  • the same domain pool is exposed to everybody – if you want to get a good one, you have to hurry up to register it

HHD provides two services:

  • Today’s Domains – a pool of up to 75 domains that gets updated every day
  • Topics – a list of 50 domains selected based on their topic

I use only daily deals and not topical packages. I bought a topical package once and did not like it. The problem was that I did not get an exclusive access to it. I could not register all the domains I wanted in one day, since this is a big footprint that might reveal my PBN to Google. So, I had to wait… and then I forgot about the list. When I remembered, I discovered that several domains were already registered by somebody else. Apart from that, many domains with high DA (> 25) had lost their link juice and got their DA downgraded to single digits.

I really like the fact that they show a part of their domain pool for free. You may say that domains with DA <= 15 are not very good. I used to think the same way… until I read a post from Luis from CloudIncome about how he chooses expired domains for PBN. Luis tries to find and use only very relevant domains – even if their DA < 10. He uses the domain metrics only as guidelines and looks carefully at the backlinks the domains have. It is an interesting post, and I suggest you to read it. However, I have not tried to use his approach (yet).

If you decided to try out Hammerhead Domains, you can register through my affiliate link.

DomCop

DomCop is a search tool that allows you to find expired domains with desired characteristics.

Pros:

  • a convenient extensive filter that allows to sort and filter domains by many characteristics: topics, DA, age, Moz metrics, etc
  • access to expiring and archived domains
  • ability to run your own crawler
  • abilities to save searches and make watch lists
  • basic check for domain spam-iness

Cons:

  • quite expensive

I found this service a bit too expensive – but it is probably worth the money given the convenient features they offer. DomCop have three tiers of product, and their basic plan does not give access to expired domains. Despite of that, regular non-paying users can see such domains, but they do not have access to other functionality like filters, saved search, etc.

ExpiredDomains.net

ExpiredDomain.net is a website that lists expired and deleted domains.

Pros:

  • absolutely free!
  • access to expired and deleted domains as well as to the auctions organized by registrars
  • great filter that includes domain names, domain extensions, time, price, basic SEO metrics, etc
  • ability to save searches

Cons:

  • lot of noise that has to be filtered out manually
  • no spam checking done by the tool
  • shows only basic metrics

I use this website sometimes when I need an expired domain with particular words in the name. It is useful for choosing a domain for a money website if you want to build it on an expired domain. However, I do not like filtering out the noise manually. The list contains all sorts of domains including spammy ones, and the service does not provide any spam check.

Registering Expired Domains

It is not recommended to register domains on the same day if you are planning to use in a PBN for one money site. The registration date matching several domains is a big PBN signal for Google.

Why is that?

Google looks for expired domains bought in bulk on auctions. If you want to buy many domains at the same time, it is better to use them for different money website PBNs.

How To Get an Expired Domain Website Index

Steps

Before setting up a website on an expired domain, we need to make sure that the domain did not get penalized by Google and still can get indexed.

In order to do it, I do these simple steps:

  • put the domain on hosting
  • install WordPress
  • wait for a few days

Usually a website gets indexed during a week if it sits on a top-level domain. I’ve noticed that it has a second-level domain (for example, co.uk), it may take longer to get it indexed – sometimes up to two weeks. So, in this case you have to be patient.

If the above steps did not make the blog indexed, but its domain looks particularly attractive, you can do some extra steps:

  • add at least 10-15 blog posts with images and a couple of pages (About, etc)
  • wait for a few days
  • still not indexed? Build a few links to it from other blogs from a relevant niche
  • wait for a few days

If your website is still not indexed, it means it got a penalty in the past.

Index Check: Manual And With Free Tools

So, how do I check whether an expired domain website got indexed?

It is very simple. Just run in Google search the following line: “site:<your domain name>”.

If you see something like “Your search – site:<your domain name> – did not match any documents. ” it means the site is not indexed yet.

Expired domain website not indexed in google

If you do not see the above line but rather get a list of entries from the website – like on the screenshot below – it means the website got indexed, and your expired domain is good.

Expired domain website got indexed by GoogleSome SEO websites offer a functionality to check indexing in bulk. It may be convenient if you have many websites to check. However, I found that not all of them always give reliable results. So I prefer to use the Google search as I described above.

But if you want to try them, here is a list for you:

  • Google Index Checker from Small SEO Tools allows to check up to 5 domains – I found it being not always reliable
  • bulkdachecker.com allows to check up to 200 domains at once – seems to do a fair job
  • Index Checking can check up to 25 URLs at a time – seems to be good, this is the one I used to use on daily basis

Final Thoughts

So, this was the post about expired domains and where to get them. I revealed three places where I get expired domains, and I showed you how I get my PBN websites indexed by Google.

I hope you found my post useful.

This is only the second post in my series about how I build a private blog network, and I plan to write many more.

Do not miss the other posts – subscribe to my newsletters! I send no spam 🙂



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Photo by Paul Nicholson

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