While it is natural to think that domain names when expired serve no use at all, SEO practitioners have been leveraging the power of expired domain names with good authority and traffic generating capabilities.
Domain Registry and Expiry
Registering a domain name is actually the claim of its ownership and use for a specified period, usually a year. This entitlement is given to domain name owners by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that is empowered to assign IP addresses and maintain the necessary records. When the contracted period for which the ownership ends, the domains are said to expire and the content in them can no longer be accessed. To prevent such expiry the domain names need to be re-registered by paying additional license fees as may be charged by the registrar. When an owner no longer renews the license, the domain name will expire and after a certain period can be bought by anybody who’s interested.
Why Buy Expired Domains
It is natural to think that expired domains have no use at all, however, for an SEO practitioner; buying an expired domain can be extremely valuable because of the potential of the domain name to generate traffic with its goodwill and the presence of inbound links that it had acquired from sites with authority. Starting off a new website with a domain name that has been around for some time and has traffic-generating potential is a very good way of giving the new site a momentum that would otherwise have taken a lot of time to build up. This process is also known as extracting the link juice of expired domain names.
Steps Need To Be Taken For Acquiring a Domain Name
If you find an interesting domain name that you think could lend value to your SEO, the first step is to visit WhoIs database to find out when the domain name is expiring and who the registrar is. Some registrars sell off expired domain names themselves while others work with auction partners who can be contacted to find out if there is any demand for the specific domain name. Some sites can go for thousands of dollars while others can be acquired for just the standard $10 fee. Determine for yourself the maximum amount that you would be willing to pay in an auction and do not get into a bidding war. The amount will depend upon your evaluation of the traffic potential of the expired domain.
Popular Ways of Leveraging Value from Expired Domains
301 Redirects: Definitely the simplest way of extracting the traffic generating potential of an expired domain name, 301 redirects are easy to set up but generally have a short life. All the traffic arriving at the domain can be redirected to the new site in such a way that both the traffic and link juice are extracted. However, while the traffic can be easily passed on it is doubtful how much of the link juice is transferred because of the mismatch between the anchor text of the expired domain and that of your site. The search engine penalties of the site might also affect the ranking of your site.
Microsite Filtering: With this option, you need to create a specialized landing page to sit on top of the expired domain. While it will not have its own content, blog or other complex aspects of a typical website, it will just act to link the main business in a more robust way than a simple 301 redirect. This method is considered more effective since the incoming links will pass more value and the landing page can be ranked by the search engines. However, the process of setting up a microsite is more complicated and expensive.
Site Overhauls: Although the most time-consuming, the process consists of taking over the expired site and making it a business that can be monetized and used as a portfolio diversification method that also has the potential to generate traffic for your primary site.
Irrespective of the method that is chosen, the primary thing that you should be aware of when acquiring an expired domain name is to locate one that is relevant to your own business because generating traffic from a site that is focused on another industry is of no value and does not warrant the trouble and the expense of buying and managing the expired domain.