Dropped domains have always been the centre of speculation for webmasters and other SEO analysts since ages. Good or bad, it has nothing to do with the dropped domain concept as a whole. Here in this article today we will have a quick look at the aspects and reasons why dropped domains are considered a risky investment from a search engine optimization perspective.
What are dropped domains?
Any domain name which has been registered previously and then left to expire is known as a dropped domain. Such domains have been filling up the internet registrars for a long time, and you can obviously find many expired domain names which are available for fresh registration.
Such domains are released in the domain pool, from where anyone can register it for them. You should note one thing and that is the registrar does not cancel the registration instantly when the domain expires.
Most of the registrars provide a grace period of 30 days within which the owner can renew the domain name. If the owner does not do that then it will be auctioned or else released in domain pool.
How to know if the domain name was registered previously?
You can check the domain history easily by following this link. Enter the domain name you want to check and press the submit button to get the results.
Can I register a Dropped domain?
Yes, you can definitely register a dropped domain in the same manner as you do for a fresh domain. The only difference is that the registrar history retains the previous information for that domain name.
How to check if the dropped domain had a website?
This is a completely trial and error process, but you can try your luck using web.archive.org. They have the largest cache of websites and blogs registered for ages. If your dropped domain was lucky enough to get a crawl request from a web archive, it will have the screenshot retained in their central database.
Google and the domain that was dropped
Now, we come to the most important part of our discussion. Google has been crawling and keeping a tab of every site in its database. If the dropped domain has a bad history with Google, it might take time for you to make the difference in the search engines. Sometimes the spamming is so bad that even Google might never allow indexing of your domain. In such cases, it is strongly advised to seek professional help.
How do you ask Google to reconsider your domain?
One your domain name has a website with 10-15 genuine posts related to the website niche and you have double checked everything about your blog, you can submit your request for reconsideration here.
Google Still not willing to lift the Ban
Sometimes it might happen (especially for the Exact Match Domain) that Google is no longer impressed with reconsideration requests as the site has completely screwed up their ranking algorithms. Maybe it has incoming links from various reliable and unreliable sources, which will again be active as soon as the site gets indexed. So, in such a case, it is sometimes good to leave the dropped domain name and look for a new one.
SEO and dropped domains
It is important to understand the basic recipe of advantages and disadvantages that come with a dropped domain. Google warns about misusing this aspect, but if you are a normal blogger, it is of no importance to you. Some of the SEO aspects for a dropped domain are-
- Pre-build links and juice from the old websites
- Domain age is also a positive factor under SEO analysis.
- Sometimes you might even get a page rank automatically.
- It may not be good if the site’s domain name was used for spamming.
- A banned dropped domain is not worth the risk.
- Exact matches with dropped domain names should be avoided.
Now let us get started with this guide and check out how you can use the expired domain for SEO on your main blog. I will tell you two methods by which you can make good use of expired domains you have registered for yourself.While registering the expired domain, make sure that you purchase Whois Guard, which keeps your ownership details out of reach.
When you add Whois Gaurd to your domain name, your name, address and other details will not be publicly available.
In the place of your details, the details of the company which is offering you the Whois Gaurd will be displayed. Consider the following scenario: I purchased Whois Gaurd for my domain name Codingace.Com.
someone does a Whois Data lookup on my domain, then they won’t be able to see my name and address. In that place, they will see the address and other details of the company from whom I have purchased the guard.
I told you these things because it is quite important to keep your details private when you are registering an expired domain for SEO purposes on your main blog.
#1. Domain and Page Authority
Domain authority and page authority are two metrics which are started by Moz.com. When purchasing expired domains, you should look for domain names with good and as high DA and PA as possible.
We can determine the ranking potential of any domain name according to the DA and PA it has. So to rank high when you start working on it, you should get a domain that has high DA and PA.
You should also note that the domains which have high DA and PA can be resold at a good amount. If the domain has good metrics, it adds up the price.
Actually, having good Moz metrics does not mean that the domain will definitely rank high. But we can just have a rough estimate of the ranking potential of the domain name.
If you wish to know more about this, then you can read my post about Moz Domain Authority.
But how can you check the DA and PA of any domain while buying expired domains? The steps are mentioned below.
Open the Open Site Explorer of Moz. You can follow the link provided here to open it.
Enter the domain name in the space provided and click the “Search” button. You will get the DA and PA details of the domain name you enter there.
#2. Check if the domain is banned by Google.
The second thing which you should check before buying expired domains is the Google ban check. Some of the webmasters just leave their domain because they have a penalty or have been banned by Google.
So if you register a domain like that, then there is no use for it. So it is better to check if Google has banned it.
As you are getting an expired one, Google should have a few pages in its index. You can check it by searching for site: example.com. You have to replace the example.com with your domain name.
If you don’t see any results for this query, then there are chances that Google has banned it.
There are few tools online which let us check if the domain name is penalised or banned by Google. One such tool is Is My Website Penalized?
You just have to enter the domain name in this tool and pass the verification and the tool will let you if it is banned or no.
But the real question is how reliable the results are?
Sadly, knowing the real status of any domain is impossible until you register it and add it to the Google Search Console. Once you add it to the search console, you can check the penalty in the Manual Actions section.
This is the only problem we face while buying expired domains, but even if you register a domain with a penalty. You can use it by building a good website and submitting the reconsideration request to Google.
#3. Check If The Domain Has Been Banned By AdSense
Google not only bans the domains from appearing in the search results but also does it in the case of AdSense usage. There are any domains which are banned from using Google AdSense?
Which means you can’t earn by creating ad units and displaying AdSense ads on that domain.
So, before you buy expired domains, you should check if that particular domain is banned by Google AdSense.
You can easily check the Google AdSense ban check with the help of the Google AdSense Sandbox.
Enter the domain name and click on the “Show Google Ads” button. If you see ads on that page, then the domain is not banned for displaying Google AdSense ads.
But if you don’t see any ads on that page, then the domain is 100% banned by Google AdSense. And you should consider dropping your plan to register it if you want to earn money by monetizing it with AdSense.
If you have any other plans, like using it for affiliate marketing or having it in your private blog network, let us know. Then you can register it.
#4. Check the History of The Domain
And now the 4th thing which you should know before buying expired domains is the history of the domain. You should know to which niche it belonged when it was registered for the first time.
Every day hundreds of domains expire which are nothing but a piece of spam online. So you should avoid buying such spammy domain.
Some of the domains even include explicit content like drugs, pornography etc. so its better if you check it history before registering it for you.
But how can you check the history of the domain name?
You can do that with the help of archive.org which has archives of most of the websites. You can access this website for free and check the history of the domain.
Just open the web archive website and enter the domain name, you will get the screenshots of that website when it was up and running. If the history is clear then you can proceed further and buy that domain.
# 1. Setting up a 301 Permanent Redirect to the Expired Domain
You can use the expired domain for SEO by adding a 301 redirect to your money blog from the expired domain.
Now, what happens when you add the 301 redirect to your domain?
To understand this first, we need to know what a 301 permanent redirect is. Read on, I have explained it below.
What is a 301 Permanent Redirect?
This is one for the HTTP response code which tells the search engines that the content has been moved to a new location. Here, what I mean by the location is the domain.
When I add a 301 Redirect from codingace.com to www.codingace.com, it works perfectly.
And when someone visits or a search engine bot visits any page on codingace.com, they will be automatically redirected to www.codingace.com without anything to be done on their end.
This is what happens when we add the 301 permanent redirect. Along with the traffic, even the backlinks will be pointed to the new domain name.
Did you get it?
You will get all the backlinks to your money blog which are pointing to the expired domain that you have purchased. So those backlinks will be yours.
After a few weeks of adding the 301 permanent redirect, you will be able to check the backlinks in the Google Search Console.
Look at the screenshot below in which you can see the term “intermediate link”, which tells you that this link is from another domain but pointing to you.
I have this intermediate link to codingace.com because I have added the 301 redirect to move from HTTP to HTTPS. This was just an example of how you will be able to check the new backlinks that you will get from the expired domain.
If you don’t know how you can add a 301 redirect to your domain name, then follow this link to read it.
This is the first use of the expired domain for SEO. That is to get the power of backlinks to your money blog.
But you should note one thing, and that is the expired domain you are using is from your niche only. If it does not belong to your niche and you are using it,
You will still get the backlinks, but you will not see much of a boost in the rankings of your money blog. So, if you want to maximize the power of your backlinks, register an expired domain in your niche.
# 2 Making use of it as a private blog network
So now the second method by which you can use an expired domain for SEO is by using it like a private blog network. If you don’t know what a private blog network is, then read it below.
What is a Private Blog Network?
The Private Blog Network, or normally known as the PBN, is a group of websites which are owned by the same person or organization.
All these domains are hosted on different servers to get different IP addresses. And as they all have Whois Guard, no one can trace that the domain belongs to a particular person or organization.
The owner of the private blog network uses it to get backlinks to their main money blog. They get the backlinks with their desired anchor texts, which will help them to outrank their competitors.
However, this is considered gray hat SEO, but they have to build it very carefully. Because Google is very good at cracking down on private blog networks,
But if they are built perfectly, believe me, there is no better way to get powerful backlinks to your money blog.
This was all about what a private blog network is. Now let us check out how you can use an expired domain for SEO by using it as a private blog network.
First of all, you have to find a good expired domain which belongs to your niche. Do make sure that you get a domain name with high Moz Domain Authority and good genuine backlinks pointing to it.
At the time of registration, I highly recommend you get Whois Guard to make sure there are no footprints that Google can follow.
Now it’s time to build up the content for your expired domain. You can build 10 to 15 unique posts. But those posts should be highly related to your money blog.
Let Google do its job. The Google bots will soon index the content you have published on your expired domain. After a week or two, add links to your personal blog from the expired domain.
You will get backlinks to the desired pages of your money blog with the anchor text you need. So you have complete control over the backlinks you receive from other websites that are closely related to the topic of your money blog.
But make sure that you don’t add too many backlinks from your expired domain to the money blog. If you do so, then it may raise a flag in Google’s mind. which will be dangerous for your money blog.
And we are done with it. These are the two methods by which you can use expired domains for SEO.
So, you now have a complete idea about how dropped domains can be both beneficial and disastrous if not researched properly. Never try to make a brand name out of a dropped domain. If you are looking to set up a blog or website, you can do it as it will not make much difference. Even if you encounter any problems indexing them, you can always register a new domain name eventually. If you are looking from the SEO perspective, a dropped domain is like a closed chest in an auction. You never know what is inside until and unless you pay the price. Good luck.