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301 Building Block Strategy – Part 2


Last week I introduced a new strategy I am using to combine powerful expired domains, epic posts and a silo structure on a website to systematically build my six figure challenge authority site.

This strategy has not resulted in explosive growth but what it has done is provided a very systematic way to build out my authority site which has already started making money $150 in Feb.

This post will get into the exact details of how I go about setting up these building blocks.

The strategy is a combination of…

  1. Buying POWERFUL Expired Domains
  2. Creating an Epic/Niche Dominating Post
  3. 301 redirecting the domain to a relevant Silo Structure on Your Authority Site

niche dominating post

There are three basic steps for completing this strategy…

strategy

The appeal of this strategy for me is the systematic way I can repeat this strategy in different niches on the same site.

There is no reason that a site can’t continuously be growing one building block at a time.

301 BB

 

building-block-growth-strategy

Growing My Six Figure Challenge Site 1 Building Block at a Time!

 

How Risky Is This?

Nothing is without risk but I believe this strategy is low risk for the following reasons…

  1. This already naturally occurs online when one business is purchased by another business. Often when say 1 consulting firm purchases another consulting firm it will 301 redirect the old business domain to a new page on the acquiring businesses site.
  2. If done correctly the user will be better off. The visitor to the old URL will end up on an authoritative post providing information they will find useful which is better than the alternative of ending up at a dead site.
  3. Risk can be mitigated by being able to see how Google views the domain before 301 redirecting to the authority site. If Google responds negatively to the site the strategy fails but the authority site is not put at risk. If Google responds positively with traffic and ranking then we can move forward with rolling the expired domain into the authority site and see increased traffic!
  4. Risk can be mitigated by only performing this move with PREMIUM domains with ONLY REAL backlinks. For this strategy more than most uses of expired domains I believe it is important to only use sites that were “real” and have “real” backlinks.

 

301 Building Block Strategy Step by Step…

Below is the procedure for how to go about getting executing the 301 building block strategy…

UPDATE – My team is in a situation where it can execute both step 1 (find domain) and step 2 (build site) if interested sign up here- Weekly Premium Domain List (free first month)

identify domains

 

step 1

There are a lot of ways to find and buy powerful expired domains. None are easy or cheap.

buy domain

 

 

1.1 Identify Domains

My Ultimate Expired Domain Guide is still very much relevant and the basis of the strategy my team uses for identifying opportunities to purchase domains!

However to find the kind of premium domains I want to use for the 301 building block I have had to use a newer method which works well for me because of the size of my team.

If you are looking to purchase domains yourself than Domain Auctions or Domain Brokers would be the best way to go but again this will be expensive.

What Domain Metrics Do I Look For

Good Domain Great Domain Amazing Domain
Page Authority 25+ 40+ 50+
Domain Authority 15+ 30+ 40+
Trust Flow 15+ 25+ 30+
Citation Flow 15+ 25+ 30+
Page Rank 0+ 3+ 5+
Alexa Rank None 10,000,000 or higher Under 10,000,000

If highly relevant, clean and can be purchased at an inexpensive price I will execute this strategy with that domain.

Ideally I am looking for “Great Domains” but again these are expensive. The successful examples in this post were both just under Great Domains.

Finding an amazing domain that is relevant is almost impossible so I can’t build a system around rare events but if one comes along I would get it(if the price was within reason).

My Secret Weapon – Large Team & Massive Back ordering

The secret weapon I have for buying these high quality domains at lower than market value is because my team is out scouring the internet for expired domains. In the process they identify dead sites about to drop.

A by-product of all this searching using the scraping method I talk about in the ultimate expired domain guide is that I find a lot of broken sites that have not yet expired.

By having a detailed list of all these sites and then rolling over 10-40 backorders each week I put myself into a situation where I can pick up a handful of very powerful domains for cheap.

UPDATE – Each week this process generates a surplus of premium domains I can buy at below market value…to get access to this list Sign Up Here (free first month) 

How You Can Find Great Domains – Auctions

Other than purchasing from a broker the easiest way to buy premium domains is to purchase them at auction but this can be very expensive!

How to find relevant expired domains with page rank and backlinks at the Auction Sites…

This video will show how to easily identify domains at the multiple auction sites that would be most helpful to your SEO efforts.

Tool to make auctions easier there is a handy tool from domcop.com – http://bettergodaddyauctions.domcop.com/

 

1.2 Keyword Research

Once you identify some potential domains it is important to determine if it would make a good candidate for the 301 building block strategy.

What I am looking for with this strategy is a domain that is powerful and relevant enough to link to an article that will have a lot of searches each month.

A good domain must…

  • Be powerful (step 1-1 should have us with a list of domains)
  • Be as relevant as possible
  • Have enough potential traffic to be worth building a site around

 

expired+authority

 

During step 1.2 (Keyword Research) I am looking to identify keywords or a group of keywords which fit in the overlapping area above and have 500 searches per month.

Target Metrics:

  • Searches per month 500+
  • Modest-Weak Competition

To get more details about doing Keyword Research the got to source is LongTailPro

Don’t worry too much about keyword research…simply make sure that there exists a niche with enough traffic to build a silo around.

For those familiar with building a traditional niche site the idea is to build a niche site style silo.

 

 1.3 Place Backorder

I realize I am glossing over these details but it is a relatively complicated strategy that to pull off you would need to have a team working, but don’t worry there are alternatives.

For me the strategy works because I have a team working on finding domains for clients continuously.

The alternative to building a team is…

  1. Buy domains at auction
  2. Sign up here to get a weekly email with the surplus premium domains I find

 

1.4 Buy Domain

Now that I have identified a potential domain, confirmed it would get enough traffic to be worthy of being a 301 building block, placed a backorder it is time to purchase the domain.

If no one else backorderd the domain than it is easy, however often I will end up in an auction for the domain.

Because the auction has a limited number of people the price often is below market value for the domain.

 

 

step 2

 

set up website

 

2.1 Setup Site for Building

This step involves getting things in order to be able to build the site.

  • Setup Google document for site creation
  • Define host to build site on & change nameserver
  • Install WordPress and (I use infinite WP for this & highly recommend it)
    • Infinite WP works on the server and the wordpress install shows no signs of code associated with infinite WP

 

2.2 Create Simple Content

Step 2.2 is about getting some simple content created that will be able to show if the site responds will with Google or not.

I have found 5 articles is enough to be able to determine if the site is going to rank well in Google.

The strategy I use for getting articles created I wrote about here and it still works now just expect to pay a minimum of $3-$5 for a 500 word article.

Article Details:

  • 5 Posts targeting specific problems/keywords
  • 500 words per post
  • Useful articles and not written for SEO
  • Link to relevant sources, add images etc

 

2.3 Setup Simple Website

For step 2.3 the idea is to setup a well optimized simple website that looks reasonable and doesn’t take too long to build.

Built into the google document I have for this project is a checklist for the website creator to make sure the site meets these requirements.

Tracking Document

 

2.4 Finish Website

In this step the job is to do a quick check to make sure the site is all setup correctly. Nothing fancy but the project manager just needs to do a QC check to make sure there are no glaring mistakes.

Here is a decent example (not my site) of a relevant site built on an authoritative expired domain that is now getting relevant traffic – http://thelittlehouse.ca/

a little house

 

 

step 3

create epic post

 

3.1 Review at 30 & 60 Days

Part 3 is where the power of this strategy comes in with reviews at the 30 day mark and 60 day mark you will quickly be able to see how Google is viewing the site and make a go / no-go decision on combining it with the authority site.

The best way to make sure these checks happen for me to is to have the project manager enter a calendar event in Gmail for us to review the site at the 30 and 60 day mark.

Here are the three things to check for…

1. Traffic Quantity and Source

I am looking to see quick sustained organic traffic growth with a lot of traffic coming from the keywords we are going after.

The site below is one of the sites my team built and has quickly gotten over 200 visitors per day with the majority coming from organic search.

audience overview

 

top channels

 

 

2. Google Ranking

Based on the check above this seems odd but a simple test I like to do to see how Google is viewing a site is to copy a title for an article word for word and put it into Google.

If it is a longer title 5+ words I would like to see the site ranking on the first page.

How Google ranks the site for the longer article titles is a great indication of how Google views the site overall.

 

3. Articles Indexed

This could really be the first check but if for any reason after 30 days the sites posts are not being indexed it is an indication that there could have been a penalty applied to the site at some point in the past and therefore should be avoided for the 301 building block strategy.

Check by going to Google and entering – “site:url” to see if it has been indexed.

 

Go-No Go Decision

Based on the review at the 30 and 60 day mark we need to make a decision if it is a good candidate to progress to the next steps of the 301 building block strategy.

Not all sites will be good candidates and I have had some that initially looked very promising but then fizzled out.

My Six Figure Challenge Authority Site Examples:

So far for my authority site project I have done 2 301 Building Blocks…

One – Former Industry Website

audience overview 2

Two – Former Site of University Program

audience overview 3

3.2 Epic Post

Now that the decision has been made to make the move it is time to get an EPIC post created that will be worthy of ranking in the top spot in Google for the target keywords.

There are different strategies/thoughts on what EPIC means but to me it means…

  1. Answers the searchers query better than anything else online
  2. Shareworthy/Linkworthy
  3. Adds value beyond words (includes additional features to improve linkability)
  4. Length does matter – repeated analysis by Moz, Neil Patel and others have shown a positive correlation between length of article and search position. 5,000 words if possible is my target.

One way to systematically create an epic post is to do a large round up post as described here.

Here is how I try to get the epic post created…

  • 5,000+ words
  • I prepare some portion of the table of contents to make sure it will be very useful
    • Amazon books on the subject are a great starting point
  • Cost $1/100 words (don’t go too cheap on the article and produce a large poorly written/useless article)
  • Add video, images or simple tool if at all appropriate

This epic/niche dominating post acts as the “pillar” article or main silo and will ultimately link to all other posts in the silo that will be created as part of this strategy.

 

3.3 Map the Move & Create Additional Posts

Pulling off this strategy can be a little complicated but here are a few ways I really like to simplify it…

  1. All posts associated with this “building block” should be grouped into their own category
    1. The epic post and all sub posts including those moved from the initial build on the old URL will fall into this one category
  2. Taking a complete inventory of all former pages is key. There are 2 sources to identify old pages/posts to make sure get included in the 301 redirects.
    1. MajesticSEO (find all URLs on the site that have links to them)
    2. Archive (find all posts on the site that have been captured in archive.org – simply click around the site and find all possible posts – a sitemap page can be very helpful if one has been captured by archive)

majestic

 

archive

 

Using the example site (again not my site) you can find all the pages that should be redirected by following majesticSEO and Archive.

To keep track of this research use tab 2 in the Google document I shared earlier and here –

Tracking Document

tracking

Each of these URLs should either…

  • Be redirected to a relevant post on the authority site

or…

  • Have an article created which closely matches the topic of the original post and 301 redirected to that new similar post

In addition to identifying the old posts from the site it is important to map out another group of posts all of which will fall under the silo structure of this building block. (Great Silo Structure Overview)

The additional posts should be a mix of articles to rank as well as articles to try and generate links/shares. (Tutorial on how to generate great post titles quickly!)

Add these posts to the tracking document and assign writers.

 

3.4 301 Redirect Posts and Add Additional Posts

Rubber meets the road here!

In this step it is time to publish posts at the authority site and 301 redirect the old URLs to the new EPIC Niche Dominating post and the other relevant posts in that category.

There are a few ways to do this redirection but the plugin I prefer is Redirection (free).

With the step above done executing the 301 redirects in an organized way is not hard.

Make sure to track 404 errors at the expired domain and be sure to go in 2 weeks after doing the 301 redirect to clean up any 404 errors.

IMPORTANT TIP – One of the benefits of this strategy is that this niche dominating post will now be very powerful in terms of helping other posts rank so it is critical that the post links to all posts in that category.

To automatically do this you can use this plugin – List Category Posts (free)

301 bb strategy

 

Summary

So there you have it the 301 building block strategy, a systematic approach to using powerful expired domains to build out an authority site.

I am using this strategy now to build out my six figure challenge website and as you could see above have had success with it.

If you are looking to follow this strategy and would like some help with finding domains or building out sites you can get a weekly list of premium domains available for purchase here or simply email me at jonhaver11 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Although this post is almost 3,000 words there are a lot of sections I did not cover in great detail. Please ask questions below and I will be sure to answer them.

Good luck and happy building!

About the Author Jon Haver

I am a 31 year old husband, father of 2, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours. I am not a GURU but just a regular guy who is grinding out 12+hr days to build a life for my family on terms.
Jon Haver, Online Entrepreneur

Leave a Comment:

20 comments
Tom Attenborough says March 30, 2015

That must be one of the epic posts that you had planned for the year!

I have to say that is a very unique spin to using expired domains and allows you to prop up the different “categories” of your site very quickly and get organic traffic to them as you have shown. I suppose your essentially able to escape the “Google Sandbox” by doing this, by evaluating beforehand whether Google is willing to rank the expired domain.

Did you have many domains which you ended up having to discard because they didn’t rank?

Reply
    Jon Haver says March 30, 2015

    Hi Tom, yes this turned into an Epic…mostly because it had to for me to even hope to explain the strategy.

    Yes I did have to discard a few sites that just struggled to get organic traffic. The great thing so far is that it has been very clear as either a success or a failure. Even when they don’t rank well enough they still can provide value in other ways.

    So far I have had 1 failure, 2 successes and 4 more in progress.

    Reply
Yaro says March 30, 2015

Hey Jon,
Interesting case study you have here and it’s very well written.
As I understood you are using new fresh domain and just 301 redirect expired domains to posts.

How long it takes to rank fresh domains in Google for keywords? 30-60 days?

If you can add more data to the post it will be great, like:
Day when you bought fresh domain, added content, added first expired domain, what metrics were of expired domain, post was relevant to niche of expired domain, then second domain and etc.
With stats on every time you added expired domain, like: DA, PA, traffic stats and so on.
I know maybe it’s too much, but I think many people would like to see really deep analysis 🙂

Thanks,
Yaro

Reply
    Jon Haver says March 30, 2015

    Hey Yaro, I thought about getting into that level of detail and had a section started on that but cut it out since it was simply overcomplicating things.

    The results can be seen in the 3 screen shots of the analytics showing the day the site was built/ content added and traffic coming in.

    Within 20 days the 3 sites I am showing here were at…
    – 80 visitors (301 building block site)
    – 50 visitors (301 building block site)
    – 200 visitors (another expired domain test site)

    All domains had around “great” metrics…
    PA – 40
    DA – 30
    CF – 25
    TF – 25
    Alexa (1 had an alexa ranking 12mil and 1 didn’t)

    Hope this helps.

    Maybe a follow up post is once I get even more data and can devote a post just to the data analysis and provide it to everyone to dig into. Maybe even a few uber-geeks can do a little regression analysis and help us all out with what they find.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Reply
Jamie says March 30, 2015

Love this post Jon I will definitely be putting it to the test. One thing I didn’t see mentioned is what you do with the home page. Do you 301 it to your authority home page? or just leave it as it is?

Thanks for sharing.

Reply
    Jon Haver says March 30, 2015

    301 the homepage to the epic post on the authoritysite. Have a look at the image with the green arrows.

    Thanks for the question!

    Reply
Dom says March 31, 2015

Great to see you shedding more light on this method Jon. As Tom touched upon, it looks like this is also an effective way of getting around the sandbox as well. I guess Google just treats it as a business acquisition/move.

So the key is to pickup the domain very shortly after it drops, before it gets deindexed.

It could well be worth building a few niche sites using this method as well.

Reply
    Jon Haver says March 31, 2015

    Hey Dom

    Yes, it definitely seems to be able to by-pass the “sandbox” and could be an effective strategy for money niche sites as well.

    Jon

    Reply
Dave says March 31, 2015

Thanks Jon for sharing this idea, i will try this out. Sorry quick question in one of your case study you did long ago about PayMyStudentLoans you mentioned about guest post and blog commenting, my question, can 301 redirect block strategy be more effective in terms of traffic than guest post and blog commenting?

Thanks

Reply
    Jon Haver says March 31, 2015

    Hi Dave, tough question to answer.

    All I can say is that for my six figure challenge site I am continuing with both.

    My theory is that no single strategy should be relied on…if only a single strategy is used heavily it will result in an unnatural backlink profile putting the site at risk of getting hit with a google update.

    Jon

    Reply
Gabi says March 31, 2015

Hi Jon,

Thanks for this detailed guide, so much to take in!

While delving into the backgrounds of a few expired domains (which I found using your manual method and free tool) I’ve see on Archive.org sometimes the last snapshot has a 302 redirect going to the page where it’s parked like Sedo for example. Just wanted to know if this is something to be concerned about? Or if this is a regular occurrence when a domain has been dropped.

Thanks, Gabi

Reply
    Jon Haver says March 31, 2015

    Hi Gabi

    If the 302 redirect shows up in archive and it goes to either…
    – SEDO or similar domain landing page
    – The businesses new website
    I would still proceed with getting it.

    However, if the redirect sends you to an unrelated or spammy site than avoid it!

    I used to avoid any redirect thinking that after a domain had been redirected the juice was gone from the domain but that has proven not to be the case.

    Jon

    Reply
      Gabi says March 31, 2015

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for clearing that up!

      Sometimes the 302 takes me to a page on Archive that says “this website is currently unavailable” and then gives the hosting co’s contact number.

      I’m using domaintools.com paid version to drill down into some domains. One for example says it’s had 3 registrars and 3 drops but when I check it out, it’s been registered with Godaddy since 2002 and the same person owned it until 2013 when privacy was enabled but the registrar is still Godaddy. This is a little confusing. Can Godaddy be considered as 3 separate registrars? Also, the domain was parked from 2002 until end 2006 before it was used for anything, is that ok?

      Thanks

      Reply
Robert says April 3, 2015

A lot of food for thoughts here.
Apart of that, I like the extensive use you mak of checklists.

Good luck and….keep sharing!

Thank you

Reply
Raju Rai says April 14, 2015

Hi Jon,
It’s really Good Thoughts. I started few of micro sites and thinking to make a perfect link building strategy. At that time one of my friend told me that 301 redirection works good.
Can you tell me which is best direct 301 redirection from cpanel or custom redirection from adding html code.?

Reply
Josh says April 21, 2015

Nice strategy plan.

Apart of Domcop, for domain search I use expireddomains.net and registercompass.org. Or I buy domains from vendors. I used to use domainswithpr.com but they seem to be dead now. Now domainsrforever.com seems to be a decent replacement.

Reply
Elena says April 25, 2015

Hi,

Great post. I have been using 301 to completely redirect web sites in the past and I also built some directly on expired domains (i.e. to “save” a good domain name).
Both strategies are risky, especially the second. So I really like your advance modular approach with a “buffer web site”!!

One question, if you have few minutes: once you are the owner of an expired domain and you have built your own site on it, how can you tell if the expired domain isn’s hurting you (i.e. is penalized)?

I have a web site about colouring pages where 99% of pages and posts are indexed, but when it comes to images, only 1/6 of them are.

Thank you for blogging!

Reply
Kyle says September 11, 2015

Hi Jon,

Stumbled across you in Source Market and found this blog. Literally read every single post you have here – great stuff. I was wondering something here – do you 301 the entire domain to the authority sites new epic post, or build a silo on the expired domain and just 301 the epic post to the new post?

Reply
Aakash Agarwal says September 12, 2015

Great post, Jon. It’s a new concept and I’m sure it will work as I’ve done many successful 301s in the past. I have two questions:

(I) Do you add your old site to GWT?

(ii) What kind of hosting do you use for the site? And do you use the same shared hosting for all the sites that you create for 301-ing to your money site?

Thanks!

Reply
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