Authority Website Income

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.

In addition to this post I created the ultimate guide to building your own PBN

DONE FOR YOU 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)


2016 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. added as a reasonable free alternative

IMPORTANT – This post took me one month to create something special for you – the readers of 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…



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 Gillham

jonhaver11 (at) gmail


Best Domain Marketplace in 2016

PBNHQ is a great marketplace to purchase expired domains that have been reviewed by a human to confirm it is of high quality!


(Signup For Free Here)

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…


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…



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





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…


  • 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!


List of Tools

Basic Tools


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 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 has his niche site 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 has his website 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 (My Case Study Website URL is Now Hidden) 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


Private Blog Network

Private Blog Network


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)


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


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 and is defined as the following.

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

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

Page Authority

Page Authority

Source (

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 (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.”


Metric #3 – Citation Flow from (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




Trust Flow




Citation Flow




Page Rank




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.






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 (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 ( they did a 301 redirect on the old URL and Google has passed all the link juice to the new site. Use 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 You can check the number of times a site has been registered by visiting –
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,
  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



Time Consuming


Quality of Domain










Finding Them Yourself

Most Difficult


Low (once set up)


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:

      • Cost = Free to register
      • PR = 0
      • PA = 31
      • CF = 23
      • TF = 15


  • Go to or
  • 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 (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
  • 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






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…

    • Cost = $10 + registration fee
    • PR = 2
    • PA = 35
    • CF = 24
    • TF = 27


    • Cost = $280 + registration fee
    • PR = 2
    • PA = 41
    • CF = 30
    • TF = 25


  • Go to or use this free Chrome/Firefox extension (
  • 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 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 –


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


*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!

    • Cost = Free + registration fee
    • PR = tbd
    • PA = 39
    • CF = 22
    • TF = 23



  • One Free Expired Domain Found To Help Your Website!



  • 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)
      • to
      • to
    • 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,, .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)


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 –
  • Relevance
    • Yes, based on the 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 (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


  • Redirection/Duplicate Check
    • Check if the site was last redirected to a new site by checking the most recent page in 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 they did a 301 redirect on the old URL and Google has passed all the link juice to the new site. Use 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 You can check the number of times a site has been registered by visiting –  = 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!

    • 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

 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…


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 (alternative) and 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


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


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







About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, 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 AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

Leave a Comment:

Dunc says August 19, 2013

Holly Crap! This post is unreal. I can’t believe you are giving away this tool.
This is exactly the kind of post I needed! I haven’t had a chance to really dig into your tool yet but it looks awesome!

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    Hey Dunc, Thanks for the compliment. It is definitely a very cool tool! Let me know if you have any questions with it.

      Tom says December 1, 2013

      Could you elaborate on this? “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 they did a 301 redirect on the old URL and Google has passed all the link juice to the new site. Use or this free alternative for this.” So do we drop the use or only able to use the domain for 301 redirect?

        Jon says December 1, 2013

        Hi Tom when you look in you can see the content that used to be on the site. Copy that content and place it into a copyscape checker if it is all being used somewhere else then there is a good chance the site has been moved there as well and we just don’t see the 301 redirect. I am not suggesting to re-use the content if it passes copyscape just an extra check on whether or not the domain may have been redirected. This should be on of the last checks and is unlikely to filter out many otherwise good sites. Let me know if that doesn’t answer your question.

Matthew Allen says August 19, 2013

Jon – this guide is ridiculously awesome!! I haven’t even read the entire thing yet – it would easily take me a week to get through all of this and be able to really soak it all in. I’m definitely bookmarking this for future reference, as I’m sure many of your other readers will do as well. Thanks for putting together the freebies too. What awesome value!

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    To get through it all will definitely take some serious action on someones part! When you dig into it let me know how it goes.

Tung says August 19, 2013

This is far beyond my imagination Jon !!! Awesome !!!! I really like the way you manage your team 😀

Actually that’s the part that I’m most interested in.

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    Glad I exceeded your expectations Tung! I hope to have some more posts next month about how I hire and manage my team. Hope they will be useful to you as well!

Jason says August 19, 2013

Hello epic post!

Ridiculously in depth and high value. I especially dig the free tool. This will save me a ton of time. No more jumping around from spreadsheet to browser over and over again.

Thanks for the effort Jon!

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    Yah not having to jump back and forth is a huge bonus…just plug in the domains and it spits out all the details about the domains.

Daniel says August 19, 2013

Marvelous post. I think I just wet my pants. Bookmarked, saved to Pocket and starred, sent another copy to my email – going to print this out when I reach office in the morning. You’ve just layed out entire SOP for link building.


    Jon says August 19, 2013

    Sorry about your pants! I would add in other link building as well – no one strategy beats a properly diversified link building/promotion strategy!

Christopher @ This that and the MBA says August 19, 2013

Jon you are the man. This guide is great. I have tried a few tactics that you provided in here but now have a general understanding of how to do it through the entire process. Thanks

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    Glad I was able to lay it out for you. Hope it proves useful for you!

Kashif says August 19, 2013

Awesome Jon. This is by far the most detailed post I have read on link building. I would call it a step by step guide to deep link building, if you don’t mind. Although it looks like a lot of work to get the feeder sites up and running, I am sure this would pay huge dividends in the long run.

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    Thanks Kashif, glad its the most detailed post you have seen. Hope you get value and search engine ranking boosts.

Mike says August 19, 2013

This couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you SO MUCH or providing such value!!!

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    My pleasure Mike, if you have any questions let me know.

      Mike says August 22, 2013

      I do. 🙂

      What are your thoughts about high PR Tumblr Urls? Same or less benefit that a purchased expired domain?


        Jon says August 22, 2013

        If they have backlinks I think a couple could be of benefit. I haven’t tested and can’t verify but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. What I would say is the there would likely be marginal benefit from 2 Tumblr URL links to 100 Tumblr URL links. Just my thinking.

          Mike says August 22, 2013

          Thanks Jon… I think Hayden mentioned Tumblr domains in a podcast from last year.

Ryan Cote says August 19, 2013

This post is pretty epic Jon. Congrats on the visiblity it’s sure to bring your website. And thanks for the information, awesome stuff!

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    Thanks Ryan, yah it was a epic battle to get this done for everyone. Glad you liked the info!

J P says August 19, 2013

baller post. one of the more actionable seo posts i have read all year. glen at viperchill is also preaching similar methodologies. nicely done.

    Jon says August 19, 2013

    Thanks J P…Glen has some great stuff at ViperChill foresure!

J P says August 20, 2013

Just noticed this: i am pretty sure you have your “How To Mine For Valuable Expired Domains With Free Tools” video misplaced with the “Domain Spoon Review” video as far as placement goes in the blog post…take a look.

    Jon says August 20, 2013

    Hi JP thanks for taking a look, everything seems to be in the right place but let me know what had you thinking it was in the wrong place. It means I should have done a better job organizing everything.

      J P says August 21, 2013

      Think I botched that one, seems to be working good now and I am watching a video I hadn’t seen before. So it is all making perfect sense now. Gotta work on my late night focus, i guess…haha.

        Jon says August 21, 2013

        No worries JP, I appreciate you letting me know if there was an error.

      J P says August 21, 2013

      Another quick question:

      “5 sites max per IP hosting account (better option is to silo so only 1/IP)”

      Does this mean after setting up 5 different sites on IX web hosting, all with their own dedicaded ip addresses, it is STILL recommended to get an entirely different hosting account after 5 on the same hosting account?

      In other words, pay an additional 7.95/mo for each 5 websites to keep things on different c blocks, accounts, etc?

      Just wanted to clarify this, as I know Google has been doing a better job cracking down on this.

        Jon says August 22, 2013

        Hi JP, with IX you can go 15 sites/plan since there are 15 unique IPs.

        After that I suggest going to a different host.

          J P says September 9, 2013

          Just to clarify, “go to a different host”…

          As in, only use one account with IX Web Hosting, then move on to another company? Or just do another account with IX Web Hosting?

          Right now, I have it set up where my feeder sites are on IX Web and my money sites are with another web hosting company

          rca ieftin says May 27, 2016

          Wow! Thank you! I continuously planned to write on my small blog something of that nature. Can I have a part within your post to this site?

          prestamo personal says October 16, 2016

          Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog based upon on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

Nick says August 20, 2013

Hi Jon,

“Don’t have every blog in your network link to every money site”

As a percentage, to how many of your blogs you think it’s safe to blast a money site?

Like if you have a private blog network of 15 sites and you just created a new money site, on how many of those 15 blogs would you post a link to your new money site? Like 10 out of 15? or 7-8 / 15 .. or 5..etc?

Thanks for the guide, great read.

    Jon says August 20, 2013

    Nick its really up to your comfort level and the number of money sites you are wanting to link to. Its not a hard rule but I try to not link to more than 50% of my money sites and 50% of the links on my sites don’t go to my money sites. Thanks for the questions.

Paul says August 20, 2013

Great content indeed! A great sales pitch 😉

    Jon says August 20, 2013

    Thanks Paul…the sales pitch is as low key as possible…just linking to tools I use.

Peter says August 21, 2013

Hi Jon, good stuff, appreciated.

Having a little trouble with your tool. When I get to the stage of “domains” “analyse all domains” I keep getting the message “run time error 13 type mismatch”. I’ve redownloaded and tried again and the same. Macros enabled. So I’m not getting any results.

Any ideas immediately come to mind?

Cheers and thanks again, I had given up on expired domains, too hard basket. Now it looks like I can try again, provided I get past run time error 13 🙂

    Peter says August 21, 2013

    Just thought I’d add, tried over and over, redownloaded many times but cannot get past this error. I’ve tried it with only one single domain and still the same problem. I’ve researched the error on Google but I’m not particularly techy and the replies are all just double dutch to me, I don’t follow them at all.

    “Check domain availability” works, “check page rank” works but “analyse” and “check url metrics” won’t.

    Anyone else having this error? Any fix ideas? So far I’m totally stuck on this.

      Jon says August 22, 2013

      Thanks Peter for letting me know. The Bug Has Been Fixed Now!

      You were not the only one so nothing you were doing was wrong.

      I emailed you directly the new link but for anyone else that wants the new one (faster as well) go to…

        Peter says August 22, 2013

        Cheers Jon, just downloaded it now so I’ll get stuck in and see how it goes. Your effort is appreciated.

Chetan says August 21, 2013

Hey Jon,
Simply amazing… I downloaded the excel tool but it doesn’t open properly, excel is throwing removal messages.
Thanks for everything,

    Jon says August 21, 2013

    When you open it make sure you enable all macros. If you are still having problems feel free to send me the screenshot of the error message and I will see what the problem is.

      Jon says August 22, 2013

      Bug has now been fixed and the tool made faster! It is ready to go for everyone again.

Maraxus says August 21, 2013

Hi Jon

I have a question. After you buy a domain using the “manual” method (using Xenu or another similar tool to find dead domains and then register them), I notice that after registering the domain the PR is N/A (despite the site having natural links, decent Page Authority (40+), etc.

Two questions:

1. Does a site like this (with N/A PR) still pass link value to the money site(s)?
2. Does the site regain its PR after a while? Does it even matter if it regains it?


    Jon says August 21, 2013

    Great questions…

    First great job finding a Page Authority above 40. Well done!

    1. Does a site with N/A PR still pass link value to the money site? – The answer is yes it does. There is a difference between the Google Page Rank its algorithm uses and the Toolbar Page Rank. The Google algorithm page rank is what is used for increasing/decreasing search results.

    2. Does the site regain its PR? Yes, toolbar PR is historically updated once/quarter. However the last widespread update was early February. So who knows when the next one will be.

    3. Does it matter? It only matters when you are working on link deals with other webmasters since they value the worth of a link based on its PR. Using it to promote your own posts it does not matter the PR.

    Thanks again for the great questions!!

      Maraxus says August 21, 2013

      Thanks Jon. I’ve actually experimented with the Manual Approach myself around 4 months ago. I made a simple PHP script using the API that allows me to batch-check domains and returns any metrics I want in an HTML table (basically like your Excel spreadsheet [though I haven’t downloaded it, it’s just my guess] ). I stopped using it though as after buying 2-3 domains I noticed they all showed PR N/A and kind of figured I’d get back to the subject later. Guess now is the time 🙂

      BTW, you might want to try this out:

      You can check much more than 50 domains simultaneously. Not sure about the limit, but I’ve successfully checked over 1,000 if I’m not mistaken. Might save you some time.

      Thanks a lot for the great answers, great hearing this from someone with actual experience.

        Jon says August 22, 2013

        Cool tool, I haven’t used that one before. To be honest I don’t know the details of how the tool works I had a developer create it.

        The reason they show PR N/A is because they have been dead for awhile. If their backlink profile is strong they should recover the PR but even if it doesn’t I don’t worry much since I am more concerned about the backlinks and SERP boost.

        Best of luck finding your domains!

John Shea says August 21, 2013

This is awesome Jon, thanks for shooting me the link. You were not kidding about spending over 40-50hrs+ on this post!

Also congrats on getting featured a second time on!

    Jon says August 21, 2013

    Thanks John, how goes the re-branding?

      John Shea says August 21, 2013

      Good so far, got the Podcast re-launched and just working on doing more interviews!

Rob says August 21, 2013

Fantastic post Jon.

I gave it a shot. Started with 38 links pages, Link sleuth extracted about 1300 urls, of which about 60 were “no such host” and of those 30 were available to register.

Checking each on Majestic, OSE, &, just one was a contender if I relaxed one of rules (it had trust of 1o rather than 15, citation 17) though it was in a completely different niche, but a “do-able” one all the same. Nothing dodgy on but it had been registered 3 times – is this a dealbreaker if all else looks ok?

Are those numbers in line with what you’ve found (e.g. 1300 urls yielding 30 possibles and one actual)? I think with a little extra automation to speed the process up (e.g. using a scraper to scaper Google results and using Domain Spoon once a shortlist is arrived at) it could be interesting.

    Jon says August 21, 2013

    The 60 no such host seems a little low. But after that the numbers seem to line up. Also if you had to relax 1 metric Trust Flow would be one of the last. It is the hardest to replicate. But you are 100% on the right track. The key is to get a good initial list of URLs (old and ugly link pages are the best!) Keep me posted on how it goes.

      Rob says August 23, 2013

      Spent half a day on another round.

      Came up with 117 urls that were available, have so far only run them through Majestic in bulk and only 2 have a trust flow of over 15 . If this is relaxed to 10 then approx 30 exceed it. Not checked on yet.

      oh well…

        Jon says August 24, 2013

        That starting list is definitely key, I have found a lot of success with Industry Link pages. Make sure you are checking the 3 potential URLs in majestic without www, with www with / since each will have a little different metrics.

          Peter says August 25, 2013

          Yes I’ve found that, the metrics in Majestic are quite different depending on which one you check. I’ve discovered the need to check all of them. I assume then that if the metrics for www are better than for no www you set your site up with www.

          Jon says August 26, 2013

          Yes you are exactly right, set it up based on the www or no www whichever one has better metrics.

Ron says August 21, 2013

I am very much a new to any of this stuff though I do know how to web surf.
Time to figure out how to grow a niche, etc.
Thanks much, Jon. This will be very much a learning process.
Found you at Spencer’s and now will study on here.

    Jon says August 24, 2013

    Hey Ron, Welcome to the exciting world of looking to make money from websites.

    NOTE – I do not recommend expired domains for people just starting out!!

    Build a website without any advanced SEO strategy first.

ben hoffman says August 21, 2013

I can’t load one of the sites that you mention – – Is it just me or ?

Neeraj says August 21, 2013

Excellent post, Just love it!!! One out of context question, how do you create such beautiful pictures mentioning all the step? Do you use any tool?

    Philip says August 22, 2013

    I want to know this too!

    Jon says August 22, 2013

    Powerpoint and create boxes that look like buttons and then right click on them and save as picture.

    Let me know if you need more instructions.

Chetan says August 21, 2013

Thanks Jon… I will try as you suggested.

    Jon says August 22, 2013

    Good luck Chetan, let me know how it goes!

Philip says August 22, 2013

Hey Jon,

this is an amazing guide and it took me 45min to read it once! Will have to er-read it because it’s so overwhelming. I thought about jumping into expired domains before, but never fehlt I can do it right this helps a lot.

If i’m brave enough I will do it soon 🙂

Thanks again,

    Jon says August 22, 2013

    Hi Philip, thanks for reading it all the way through. Do you have any suggestions on how to make the post better. I plan on continuing to update and make this an evergreen resource so if you have tips let me know! If you do jump back in best of luck!

      Mike says October 31, 2013

      Quote-“Do you have any suggestions on how to make the post better.”
      You could share how to find high PR sites to run through Xenu using Scapebox. The footprints are similar to the Google Searches you suggested. Speeds up the process but a little more advanced. I believe NoHAtSEO covers this process also.

      Thanks for the great post.

L.J says August 22, 2013

Jon, this information is absolutely invaluable and the fact that you took the time to create these helpful videos to go along is awesome! Being a “newbie” I find myself re-reading how-to articles over and over to really get a full understanding, and then I find myself at YouTube in order to find a complementary video. Having your videos right there imbedded within the relevant content makes this process so much easier for me! Will definitely be back often to your site. Bravo!

    Jon says August 22, 2013

    I am the same way LJ, definitely need to be able to see it on video to really sink in. If you run into any hurdles let me know.

Stew says August 23, 2013

Hi Jon,

An amazing post! Can I just check one thing – how important is it that the site is currently indexed in Google? What if all the other measures stack up but no pages currently indexed?


    Jon says August 23, 2013

    Hi Stew….Making sure the site is indexed in Google is a huge plus! If the site is indexed it means it likely wasn’t penalized, however having it not being indexed does not mean it was penalized. There are different ways of checking if the site is indexed…how are you checking?

      Stew says August 24, 2013

      I was using the “site:” command in Google. The domains I purchased were not indexed but became indexed as soon as I put content on them. They have PR4/5 sites linking to them (showing in Majestic).

      Does the fact that they were de-indexed dilute the juice?

        Jon says August 24, 2013

        If you have found the domain using the Xenu link sleuth method then it may have been expired for long enough that it is no longer included in the search engine.

        Having put content on them and then the fact they became indexed is a great sign!

        Based on what you are describing there is nothing to be concerned with regarding the indexing of the sites/dilution of link juice.

Winston says August 23, 2013

Great comprehensive post on the topic.

When using expired domains do you use them for multiple sites or do you use one expired domain to link to a specific site (which comes out to be more expensive but more natural)?

    Jon says August 23, 2013

    Hi Winston, this is a great and tough question to answer. The strategy I like most now is to build sites that stand on their own on top of expired domains within a specific niche. Say if I have a few “money” sites on the topic of real estate well then I will try and build 5-10 quality feeeder sites in the real estate niche and in that case will link to the money sites from say 50% of them. My thinking(and I may not be right) is that linking every feeder site to every money site creates to obvious a footprint/attempt to interlink. However, if you have legitimate micr-niche feeder sites linking to more authoritative relevant sites this is natural (not just look natural but is natural) and therefore you should be rewarded with the link juice. Hopefully this doesn’t confuse you more…think make it natural and you wont have to worry too much.

Anisul says August 23, 2013

Epic Post Jon ! I have two questions :
Have you ever tried closeout domains? If I can find a domain from godaddy closeout that matches all these criteria can I register it without any doubt or is there anything else I need to know in case of closeout domains?

How many URLs do you input at a time in xenu? I was taught that the input website’s PR should be no less than 5 (according to Hayden’s tutorial) , do you follow this too?

Many Thanks !

    Jon says August 23, 2013

    Hi Anisul,

    Regarding closeout domains – I have not tried it but it does seem like a good opportunity to pick up domains that didn’t win at auction. From what I understand is you can register it after paying I think its a $10 fee to GoDaddy.

    RE Xenu and PR5 only – A lot of people stick with the no lower than PR 5 and that is definitely a way to more predictably find high authority domains. However, I don’t set myself a minimum, even if its a PR0 site with a lot of potentially expired domains on it I will use it in Xenu since we will be sorting the domains quickly based on the link metrics which is really what I care about. So more potential domains going through the sort should result in finding high quality domains even if the % of good domains drops off the final total number will be higher.

Chris says August 24, 2013

People will abuse and spam the thought of this genius work. I have been doing it for some time. It actually makes me sad to see you post this because its goign to dilute it’s value. it will only be a short amount of time until google finds a way to stop it.
MAYBE.. changing the setup of how they weight links based on “new whois ownership”.. possibly. So when you buy a new domain at any registrar maybe they will devalue all previous links… OR

what about the cache of a dead site?… where does that come in? Hey Google! this site has zero pages indexed and has a registrar ad page up… (domain dropped, ready for purchase). How easy would it be for the G to just DEVALUE all links to a domain once that “godaddy” registrar page has been up for 2-3 weeks? Why havent they yet?? I would rather buy a domain through auction with pages STILL IN GOOGLES INDEX because it “is seen as still live” to google’s eyes. But that sucks because you have to pay $40 instead of $10. Such a safer route in my opinion! so basically you hope that not all the 401 pages are Re-indexed before you can buy up that domain in auction and get google to RE-index new pages. That just looks like the site owner moved platforms and ALSO ADDED NEW CONTENT.. YAYYYY (fart noise).

AND the idea of pointing a 301 redirect to a site that was just bought from a registrar… I mean come on.. why hasn’t the G caught this one yet .. THEY WILL. I can search the registered date in 2 seconds of a domain… The last time I did a 301, it took 7 months to take effect and I was sweating balls the entire time.

Dont you fear someone just putting your website in Google’s disavow tool? You have basically admitted to manually building links right here on your blog. I guess you do have .edu and .gov backlinks so you are probably bullet proof on that.. but yeah.

There are much faster ways to bulk search these domain stats too (with Moz) then what you give. DomainSpoon is just a very fancy way of doing something much much more simple if you break it down 😉 but I will shove my damn shoe in my mouth so I have a job in the near future.

Jon I love you, but I also hate you for posting this. Couldn’t you have just done a half ass tutorial and not a “how to move mountains with one arm” of a TUTORIALLLL. holy moses malone there partner!

    Jon says August 25, 2013

    Chris, you bring some great points to the table thanks. It sounds like you have been doing this for awhile and we could learn something.

    Google could definitely attack this plan and de-value all links when a site is registered…but it would penalize legitimate businesses who accidentally let their domain expired and may cause problems with the selling of sites between people.

    The 301 redirect is not the ideal route to go, I prefer building a legitimate feeder site but the 301 does seem to work. In my mind what the search engines may do is again just de-value all 301 redirects.

    I think my link profile is mostly white hat (resource building & outreach + guest posting) with some quality expired domain feeder sites pointing to it. Someone could put it in the disavow tool but they would be loosing.

    If there is a better way to do the search please share…but sounds like you wont 🙁 – haha thats ok.

    “couldn’t you have just done a half ass tutorial” – Sorry about the 🙂

    Thanks for the though provoking comment!

      Chris says August 27, 2013

      Hey John its Chris again… I’ve been thinking a lot about your tutorial here and your setup.. I have thought up two questions. You don’t have to answer but I would love to know your thoughts on these.

      – When building a mini site designed to only push link power, do you link out from that site on the homepage with the most authority or how do you go about it? I’ve heard some webmasters put a 3,000 word post on the homepage and link out with other good links. Pushes the most weight of course but.. kinda sketchy IMO.

      – When you build these sites.. do you only publish posts on a set routine as all the content? or do you do pages? (pages seem safer because of the dates given away but.. yeah)

      I’ve used all these methods but I would love to know your thoughts.

        Jon says August 27, 2013

        Hi Chris

        For the first question – I would suggest linking out to both your site and other relevant sites from the homepage if your site is set up that way. The homepage passes the most juice.

        Second question – I think you are overthinking it – don’t worry.

        The answer to both your questions is to simply make the site as natural as possible and include a natural link or 2 back to your site from the homepage.

Kev Smack says August 25, 2013

Ok I asked these questions a few days ago but for some reason it never showed up.
1. What steps do you go through to get the sites reindexed by google? When I find domains with PR they are indexed immediately after i use the fetch as google tool, but the expired ones take a while. Is there a faster way to get them indexed?

2. Does Xenu work faster on a VPS. I’ve been finding expired domains for a few months now and that always seems to be the most time consuming part of the process.

BTW Great post I”m sure somebody will copy and paste it and sell it as a “limited time only for the next 50 warriors” $99.99 WSO. LOL.

    Jon says August 26, 2013

    Thanks Kev, not sure why they never showed up before.

    To get the sites re-indexed I don’t do much…I either let it happen on its own or I do a little social sharing/blog commenting just to get the google bot to stop bye.

    Regarding Xenu it could be faster on a VPS. I have my VA’s doing it as well and 2 computers at home (laptop, desktop) so when I am really trying to find some I get both going. If you try the VPS route let me know.

    If someone sells this as a WSO at least it will be better quality then the WSO on expired domains someone sent me that they had bought 🙂

Filippo says August 26, 2013

Great Jon, thanks for the post, and thanks for the excel tool, too. Your article is very complete, I just have one question: did you publish some of the ranking results you had using expired domains? I mean, do you have a case study in which there is the evidence that this kind of links worked well for you (in your recent case study you mixed some expired with HIGH quality guest posting, and this makes difficult to understand the importance of the blog network alone)?

    Jon says August 26, 2013

    Hi Filippo, You are correct my promotion strategy includes expired domains + guest posting + resource building with outreach. Within that site I had a few posts where I used the expired domain strategy directly on it rank very high for some high level keywords like the single term “teacher” when the right people searched for it. Have a look at this post where I go into the results a little more…

      Filippo says August 27, 2013

      Thanks a lot for your answer Jon. Have a great day.

Danny says August 27, 2013

“Be careful that hunting for expired domains doesn’t consume you.” Hayden told me the same thing… I didn’t listen then and I won’t now! >:)

Thanks for the value bomb Jon… you’re the man. Bookmarked!

    Jon says August 27, 2013

    Thanks Danny, it can definitely be addicting!

Philip says August 28, 2013

Excellent article I’ve been doing this manually for the past week and managed to find two decent domains I think it’s now time to try the spoon.
Nice post Jon

    Jon says August 28, 2013

    Hi Philip, its a great idea to do it manually first and then you will learn and move onto the next step.

Josh says September 7, 2013

Great article & site! I found a PR 4 domain, but the old site was in Chinese, is it a bad idea to use for a network site to link to English money site?

Thanks Josh

    Jon says September 7, 2013

    The sites I have found there were Chinese are typically expired domains that were picked up and used for SEO purposes. So when there is foreign language in the anchor text it usually means it has been used/abused by someone for its SEO benefits already. That is why I stay away from expired domains with foreign language in the backlink anchor text.

Nick says September 10, 2013

Hi Jon,

I spent a couple of days reading through this amazing tutorial again.

Regarding your best seo option link, i would like to purchase through your affiliate link and claim one of the bonuses, but can you clarify this for me, because on the sales page it says:

7,95$ per month for up to 15 IPS
1 Free, $1/mo each extra IP

This means that the cost is 7,95$ + 14$ per month for the extra ips for a total of 15 ips? So a total of 22$ per month for the 15 ips, which is still reasonable compared with other hosts.

As i think their sales page and honestly even your description is quite misleading when you say 7,95$ per month for 15 IPS as it’s not quite like that, it’s 7,95$ for 1 ip with the option to purchase additional ones. Unless i am missing something.

Thank you.

    Jon says September 10, 2013

    Nick, thanks for the comment. You make a good point and I will have to clarify my post regarding that. Thanks for pointing that out!

Stew says September 10, 2013

Sorry Jon, wanted to pick your brains on a few more points.

I’m up & running with expired domains but wanted to check:

1) Say if I have 4 “money sites” hosted on 1 server (same IP I think), and I have 10 networks sites (all on different hosting), is it “safe” if I link back to the 5 money sites from say 5-6 of the network sites (assuming there is some randomness in which the PBN sites link back)? Problem is if I need separate hosting for PBN and money sites then that will add up? Future money sites will be individually hosted I think. Feels a bit “exposed” to me.

2) Do you build links to your PBN sites? Maybe a few high PR random blog comments?

3) How many external links do you have going from a PBN site to the money sites? What is your “limit”?

Many thanks!

    Melissa says November 17, 2013

    Stew, I have the same questions. I hope Jon answers them.

      Jon says November 29, 2013

      Sorry for such a late reply…must have missed it

      1. It is best to have one site on 1 IP. You can have your money sites on the same IP but yu dont want your feeder sites all on the same IP

      2. No i don’t…low value links are low value links. building quality links to your feeder sites would be good but not low value ones.

      3. It depends on the relevance – the more relevant the more links. I like to have 2-10 links typically.

Glen says September 11, 2013

Jon, is it good to register expired e-commerce sites, with good domain metrics? Thanks.

    Jon says November 29, 2013

    yes as long as the SEO hasn’t been too aggressive.

Josh says September 11, 2013

Solid post Jon! So much info to take in, thank you. Last weekend I picked up a few domains through auction and 1 this week from your post. I set up the IX Webhosting through your aff link, how to set up a wordpress site in the root directory?

I went through the quick … something button, but it would not let me leave the directory blank. Now wordpress is set up I didn’t see a good tutorial on Youtube either, maybe an opportunity for you to help some of us out with a vid and more aff traffic.

Thanks for the help. Josh

Christian says September 15, 2013

Hi Jon,
this is a really great resource and after spending a few weeks taking my own notes I have really come to understand your process. The only difficulty I had with this page is that there is so much on one page, and when I wanted to go back to a different part it wasn’t that easy to find. One suggestion I would make is to maybe break it down into several pages. I’m a big fan of mind mapping business processes, so you could have a starting page that is a clickable graphic with the individual components of your post. That way it would make it easy to navigate from one area to another. I don’t want to come across as ungrateful for one of the best free tutorials I have ever read, so apologies if it sounds that way.
One question I have that you might help answer for me. I have found a handful of sites on some expiring auctions that fit your 12 point check list. What kind of a maximum bid would you put on something like the following if I was aiming to use the sites to sell links:
1) PR 4 and PA 36
2) PR 5 and PA 40

Thanks again for a great resource!


Rony says September 17, 2013

Amazingly in-depth article. Thanks Jon

One question – Why do we nofollow/noindex the contact and privacy policy pages?

Rony says September 17, 2013

Sorry for the double post but another question I have – A lot of sites I see have been re-directed to another site prior to expiry (indicating they have moved their site).

You mentioned this is typically not good for the sites link juice – what was your source on this information? Is it from your own experience? Interested to try to find out how difinitive this is!

CJ says September 17, 2013

Hi Jon—I’ve started my expired domain search journey. Trying to get your tool going, but hitting a runtime error ‘429’. It’s saying, “ActiveX component can’t create object.” Any ideas? I’m on a Mac and I’m wondering if there is a compatibility issue with the scripts. Let me know what you think. Also, would you ever consider sharing the instructions you give your VA’s to do this?

    Jon says November 29, 2013

    download a fresh version whenever the tool gets buggy…not the slickest solution but most straightforward.

Mike says September 17, 2013

Hi Jon,
Great post given me plenty to think about!
I am using the excel program you very kindly gave everyone but I am having trouble getting it to extract the domains properly.
It works great with the main single TLD’s like .com .org .net etc but it fails to extract the ccTDL’s.
I cant get it to work with, etc
Am I doing something wrong as I have added these ccTLD to the list.

    Jon says September 17, 2013

    Hi Mike -that was by design since I want to filter out all extensions I wouldn’t register like .gov .edu etc. But that can be changed by going to the tab “Top-Level-Domains” and adding in the TLD’s you are interested in into column A.

      Mike says September 17, 2013

      Thanks for the quick reply.
      I have added the ccTLD to column A.
      For example, if I import a URL, it only extracts .uk
      Its using the first part of the ccTLD (the “co” in for example) as the domain if you see what I mean (sorry if it sounds confusing)
      Here is a screen shot of what I mean

        Jon says November 18, 2013

        Hey Mike, once the domains are cleaned you can sort for the .uk and then using the “&” function in excel combine the .co and .uk then paste them directly into the tab to review the backlink profile.

Don Shelton says September 25, 2013

Again, stunning post. A few questions/clarifications: when you say “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. ” do you really mean 3 small networks of feeder sites rather than 5 – one for each basic market?

Also, to be sure I’m clear, when you say ” include the image of a relevant Ad and link to the home site – do not monetize with my affiliate links” you mean to put a fake ad in the widgets section which links to the home page for purposes of looking good to a Google manual review? I guess it’s safe to say a manual review wouldn’t actually involve clicking on the ad 🙂

Finally a thought about when you say “It is important that you identify the old URLs from and do 301 redirects from the old URL to the new URL. If you are unable to get content to create a new page do a 301 redirect to the homepage.” I understand the idea of creating links from the old, dead pages on the domain. Is it a good idea to pull any content from those old pages and re-write at little, or at least use those page topics for topics on the new writing assignments?

Many thanks.


    Jon says October 31, 2013

    Hi Don, you are correct – 3 small feeder networks of 5 sites.

    Question 2 – the homepage I refer to is the homepage of the ad. For example Discover Card “ad” should link to the discover card homepage but without an affiliate ID.

    Re-using the content is a debatable tactic – I avoid it. Using the page topics is a great strategy.

JoeD says October 16, 2013

Great stuff Jon!

If you find a domain that has someone’s full name in the domain (example: or just do you still use the expired domain?

If you do use the domain, do you give it back to the original owner if they complain or email your host?


    Jon says October 16, 2013

    It is a personal preference. I have picked up some personal domains and only had one case of someone requesting it back. It is simply not worth it for me to hold it hostage or anything so I give it back.

Lokahi says October 18, 2013

Great post!
You go me convinced to get going with this expired domains path. So much so that I shared and signed up for hosting to get one of your giveaways. Emailed you the receipt and looking forward to getting started. Thanks!

    Jon says October 31, 2013

    Thanks Lokahi, glad you liked the bonus!

Peter says October 21, 2013

Hi Jon, I see a post on source wave about PBNs and he is now suggesting that each site should be on a different host. That SEO hosting isn’t good enough any more, that google can identify sites on the same host now.

What do you think? Have you seen this now?


    Jon says October 31, 2013

    Hi Peter

    It is definitely best to have sites on different hosting companies with privacy enabled on domains. This is definitely the strategy I recommend. However, costs can get very expensive so I like to use IX Web Hosting for a portion of my sites.

    Thanks for your comment.


      Peter says November 5, 2013

      Interesting. I was on a webinar with Hayden Miyamoto last week about exactly this. He also suggested mixing up the hosts. And he suggested that it wasn’t such a great idea getting privacy on each site too as that was a bit of a footprint.

      I’ve been looking and looking, been through thousands of domains and only found one good one so far sadly. I didn’t quite appreciate how hard it would be to find them. Love your tool.


        Jon says November 18, 2013

        Hi Peter, glad you liked the tool. Regarding the privacy I can see the point to not have it on all sites but I don’t mind having it on most since it is natural for most sites to have privacy activated.

          maxime sincerny says December 23, 2013

          Hey Jon, hope you are doing well. From what I saw/read from hayden’s blog. It is not about footprint, but a domain with privacy will get some negative factor over rankings.
          January 12, 2013
          Do you put those domains whois under your name or do you mix them up?
          January 16, 2013
          Mix it up a bit, but generally under a family member’s name.

matt says October 21, 2013

Thanks John.
I have a question regarding the redirect point:
“Check if the site was last redirected to a new site by checking the most recent page in 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. ”

So, I found some sites which have the last page in Archive showing as;

“Got an HTTP 302 response at crawl time
Redirecting to…

Does this mean they were redirected? Are you sure all is lost in this situation?


    Jon says October 31, 2013

    In your situation it sounds like a mess up with the website. If that is the only redirect I wouldn’t be too worried. If everything else looked good I would give that site a go.

Matt says October 21, 2013

Hi Jon
Not sure why you deleted my last comment. I’ll try again.
You mention it’s important to look for evidence of redirect on I found some expired domains and towards the end of their life I see a 302 redirect in Still, even the page their redirected to is no longer existing.

Is a 302 redirect OK like this?


    Jon says November 18, 2013

    L:ike most things it depends, the only way I don’t mind if it was redirected is if it was redirected at the end of its life to a generic landing page. If it was redirected to a live website I like to avoid.

mario says October 23, 2013

Hi Jon,

When you say relevant expired domains, do you mean,

– the domain name has to be relevant to the moneysite your gonna use it on.


– the domain has to have a relevant backlink profile to the moneysite your gonna use it on (anchortext)

i asume the backlink profile is more important but your the master here so,…

    Jon says October 31, 2013

    Hey Mario, I like to have a relevant domain with relevant backlinks – that is the most natural!

Chris@SkiWV says October 24, 2013

Hey Jon:

I’m really digging the Domain Spoon tool, but cannot afford the monthly subscription rates. Have you run across any place (Fiverr, oDesk, etc.) where people will run Domain Spoon queries for a small fee?

    Jon says October 31, 2013

    Hi Chris, I like you site 🙂 being a big skier myself. I don’t know of anywhere that runs DomainSpoon for a fee like people do on Fiverr for other SEO tools. The price can be expensive -you can use my free tool as a stepping stone to domain spoon once you know you are all in on expired domains and want to upgrade tools.

      Tom says December 3, 2013

      Hi Jon,

      I want to start with expired domain boot-snapping. Is it recommend to get MajesticSEO. Yes kinda ex from my boot snapping? appreciate your prompt reply!

Danny says October 27, 2013

Why the GoDaddy hate?

GoDaddy is at least half the price of all the other registrars (for .COMs). Their new UI is slick and their support team is uber-responsive.

I remember Hayden used to hate on GoDaddy too; I saw no reason then and I still don’t!


    Jon says October 31, 2013

    Hi Danny, I have had a long hatred for GoDaddy – goes back to 2009sh when they tricked me with a 1 year domain registration but a 5 year privacy protection subscription…I didn’t unclick the 5 year option (my fault) but sleazy tactics. Also, I just want a simple domain registrar and not pay for irrelevant advertising plus deal with the endless up sell(which granted has gotten better).

    I do use GoDaddy now for a portion of my domains because they are so popular. Maybe I am missing something but even with coupons (other than the $1 domain) the cost for the domains is more than namecheap with privacy enabled.

      Peter says November 5, 2013

      I second that, privacy at Namecheap is free, expensive at Godaddy. And I’ve had good support from Namecheap, they have live chat which I find useful being on the other side of the world. Godaddy don’t.

Jed says November 6, 2013

What do you think about expired domains from other countries like Are they good to pick up and use to link to a U.S. .com/.org/.net site?

    Jon says November 18, 2013

    Hi Jed as long as the language is the same I see nothing wrong with other countries. It is natural for a relevant to link to a .com or .ca so I see no problem with it.

Ryan says November 7, 2013

Jon – Have you heard anything about the spyder spanker plugin that stops bots from registering/finding links on your pbn sites so those links will not show up when looking at your money site on majestic seo or open site explorer and others? Have you had any problems with competitors figuring out your blog network?

    Jon says November 18, 2013

    I haven’t heard of that plugin but have heard of that strategy…my concern is that you need to leave a piece of similar code on each of your PBN sites thus creating a footprint. I dont use and am hesitant to use.

Phil Kowalski says November 13, 2013

Hey Jon,

so cool!!!! Found a perfect domain for my pbn while checking what Xenu had found so far (out of curiosity). Except PR it matches all 12 metrics / steps and is perfect in my niche. Imagine something like (not my niche). Will be a wonderful starting point for my site. Thanks again for sharing.

    Jon says November 18, 2013

    Hi Phil, congrats on finding a solid domain. Don’t worry about PR if it meets all the other metrics.

Pepe says November 19, 2013

Hello Jon,
Your site rocks and this is an amazing article. Thank you for sharing, man!
I have a question, please.
I understand it is really important to do all that backlink profile check, etc, before buying a expired domain.
But well, If still, that domain has some kind of google penalty, would that affect our many site? Assuming I follow all your guidelines?
(Plus, it’s friday and it’s raining outside!! =) =

Mads Singers says November 20, 2013

Hi Jon,

First of all awesome guide!!
I have desperately tried downloading your free software, but like doesnt seem to work anymore, dont hope im to late for the free download 😉

Kind Regards

    Jon says November 21, 2013

    Hey Mads, it seems to be working now…not sure what the problem was. I have emailed you and will send you the link if it doesn’t work for you again. Nope the download is still free!

Isagani Esteron says November 21, 2013

Hi Jon,
I was wondering what the protocol is with non english expired domains? I have found a couple of good expired domain however they are in french. Naturally some anchor text would be in french.
Is it okay to get these kinds of domains? If so would it be okay to put up English content or would it have to stay french?

Peter says November 26, 2013

Hey Jon, love your new logo!

Jae @ Craigslist Moving says November 28, 2013

Wow. And overwhelming but informative post.

I am very new to this whole concept so still trying to get my wits around everything. A lot of info to study. However, the biggest concern that I have is the 301 redirects. I have heard about this here and on other sites and I have no clue on what they are or how do as you say and redirect traffic. Do you have any in depth info on them or even a video tutorial, or know where to go?



Hoang says November 28, 2013

Hey! This is just brilliant! The best article on blog network I have ever found. Wishing that I came here earlier. Thank you so much Jon.
By the way can you clarify this for me? “From Blog Network Control document follow the link to the created content in the dropbox folder (or the content emailed)”. What is that “Blog Network Control”??? Sorry cuz I this is my first time here.

    Jon says November 28, 2013

    Thanks for the compliment. The blog network control document is a google document I use to manage my network of sites.

Tom says December 1, 2013

Hey Jon,

Thank for the detailed guide. I would like to ask the that each host for each expired domain? The host u recommend do we buy the Expert Plan so host one domain only? Or get the Unlimited pro which has 15 dedicated ip? hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

    Jon says December 1, 2013

    My hosting recommendations are actually in the process of changing…I no longer feel comfortable recommending IX WebHosting…their support is simply not great. The best hosting option is several inexpensive cPanel hosting accounts at different hosts…this can be a pain though. I hope to elaborate more on the optimal hosting options shortly.

      Tom says December 2, 2013

      Following up. I have met “Fair Usage” from MajesticSEO. is it advisable to purchase their subscription for background checks? Is there any other workaround?

        Jon says December 3, 2013

        Hey Tom…I find Majestic to be the fastest to check…others like aHrefs but I don’t think OpenSiteExplorer really does a very good job. I definitely prefer Majestic over OpenSiteExplorer – if you are checking a lot of domains than Majestic is a must in my opinion. No software tool can substitute for a manual review.

Mark says December 6, 2013

Hey Jon

Do expired (and I mean really expired – dropped for a few years and available for free registration by anyone) really do pass any link juice? From every Google statement that I’ve seen it seems that it isn’t so, and I’ve also done a test wherein I bought 5 dropped domains (same niche, all with PA 33+ / moztrust 5.5+ / TrustFlow 18+ / no spammy backlinks or weird anchor text), put up highly relevant content on the expired domains (sometimes copying the old content from WayBack Machine, if it wasn’t indexed by google anywhere), and linked from the front page of each expired domain to another domain that I have in a VERY low-competition niche; this website has been up for 4 months and getting only 5-6 visitors a day because I did zero link building for it. I pointed the links from the dropped domains around a month ago and haven’t yet noticed the slightest spike in rankings / traffic for that site. This is making me question whether completely dropped domains carry any value whatsoever? I’d really appreciate your input.

Stone says December 7, 2013

Hey Jon, I still have 2 questions, I would be very grateful If Could you help me. As I am focusing on small niche sites in which situation I want my site ranking high as quickly as possible. I want to know since the money site published when it is suitable to get links from the good expired domain? And the second is after the expired domain be developed in websites, after how long it is safe to use it build out links?
I think If the two steps are being done too early, the money site would get manual penalty, how do you think so?
Thanks Very much!

Winston says December 8, 2013

Here’s a question that popped in my mind.
Using expired domains and placing contextual links to your sites is similar to guest posting (except you own the other site). Isn’t this the same concept used when you create web 2.0 sites?
Since web 2.0 sites (good ones) have high PA, Citation flow and Trust flow, how come they don’t come anywhere close to sending ‘ranking power’ to the money site?
This just got me curious.

Health Beacon says December 8, 2013

Hey Jon,
I think I have done everything correctly, however I am still unable to use the check metrics part. It gives me “Runtime error 9. Subscript out of range” When I debug, I can see that it is failing when it is receiving a response from Moz and then splitting it into an array and then accessing its index. I am sure it has nothing to do with the Moz api access since I tried it with another spreadsheet available from some other website I downloaded a few days ago, and it works fine!

Any idea what the issue is?

Btw thanks for your brilliant blog!!!

ryan says December 15, 2013

Amazing post Jon! Just found your blog the other day an I’m very impressed with the vauable content you are putting out. I downloaded your spreadsheet and it looks amazing, but wouldn’t fully work for me since I’m running it on a Mac. Something about the macros using activex and the Mac version of excel not allowing activex controls. That being said, the function of trimming to root still works great so I’m still getting good value out of your tool.

Thanks and I’ll continue to follow your progress.

Hazli Khalim says December 18, 2013

Holy macaroni!

This is by far the best guide on buying expired domain using the XENU method!

Sean says December 21, 2013

“Scroll through the 3 domains and record the highest trust & citation flow on the spreadsheet” What do you mean by the “highest” trust and citation flow? Shouldn’t I just be recording these values for each of the domains and then selecting those that meet my requirements? Also

    Jon says January 5, 2014

    I think you got it from your comment below but what I mean is there are 3 options in Majestic…record the highest option.

Sean says December 21, 2013

Sorry, that was a misunderstanding.

Sean says December 21, 2013

Do you not take into consideration page authority and domain authority when judging the worth of a domain?

    Jon says January 5, 2014

    Yes I do consider PA/DA…I prefer to filter on CF/TF since I have found them to be better at filtering out spammy sites. PA/DA get inflated easily with black hat tactics.

Sergey says December 22, 2013

Hey Jon,

What do think about using PBN strategy for local e-commerce business. Business is located in Eastern Europe country so language is not English.

Can I still buy few domains with TLD’s like .com, .net, .org where previous language of content was English, then put some content there in the language of e-commerce website? Will that give any results what do you think?

    Jon says January 5, 2014

    Hi Sergey, using a PBN for local SEO is great. I would try and find some local domains as well as domains that are relevant to the niche but not location…if some are a different language to the target language that would be ok. But I would keep a nice balanced mix.

Marquis says January 3, 2014

Looking for an alternative tool to check CF and TF, is there any? works fine but it’s got limited searches.

    Jon says January 5, 2014

    Hi Marquis – have you tried my free tool for checking PA/DA?

    There is another tool for checking PA/DA but nothing for CF/TF that I have found…

    PA –
    DA –

      Marquis says January 5, 2014

      Wow, is yours? Nice 🙂 Been using your tools for ages, amazing stuff! 🙂

        Jon says January 6, 2014

        No not mine, it just has some handy tools

Stephen says January 5, 2014

First off Jon let me just say this is the BEST most Informative post I’ve ever read online on any subject! I’ve spent months now creating similar documentation myself in regards to building a PBN because I’ve never seen anyone cover everything that is required or some advice that I know is flat our wrong. I wish I had found this post sooner it would have saved me a lot of time. Oh well better late than never.

Are you still offering your domain purchasing service? I sent you and email inquiring about making some purchases last Friday 1/3/14, but didn’t hear back from you (spam folder perhaps) and it looks like comments in this blog post haven’t been getting replied to for some time now. Hope I didn’t miss the boat on taking advantage of your domain purchasing service.

If you are still reading these comments would you please take a look at your emails from Friday 1/3/14 and get back to me when you get a chance Jon?



    Jon says January 19, 2014

    Hi Stephen THANKS! the BEST EVER ON ANYTHING – is what I was going for, I am sure I fell short but I sure like it!

    The service is still being offered here – it is currently and often sells out but if someone emails me at jonhaver11 (at) gmail (dot) com I put them on the early notification list.

    Email received and welcome to the next round 😉

Patrick says January 15, 2014

This is indeed an epic post, thanks!
What do you think of HostNine for hosting?

Thanks I love your site big time.

    Jon says January 19, 2014

    Thanks Patrick, I know HostNine is popular and I have been using them. I think it is good because it is part of a bigger data-center with a bunch of quality sites on it. However, anytime you are hosting your network on only one host you leave yourself exposed with your nameservers(unless you point with IP only) plus there are only so many geographical data centers. It is unfortunate but the only way to build a truly truly robust PBN is buying inexpensive hosting

Spook SEO says January 22, 2014

This is a great idea to use the expired domain that has SEO value and your tools are too easy and helpful to use in finding the best domain and to rebuild it and this post is what actually I am searching to find the best domain that will benefit me in all respects of having high traffic.

    Jon says January 29, 2014

    Glad you found it helpful.

John says January 30, 2014

Great guide but just started and already noticed two problems.
ExpiredDomains got rid of the Min Site Results tab

SeoMajestic only allows you to view like 5 sites history with a free registration per day.
You say CF/TF is the most important yet there is only one program that is good at judging it properly and it only allows 5 views per day.

What is the option here because it seems like this process will be impossible at this rate. Got all excited after reading about this for hours then majestic caps you off at 5 ruining the whole process.

John says January 31, 2014

I hate to double post but I was wondering one other thing I dont recall in the guide.


In majestic SEO are you aiming for a TF and CF of at least 15 each in every scope?
As in Root Domain, Sub Domain, Path, URL ??? Fot the Gourmet Lattes it seemed to only be in 2/3

Also I was wondering, using the gourmetlattes winner domain you found in expireddomains, would that one site with pr zero, but the other metrics you like actually provide a sufficient amount of ranking power on its own for a similarly relevant site? ie is it worth the money and time for a seperate host, content creation, etc?

Thanks Jon

Daniel says February 4, 2014

This if the best guide about the subject I have seen. Great work! 🙂

The free tool is great too. Just one quastion. Im from Denmark and only buy .dk domains and namecheap dont offer .dk-domains. Is it possible to use another API, that makes .dk-domains work?

    Jon says February 5, 2014

    Thanks Daniel!

    There is nothing protected in the free tool so feel free to edit it or hire someone on ODesk to edit it.

Briana says February 5, 2014


Is your service to help someone find expired domains still available?


Briana says February 5, 2014

Hi Again,
How long does it usually take you to obtain let’s say 5 domains?

Thanks again.

    Jon says February 5, 2014

    Hi Briana, it typically takes 7 days or less to find domains.

Ruslan says February 6, 2014

Hi Jon. This is incredibly valuable guide, thank you! How can I download your tool? I can see only a page with your video.

    Ruslan says February 6, 2014

    There was a temporary issue, I finally got the download banner loaded

Brian Mayer says February 13, 2014

WOW this is definitely a comprehensive guide and I believe this method will stand up over time. Very helpful yet a bit overwhelming at the same time. Do you offer to do this as a service?

Leo says February 17, 2014

Hi Jon,
I’ve read this many times without action but now I feel necessary to build a PBN so I went here and read it through again.

Thank you for this great tutorial. May I suggest to make it to a download PDF file just like Matthewwoodward? This is also a good way to get more likes/sharing.

Jimmy says February 18, 2014

Hey Jon great guide!
I am finding many domains via xenu that match your metrics. However, they all seem to have <15 total links and 2-6 unique referring root domains via Moz.
In particular I found one today with PA 28 – DA, 19 20+ T/F & C/F, healthy anchors, but only 12 total links with 2 unique referring domains. However, of those 2 domains they were pumping in a pr 5, a pr 4, pr 4 and pr 3 page contextual link at domain.

Would you buy stuff like this?

    sam says February 23, 2014

    Even i have the same question as Jimmy.. I find many domains with referring domains below 5.. but has good trust flow..
    Do u think the xenu method is still working ? Or is it saturated.. because i am not able to find gr8 domains which meet all the metrics.. The main prob is the backlinks are too low..
    Do u look for drops when buying a domain ?
    Anyways ur guide is awesome… I learnt a lot from it…


Girish says February 20, 2014

What nonsense .. How can you give away all of this process including your SOPs .. LOL ..

Its unbelievable.

AJ says March 2, 2014

Hi Jon , great article. FYI – Plagiarism tool link is broken.

Christen says March 17, 2014

Just curious how you went about generating the list of old, ugly high PR sites in step one?

    Christen says March 19, 2014

    Just answered my own question and saw the link you posted to Hayden’s tutorial. Thanks again for a great article!

johan says April 6, 2014

I’ve read this many times without action but now I feel necessary to build a PBN so I went here and read it through again.

Thank you for this great tutorial. May I suggest to make it to a download PDF file just like Matthewwoodward? This is also a good way to get more likes/sharing

Dom Wells says April 15, 2014

Hey! Great training, amazing. I’m having a bit of trouble using your tool though. I ran the domains that I found through Xenu, and then exported as a TABBED file as you explained. Then I filtered by “no such host”, no problems there. When it comes to pasting it into your spreadsheet, do you just copy the URL columns from the Xenu export and then paste them in? Which columns do you need to include? When I hit “trim to domain name” it didn’t work, and just filled the other columns instead.

I understand the whole, except that one step.

    Dom Wells says April 15, 2014

    Nevermind, I was being silly and not reading properly..I’ve figured it out. Amazing tool 🙂