Expired domains may sound worthless at first, but that is not the case because they are reusable. You can start an e-commerce business with an expired domain name. But why do domain names expire in the first place?
Starting a website requires a domain name, and you pay for one month or one year for the rights. Once that period is up, you will need to pay for it again. If you do not, the domain name expires, and the registrar opens the opportunity for anyone who wants it.
Why Buy Expired Domain Names?
It is common knowledge that any thriving business on the Internet has an established presence or reputation. That also goes for eCommerce websites with domain names for which previous owners were not able to renew their registration.
So instead of starting from scratch, why not search for expired domains that you can work with? Here are some advantages to doing so:
1. Existing SEO Value
Expired domains may already have an authority established online. Search engines like Google index pre-existing domains, and that makes a business easier to find.
It means the previous owner or owners applied search engine optimization (SEO) to rank high on the page results and gain the right amount of traffic. More traffic means more people seeing your products and higher browsing-to-purchase conversions.
Compare this to brand new domains, where you start from zero. You will be spending a lot of time and effort to build content, links, and traffic from the ground up.
Plus, you will also have to utilize SEO and, if you are a beginner, you will eventually need to do a lot of metric testing as well. With expired domains, almost everything has been previously handled for you, but you must take care to understand how the metrics work
2. For Building Backlinks
You can utilize SEO on your eCommerce website by using an expired domain to create a supporting website that you can link to it. Again, expired domains already have search engine rankings so you can add their value to your existing e-commerce business.
That also means you can use more than one expired domain to serve as the primary or authority website and another to serve as a pathway to that site.
So why all the linking? The previous owner of the expired domain may have linked their website to authority or well-known websites that have both high Google rankings with a staggering amount of organic traffic.
It is where the term “SEO juice” comes into play so that the website can also receive SEO value or organic traffic from the authority site.
Any website that constantly uses authority links in their content ranks up with the right strategy. Think of it as popularity by the association in human society. You also need to make sure to add relevant content to the supporting site to make SEO work for you and your eCommerce business.
3. Bringing Traffic Directly To Your Ecommerce Site
Backlinks can either give your e-commerce store “SEO juice” or referral traffic instead. What you want is real traffic from real humans who visit your site and not robots that you can buy.
No decent website owner would use fake traffic nowadays as Google can track it and ban the website. A previous domain owner is aware of this and would have taken care of their domain to get more authentic traffic as well.
You will want the same juice from that expired domain to trickle down to your eCommerce site.
Using 301 redirects, you can redirect the expired domain to your website so you can still make use of its SEO value. Do this instead of creating a supporting or mini website if you do not want to make a separate content apart from what you have on your e-commerce website.
You will want to do so because of the accumulated backlinks and SEO ranking that the expired domain has that will serve your site. You must find an expired domain with the same industry for this to work out.
Here are the criteria for how to better pick a domain name:
- The domain name must be easy to type.
- Never pick ones that have numbers and special characters.
- Choose names that are easy to remember and are most likely to be searched for.
- Get one that is short but manages to express what your business is all about.
- Pick one with an appropriate domain name extension suitable for a region.
4. Using Keywords In The Domain Name
Keywords partially create the life force of search engine optimization. You must choose one or more expired domains that have the right keywords that people are frequently searching for. And since you need it for your eCommerce website, the expired domain must have specific keywords related to your business.
It will help your potential customers land on the first and second search engine page results. You may want to make use of a free keyword planner to help you determine the type of keywords that have the most monthly searches.
5. Starting Your Own Website
Whether it is for personal use such as blogging or starting a business like an eCommerce site, you will benefit more from an expired domain. As discussed earlier, expired domains already have residual high organic traffic or quality backlinks.
If you want a site that has automatic rankings, expired domains are the way to go. Rebuilding an e-commerce website will not be much of an issue as it gives you the opportunity to be able to explore the domain first.
With proper analysis, you will be able to explore its history and see where improvements can still be made. Think of it as a business takeover. If you want to rebrand the website, you may do so, but never tread far from its original purpose.
Key Factors To Consider In Choosing Expired Domains
Before spending money on expired domains for your eCommerce website, there are a few things you must first do:
- Check The Domain Authority And Page Authority
What you want are high-quality expired domains, and there are specific metrics you can use to pinpoint them. The Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) are metrics affecting the rankings on search engine results pages or SERPs.
Domain Authority is a scoring metric developed by Moz, and you want an expired domain with at least a score of 25 and above. Several key factors affect this, such as the age of the domain, the content, and the backlinks.
- If you want your e-commerce to take off immediately, you must choose an expired domain that has been around for ages. The longer, the better because the algorithms of search engines like Google pick the domains that hosted websites much longer. Avoid those that have expired in as little as two years.
- High-quality content is also a key factor, and you would want your eCommerce website to contain properly-researched product descriptions and blogs.
- As mentioned before, authority backlinks will also help SEO rankings because your site connects to quality sources such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and government websites, for example.
On a smaller scale, the page authority, also developed by Moz, is a metric that scores page rankings. A page can receive a score of 1 to 100.
There are a total of 40 factors that affect the scoring of the page authority, including high-quality content, page optimization, and external links to authority sites. You would best treat it as a comparative scoring method as there are no right or bad Page Authority scores.
Just like the DA, you will want to improve the link profile of your e-commerce website by incorporating authority links. It is because of the PageRank scoring system that the Google algorithm picks it up.
Linking the authority site to your e-commerce website results in a fraction of the authority site’s PageRank score being passed on to your business website.
- Check The Domain Status In Google
Google is the most popular search engine in the world right now, and you want to follow the way it works and how it ranks and approves websites. You have to avoid expired links that have been banned by the search engine.
These are some of the factors why Google bans domains:
- Keyword stuffing
- Duplicating content
- Using free traffic exchange
- Using robots
- Linking to bad sites (adult sites, gambling sites, link farms)
You can use Google Banned Checker to see if a domain name is in good standing. At the same time, if you want your e-commerce business to be successful, avoid the practices mentioned below as well.
- Check Domain If Google Adsense Banned
If you aim to use supporting websites for your eCommerce business, there is no point in using expired domains if Google Adsense does not approve of it. Another way of earning is through affiliate marketing, and using Google Adsense allows specific ads on your website or blog.
Bloggers who want to monetize their blogs are always turning to Adsense because it is well-known, it provides quality ads and pays on time. A banned domain cannot carry these ads from Adsense.
You can find and avoid banned domains at AdSense Sandbox Checker. To check, place the URL at the checking area and hit ‘Preview ads.’ Once you see displayed ads, it is an indication that the domain is safe for use.
- Track The Trust Flow And Citation Flow
The Trust Flow (TF) is much like the DA and PA. It scores up to 100 and relies on the quality of backlinks. While DA and PA cannot be manipulated, on the side of TF, it is plausible but not easy. It is because of the manual accumulation of the seed or authority sites.
The Citation Flow (CF) is similar to PageRank in calculation and score domains from 0 to 100. The scoring depends on the link equity, or “link juice,” and how the authority site can pass on or leak its SEO value to your e-commerce website.
A Trust Flow score of 15 and the TF and CF ratio you want must be over 0.8 to benefit from the expired domain.
- Check Information From The Website’s Archives
Before purchasing an expired domain for your e-commerce website, you need to find more information about what it was like when it was still alive. You can check the domain at archive.org to view its full history.
The reason you need to check it is to have an idea of its past performance and to make sure that the expired domain matches with your eCommerce website. It is crucial if you want to be able to use an expired domain with a clean background for your e-commerce website.
Website tools such as the WaybackMachine and ArchiveReady are handy if you want to find specific content.
- Consider Social Media Authority
A fraction of a domain’s performance and SERP is affected by social media authority. Although social media is not as prioritized as web content, it still bears good weight on influencing rankings.
Social media must mention the domain several times. It is known as ‘social signal’. Purchase an expired domain receiving social signals such as shares, likes, and visibility.
Your eCommerce website will significantly benefit from having a social media account where customers will be able to get more information on products and promos.
An excellent social media manager will be able to create new posts and engage old and potential customers on various platforms.
- Check For Spamming
While profiting from domains is the primary reason to buy them, previous owners may have been so focused on the money that they might have done anything such as spamming.
Thankfully, as much as webmasters want to cheat, there are ways to find out if a potential expired domain is one of the many you should avoid.
- Look for domain lists that undergo Majestic metrics checking because anything with less than a Trust Flow (TF) of 7 would not be worth your while.
- Make a list of the expired domains and check metrics. Some web tools will make it easier for you as they will mark domain names with a red ‘X’ if they fail the checking. Good expired domains will be ranked in stars as well.
- Click the button that says ‘Start Analysis’ or anything similar. You will eventually see expired domains that you can choose from for your e-commerce site.
How To Search For Expired Domains
As you can see, buying expired domains is not as simple as buying a brand new domain wherein you can use it the right way after payment.
There are procedures to follow so you can make sure that you are getting what you want for your eCommerce site. Knowing the right process first will help you avoid specific mistakes.
There are a few methods that you can use to search for expired domains:
- Head to any reputable websites that specialize in the auction of expired domains. Some even list domains that are soon to expire. You can choose to wait for a specific domain to become available as well. Head over to www.spamzilla.io for expired domains that will help your e-commerce website get the boost it deserves.
- Use keywords relevant to your e-commerce niche to hunt for expired domains that are ranked.
- You can reverse-hunt by entering a domain to locate all available backlinks in connection with the domain. It will then find expired domains through scanning.
- Try hunting for marketplaces that auction keywords by using keywords. Analyze various metrics afterward.
- Use Web 2.0 Hunter and locate expired domains in as much as 20 platforms.
Use the metrics mentioned in this article to search and analyze expired domains. It will depend on you if you want to use all or only the most important ones to set up your eCommerce website.
You may also check the expiration date of the domains, the Alexa traffic rankings, the number of backlinks.
Using the metrics and indicators, you can filter the type of domain that you want and choose it if it has everything that you need.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I am not able to renew the registration of my website, what would happen to it?
A: If you are not able to renew your domain, your website and its features will stop functioning. It will not be possible to create any more alterations or editing. You will be able to get your site running once again after renewing it at the price which you bought it.
Q: How long can a registry hold onto an expired domain?
A: There are three stages: grace period, redemption period, and deletion period.
During the grace period, the domain is disabled, but you can still redeem it at no extra cost. Grace periods can go up to 40 days. If the previous owner fails to renew, it enters the redemption status once the registrar requests for the deletion of the domain. They will hold it for another 30 to 40 days. Finally, if it passes that phase, they will consider that domain abandoned, and it is then pending deletion. The deletion period can go from 5 to 60 days after the expiry.
Q: How do expired domains end up being auctioned?
A: Some registrars, once a domain expires, list them onto a partner auction service. It will then be on hold until an actual auction occurs sometime soon. It is not possible to have two separate locations or auction services for a specific expired domain, just like offline auctions of regular items. The registrar provides the domain exclusively to one partner service only.
Q: How much do expired domains cost?
A: For expired domains, you’d think that they would be very cheap, but because of the value that previous owners spent building into them, you’d be surprised as to how much they can cost. In GoDaddy Auctions alone, the highest priced expired domain is at $28,500. But not to worry, as there are more available expired domains that are affordable, ranging between $5 to $100 for beginners who want a low-cost jumpstart.
Q: How can I sell expired domains?
A: There are many ways to monetize expired domains, and you can get into it as well to supplement your existing business. Do you know that like a house, you can flip expired domains to make a profit? You can buy expired domains and sell them for more than what they were originally worth. Some do so on forums, auctions, or on their sites as well. You can also package domains together if you want to save on costs.
If the expired domains have high page ranks, you can also sell text links ads and by creating niche sites out of them with keywords. The possibilities have high-potential in gaining you some money that you can use as extra income for your business, such as payments for services, running campaign ads, or buying inventory.
Q: How do I know if my IP is blacklisted?
A: There are various IP checkers online to check if you need to do something about your IP address being blocked. When an IP address gets blocked, the server in use is not receiving traffic any more. That typically means bad news for online business owners compared to regular users at home. It can happen because of a virus, as a means of blocking abusive users, failed attempts at authentication, or blocking the access of the ISP because of court orders. It can also happen because of suspicious activities when using an IP address in a public setting such as airports and train stations.
Expired domains work, but only if the previous owner took care of the metrics and spent time, knowledge, and effort to build its value. Quality content, authority links, high organic traffic, and social signals can add to its search engine optimization ranking.
Using expired domains can add value to your eCommerce website as the value of expired domains tends to leak into the website. By taking the key factors mentioned above under consideration, you can safely take the necessary precautions before spending money on an expired domain.