▷ Expired domain names: qualification and use 2020 -

Many of us use the expired domain names (ndd) in our SEO strategies. We will therefore dissect this part of SEO with a focus on the quality of the domains and their use which will ensue …

Analyze an expired domain

First of all, it is important to clarify its use in SEO strategy. Indeed, we cannot analyze the same metrics for a domain name that we will use to make a simple 301 and to go up a site for example. We must not forget that a ndd can be very good in one case and less well in another.

google loves me workshop banner

Therefore, it will be necessary to rely on several metrics:

  • The number of root domain (referring domain);
  • The number of links / root domain ratio;
  • Placement of links;
  • The anchors;
  • Nofollow / Dofollow;
  • The evolution of links over time;
  • The wayback;
  • The presence of penalty.

majestic seo

The number of root domain is important to qualify a domain and allows to give good information. If a ndd has a lot of directory links, an SEO has potentially gone through it and may have spammed the ndd, whether with content or links, be careful! But it can also be positive. You should not run away from a ndd who has directories if these are qualitative with correct content … The ndd then remains in the race.

The MajesticSEO Trust Flow for example will be used to qualify the domain name, the TF of the ndd, but also to refine the TF of the links which point to this ndd. In most cases, a TF of more than 18 is recommended. Of course, we don’t just swear by these metrics, but it remains a very reliable indicator on which we can base ourselves. Then there are the TF links that point to this area. The links must be on pages which themselves receive power in order to transmit juice to the domain name in question. It will be necessary to privilege the links placed in content semantically in relation to the ndd.

Beware, however, of the number of links placed on this page. If there are 10 external links on the page, the page will send 10% of the juice. The TF will be sent, but in the end, the power of the page will be very reduced (which can be very good in a TF modeling strategy…).

The link / domain ratio as for it is important in order to have an overview on the type of link. Too high a ratio suspects a lot of sitewide links and therefore, can be bad. If the ratio is high because a link is placed sitewide on a 10,000 page site, this is not alarming. It all depends on the overall link profile. It is therefore essential to understand why these figures are there and not to follow only indicators.

In addition, theanchor analysis, a sensitive subject of SEO, will allow us to go further in the analysis of the domain name. Simply put, if the ndd has more than 10% optimized anchors, it becomes dangerous to retrieve it. Nothing prevents you, on the other hand, from recovering an expired domain name with “very” spammy links in anchor, and if it is not penalized, from returning links to it with a neutral anchor in order to pass it below the radar. Concerning anchors in foreign languages, many flee them. But before you worry, translate them, because they may be in the right topic.

seo anchor

And to analyze the evolution over time of link acquisition rate, I recommend Ahrefs.

referring domain ahrefs

Curves like this show a nice progression, not too brutal, so “natural”.

referring pages ahrefs

And conversely, with drops and increases in backlinks, this can be dangerous …

Also make sure that the links to the ndd be in dofollow. The best metrics may be there, but if the links are in nofollow, it’s not worth it…

follow ahrefs

Once you have passed these indicators, go see the history of the domain. If the site has already made multiple redirects to very low quality sites, this is something that hides something.

On the other hand, if the site has content in a foreign or spammy language, it also hides something, but you can put it back on its feet (see Usage section).

And of course, if the site has a very clean content, it is possible to recover it in order to set up a new site.

Finally, if you have found your nugget, do not forget (if you can / want) to put it in Webmaster Tool and go check if the ndd is penalized or not.

google penalty

What to do with these expired domain names?

Most often, you have two solutions:

  • Go up a site;
  • Make a redirect.

In my opinion, there are no “best practices”, it all depends on the means you want to put in place. The least expensive is redirection, because it allows you to send juice quickly, which is not time consuming. There is simply the ndd to buy. Even if it doesn’t work as it did before, you can still do your own tests and analyze the fallout. On the other hand, going back to a site makes it possible to reactivate the machine, but this is more expensive. The interest is really redesign the domain name.

Falling and rising backlinks can be dangerous

If you want to buy a ndd “poker” and you bought a ndd “roulette”, the fact of going up a site will associate the right theme for the domain name and therefore send a better signal when you make a link.

It is also important to “Wake up” ndd by sending them live links and / or sending links to the most powerful pages that link. Once awakened, in order to test if the exhale is in place, I advise you to follow its positions. If it ranks, it’s very clearly a trusted brand of engines. This is when you will be able to link via an article or redirect to another site in question.


Checking your expired domain name lists can be long and tedious. Part of it can be automated, which is still the best solution. But the most important thing when doing this kind of practice is your thinking skills and making your gray matter work !

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