Most of the bloggers prefer old domains over new domains for their niche blogs. They do this because of the fact that old domains have inherent domain authority, backlinks, and can rank well.
Even some of them buy it for branding purposes.
This is perfectly fine.
However, before buying any expired domain, you must consider some things, that I explain in this post.
Because, you likely are investing huge amount of money buying expired domains.
1. Determine whether the expired domain had spam
If the expired domain was used for spam purposes by the previous webmaster, then there are huge chances that you will get affected from it.
This is the first thing you need to do when you are opting for expired domains for SEO or branding benefit.
The question is, how can you determine the content that was on an expired domain?
That's where Wayback Machine comes into play.
Just head over to it.
Now here, search for the expired domain you are looking to buy.
Chances are there, Wayback machine has recorded the snapshots of the pages that were earlier on the domain. By seeing the content, you can determine whether the content was spam or not.
2. Determine the spam links
Another signal that determines whether the expired domain was used for spamming or not is by checking the historic backlink profile.
That's where Majestic SEO comes to play.
When you head over to it, you'll get two options - fresh index and historic index.
Enter your expired domain URL, select historic index and hit enter. You'll get all the old backlinks that were pointing to the domain.
Just by analyzing the backlinks, you can determine whether they are spam or not.
You can also check all the existing backlinks using Ahrefs. The tool that has the biggest database of backlinks across the web. It is a must do as some of the backlinks may be missed out while checking in any other tool.
3. Check domain authority
Domain authority is one of the best metrics when it comes to measuring the ranking power of the site.
Once you made sure that the domain was not used for spam, the next thing is to make sure that the domain you purchase has D.A of at least 20+.
If you are grabbing a domain that has domain authority less than 20, then the risk is not worth it. For a domain to drive SEO benefit, slight high domain authority is essential. That’s the main reason why people opt for expired domains.
The tool will return the domain authority and as well as the page authority of the entered domain name.
4. Check Google AdSense ban
Google bans AdSense on the domains that do not comply with their terms and conditions. Chances are there, you may be trying to go for an expired domain that is banned by Google for displaying AdSense ads.
There is a tool called AdSense Sandbox. It displays the ads for the site when you enter the URL. Just enter the URL of the expired domain you are willing to buy. If the ads do not pop up for the URL, then there are chances of spam under that domain.
This is the most neglected part by bloggers. If you rely mostly on advertising revenue, checking the AdSense ban is a must for a blog.
5. Check Trust Flow and Citation Flow
This is the greatest way to determine the quality of the existing backlinks to the domain.
I have a separate post regarding the topic. You can check it out - Citation Flow and Trust Flow: Everything You Should Know.
You can check out the scores at Majestic SEO. The trust flow should be at least 25% of the citation flow of the domain. If the trust flow is a way too low, chances of spam backlinks are more.
If you are in a dilemma to choose among multiple expired domains, choose the one that has relatively high trust flow when compared to its citation flow.
6. Prefer old domains but not too old
The older the domain, the more value it carries with regard to SEO.
Wayback machine was found in 1996. You should not consider buying any domain that was there on the web before the 1996.
Most of the times, this is not an issue. Because, most of the domain names are acquired after 2000.
7. Verify If it has Any manual penalty
If you have used Google webmaster tools, you may have noticed the section where you’ll be notified if there’s any manual penalty on your site.
Whenever you acquire new expired domain, just verify it that you own it in Google webmaster tools and wait for say 5 days.
If no manual penalties come up in webmaster tools, you are safe. If the site is blacklisted as spam by Google, there will be manual penalty. Then, you need to submit reconsideration request to Google on the subject – “Newly acquired domain”.
If you are building a long-term authority site that will be your online home, I strongly suggest not to go for expired domains. Because, apart from the methods I discussed in this post there’re no ways to determine what was under the hood.
If you are building niche sites and looking to make a quick profit from them; maybe even for long-term, expired domains still can do wonders.
Hope this post discussed all the issues you need to consider before buying expired domains.