How to Find and Buy EXPIRED DOMAINS with Backlinks and Traffic

Link building can be a b*tch 😖. It’s time consuming, requires networking and hundreds of outreach e-mails. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. What if I told you there is a way to get high quality backlinks in a matter of minutes?

This blogpost shows exactly that, through finding and buying expired domains 🤠.

Here’s everything you will learn in this guide:

Watch the full walkthrough in the video below!

This blogpost is also fully covered in the video below for your ease 😄.

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What are expired domains?

Expired domains are domain names that have not been renewed after the contract ended or have been terminated on purpose. This means they are (or will become) available for re-registration again.

Why are expired domains of value (for SEO)?

Expired domains matter for SEO because these domains still have backlinks pointing to them. By re-registering them again, you can point these backlinks to your own website.

By doing this, you increase the amount of backlinks to your website, and thus increase your domain authority. It is known that backlinks are a direct ranking factor and increase your rankings in Google.

In some cases, you can even find domains that still rank for certain keywords and still receive traffic from those rankings! You have to be quick though, as Google will notice expirations at some point, as a result the website will slowly disappear from the search index.

However, not all expired domains are valuable and there are different ways to use them 🤔.

Read on.

How to find and buy expired domains?

Finding recently expired domains is quite easy, let me introduce to you the biggest expired domains search engine:

Expiredomains.net: Daily updated domain lists for 476 TLDs

One of the easiest sites to find and buy recently expired domains is on expireddomains.net. This daily updated website lists millions of expired domains within 476 TLDs (different domains extensions). Searching is super easy with a lot of (SEO) filtering options. Head over to expireddomains.net and create a FREE account by clicking on Sign up.

Enter your details, fill in the capcha and click on the Sign Up (FREE) button.

Now, if you take a look and hover over Deleted.com you will see an archive of expired domains. Hover over Archive 2020 and you will see the most recent month, in our case September 2020. Here you can see that in september alone 798.808 domains expired! Click on this to get the following result:

On the left, you can see all domains that are expired. A quick look at the columns also show us when they have been dropped and what the status is.

Now let’s say you own a photopgrahy blog or you are a photographer and you are looking for some initial backlinks through expired domains.

Let’s see if we can find some hidden gems! Click on Show filter and look for domains that Contains the phrase photography and check no Adult names and click on Apply filter. 

This gives us the following results:

As you can see there are 4.418 Domains matching your criteria. However, some of them are already registered… Yes, unfortunately, this link building strategy is known to many other around the world. Let’s see what is still available by clicking on Show filter again and check the box Only available domains.

How to find expired domains with high quality backlinks?

Applying the right SEO filters and values

To find hidden gems, we need to filter our way through the millions of available expired domains. In order to do so, click on Column manager 🔥:

Here are the colomns I would recommend:

Majestic General (SEO Backlink checker)

AbbrevationSEO MetricExplanation
CFCitation FlowPredicts how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it.
TFTrust FlowTrustworthyness of a domain. A quality score based on topical relevance.
TRTrust Ratio (CF/TF)The ratio between CF and TF. Usually these are more or less equal to each other.
MDPDomain Pop (Ref Domains)The amount of unique referring domains. More accurate than all backlinks.

SEMRush (Allround SEO Tool)

AbbrevationSEO MetricExplanation
SRUSKUS Organic KeywordsKeywords bringing users to the website via Google.com top 20 organic search results.
SRUSTUS Organic TrafficTraffic brought to the website via Google.com top 20 organic search results

Start with aiming for domains with the following values:

  • CF: min 10
  • TF: min 10
  • TR: max 2
  • MDP: min 5-10
  • SRUSK: min 100
  • SRUST: min 100

To make this easier, click on Show filter and go to the Majestic tab and enter the following values:

There you have it! We just found 12 domains matching your criteria. Let’s have a closer look at the statistics.

You can either filter on TR (trust ratio) or on MDP (referring domains) from highest to lowest.

These are excellent domain names to buy. Let’s have a closer look to see what kind of backlinks it receives. If you don’t have access to any paid tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs or Majestic, just Google the domain.

For example, persingerphotography.com looks interesting. Let’s do a Google search to see what pops up and verify it is wasn’t a shady or spammy domain in the past.

We can see this domain receives backlinks from Yelp and the guy even owned a facebook fanpage with 544 likes. Seems genuine. If we scroll further down and check the results, we can see the following:

Yellowpages.com and weddingwire.com pop up, the latter having pretty good reviews. If you visit these sites you can see that these websites are real, high quality and the backlinks are not spammy. So yes, this was a genuine domain we can use to our advantage! Let’s double check if it’s still available via Godaddy 🤠:

It is! Now you can purchase this domain and redirect it to your own homepage, but more on that later.

Just to verify we found a proper domain name, I did a quick check in Ahrefs and found the following:

Pretty nice to get a backlink from yellowpages, a forum and business directory. Some are no-follow, but that’s good for the diversity of your link profile. It would become a bit suspicious if your domain would only receive follow backlinks wouldn’t it?

If we check another domain from the list, we can see that odohertyphotography.com has a TR of 1.30 which is the highest in the list! Let’s do a quick check in Ahrefs to see if this is another good domain to purchase:

And again, it is!

It seems like this photographer got some nice backlinks through references from sites in his city community. These are often high quality and not spammy. An excellent domain to purchase as well if you are in the photography niche.

How to get a backlink from Wikipedia?

Now in order to show you the power of this tool, we are going to look for a domain that still receives backlinks from Wikipedia. In order to find one, click on Show filter. Let’s say you have a blog about dogs and you want to find a proper expired domain. Use the contains: dogs field. Next, you want to check only available domains so we only get to see domains that are still available for registration.

Next, if you click on Adwords & SEO you can do all kind of cool things. For example, look for expired domains that contains:

  • A certain search volume (Adwords Global SV)
  • A backlink from Wikipedia (Wikipedia)
  • A certain amount of linking domains (Domain Pop)
  • Rankings in the top 20 in Google (SEMRush Google.com, Keywords)
  • Receiving traffic from Google (SEMRush Google.com, Traffic)

For this example. Put 1 into the Wikipedia links field and click Apply filter.

Here you can see that there are 13 domains that match your search criteria and they are still available!

Now let’s check where they actually receive a backlink from Wikipedia by searching the following:

Hah! If we scroll through the search results or look for Wikipedia with CTRL+F we can see a Wikipedia page ranking. If we visit this page we can see what it is about:

Now press CTRL+U to view the source-code of the page and look for the domain using CTRL+F, in our case wheatendogs.com. 

This results in the following:

There it is 😎! This domain still contains a backlink from Wikipedia. Although it’s a nofollow link, this is an excellent domain to buy and an opportunity to diversify your backlink-profile. I would certainly want a no follow wikipedia link for just $1/month (Godaddy) if I would own a wheaten dog related website. When I do a quick check with Ahrefs to see if there were more high quality backlinks, I stumbled upon a few more interesting ones:

This domain receives backlinks from Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and other high authoritive Wiki sites. Now, this is only one of many examples with a link from Wikipedia containings dogs. I am sure you will be able to find many more if you adjust your filters, choose another TLD and checkout these gems on a daily basis. Here’s why this is an excellent purchase 👌:

  • Proper backlink profile within dogs category
  • Link equity from Wikipedia, but also Wikizero and Yahoo Answers
  • Nice and catchy exact match domain if you are looking for a new business opportunity

How to participate in expired domain auctions?

Now on to the REAL golden nuggets. This is nothing compared to what you have just read! Are you ready? Let’s go to the Marketplace Domains section on expireddomains.net. This section contains all expired domains, quarantined domains and other auctions that are for sale and you can participate in. This section has integrations with the biggest players in the domain registration and webhosting space like Godaddy, Name, Sedo and many more!

Let’s go GD Buy Now: the Godaddy Buy Now section. This is definitely my favorite sections of all, as all of the domains in this auction have a fixed price. This means you can buy them instantly! No bidding and weekly long auctions needed. Let’s apply the same filters again and see what we can find:

Let’s see what we can find here. Let’s do another search for Photography and apply the following filters (TF:5, CF:5, MDP:5):

Awesome, there are 198 domains that match our criteria. Let’s filter on TF this time to find some trustworthy sites. Bellaremyphotography.com stands out to me and is also pretty cheap with a fixed price of only $50 dollars. Let’s see if it’s worth it by looking the the backlink profile using Ahrefs:

Damn 😱! What did I just found?! This domain receives backlinks from the Washingtonpost.com, Meetup.com and the Inquirer. All with a super high DR/UR. The rest of the backlinks seem to be ok as well, all within photography. Is this domain still available for $50? Let’s click on the price to go to Godaddy:

Yes it is! An absolute no brainer if you own a website about photography. What a gem. But it gets even more interesting.

Read on.

How to get a backlink from NYtimes and BBC?

Lets move on to the GD Expired seection and apply the same filters as before. Next, sort on valuation to see the big boys:

Insidethegames.com draws my attention, this domain has a valuation of almost $4.000. Let’s see what this website if about but moreover, what kind of backlinks it receives by using Ahrefs:

Holy shit! That’s a LOT of backlinks from high quality Wikipedia pages. It looks like this domain was all about the olympics. Interesting. Let’s scroll a bit further down to see what else we can find:

Ok, this is quite insane 🤯. This domain still receives backlinks from the NYtimes, BBC and the Independent. All with a DR of 90+. Now I see why this domain is valued so high. The auction is still up for four days and the current bid is only $53 dollars. You definitely want to participate in this auction if you have a sports- or olympics related website as you might be able to buy it for a bargain.

However, there is one big sidenote here. If you use archive.org for insidegames.com you can see it has been used for redirection for the last 8 years to a creative agency. Probably for SEO purposes as well. Complete mismatch though in terms of relevancy. But this means the value of this domain might be way less now than that it used to be. Still, I would definitely try to get it for a few hundred bucks and see what equity it could still pass on if I would own a website that is closely related to this topic – or create a new one for the next olympics?

Go back to the GD Buy Now section. Let’s see if we can find more interesting domains for sale on this marketplace.

One that immediately stands out to me is Bradley-Cooper.org. Is this an official website? A foundation of his perhaps? Let’s find out by visiting the site:

Interesting! An official fan website. This could be a nice new business idea if you are fan of the guy and re-use some of the existing content. More on that later, let’s find out if it receives some proper backlinks by using Ahrefs:

Ok, not bad! Backlinks from Wikipedia, Buzzfeed and Cleveland.com. This domain is currently put up for a fixed price of $444 dollars. That is a very good price considering the exact match, the backlinks and business opportunity. This is also an excellent domain if you want to make a quick buck, because you can easily resurrect the site and flip it again. More on that later!

How to find expired domains with traffic?

Let’s do another one. This time, filter the domains on the SRUST column, in other words on Traffic. When clicking through the results, I found another nice little gem on the second page: drink101.com. It appears to be a website about drinking games 😅! According to the stats, this website still receives 294 visitors per month. The site is currently put up for a fixed price of $1.000 dollars. Interesting!

Let’s find out if this price is worth it by using Ahrefs:

As you can see, this website is still ranking for 358 keywords and receives 365 visitors a month according to Ahrefs. Click on the keywords to find out if the rankings are still relevant and interesting enough:

Nice! These are highly relevant keywords and pretty good rankings that you could continue if you would purchase this domain. Let’s do a final check on backlinks in order to decide whether we want to buy this domain:

Yep. It even has a backlink from Wikihow, Curlie.org and Blogspot. Although some of them are nofollow, you definitely get a nice and diverse backlink profile if you would purchase this domain. Here is why I think this is an interesting purchase 👍:

  • You can easily continue existing rankings and traffic
  • You can easily re-use or rewrite the old content
  • You can easily produce more content around drinking games
  • Super nice short and catchy domain: drink101.com
  • You can easily monetize it with Adsense or Affiliate offers

If you would grow this website to 1.000 visitors per month with very minimum SEO efforts, a conversion rate of 1% on offers and an average order value of $20 bucks, this business could easily generate a passive income of 1.000 x 0,01 x 20 = $200/month. Let’s also assume an additional $50 from properly integrated Adsense Ads. Totaling a $250/month revenue potential. You would earn your investment back within four months. After that, pure profit 🤑!

How to renew and use (or 301-redirect) expired domains?

When you have purchased an expired domain, there are different ways to get the most value out of it.

Here’s a list of options to choose from:

  1. Redirect complete expired domain to your homepage
  2. Redirect expired pages individually to your corresponding live pages 1:1
  3. Resurrect the expired website and put a backlink on it
  4. Resurrect the expired website monetize it
  5. Resurrect the expired website and flip it

Usually, a whole domain gets redirected. This includes all underlying pages. Let’s say you have purchased a dog related website. Here’s what Option 1: Redirect complete expired domain to your homepage looks like:

Although this passes some link equity on to your domain, it isn’t optimal because not all pages are a good match for your homepage. The key takeaway here is to make use of the topical relevance, backlinks and anchor-texts of the expired pages. In other words, make optimal use of the history of the domain.

This is where Option 2: Redirect expired pages individually to your corresponding live pages 1:1 comes into play. In the case of the dog related website, it could look like this:

The other three options are quite different from the first two. Here you choose to resurrect the expired domain. Now you may ask yourself, how would I do this? Let’s look at the example of drink101.com. Here we could see the domain was currently in auction and still live. A lot of pages still rank and receive traffic from those rankings.

If you are looking for a new side hustle idea, this might be an excellent opportunity for a new website! What you can do is to purchase the domain, export the keywords, URLs and corresponding rankings from Ahrefs. After that, you would setup a simple new WordPress website and create the same URLs. Or, in this case you might want to revamp the URL structure a little bit:

  • Current: drink101.com/2008/09/11/madden-football-drinking-game/
  • New: drink101.com/madden-football-drinking-game/

In Worpress, you could use this simple redirection plugin to redirect the previous, traffic generating URLs to your new one. Furthermore, you can use archive.org to lookup stored pages of drink101.com and scrape the content for re-use. Or if you don’t like using somebody’s old content, use it to rewrite it to a new unique piece:

Let’s say you already own a drinking related website and you want to increase the authority of your own domain. If you would go for Option 3: Resurrect the expired website and put a backlink on it then you could simply resurrect the drink101.com website, setup a wordpress site with lets say 20 pages, and put a backlink on it to your own website 😉!

In the case the domain is starting to get traction again, it might also be an idea to go for Option 4: Resurrect the expired website monetize it. By adding some Google Adsense banners and affiliate offers from Amazon. For example, to this beerpong drinking game set.

Moreover, if you want to made a quick buck, you can also go for Option 5: Resurrect the expired website and flip it. Resurrect the site, give it a small make-over in terms of design, install some SEO plugins like Yoast, monetize it a bit and put it on Flippa for auction.

Final thoughts

There are lots of hidden gems and value in expired domains, especially in the markplace section. If you refresh your searches on a daily basis, I’m sure you will find a few very interesting ones that can give your existing business a boost, or can serve as input for a new side hustle. Make sure to double check all resources to be certain a domain is still of value. Research and relevancy are key! Take a close look at:

  • Topical relevance
  • History of the domain
  • Backlink quantity and quality
  • Anchor-texts
  • Ranking keywords + URLs

A few other gems I found during my research:

  • ThreeDogLubbock.com ($12 gd buy now | 459 keywords | 360 traffic)
  • Literary-Quotations.com ($25 gd auction | 207 keywords | 64 traffic)
  • ShowboxAppForPC.com ($9 gd buy now | 431 keywords | 172 traffic)
  • AirlineMobileApps.com (10$ flippa auction | 4.6k keywords | 4.5k traffic)
  • LearnSpanishToday.com ($950 gd auction | 7k keywords | 3.8k traffic | EDU backlinks)

We would love to hear your expired domain adventures. Please let us know in the comments what you thought of this post and join our SEO Hustlers community here.

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