Buying expired domains can improve your SEO if done right. There are many ways to do off-page SEO, and because the line between white hat and black hat can often get blurry, a lot of webmasters and SEO specialists can feel uncertainty when faced with the task. However, buying expired domains is one of the safer methods of building backlinks.
In the rest of the article, we will look at expired domains, how they can be used for SEO, whether they work, and if there is any danger to using this technique.
An expired domain is simply the domain name of a website that used to exist but no longer does. If you are lucky, it has lapsed completely, in which case you can buy it like you would a brand new domain.
If you are not so lucky, it could be under the ownership of a third party looking to make a profit reselling it, in which case you will have to negotiate for a purchase price.
During the life cycle of a website, it will gather backlinks from other sites. These backlinks may be the result of the previous owner’s link-building efforts or they could be completely organic. In both cases, they would have built up that site’s authority, especially as the links have matured.
When a domain is no longer active, these links do not lead anywhere but still pass on potential link juice. Buying an expired domain can be a way to take all of this authority that is being passed from the backlinks to a dead end and instead send it to your site.
To do this, once you are the new owner of the expired domain, you will need to redirect all of these old links to your main domain. Don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. You can manage them all by setting up 301 redirects.
You can set up 301 redirects from your .htaccess file. However, the best practice is redirecting the individual pages from the old domain to relevant pages on your current domain. While you can redirect the entire old domain to your new domain, this can be viewed unfavorably by Google and potentially incur a penalty.
Expired domains will positively affect your SEO, but you have to use them correctly to achieve the best results and avoid harmful penalties.
There has been some controversy around whether using expired domains for SEO is a viable tactic, including by Google representatives who have spoken down about the efficacy of the practice. When independent parties have done experiments by buying expired domains and redirecting them to new sites, they have been able to replicate results, so there is at least some degree of viability to the practice.
It is important to do it correctly since not all efforts will have the same results. The first thing you need to be aware of is the history of the domain that you are buying. Domains of sites that are similar to your site will have the best effect on your SEO.
If the old site was not at all relevant to your current site, the link juice that is transferred is likely to be limited and might even incur a penalty if Google perceives the links as being spam.
Although buying expired domains to improve your SEO is one of the cleaner link-building tactics around, there is still some danger of penalty if you do not do it right.
We discussed earlier that the best practice is buying the domains of sites similar to the site you plan to redirect them to. In the same way that links built on extant sites that have nothing to do with their destination get flagged by Google’s algorithm as spam, so are too many links that get redirected from the original domain to a completely irrelevant one.
Similarly, you will need to be careful about overusing this method. Search engine algorithms are known to analyze both the growth rates of backlinks and their composition. Sudden massive spikes in backlinks from expired domains may raise a red flag, as might have a site that has an unusually high proportion of backlinks via redirected domains.
We have learned today that buying expired domains for SEO is a good method to help your off-page efforts, but it has to be done right to be effective.