Building Authority Website on Expired Domain: Case Study Update (October)

It’s been a while since I lasted talked about this case study and I wanted to update the progress.

Part 1: Building an Authority Site on an Expired Domain

Part 2: Authority Site on Expired Domain Deployed (Update 2)

Part 3: Update (May 3)

So if you haven’t read those yet, go read each one.

About the Site Niche

I had a plan to create an authority niche site about the health food topic. It’s actually something I like myself and a topic I know about personally. So this is an example of creating a passion site about a personal interest. It’s a specific category not a broad one, but it’s a category / topic / product there’s a lot of interest in right now.

There’s a lot of affiliate opportunities in the niche. This makes it particularly suitable for Amazon affiliate and, eventually, eCommerce store or selling my own Amazon FBA products.

About the Site Development So Far

In line with philosophy of creating the best site in the a niche, my new authority niche site is hands down the most comprehensive site about the topic. It’s a fairly competitive niche with a few big sites really dominating the search results, but my site beats them hands down with the level of detail provided by the content. The site is RIPE for a social content promotion strategy and would likely generate a lot social shares and buzz done right.

Some stats:

  • I created the site April 1, 2014.
  • I bought an expired domain in the niche with good links, PR 1 (but good links and good previous content), and set up the new site on that domain.
  • I put 70 posts on the new site over a 1 month period
  • Each post was between 1500 to 5000 words
  • I outsourced 99 percent of the content to a very good writer
  • There is nothing at illegitimate about this site. EVERYTHING is quality about it.
  • I put on a few Amazon affiliate links 2 months ago on a few of the key articles, but most of the posts do NOT have amazon links and I have not optimized the site just yet for Amazon. I would not classify it as  an Amazon Niche Affiliate site just yet. Right now, I want to focus on a content heavy site rather than converting it to an Amazon Affiliate site. The plan is to pursue a social authority content strategy using Facebook promotion with awesome content
  • I have 3 video tutorials and posted them to a YouTube Channel and I linked these to the site so there is legit video content to about the topic in addition to content

TRAFFIC STATS (October 2015)

Ok, back in the middle of may, I gave an update with some of the stats. The expired domain was proving it’s worth. As of 2 weeks AFTER putting the new site on the expired domain, the site was ranking on the first page in BING for the short tail keyword term. This was generating roughly 40-50 page views for that term alone. Now, the site was not yet getting google traffic as it was too new, expired domain or not.

It took a few more months before Google started sending traffic. Go here to look at the stats and graphs posted for the site back in May

Now it’s the end of October and about 5 MONTHS later. How is the site doing?

I have to say, considering I’ve done 0 promotion of the site and written 2 articles only, it’s done pretty well.

THE PAST WEEK (7 Days)

expired_domain_stats_1_week

You can see the site is averaging about 100+ unique visitors a day. When we count page views, it’s closer to 150 or so. This is a nice increase since my last update in May, when the site (after 2 weeks) was getting about 30-50 page views. So we’ve seen about a 5-6x increases in traffic in the 5 months since then.

So since the beginning of MAY with NO promotion at all on my part, the site has managed to see a large improvement in traffic — most of this coming from GOOGLE search.

Initially, I was getting quick traffic from BING within 2 weeks. Now that the site ranks for many long tails on Google, the traffic is mostly google-based. Note that it took about 2-3 months before I started to get consistent traffic from Google.

This is just something that takes time — even with an expired domain. It’s no longer possible to set up an expired domain and suck in google traffic right away. There IS still a sandbox applied by Google — even to expired domains. The key is that the sandbox may be shorter AND when you come out of the sandbox, those previous links kick in and your traffic cap is much higher than a brand new site would be.

Realistically, even with an expired domain,  it’s going to take about 6 months to a year before you will see decent organic traffic. If you pursue my social authority strategy, you can see about 1000 organic visitors per day within about a year — maybe even more on a quality expired domain.

Now, had I pursued the same social strategy I’ve talked about before, I likely could have gotten a lot more organic traffic in the 6 or so months the site has been live.

But I haven’t — you are basically seeing a niche site set up and left to rank on it’s own using the expired authority and a lot of heavy content.

TOTAL TRAFFIC SO FAR SINCE APRIL 2015

traffic_7 months

 

Here is a look at the total site traffic. You will remember I went live April 1st but I switched to an expired domain and did a 301 redirect near the end of APRIL.

So the site really only ‘started’ May 1st.

You’ll see the site has had a traffic increase each month. Traffic really started to kick in August, which is when it started to rank in Google. It’s only getting better with each month.

I expect in six months from now, the traffic should be double or triple what it is now — even if I don’t promote the site. Adding new content + using existing domain authority would probably be enough to consistently grow the site to 1000  or more impressions a day (so 30,000 in a month) within about a year.

But I can get a lot faster results in I pursue social authority.

SITE REFERRAL TRAFFIC

If you see the referrals the site gets — it has picked up some social steam. All  these referrals come from Facebook Shares or posted to someone’s Facebook Page.

I actually don’t even yet HAVE a Facebook page (I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I really have left this site while working on other projects).

referrals_recent

Here are some Facebook like stats:

facebook_likes

 

SITE TRAFFIC SOURCES:

Most of the traffic is organic search from Google (with some BING/Yahoo). The rest comes from social. You can see here with the traffic charts:

 

traffic_sources

A look at SOME of yesterday’s search traffic. Not that a lot of the searches are from Google. I couldn’t fit in the whole page, but the site received over 100 searches for that day.

search_recent

How Much the Site Has Earned

Ultimately, I’m making this site to make money with. Specifically, I want to increase my monthly Amazon earnings to double or triple what it is now at least. So I am monetizing for now with Amazon.

I’ve slapped on a few Amazon links in the middle of August on some of the main posts. The site is in no way optimized for Amazon though. Just a couple product affiliate links with some pictures recommending some of the best products on certain pages. I’ve been busy with a number of other projects, so I have been lax on going back and trying to add affiliate links, so the earnings could be more than they are.

OCTOBER 2015 EARNINGS

(month not ended — we still have nearly 1 week left of the month at time of report!)

oct

SEPTEMBER 2015 EARNINGS

sep

AUGUST 2015 EARNINGS

aug

TOTAL (AUG to OCT) EARNINGS SO FAR

total_earnings

So in total, the site made:

$9.74 in August

$19.20 in September

$54.13 in October

Total = $83.07

SUMMARY OF CURRENT EARNINGS & FUTURE EARNING POTENTIAL

So far the trend is definitely on the rise. I made most of the money this month so far. If I optimize the site more for amazon, I probably could easily double the earnings from what it is. I think with optimization and NO traffic increase, I probably could see $100 USD a month in Amazon.

Now, this is not life changing money. But keep in mind:

  • The site is about 7 months old
  • I’ve done NO backlinking work. Not a single link has been sent from any of my other sites. The site has managed to pick up a few links on it’s own due to the quality of the content. I also get a few comments every few weeks from real people on the site and it seems to be getting shared sometimes on facebook.
  • I’ve done NO social promotion at all. I don’t even have a facebook page yet. So there is a LOT I can do on this front.
  • I’ve added ONLY 2 posts in 7 months. Again, the first thing I will be doing now is adding another 50 or so articles.

I’d say considering I did no work after the initial ‘set up the site phase’, the site is earning quite well. Adding more content over the next year should dramatically shoot up the earnings. Doing a social promotion campaign to get shares, traffic, and links will also dramatically shoot up traffic and earnings.

Let’s just say the site earns $100 a month now (yes, I may be off by $20 dollars but whatever). So if I see NO increase in traffic in 1 year (which is very unlikely), the site will earn me $1200 in passive income.

Keep in mind I’ve spent so far on building the site:

$300 on the domain

$1000 or so for the 70 pages of content.

So roughly about $1300 dollars. The site has mad me $83.07 so far.

So the niche site will, if I don’t spend any more on it and there is NO increase in traffic over 12 months, pay me back what I’ve spent. This is a pretty good deal — 1 year to pay the cost, then pure profit after.

Now, of course the site will be getting a lot more traffic. I don’t want $100  bucks a month, I want $100 a day!

Future Earnings

IF the site can earn roughly $100 bucks a month with 150 views a day, I suspect the site could earn $1000 a month with about 1000 views a day — something very doable in only 1 year.

Obviously this is a gross estimate and does not take into account the 20 percent of the pages generating 80 percent of the income. But as traffic goes up, so will earnings  as a whole. This niche has anywhere from 5000 to 10000 views a day in pure traffic potential. So getting something like 2000 views a day could be a $2000 a month amazon site, and 5000+ could easily breach the 5,000 to 6,000 USD’s a month in amazon earnings.

 

The Current Strategy for this Domain

Now that the site is roughly earning 60-100 USD a month in Amazon, it’s now a matter of optimizing the site for earnings, adding more content, and promoting the site.

Here’s an exact list of things I will be doing BEFORE the next update I give in 3-4 months:

  1. Go through the site pages and add more amazon links and optimize for amazon sales
  2. Add an amazon affiliate store using Woo Commerce + Amazon Affiliate plugin to turn it into an affiliate only store.
  3. Create a Facebook Page and promote it to get followers. Make the page useful
  4. Add a newsletter optin + free ebook (I haven’t even done this yet!)
  5. Write Viral style list articles and promote using facebook
  6. Network with other blogs in the niche (I have not done this)
  7. Add a forum to the site
  8. More YouTube Videos posted
  9. Add more content (i’m going to hire another writer as my current writer who wrote the articles retired) over the next few months. I’d like another 50-100 articles on the topic added
  10. Buy some expired domains in related niches, build them up with 10-20 articles, and use them as a private link network to add more authority to the site.

The YouTube video strategy seems to be paying off. My three original videos have picked up nearly 1000 views each and they do refer traffic to my site. My YouTube channel, which I have not updated in 7 months, has a number of legit followers too. I should put more work here and throw up a lot more videos. This does take editing skills with videos though — something I don’t really have. I had an friend help me shoot the 3 videos I originally put up. I can see a lot more potential if I work the YouTube angle for the niche though. But again, this takes time and effort and I’m very busy with like 10 projects at once right now. But I’ll think about it.

This one site is actually only part of my overall plan for this niche. This is a niche specific site. I want to expand more broadly into the more general health niche. I.e. move a category higher in terms of being more ‘broad’.

As such, I’m creating a more general authority site targeting the broader niche which will cover some of the same topics but also more focused towards broader topics in the overall health food niche. The plan is to use this site to link to the new site and to develop a personal network of expired domains in the overall niche. I will also promote the both this site and the new broad authority site socially on Facebook and try and build up a real presence with the two sites.

I really feel the overall broad niche has a LOT of potential. Even more, it’s one of those topics that people are VERY VERY passionate about. This means you can get a lot of social traction if you promote and use the right type of article content to promote with.

How to Use Expired Domains to Rank: The 3 Strategies

Now I haven’t really written a guide on buying expired domains or how to use expired domains effectively to rank with.

I’ve been doing a couple public case studies here on AuthorityIncome.com about expired domains, but I haven’t talked actual strategies you guys can follow.

I may write a Guide to Buying Expired Domains and a Guide on using Expired Domains to Rank Fast. Both are still strategies that work in 2015, though you don’t get the same quick boast you used to get a year or two ago.

Over the long term, you still can yield the organic ranking boost. It just takes 6 months to a couple years, but in the end you can rank far better than a a brand new domain, especially if you don’t do any link work to it.

Right now, many of my best earning sites are in fact built on expired domains I picked up a few years ago and put content on. Those sites, based on the level of link building I’ve been doing (that is NON) would NOT be getting the traffic they are getting now if they were NOT expired domains.

So this strategy works and can make you a lot of money if you do it right. However, you WILL have to spend a decent amount of money picking up expired domains — and there’s a WHOLE strategy on how to pick good expired domains. Just buying any old domain is liable to get you a shitty domain that’s been spammed to death in the past.

Anyways, assuming you do find a good expired domain, here are the three expired domain strategies you can use expired domains for. I’ve done ALL three myself.

BUILD A NEW SITE ON AN EXPIRED DOMAIN

With this strategy, you use an expired domain to set up a niche authority site on or a broad authority site. You are NOT using the site as part of your own niche PBN (personal blog network) — you are going forward and building a real site on it that you intend to rank and get serious traffic on.

This is what I did here in this case study. I took an expired domain, filled it with awesome content, and capitalized on existing domain authority. Now, it’s a bit of a risk doing this and putting all your eggs in one basket hoping the domain will rank.

Not all expired domains are good. If the site has a shady link history, it may not rank at all. And sometimes, for whatever reason, google just doesn’t want to rank an expired domain — even if the link history looks good. I have quite a few expired domains I’ve put content on that simply don’t seem to rank — even though I’ve done due diligence looking at the domain’s history.

BUILD SUPPORT SITES ON EXPIRED DOMAINS NICHE SITES and LINK THEN TO YOUR AUTHORITY SITE

This is another strategy.

The idea here is to find a bunch of expired domains in related niches, out 5 to 20 decently sized articles on each site with a good theme (make sure the sites look good and actually have some value to the searches to prevent issues with Google quality penalties). You then use this network to link to your real authority site. This is VERY VERY effective. But it takes a lot of time and a lot of money. You need to get all the content for each site, you need to get the expired domains (and make sure they are good expired domains), then you need to build the sites and link them out slowly. You also need to make sure each domain is on a separate C class IP with unique nameservers. So the cost is:

  • SEO HOSTING
  • CONTENT FOR ALL THE SITES
  • BUILDING EACH SITE
  • BUYING EXPIRED DOMAINS

You can go about this slowly doing it one at a time, or you can try and get everything done in a big bunch (it will take time to find the right expired domains though — you can’t rush this). Generally, this will cost you a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars to get set up, depending on how many expired domains you have and the size of your network. I recommend though having between 5 to 30.

You’ll find though that done right these ‘expired domains’ on your private network may grow out to be legit sites on their own and you can make money with them. I’ve had a lot of expired domain support sites grow into legit money earners over time.

The goal here is not to put up shitty sites. Each site should be a legit site and have quality content. It should NOT obviously be a support site to your main site. This is why you need to link out to other domains that are NOT your own. You also need unique c class hosting so the sites look like they are owned by different people. You need to register each under different names and different (but real) email addresses. Let me repeat, when people come to one of these sites, it should be a legit, quality site about a topic on it’s own. This is not one of those shitty mini sites of the previous internet marketing era. We are building for the long term.

BUY EXPIRED DOMAINS, TEST THEM WITH CONTENT THEN 301 REDIRECT SITES TO AUTHORITY SITE

There is one more expired domain strategy I’ve tried.

You can buy up expired domains, put 5-7 articles one each then test them over 2-4 months in google to see if they start to rank for terms. You will need to look at THE WAY BACK MACHINE and fill the site with similar content.

You will need to rebuild old link paths the site had and redirect those to new ones to keep the link juice to the appropriate pages.

If you see the domain is ranking after 3-4 months for keyword terms, you will do a 301 redirect to a similar page on your authority domain.

You will need to make sure your authority site has a page that’s huge (3000-10000 words) about the same topic. The 301 redirected site will link to that page and that page will then RANK for that term.

Because you are basically taking a bunch of single sites ranking for specific terms and 301 redirecting them to your authority site’s page, your authority site will start to get a lot of traffic quickly. You are basically building a single authority site from a lot of smaller 301 redirected smaller sites.

This strategy can give you a site that is getting 1000-2000 visitors a day from Google Search in less than 1 year! Once the main authority site has enough search traction, you can focus on the authority site itself only and stop adding new expired domains to your network of 301 redirected sites.

The risk here  is that this strategy is a very SEO orientated. It could be you end up with a penalty as it’s very gray hat. But, it does work and you can use it as a short cut to ranking.

The Final Word

I’ll post another update at the beginning of next year (3-4 months from now), and we’ll see where the sites stands then.  I’m optimistic the results should be good — short of some catastrophe, I foresee good results. The fact that I will put a lot more work into the site will help.

I’m predicting by the next update, the site will be earning $100 to $300 a month. I’m hoping the traffic will rise to about 400-600 impressions a day. by then  This is certainly possible.

My 1 year plan from now is to have the site getting over 1000 visitors a day and generating at least $30 USD a day in amazon sales.

Comments 8

  1. thehigherstandard November 7, 2015
    • BenK November 9, 2015
  2. Bin Haddi February 14, 2016
    • BenK February 29, 2016
  3. Andhy Fathoni March 4, 2016
    • BenK March 8, 2016
  4. Tim Martine March 4, 2016
    • BenK March 8, 2016

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