How to Build an Authority Site on an Expired Domain (Case Study Update)

An update to the ‘build an authority site on an expired domain’ case study I’m doing. This was suppose to be a short update post about the case study, showing what’s happened the past couple weeks, but it’s now turned into a very detailed look at how I build an authority site from ground up.

So if you are interested in creating a real website (not some mini site shit, or low quality website trying to make money from adsense) and build a legitimate business  — not bootstrap a fly by night business built on the inefficiencies of Google search — then read on.

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:

Update on the New Site (Built on Expired Domain)

If you haven’t read the previous article, outlining what this project is, then do so here.

So a short recap.

Initially, I bought a brand new domain and started putting up my articles on this domain. I did this for one month until I had about 60 or so articles. The site was getting a handful of searches (a couple every few days) from google.

However, I managed to buy an expired domain that had the keyword niche (Partial Match Domain) and a previous site on it for about 6 years (there has been no site on it for a year).

Recap done.

So it’s been about two weeks since I moved the new site to an expired domain and about a month and a week since I first put up the content on the new domain that I then 301 redirected to the expired domain, after I moved the entire blog to it.

Here’s a look at the search stats, about two weeks after moving the site from the new domain to the expired domain. Note, the site (counting when it was on the new domain) has been up since the beginning of April though it was only near the end of April that all the content was finally completed.

expired domain case study ranking

Interpreting These Results

Now, these are some pretty good results given the site is about a month old, and the expired domain only has had content on for less than 2 weeks.

The first month the site was up ON THE NEW domain (before I moved it to the expired domain),  I had only a couple searches in total from Google (and mostly image traffic). None from BING/Yahoo:

case study expired

If you compare this to the results from the last two weeks, specifically the search results from the last two days, you’ll see a dramatic increase in searches from Yahoo and BING.

However, we are still in the Google sandbox — I don’t expect to really start to see any significant google traffic because of this for the next couple months.

Let’s look at the the total stats:

case study expired domain traffic stats

Now lets look at the referral traffic:


So, because this was an expired domain with some decent links, the site is getting some targeted referral traffic. This is a good thing. If your expired domain IS getting active referral traffic from related sites, then it means the site still has some good links. AND you are getting some good targeted traffic.

There’s a few SEO tricks you can do here by looking at WHAT pages those referral URL’s were pointing to before.

What to Do with Page URLS on Expired Domain with Links to Them

I’ve found what you can often do  is take a look and see what 401 errors you get in Webmaster Tools (or go to the referring site and look at the page url being linked to)  and the rebuild a page with similar content that was on before. There are two reasons.

1) Because those broken URLs may have some Page Rank/Page Authority due to the link/s pointing to them, you can rebuild the URL and similar page content to try and get faster rankings for that page. Or you can do a 301 redirect to another part of the site to pass that juice around to another page. This can help to ‘rank’ that specific page faster for specific keyword terms because it has LINKS pointing to it. This might not be worth it for every page, but if you find specific page on the old expired site had a lot of links to it, you may want to do this ‘trick’ to take advantage of a ranking boost that page could get.

2) The second reason is if you buy an expired domain, it’s always a good idea to cater to those old links going to the previous site and make sure something is there for those links (and person) to find — this helps ‘preserve’ those links and keep them eactive. If the webmaster goes back at some point and finds those links are broken, he/she might remove the link. And of course, the user ends up on a page they thought there were going to end up on — they may end up converting in some way  (clicking on an ad, signing up on a newletter, or something beneficial to you).

Make sense? Ok BACK to the case study.

A Look at How the 2 week old Site is Doing in Search Rankings

If you look at the stats you’ll notice while GOOGLE is still not giving the new site any love (google sandbox baby, welcome to it expired domain or new domain), BING and YAHOO are.

On Yahoo the Head Keyword (generic term) is ranking as #9 on YAHOO search.

And on, it’s ranking #5 for generic keyword, NOT the longtail.


So, my little old ‘new’ site I put on an expired domain already ranks #5 in BING and #9 in yahoo for the generic keyword.

What does this tell you?

Expired Domains might not be sandboxed with BING and Yahoo Search

Now, I can’t get too excited here because BING and YAHOO only ever seem to account for 1-5 percent of my traffic these days.

In some cases though, that traffic can really fucking convert. I’d rather 95 percent more traffic from Google however.

Still, for a site that’s only 2 weeks old, getting 20-30 uniques a day with NO link building on my part, NO marketing on my part, and ranking #5 for the main generic keyword term on BING and YAHOO is not a bad start at all.

Wait till I actually start getting links and marketing the site!

Future Expectations (for the short term)

I’ll post an update in a month or so and we’ll see what happens then.

For the immediate short term (1-3 months) I’m predicting a steady supply of traffic from BING and YAHOO and steady referral traffic from the old links. The site JUST started ranking in BING and YAHOO for the main keyword term, so it could be I’ll start getting more traffic from long tails as well. Right now, the site seems to be getting about 25-30 unique visits (40-50 impressions) a day from BING, YAHOO, and referrals. So I expect I’ll probably get getting anywhere from 20-100 visitors a day over the next couple months.

Keep in mind I haven’t created a SINGLE link to the site — this traffic is all off the content (60+ articles, each 2000-5000 pages) and the benefits provided by the expired domain.

Google traffic probably won’t be kicking in anything significant for a couple months. It’s been my experience in the past with expired domains that it takes 2-3 months on expired domains with new content added to them before you start to see more than trickle traffic. Brand new domains can take 5-7 months, even if you are getting steady (quality whitehat) links to them.

I’m really walking you guys through my exact steps for building a high quality authority site that offers a lot of value. My goal now, when creating the site, is to look at the best sites in the niche, and do it 10x better in every way.

THIS is how you take over a niche. THIS is how you stand out from the competition. THIS is how you blow away the visitors with how good your content is, build up goodwill with your readers, and how to attract white hat links from related sites in your niche.

So fucking pay attention to what I’m doing exactly!

Upcoming Content Marketing and Promotion Strategies

Youtube Videos: I’ve created about 6 video tutorials staring myself that I will be adding to a youtube channel (and posting on the site on key articles). This may bring in youtube referral traffic and the videos (they are quite comprehensive and very well done I must say — my friend is a TV host/ TV star from Europe and she helped me create them) may actually end up ranking high for those keyword terms in Google just on their own.

Free Ebook: I have an free ebook created to entice visitors to sign up for the newsletter. It’s one thing to get traffic to your website, but you also want to ‘convert’ the visitors into doing something. Creating a newsletter opt in and encouraging signups by offering something of value for FREE, is another way of directly marketing to your visitor.

Forum: This niche is one that captures a lot of passionate types who are into it for the health benefits and because it’s a sort of tasty hobby. As such, creating a forum to start a community (and keep visitors coming back) is a good idea. I’ll be starting a forum this month.

Facebook Marketing: I’ve had a lot of success creating some authority sites just by using facebook to funnel traffic. This is one of my best strategies for making a site successful and getting white hat links for related sites. I’ll talk more later about some potential facebook marketing strategies. I will be creating a facebook page. But more on this later.

Link Outreach / Link Building

I haven’t sent a single link to my site just yet. I’m going to give it another month, then start promoting the site.

Links from the New Sister Sites

This is not the only site I created. I created 4 sites in total, 3 niche specific sites (each of these niches are somewhat related, but completely different) and a general site that can touch all 3 niches (and a lot more).

I’ll be doing the same thing to the 2 other sites that I’m doing with this case study site. All three sites are serious quality sites that are getting a lot of my time. They will link to each other openly to help build each other up. They will also link to the general site I am making.

Now, the goal is as this site and the 3 other sites all get links and grow, they will ALL benefit each other. Think of this as a cluster of authority sites that help support each other. A link network of sorts, but a very legit one.

Keep in mind that the other 3 site are build in brand new domains, so have no existing authority. So the links from those sites won’t do a lot.

At first.

But in time, when they get their own links and authority, they will be powerful links.

Links from Somewhat Related Sites

I will also be sending some links from some of my other authority sites. Now these sites (3 big authority sites) are very high quality and between all three, probably get anywhere from 10k uniques to 20k uniques a day. The sites are not at all in the same niche, but they are kind of related in a very very loose sense (just like a website about running marathons is somewhat related to a website about fitness or bodybuilding in a loose sense). But they can easily send a link if  I write a targeted post. I should be able to get 3 or 4 quality links from my own authority sites like this.

I do have another 3 or 4 authority sites that get thousands of visitors a day each, but the niches are so different there is no way to smoothly send a link, so I won’t.

Links from my Private Blog Network (PBN)

Another source I can tap is my own (high quality) private blog network. Now I really haven’t invested a ton of time into building up some massive scale PBN. I don’t feel it’s a good idea to do so as it’s greyhat at best and you are potentially risking your long term success by focusing too much on these type of links.

(if you use public blog networks services where you pay to post links on a big network of blogs built on expired domains — ala the Rank Hero fiasco, you are retarded and asking to lose everything you’ve built…I should know, I did myself years ago with the Build My Rank network)

However, if you buy expired domains that are directly related to your niche or in your niche, you revamp the site with new quality content and build up the sites so they are actual legit sites, you can use this as a quality and pretty legit Private Blog Network. Keep in mind, this is not so much a PBN but a network of sister sites you build up.

The key here is to only link from sites that are related in some significant way, in a natural and believable way. And you need your sites on seperate C Class IP’s with unique nameservers, privacy enabled with different names, etc.

I will probably write a Definitive Guide on Creating Your own PBN. I wrote one on my Make Money Online site, but that focused on web 2.0 properties and using spam links to prop things up. This method doesn’t, costs money to buy the expired domains (and you need to really know how to look for them), money for c class IP hosting, etc. It’s a lot of effort and time.

But it can really give you a jump start if you do it right.

Natural Link Outreaching

I’ll be doing some serious link outreaching to sites in the niche. There are some good strategies that are very effective for building real links. But this all starts from offering something of value first, actually building relationships with people (as opposed to just firing off a generic email which has a low response rate).

More on how to build whitehat links in a future article.

The Final Word

There we go. I’ve given you guys a good idea where I’m going with this project and it’s kind of become a case study on how to build an authority site from scratch.

Hope you guys find these useful. It’s a huge time sink writing these sort of meaty posts. But I like to show you guys a hands on approach on how to do this stuff. It’s one thing talk, but it’s another thing to do it yourself and show your audience how from ground up.

And that’s how I do it folks.



Comments 2

  1. pierre January 6, 2017
    • BenK January 8, 2017

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