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Ultimate Expired Domain Guide

UPDATE – Every strategy originally listed still works but there have been a few changes. To ensure this resource continues to be THE BEST resource on finding expired domains and building private blog networks I have edited it with the latest tips and tricks.

SERVICES – Since the creation of this post I have started offering 3 highly requested services. If you are interested please check out the sales pages (often sold out but sign up to be notified when they re-open)

CHANGES – For people who have already read this 8,000 words here is the summary of the changes….

  1. I no longer recommend IXWebHosting, instead either HostNine or this list of inexpensive hosts I use
  2. I no longer recommend DomainSpoon, I know strongly recommend PBNLab!
  3. Relevant 301 redirects does not mean the domain should not be purchased
  4. DomCop.com added as a reasonable free alternative

 

IMPORTANT – This post took me one month to create something special for you – the readers of authoritywebsiteincome.com. Although I do not consider myself a Guru at all I have over the last 3 years built up a pretty large amount of knowledge on how to use expired domains to boost search engine rankings! After receiving a lot of emails from people incorrectly using expired domains and my last post causing a lot of great question I decided to create this the Ultimate Expired Domain and Private Blog Network Guide!

But I wanted to provide value to you beyond just 8000 words….so I have decided to give away a custom in house tool that I had developed to make the process of finding valuable expired domains much much easier! As well as another very valuable bonus to anyone interested…

FREE GIVEAWAY…

Free-Custom-Domain-Finding-Software

DONE FOR YOU SERVICES –

Let my team and processes work for you! These services are a result of requests from this post and often are sold out.


Quality-Expired-DomainsDone-For-You-PBNPremium-PBN-Links

On this page there are many links to resources a lot are affiliate links to tools I use, some are non-affiliate links to tools I use. What you won’t find are links affiliate or non-affiliate to tools I DON’T use.

Thank you, the reader, for motivating me to create this guide…I really hope you get value from it, my extra’s and I look forward to hearing from you!

Jon Haver

jonhaver11 (at) gmail

jon-haver-52-58

Update Aug, 2014 – Feedback On This Guide

I have been very happy with how this guide has been received over 1000 social shares! and over 200 comments. There have been some huge thank you’s rolling in and I wanted to share one from the Empire Flippers…

EmpireFlippers-Icon

2 Minute Segment from Justin and Joe talking about this guide

Listen to the full episode here

There are 8000+ words and several videos below but in a couple minutes let me show you how it is possible to find very authoritative expired domains easily…don’t worry if it’s a little fast and I gloss over the details I go into WAY more details lower in the article!

The Easiest Method To Find Powerful Expired Domains…

VIDEO COMING SOON (Aug 2015) FOR THE NEWEST/EASIEST DOMAIN FINDING TOOL – PBN Lab

 

I NO LONGER RECOMMEND DOMAIN SPOON(tool has stopped being supported) I NOW USE PBN Lab

The Steps Covered in This Video

  1. Generate long list of relevant high PR webpages that are
    • Old – Ugly – Filled with Lots of Links
  2. Run through Xenu Link Sleuth (free tool)
  3. Enter List into my free domain finding tool
  4. Run through my 10 Point Pre Purchase Checklist
Find Relevant Expired Domain

Find Relevant Expired Domain

 

intro

 

Intro

A couple weeks ago I created a post which got a lot of interest about expired domains. People felt it was one of the most helpful articles on the subject that they had read.

Well, I felt like there was a lot left unanswered and after helping a few people through the process I came to see several holes that still needed to be filled.

That is the reason for this guide….The Ultimate Guide to Expired Domains

This is the most detailed guide ever on how to find, evaluate, buy and use expired domains to improve your search engine rankings (it does not focus on buying and selling the domains).

This detailed guide is broken down into the following sections…

 INDEX

  • Intro (you are here)
  • List of Tools (almost all free!)
  • Section 1 – What are Expired Domains and How are They Valuable
  • Section 2 – Expired Domain Knowledge Base
    • 30 tips to not leave a footprint
    • How to protect your investment using Silos
    • Does Page Rank matter? – The 4 metrics I care about
    • 12 Point Domain Pre Purchase Checklist
  • Section 3 – How to Find Expired Domains – Video Tutorials
    • Free Lists
    • Auctions
    • Mining for the BEST domains
      1. Manual method
      2. My custom software
      3. Premium method
  • Section 4 – How to get the maximum SEO benefit from Expired Domains – My Procedures
    1. Feeder Site Creation SOP
    2. Direct 301 Redirect SOP
    3. Blog Network Management SOP
  • Final Thoughts
    • Quick Action Guide (avoid the overwhelm!)

The idea is that this will be an evergreen document I will continue to update and improve upon it based on the latest information. If you have any suggestions on how to improve or questions that should be asked please let me know in the comments section below.

DISCLAIMER – GOOGLE PENALTY – This all sounds too black hat aren’t you trying to trick Google? – My Response – If you focus on relevant domains, useful content and adding value to a human visitor than I believe it is in line with Google’s goals.

 Real Example… Imagine a website that offers a Grant for College Students, then for whatever reason the grant is no longer offered and the website expires.  I then purchase the expired domain, have an article created explaining why the grant no longer exists and where they could go to find other similar grants (while including a link to my relevant money site). Am I adding value to the visitor? Are they better off with this useful information than running into an error page?

My answer to this is that yes I believe I am adding value to the human visitor and this is in line with what Google wants from a user experience stand point.

Word of caution – This powerful SEO strategy can very easily be abused and I make no promises it will not get you in trouble with Google if you abuse it. If you always ask yourself “does this add value to a human visitor?” and the honest answer is yes than you should be in good shape!

tools

List of Tools

Basic Tools

multiple-ip-hosting

Other Hosts I Use…

HostPrice($) UnlimitedLinks
Dream Host8.95/moyesSign Up
HostNine3.45/moyesSign Up
Pagely24/monoSign Up
Media Temple20/moup to 100 websitesSign Up
Arvixe4/moup to 6 websitesSign Up
HostGator6.36/moyesSign Up
iPower3.25/moyesSign Up
Eleven 25.95/moup to 10 websites Sign Up
WebHosting Buzz6.95/moyesSign Up
FatCow3.15/moyesSign Up
iPage1.89/moyesSign Up
MyHosting4.95/moyesSign Up
Just Host2.75/moyesSign Up
Bluehost4.95/moyesSign Up

More Advanced Tools

section 1

Section 1 – What Are Expired Domains And How Are They Valuable?

 

What Are Expired Domains

Expired domains are domains that were once registered and for one reason or another have not been renewed by the owner.  Daily there are between 25,000 and 60,000 domains that drop daily.

These domains hold value for 2 reasons…

  1. The Domain Name – Domain sales or “domaining” is big business and a lot of larger players are in this space picking up assets (expired domains) with the intention of re-selling at higher values.  I am not familiar with this space but if interested http://www.domainsherpa.com/ covers this business.
  2. Backlink Profile Value – The backlinks and authority an established website builds up over time is not lost if an expired domain is handled correctly once purchased. This is the value I look for when purchasing expired domains.

The domain expiration process…

 

Domain Register Process

Domain Register Process

How Much SEO Value Do Expired Domains Offer?

This section was originally posted here but included below for completeness.

 

Within the last few months there has been 3 successful public case studies that all have one SEO tactic in common, they are…

 

#1 – Tung Tran from CloudLivingJourney.com has his niche site bestadjustabledumbbells.org/ ranking #1 after only 38 days and on track to be making $500/month. He talks about his impressive results and all the strategies he used. One item that a lot of people would miss is the expired domain he picked up to generate a high PR backlink for his site.

See the image below showing where he describes how he used his expired domain…

Blog Comment

Blog Comment

 

#2 Spencer Haws from NichePursuits.com has his website http://www.sharpsurvival.com/ ranking #1 in Google for his target keyword after 62 days! He has also used expired domains to trade links and get high PR relevant links from sites in his niche.

Expired Domain to Trade Link

Expired Domain to Trade Link

Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws

 

#3 – Myself for my case study Site PayMyStudentLoans.com is generating over $1000/month from search engine traffic and has been promoted using expired domains. I have wrote about how I use these only a little bit twice…

My Secret SEO

My Secret SEO

http://authoritywebsiteincome.com/300-visitors-per-day-and-450-per-month/

 

Private Blog Network

Private Blog Network

http://authoritywebsiteincome.com/website-is-profitable/

 

Other People Talking About Expired Domains…

This post is everything I have learned about expired domains but I would be doing a disservice to everyone if I didn’t share all the smart people that have shared great information I have learned from…

 

section 2

Section 2 – Expired Domain Tips– What to Look for and How to Use Expired Domains

 

In this section I cover off several important concepts before starting to look for a domain. It is important to understand these concepts now before the expired domain search can begin. Otherwise you may end up paying for a domain that is worthless.

30 tips

30+ Tips to Ensure You Do Not Leave a Footprint

A lot of people are scared about expired domains and blog networks because of the carnage of the larger blog networks including Build My Rank etc.

If you follow these 30 tips below when you set up any new expired domains you will have a better chance of maintaining the link value of the site and not have it get de-indexed.

Buying Your Domains:

  • Buy expired domain which have a diverse backlink profile
  • Always register with privacy activated (whois guard)
  • Use a popular registrar(millions of other sites also registered there)

Hosting

Building The Website

  • Don’t use the same username on each website
  • Use a different theme for each website
  • Its ok to use WordPress on each website
  • Don’t use plugins that leave a unique footprint
    • Akismet and some others that require a code
  • Use a different Privacy Policy on each
  • Use a unique About Us page
  • Don’t install Google Analytics
  • Don’t install Google Adsense
  • Don’t install Google WebMaster Tools
  • Don’t try and monetize the blogs for yourself
  • Do install some monetization (this may be too time consuming)
    • Use a different affiliate code/advertiser number etc for each site to have each site appear unique
    • This is important for manual reviews – a site that shows no signs of monetization is open to more scrutiny by a manual reviewer
  • 301 redirect all old URLs to similar pages
    • This will maintain the PR for as long as possible
    • A plugin can be installed to help with any pages you missed
  • Vary what plugins are used (don’t use your favourite SEO plugin on every site)
  • Vary the permalink structure from site to site
  • Vary how the site is built
    • Don’t use the exact same plugins configured in the exact same way, randomize how the site is built

Running The Network

  • Never Ever Interlink within the network (never link one network website to another)
  • Interlink each article to another article on the website
    • SEO smartlinks or similar plugin can help automate this
  • Include subheadings and bullet points on your articles
  • Link to 1 or more authority website/article on the topic of each article posted
  • 25% or more of posts should not include external links to your money site(s)
    • These “no external link” posts should still link to internal pages/posts and the occasionally authority site
  • Posts should vary in length 300-1000 words
    • Don’t have every post 305 words long
  • Include media in your posts (Youtube Video, Images)
  • Only post unique articles
  • Original written articles are best (low cost readable articles are ok)
  • Don’t have every blog in your network link to every money site
  • Make sure all sites in the network are not also linking to each money site as this would produce a footprint
  • Vary Keyword Phrase in Anchor Text in links to your money sites
    • Instead of using “dog training” everytime vary the anchor text “training a dog”, “how to train a dog”, “dog training tips”, “dog trained” etc
  • Generic Anchor Text should be occasionally used in links to your money sites
    • visit, click here, naked URL, website, this page etc
  • Limit the number of posts per website to 1 or less per day
  • Prepare a detailed procedure for how the network should be run and outsource it to someone on ODesk (see my procedure below)

silo concept

Silo Your Feeder Sites

One tip I want to share is the way I Silo my networks around money site topics. For example if I have 3 basic markets(real estate, financial and health)  I have money sites in then I will have 5 small networks of feeder sites. Each of these networks will not link to the money sites in other niches and vice versa.

This strategy makes sense for me because of my focus on relevancy but also adds an additional layer of protection against leaving a footprint and de-indexing.

Website Structure

Website Structure

relevance

The Importance of Relevance

Rightly or wrongly my focus is on finding relevant expired domains. Relevant expired domains are the only domains I now focus on.

My belief is any SEO benefit from non-relevant expired domains is the result of a loop hole in Google’s algorithm and will eventually close.

For example if I have a site on mortgage rates in California and buy an expired domain formerly held by an environmental group in Kansas that I then link to my California site there is no benefit to a human user and Google will eventually be smart enough to know that.

does pr matter

Do “High PR” Expired Domains Matter? The 4 Metrics I Care About Most…

 

Metric 1 – Page Authority (30+)

This metric was created by Moz.com and is defined as the following.

“Page Authority is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given webpage is likely to rank in Google.com’s search results.” (learn more about Page Authority here)

Based on detailed analysis by Moz.com they showed that for link metrics it had the highest correlation between a website and high search rankings.

Page Authority

Page Authority

Source (http://moz.com/blog/ranking-factors-2013)

Based on these findings and my own experience the metric I focus on from OpenSiteExplorer (Moz’s link analysis tool) is Page Authority.

 

Metric #2 – Trust Flow from MajesticSEO.com (15+)

I think of trust flow as the measure of how respected a website is.

We start with a large list on manually reviewed URLs. These have a crowd-sourced level of trust but by no means include all the trusted sites on the web. It turns out, though, that trustworthy sites tend to link to trustworthy neighbours. Those neighbours also tend to link to trustworthy neighbours themselves. In fact – after lots of iterations – those outside the circle of trust are put in the cold.” MajesticSEO.com

 

Metric #3 – Citation Flow from MajesticSEO.com (15+)

I think of citation flow as the popularity vote. A site with a high citation flow generally means it has been getting lots at least decent quality links to it.

Citation flow predicts how likely a URL is to rank based on the number of links going to it.

 

Trust & Citation Flow Explained In Easy To Understand Example…

Here is the real world comparison of people with varying trust and citation flow giving investment advice…

Trust and Citation Flow Explained in “Real” Example: Receiving Stock Tips…

Low Trust Flow

High Trust Flow

Low Citation Flow

Cold call stock tip “guru” calls you up and says he has a pharmaceutical company whose stock is ready to explode 10x. (low trust, low popularity)

Little known Noble Price winning economist provides detailed summary of value of companies compared to stock price (not very popular but very trustworthy)

High Citation Flow

Popular talking head screams into the TV everyday with 50 stock tips! (Buy Buy Buy, Sell Sell Sell) (Popular but not really trusted)

Warren Buffett provides unbiased advice on the state of the economy and stock purchase decisions based on that. (Very Popular, Very Trusted)

 

Metric 4 – Google Page Rank

Page Rank is a highly over emphasized metric when it comes to buying expired domains. There are a lot of reasons for this but mostly because it is the easiest metric to measure a sites authority by. When comparing 2 sites the fastest quantifiable number to compare is page rank. Generally a PR4 is better than a PR2.

Here is what Google says about page rank…

“Webpages with a higher PageRank are more likely to appear at the top of Google search results.” (source)

The bottom line for me is that I still would prefer a higher PR expired domain but it has to have decent other metrics.

The important thing to know is that for SEO purposes Page Rank alone means nothing!

 

A PR5 Domain with NO Backlinks is Worthless!

Page rank is typically updated a few times per year with the last update being Feb 4, 2013.
metrics i care about

Summary of the Metrics I am After…

Decent Domain

Good Domain

Amazing Domain

Page Authority

25+

40+

50+

Trust Flow

15+

25+

40+

Citation Flow

15+

30+

50+

Page Rank

1+

3+

5+

If one metric is below the decent column I won’t rule the domain out depending on the others.

My aim is to find mostly Good domains with some decent (if perfectly relevant) and a few Amazing domains!

The metrics for an Amazing Domain are just that…pretty incredible and very hard to achieve.

OFFERS…

Free-Custom-Domain-Finding-Software

Expired-Domain-Bonus

 

Quality-Expired-DomainsDone-For-You-PBNPremium-PBN-Links

5 ways to use them

5 Common Ways Expired Domains Are Used…

Expired domains are typically used in 1 of 5 ways…

1. Feeder Site (my favourite)

Google Visit

Google Visit

2. 301 Redirect

Google Bot

Google Bot

3. Private Blog Network

Expired Domain Website

Expired Domain Website

4. Build “Money” Site on the Expired Domain

5. Bought and sold for more than they were purchased for – This is not something I have any experience with.

In this guide I will share how I go about using them for the purposes of 1 (feeder site), 2 (301 redirect) and 3(private blog network).

pre purchase checklist

My 12 Point Expired Domain Pre Purchase Checklist:

When people have written me sharing the domain they purchased this is most often the piece that would have helped them the most!

This is the pre-purchase checklist I review before purchasing a domain…

  • Relevance
    • Highly or moderately relevant. Is it conceivable that this website would naturally link to your money site? If you think it would conceivably naturally link to your site than it is moderately relevant.  If there is no way it would link to your site unless completely randomly I do not consider it relevant.
  • Metrics
  • Spam Check
    • Check anchor text for Porn, Pharmaceuticals, Poker or foreign language anchor text in Majestic SEO – If any signs of this kind of anchor text do not buy!
    • Natural Profile (no SEO) – Check backlinks for signs of blog network links, comment spam or directory spam – Use your discretion but if it looks like someone was doing low value SEO on the domain do not buy it!
    • Does the exact match anchor text look natural? Below 15% at least – If no Do Not Buy
    • Review website in Archive.org (alternative) and see if the domain had content not related to the domain name – If the content does not make sense with the domain name it means it was already used as an expired domain (poorly used) – Do not buy it!
  • Redirection/Duplicate Check
    • Also check if all the old content has been moved to a new site – this may mean even though the redirection did not show up in Archive.org ( they did a 301 redirect on the old URL and Google has passed all the link juice to the new site. Use copyscape.com or this free alternative for this.
  • Registrar History
    • Check the registrar history if it has been registered and dropped more than once you need to be confident it was not abused by checking it in Archive.org. You can check the number of times a site has been registered by visiting – http://whois.domaintools.com
Whois Record

Whois Record

section 3

Section 3 – How to Find Expired Domains with Backlinks and PageRank – VIDEO TUTORIALS

There are 3 basic strategies people use to find expired domains

  1. Free Lists like ExpiredDomains.net, DomCop.com
  2. Auction (GoDaddy Auctions, SnapNames)
  3. Mining for them yourself (My Favourite)
    1. Basic Free method
    2. Paid Premium
    3. Using my tool to automate

OPTION

Ease

Time Consuming

Cost

Quality of Domain

ExpiredDomains.net

Easiest

Quick

Low

Low

Auctions

Moderate

Slow

Moderate-High

Low-Moderate

Finding Them Yourself

Most Difficult

Slow

Low (once set up)

Low-High

free lists1.       Find Expired Domains with Free Lists (CHEAP & EASY BUT LOW QUALITY DOMAINS)

Here is the easiest way to find relevant expired domains. You will not find any domains that fall into the “Good” metrics but it’s a great way to easily find relevant expired domains free to register.


Domain Found Using This Method:

    • http://www.wpgourmetlattes.com
      • Cost = Free to register
      • PR = 0
      • PA = 31
      • CF = 23
      • TF = 15

 

  • Go to ExpiredDomains.net or DomCop.com
  • Set up a FREE account
  • Set up your search like the following
    • Search Term – Your Keyword
    • Common Filter – min Backlinks = 1 & min Site Results = 1
  • Pick The Domain(s)
    • PR > 0
    • Page Authority > 30
    • Majestic Trust Flow > 15
    • Majestic Link Flow > 15
    • Keyword Spam – Based on majestic SEO link profile does the link profile appear natural, 3 questions to test
      • i.      Is porn/poker/pharmaceuticals mentioned in the anchor text?
      • ii.      Is the anchor text all English?
      • iii.      Is the exact match keyword density below 15%?
    • Check Relevance – Put the site into archive.org (alternative) and ask yourself these questions…
      • If the person visiting this website ended up at my site instead would they be happy since their question/problem was answered?
      • If the person was selling this site and the price was right would it make sense for my website to buy this site?
    • Bonus Alexa < 10M
  • Register Domain with Privacy Protected at NameCheap.com
  • Set up website at a different host than your main site
  • Pick a Strategy
    • Direct 301 redirect
    • Build feeder site (my favourite)
    • Build a private blog network site and use for 3-way link trades with other sites in your niche
  • Execute Your Chosen Strategy

OFFERS…

Free-Custom-Domain-Finding-Software

Expired-Domain-Bonus

 

Quality-Expired-DomainsDone-For-You-PBNPremium-PBN-Links

buy at auction

2.       Buy High PR Expired Domains at Auction (FAST BUT MORE EXPENSIVE METHOD)

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.

I will not go into the details of how to best win an auction since I am not the right person to talk to that.

8 minutes of searching results in 2 quality niche “gourmet” specific domains…

  • http://www.2raysgourmet.com
    • Cost = $10 + registration fee
    • PR = 2
    • PA = 35
    • CF = 24
    • TF = 27

 

  • http://www.rojosgourmet.com
    • Cost = $280 + registration fee
    • PR = 2
    • PA = 41
    • CF = 30
    • TF = 25

 

  • Go to ExpiredDomains.net or use this free Chrome/Firefox extension (http://bettergodaddyauctions.domcop.com/)
  • Set up a FREE account
  • Go to “other domains”
  • Set up your search like the following
    • Common Filter – Search Term – Your Keyword
    • Common Filter – min Backlinks, PR and Site Results = 1
    • Common Filter – No Fake PRs
    • Additional Filter Tab – Set your max price
    • Additional Filter – TLDs = .com, .net, .org, .ca
    • Adwords & SEO Filter – min Moz Page Authority = 20

 

Common Filter

Expired Domain Finding Tools

Expired Domain Finding Tools

Additional Filter

Expired Domain Finding Filter

Expired Domain Finding Filter

Adwords & SEO Filter

Adword And SEO Filter

Adword And SEO Filter

  • Sort Results by # of Linking Root Domains
  • Review Results in All Tabs
  • Pick The Domain(s)
    • PR > 0
    • Page Authority > 30
    • Majestic Trust Flow > 15
    • Majestic Link Flow > 15
    • Cost within your budget

 

I do not use auction sites since I have had luck finding domains that I can register for only the registration cost.

However, many people have found it far easier although a little more costly to identify the domains on Auction sites.

There are tools I haven’t used like PR Power Shot which I have heard mixed reviews about. If anyone can provide some honest feedback on it I will include it here. The idea of the tool is similar to expireddomains.net and it crawls the auction sites and provides more actionable information on the domains up for auction.

Here is an article that talk more about the auction process – How to Grab an Expiring Domain Name

Tool to make auctions easier – http://bettergodaddyauctions.domcop.com/

 

3.       How To Mine For The True Gems of Expired Domains (BEST METHOD!)

This method has been adapted based on the methods taught by Hayden at NoHatSEO and focused around making sure to find HIGHLY relevant expired domains for the given niche.

In addition a custom tool I have had built makes the manual process much faster.

First I will show you the 100% free and harder way then move up to the more advanced and more powerful method.

manual method

Manual (Free*) Method  (NOT FUN! – DO ONCE TO UNDERSTAND METHOD – VARYING QUALITY)

*Free only if you don’t value your time!

Here is a very labour intensive manual method. It can take hours and hours of work!

  • http://www.artsintheinns.com
    • Cost = Free + registration fee
    • PR = tbd
    • PA = 39
    • CF = 22
    • TF = 23

FREE GIVEAWAYS…

Free-Custom-Domain-Finding-Software

  • One Free Expired Domain Found To Help Your Website!

Expired-Domain-Bonus

 

  • Go to Google with the aim of finding older high authority websites in your niche that have a lot of external links. The idea here is to then check the links to see if any of the links no longer work because the domain has expired and is available for registration
  • Enter a couple of the search terms into Google
    • “keyword” list -2013 -2012 -2011 -2010 -2009= gourmet list
    • “keyword phrase” list -2013 -2012 -2011 -2010 -2009 = gourmet restaurant list = gourmet recipe list = gourmet food list
    • “keyword phrase” websites -2013 -2012 -2011 -2010 -2009 = gourmet websites = gourmet restaurant websites = gourmet recipe websites
    • “keyword phrase” directory -2013 -2012 -2011 -2010 -2009 = gourmet restaurant directory
    • “keyword phrase” blogs -2013 -2012 -2011 -2010 -2009 = gourmet recipe blogs
  • Review the results for authoritative sites with a lot of links on them and record the ones you find on a text file – pick a few you want to run through Xenu. The ones that have the most links on them and also have the highest Page Rank. Don’t pick too many since you have to do a manual sort later – pick around 5.
  • Download and install Xenu link sleuth (free tool) that will crawl through the entire site and see
  • Set up Xenu with the following settings…

xenu link sleuth settings

  • Once Xenu is Complete go to File -> Export to Tab Separated File & Save on Your Computer
Xenu Select File

Xenu Select File

  • Open Excel then go to File -> Open and Browse to the File You Saved (make sure to have “All Files” selected when opening the file you created)
  • Select “Delimited” then select “Finish”
Text Import Wizard

Text Import Wizard

  • Select “Delimited” then select “Finish”
  • Highlight Row 1 and Go to Data & Select Filter
MS Word

MS Word

  • Filter to NoSuchHost in Column C
MS Word Option

MS Word Option

 

TIP – The remaining steps become very easy if you use either the free tool I have or PBN Lab

  • Add 4 Columns
    • Available
    • Page Authority
    • Citation Flow
    • Trust Flow
MS Word Row

MS Word Row

  • Clean Up URLs (potentially time consuming)
    • You now need to trim all the urls to just the URL (no http:// or www)
      • http://blog.website.com to website.com
      • http://website.com/page1 to website.com
    • TIP – Ctrl-F and then find all http:// and replace with nothing, do the same for www.
    • TIP – Filter Column A for any sites containing URL’s you would not register – .edu, .gov, .com.au, .ca, etc and then delete those rows
    • Manually trim the remaining URLs

 

  • Sort the cleaned up list into alphabetical order in column A
Sort Address

Sort Address

 

  • Copy the domains 50 at a time into Namecheap bulk domain availability checker – here
Domain Name Search

Domain Name Availability Search

  • Enter in Column B a Y if the domain is available & Repeat until all domains are checked for availability
  • Sort Column B to remove blanks (you are now left with a list of domains to check their backlink profile on)
Sorting

Sorting

Majestic SEO Backlink Checker

Majestic SEO Backlink Checker

  • Investigate any that show metrics over 10 further
Majestic SEO Checker

Majestic SEO Checker

  • Scroll through the 3 domains and record the highest trust & citation flow on the spreadsheet
SEO Check

Citation and Trust Flow Check

  • Scroll through the 3 domains and record the highest trust & citation flow on the spreadsheet
  • Run the best domains through the 12 point pre purchase checklist

 

  • Checklist for – http://www.artsintheinns.com
  • Relevance
    • Yes, based on the archive.org content it is reasonable that this site would link to a “gourmet recipe” website
  • Metrics
    • Page Authority = 39 > 30
    • Citation Flow = 22 > 15
    • Trust Flow = 23 > 15
    • Page Rank = TBD
  • Spam Check
    • Check anchor text for Porn, Pharmaceuticals, Poker or foreign language anchor text in Majestic SEO = Clean Profile
    • Natural Profile (no SEO) – Check backlinks for signs of blog network links, comment spam or directory spam – Use your discretion but if it looks like someone was doing low value SEO on the domain do not buy it! = Clean Profile
    • Does the exact match anchor text look natural? Below 15% at least = Clean Profile (naked URL is high but that is not uncommon)
Anchor Text

Anchor Text

 

  • Review website in Archive.org (alternative) and see if the domain had content not related to the domain name – If the content does not make sense with the domain name it means it was already used as an expired domain (poorly used) = Natural Website
Archive.org

Archive.org

 

  • Redirection/Duplicate Check
    • Check if the site was last redirected to a new site by checking the most recent page in Archive.org to see if it was being redirected to a new site. If it was redirected before expiring then most of the juice seems to stay with the redirection. Do not buy = Last Capture is not a redirect
Archive Content

Archive Content

 

  • Also check if all the old content has been moved to a new site – this may mean even though the redirection did not show up in Archive.org they did a 301 redirect on the old URL and Google has passed all the link juice to the new site. Use copyscape.com or this free alternative for this. = Fail – This site has been moved to a new home but it does not look like it was redirected and hence the backlinks would still work. Not ideal but not a deal breaker.
  • Registrar History
    • Check the registrar history if it has been registered and dropped more than once you need to be confident it was not abused by checking it in Archive.org. You can check the number of times a site has been registered by visiting – http://whois.domaintools.com  = Only 1 registrar

Whois Records

 

This domain passed all measures with the exception of some of its content being moved to a new site. I would say this domain has value for someone trying to rank a “gourmet recipe” website.

automated method

Advanced Automated Method

In this video I will assume you have a general understanding of Link Sleuth etc and will not dwell as long on each step.

If these steps are too fast make sure to go through the manual method once first. This will show you all the basics!

  • http://www.nawga-ifda.org
    • Cost = Free + registration fee
    • PR = tbd
    • PA = 31.6
    • CF = 24
    • TF = 31
  1. Collect long list of relevant websites (High PR that is Old, Ugly and has Lots of Links)
    • Scrapebox can work but I prefer the surgical approach with my VA’s
    • You can outsource
    • Get creative!
  2. Run list through XENU
  3. Copy and paste “no such host” domains directly into my Free Tool
  4. Final Check of the Best Domains in MajesticSEO.com

 Note – The first step of finding all the lists can still be improved by using scrapebox – this adds another level of complexity that I am not the best person to walk through. Hayden at no hat SEO has created a guide to help with this here.

my tool

Automated With My Free Tool Method (MY CURRENT STRATEGY)

If you are going to go the manual route I have an excel tool which automates much of this process…

DOWNLOAD this Tool (CURRENTLY FREE!) 

Enter your cleaned list of URLs into this spreadsheet and it will return…

  1. Is the domain available
  2. Domain Authority
  3. Total Number of Internal Links
  4. Page Authority
  5. Page Rank

section 4

Section 4 – How to Get the Maximum SEO Benefit from Expired Domains – My SOPs

My tagline is I will share everything but my password and here it all is…

“Ideas are just a multiplier of execution” Derek Sivers.

I could not agree more and with that in mind I am sharing the detailed SOP’s my team uses to execute the 3 strategies I use for my expired domains.

All of these procedures are outsourced to my team. A brand new VA with no WordPress experience would struggle with these instructions but anyone who has installed and played with WordPress and a hosting account should be able to follow.

Below I talk about a few Google Documents my team uses. They are…

  • Expired Domain Control Document
    • Tracking document used to keep track of new expired domains added into my team
  • Backlink Tracking Document
    • Keeps track of the URLs on my money sites and makes sure each one is getting the right amount of promotion social, outreach, feeder site link as necessary
  • Feeder Site Creation SOP
    • SOP for the creation of feeder sites and blog network sites

feeder site sop

Feeder Site – SOP (My Strategy of Choice)

Google Visit Old URL

Here is the instructions my VA’s are to follow when building feeder sites. These documents are all kept in Google Documents where they can be easily updated.

Log into Expired Domain Control Document

  • Sorry cant share that one :)

Register Domain

  • Register domain at namecheap or GoDaddy as specified
    • Activate Privacy Settings
  • Point domain to nameserver per the sheet

Install WordPress

Add Content

  • From Blog Network Control document follow the link to the created content in the dropbox folder (or the content emailed)
  • Publish 5 articles immediately
    • Confirm title is relevant
    • Include the more tag around ~75% of the time
    • Include an image (~25%-~75% of the time)
    • Include a video from YouTube (~25%-~75% of the time)
    • Ensure there are subheadings
    • Ensure there are bullet points
    • Ensure tags are used – vary the number
    • Select 1 category
    • Complete SEO plugin settings
    • Link to 1 or more posts on the site
    • Link to 1 or more relevant authority sites
    • Do not link to money site in the first articles
  • Schedule the remaining articles at 1 month intervals
    • Follow the above checklist
    • Link to the money site on the specified articles based on the Blog Network Control Document – include the link above the more tag ~50% of the time

 

Finish the Layout

  • Modify Graphics
    • Make sure any graphics on the page (slider) etc are relevant
    • Include a custom logo on ~25% of the sites
  • Widget Area – HomePage Description
    • Ensure somewhere in the sidebar there is text with a description of the site that is similar (BUT NOT THE SAME) as the original site
  • Mirror the original layout
    • If the original layout had a left or right sidebar match it
  • Widget Area (vary w each site)
    • Links widget to relevant authority sites (not my money site)!
    • Video Widget – relevant video
    • News RSS widget
    • Custom Menu
    • Blogroll – link to other similar blogs if applicable
    • Ad – include the image of a relevant Ad and link to the home site – do not monetize with my affiliate links
  • Final Review – Does the site look/feel “real”? – If Yes done!

301 redirect sop

Direct 301 Redirect (to homepage or sub-page) – SOP (Not the most Effective)

Google Bot Visit URL

 

  1. Log into Expired Domain Control Document
  2. Purchase the domain at NameCheap
  3. Direct the nameservers to host (typically inexpensive SEO Host)
  4. Install WordPress – base install plus the plugin redirection (or similar)
  5. Find all old pages searching archive.org (alternative) and majesticseo.com and redirect them to an appropriate page on my money site
  6. Set up a reminder in Google Calander to check back in 1 month and 3 months to see if there are any 404 errors and redirect those to an appropriate page on my money site

blog network sop

Private Blog Network – SOP (This is too Complex if Starting Out)

Website on Host

ONE TIME TASKS

Build New Website to Include in Blog Network

  • Follow the instructions in the new “feeder site creation SOP” document (these instructions are listed above)

Set Up New Money Site into System

  • Once you receive an email about a new website ready for promotion add the URL to the tracking document – Backlink Tracking Document and tab “RSS to add to Reader”
  • Add the RSS to your Reader
  • Insert the article URLs onto the Backlink Tracking Document
  • This sheet and job steps are similar to the backlink team lead and so you may not have to complete Module 1 steps 1 and 3, but you will always have to add the URL to your Google Reader

ONGOING TASKS

Module 1. Build Links To a Money Site (KEY MODULE!)

Objective – Build some contextually relevant links to the money website and posts within the money website.

  • Identify the URL you need to build links to from the “Backlink Tracking Document” Google Document and the topic/keyword it is trying to rank for
  • Get articles from article manager or myself
  • Identify 1 site on our blog network to use from the “expired domain control document” Google Document
  • Post 1 article to 1 site in the next 30 days
  • When posting this article ensure:
    1. Confirm title is relevant
    2. Include the more tag around ~75% of the time
    3. Include an image (~25%-~75% of the time)
    4. Include a video from YouTube (~25%-~75% of the time)
    5. Ensure there are subheadings
    6. Ensure there are bullet points
    7. Ensure tags are used – vary the number
    8. Select 1 category
    9. Complete SEO plugin settings
    10. Link to 1 or more posts on the site
    11. Link to 1 or more relevant authority sites
    12. Anchor Text
      1. 1/3 phrase match
      2. 1/3 General (click here, about, more, info, resource)
      3. 1/3 naked URL
  • Update the Google Tracking document with the links you have built
  • ~25% of articles should have no links to the money sites

Feel free to randomize this process as much as possible. For example you could build 3 links to one money site article while 0 to another. Also make sure to randomize which blogs in the blog network you select for posting the article. This should be spread around and randomized.

Here is what the link building would look like graphically (again do not follow this precisely – randomness is important to not leave a footprint)

Blog Network Site Tiered Linking Structure

Blog Network to Money Site Internal Tiered Linking Structure

We don’t want every site to be promoted the same therefore make sure everything is randomized.

 

Module 2. Ongoing – New Content Published at a Money Site Needing Promotion (Backlinks)

When new content is published at one of my money sites, ie a new article shows up in your reader it is your job to promote it by building links to it.

Here are your job steps for a new blog post published on one of my money sites. (not every post should be promoted – randomness is key)

  • Identify the URL from your Reader
  • Enter the URL in the Google Tracking Document “Backlink Tracking Document
  • Repeat steps in Module 3 to publish an article

Here is what the links COULD look like…

Google Reader

UPDATE – Now We Use Feedly Not Google Reader -its dead :(

 

Module 3 – Monthly Reporting

It will be important for us to continue to monitor the success of these blogs and potentially if we do a good enough job some of these sites will be able to move from being a blog network blog and become an actual money site itself. It is for this reason and to keep an eye out for de-indexing of the sites that we need some monthly statistics updated.

The monthly statistics that need to be updated on the Google document within the first 3-4 days of each month.

Monthly Report

Monthly Report (widget links are no longer tracked/used)

  • Set up a Google calendar reminder for the first of every month to update the stats
  • # of Unique Visits – Google analytics is not installed on any of these sites, but you can get the traffic data from the hosting account – you may need to show the traffic stats for all sites combined.
  • # of posts – log in to the wordpress site and from the dashboard click on Posts. Enter the number of posts shown
  • #of widget links – NOTE – we do not build widget links to a money site anymore
  • PR & # of Pages Indexed – Using Google Chrome and the extension “SEO Site Tools” visit each site and enter the PR and the # of pages indexed.

There you have it…the system me and my team uses to manage my blog network and silo’d feeder sites. I hope this was helpful!

final thoughts

Final Thoughts

As I said at the beginning the use of expired domains can be effective and not black hat if done correctly. My hope is this somewhat large 😉 document will help people put the entire expired domain strategy into perspective from A-Z!

If you are feeling lost/overwhelmed here is what I recommend….

Looking for 4 Actions to Take Now? Here is the Quick Action Guide…

  1. Find expired domain via the free list method
  2. Build out 2-3 highly relevant sites on a different host (recommended host)
  3. Use them as feeder sites to promote a few money sites
  4. Measure the success and then move onto the Manual Method once then start finding the powerful domains with my Free Tool

See the recommended learning progression below…

Long List URL

Recommended Learning Progression

 

I leave you with this trailer which is somewhat relevant and has an important parting message…

 Be Careful Searching for Expired Domains Does Not Consume You!

 

 

Need Help

Free-Custom-Domain-Finding-Software

Expired-Domain-Bonus

 

Quality-Expired-DomainsDone-For-You-PBNPremium-PBN-Links

 

 

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

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