Building an Authority Site on an Expired Domain (Case Study Continued)

This is the first case study, I’ll be doing. There’s been a lot of talk about Expired domains the past year or so — both for and against them. I’ve been using expired domains for almost six years now, way back before it was a big seo ‘thing’ to do.

Some of my best earning website properties have come from expired domains in competitive niches.

Note as of April 2016, there are 5 parts to this case study that track this site and how it’s doing. So follow along:

Why Buy an Expired Domain

Expired domains are (and still are in some circumstances) a great way to jump start your website ‘authority’ because you take advantage of the existing links that point to that domain. If your content is similar to the content that existed before (that is, it’s roughly about the same topic), then your site will almost always start getting traffic.

How long it will take really depends. I’ve had expired domains start getting traffic in less than a month, while other’s it’s taken a few months. In almost every case where I’ve used expired domains to build a new website, that domain had gotten search engine traffic faster and has ranked quicker and higher than a new domain.

What an Expired Domain *Can* Do for You

If you do your research and buy a quality expired domain, you can catapult your search engine rankings far far sooner than it would otherwise take with a new site. Now, a few years ago, it was possible to cut short (or even eliminate) the Google Sandbox factor with an aged expired domain that had quality links. Now, you will still be put in a sandbox and be handed trickle search traffic for several months. BUT, it’s possible to start getting traffic sooner AND far more once you are out of the sandbox.

I can’t tell you how long, but it’s my experience that it takes about 2-3 months with an expired domain. This is around the same length it takes with a new domain (though depending on your links, it can still take 6 or so months before Google really lets you start getting search traffic with a new domain).

You can’t only just rely on the expired authority. You need to, like with any new website, add quality content (and the more the better), get natural links, and promote your site as you would a new site. Don’t buy an expired domain, put up a handful of shitty quality articles, and expect miracles to happen.

Every single expired domains that I’ve built a website that’s gotten hundreds to thousands of visitors a day with, I’ve had to put on:

a) LOTs of content — at least 20+ big articles (2000 words+). In some cases, I’ve put on hundreds or thousand of articles even.

b) Long articles — at least 1000 words, many are 2 or 3 thousand words.

c) Created real value with the site

The Risks

I would be amiss if I did not warn you that there is some risk to building a new website on an expired domain.

First up, buying expired domains to jumpstart your blog’s search engine rankings is considered a gray hat tactic. While it’s certainly not blackhat, the tactic has been used and abused by a number of SEO types and blackhat’ers to create blog networks from expired domains. You can make an argument that there are perfectly whitehat reasons why someone might purchase an expired domain, but frankly, there’s 99 bad examples for one good one.

Google can (and apparently HAS) hand out a site de-index at any time. There are a number of stories floating around that claim Google has deindexed new sites built on expired domains or private blog networks (PBN) built on expired domains.

This is because of what SEO’s have done with expired domains over the years. Instead of buying them and using them to develop legit, quality sites, many expired domains were simply used as a backlinks. Some of these private blog networks were even packaged and sold to internet marketers to quickly rank (Unique Article Wizard, Link Vader, Link Vanna, Build My Rank, and the most recent catastrophe, Rank Hero).

The Rewards

Why, to rank much faster and get far more traffic with less to no work on my part!

These days, you’ve really got to bust your ass to build a website that gets consistent traffic. That means developing some real link-worthy content, then spending a shit load of time networking with other bloggers in your niche and promoting your site and content. The rewards are there for doing this, but it’s a long process and it can take months or even a year or two before you start really seeing the results.

If you know a niche can make money (from past experience or from good keyword research) and you don’t want to wait a year+ before making money, buying an expired domain and setting up a website with lots and lots of quality content can get net you some serious traffic within six months to a year.

If you get out there and promote the site, you can do even better!

A couple examples of expired domains doing very well with NO link-building (i’ll talk about more in a follow up post):

  1. One expired domain my brother Steve bought is bringing in almost 10,000 impressions a day. This was with NO link-building on his part, just slowly adding a LOT of quality content (we are talking something like hundreds of posts with thousands of smaller posts) over about a two year period.
  2. One expired domain I bought about 3 years ago and put up some of the old, existing content (most which did not work). It only was getting a couple dozen searchers for the 2 years I left it. then about one year ago, I put about 15 quality articles on and left it. A year later it’s not getting between 1400-2000 impressions a day with NO link building
  3. Another domain I bought back in 2011 started getting 200 visitors a day after 6 months. By month 9 it was getting 800-900 visitors a day.

So, done right, expired domains can really do well traffic wise with NO (though I recommend you DO!) link building.

The Case Study: Building An Niche Authority Site on an Expired Domain

This case study will follow an expired domain I recently purchased on Godaddy and my attempt to set up an authority site on it. It’s a very specific niche, but I’m not treating this as a mini site — I want to dominate this niche and based on my research there is room to do better than the existing sites, both in terms of site design (many of the leading sites in the niche are outdated looking) and level of content (there is room for WOWser content). It’s also a niche that’s very social where people are quite passionate about the topic, so link outreach shouldn’t be to difficult if handled correctly AND if the content and site are fantastic.

The Domain Details

  • I paid around $300 bucks for this expiring domain on Godaddy.
  • The link profile is not crazy good, but it had about 60 or so links from different IP’s from similar type sites in the niche.
  • The PR is 1, but I don’t pay much attention to PR as it goes haywire with expired domains where the old site was taken down a long time ago (my experience is it comes back once you put content back on the domain)
  • There was a previous site on this domain about a year ago with quality content.
  • The domain is about 5 years old.

The Content/Site Design Details

  • 60 or so awesome huge articles, with each article at LEAST 2000 words and some over 6000 words. I’m a firm believe in adding the best possible content. I outsourced this content; it took my writer about a month of writing full time to finish those articles.
  • Tutorial Videos shot by me. I’ve also shot some videos for the site (staring myself) explaining how to make the items I’m talking about. The content itself is more than adequate, but I want to give this site even more authority by shooting a handful of video tutorials and putting them on a YouTube channel for the site. This will also help to bring in traffic from YouTube.
  • I’m using a high quality premium wordpresse theme (Salient)
  • I’ll also be commissioning a custom logo from .99 designs
  • I’ll be using some of my own pictures for the posts
  • I may have some custom graphics/icons and some infographics made

Promotion Strategy 

Now I have to be careful here as I wanted to show how well a new site can do on an expired domain. Promoting it with outreach will change the  results, but I also want to make this site a success. So keep in mind I WILL be promoting the site, but I’ll share what I do.

Now a confession. I really fucking hate to build links — like really hate it. I’ve been active building up new site the past couple years without doing any active link building JUST by using expired domains and creating amazing content (on new and expired domains). My link building or even natural outreach has been minimal at best. I’ve mostly relied on making awesome content.

And it’s worked.

But promoting your content and getting quality natural links can make a HUGE difference. It’s the difference between making a few hundred dollars with a site and make a few thousand or more with a site.

So, I will be doing a LOT of outreach with this site.

Promotion Methods:

  • Natural Outreach (guest posts, networking in the niche, directly reaching out for links to WOWser articles)
  • Other Expired Domains (I will be keeping an eye out for other expired domains to buy in this niche and similar niches)
  • My Own Related Sites (I’ll also be linking to this site from some of my other established sites. These sites are not directly in the niche, but given the right post are compatible enough that such a linkage is natural and providing value).

Site Goal:

To dominate the niche, both in the social sphere and the search engines. And to make some good money. There are plenty of ways to make money in this niche:

  • affiliates for the products in the niche
  • direct advertising
  • creating a digital product and selling it
  • creating an actual product and shipping it out (make an eCommerce store)

I won’t be using Adsense, or any PPC type revenue system. Frankly, those are the last options you should consider for most niches. If you are getting ad clicks, you almost always can make MORE money finding something else.

Comments 5

  1. Cedrick May 6, 2016
    • BenK May 7, 2016
  2. Mauricio October 19, 2016
    • BenK October 21, 2016
  3. Peter Nyiri January 15, 2018

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