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Expired Domains – How To Find And Buy Premium Expired Domain Names

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 6:28 AM ET Tue, January 26th 2021

Domain Expired text on a sign.

The thriving aftermarket for domain names is great for sellers and investors, but it generally represents an obstacle for webmasters. After all, when you’re working directly with a registrar, the costs of domain ownership are minimal. One way to find valuable domains at an extremely low price is by targeting expired domains. Here, you’ll be able to purchase the rights to a recently-freed domain name that just reverted from someone’s ownership.

What Is An Expired Domain?

While brokers, investors, and other parties in the domain industry often talk about buying and selling domains, this isn’t actually what’s happening. No one can ever truly own a domain name; they simply lease the rights to use it. ICAAN, an international body that governs domains, owns and maintains the registry of currently extant names. It relies on registrars such as GoDaddy and BlueHost to handle the operational side of their work, such as marketing and working with registrants. Registrants are people like you who lease the rights to use a given name.

Every registrant, regardless of their status as a webmaster, broker, etc., must pay a modest, routine fee to keep the domain. When someone misses this payment, they lose the rights to it and anyone can quickly take it for themselves. What’s more, they’re getting the domain for the low prices that registrars offer. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be in time to snatch a million-dollar domain, purchasing domains that have expired is still a worthwhile practice. Securing the lease to an expired domain is convenient, affordable, and can even improve your SEO.

Benefits Of Targeting Expired Domains

Buying an expired domain is beneficial for virtually anyone with an interest in domain names. For the investor, it allows you to increase the size of your portfolio at little cost. If the domain name is suitable for a website you want to build, then sniping an expired domain is perfect. Even if the domain has no relation to your industry, older domains with backlinks can drive traffic and help you make your websites more successful.

You can use resources such Open Site Explorer to verify important metrics such as domain authority and page authority. Then you can use one of the Google ban checker websites available on the internet to make sure it isn’t banned by Google. If you see a chance to collect an expired domain with 25+ domain authority that isn’t banned, you should buy it first and decide what to do with it later. The reason is that when a domain has such high authority, it’s sure to be either useful or easy to resell.

Low Prices & Straightforward Buying Process

Since you’re working directly with a registrar rather than the aftermarket, the buying process is remarkably different. While the aftermarket deals with domain names as financial assets, registrars primarily charge the costs of maintenance and upkeep. Not only will the price they charge be much lower, but the process of buying is much simpler. You won’t have to negotiate over the price, for instance.

Many domain registrars allow customers to buy expired domains the same way you would buy a normal domain. Others, such as GoDaddy, run auctions on domains that have expired. In this case, the price will be considerably higher than the default cost for an unused domain. Nonetheless, the potential for impressive savings is still there. Even then, the higher cost may well be warranted given that a domain name with a history of use can be extremely valuable. This is because it’s had time to accrue authority and backlinks, which are key factors to running a successful website.

Existing Domain Authority

When you start using a new domain to start your blog or website, you’re starting from nothing. Building out a website isn’t just a matter of hiring a good web designer and creating great content. Even when you have a wonderful website, it might only enjoy a trickle of traffic at first. Why is this, you might ask? Because of a lack of existing traffic and authority-building backlinks. This kind of social, off-site SEO plays a large role in how Google and other search engines rank websites.

More specifically, search engines use several metrics related to existing traffic. The volume of visitors is important, but Google also estimates the quality of their visit. If visitors spend more time on your website and view more pages before leaving, that’s better than seeing a single page for a moment and leaving. Backlinks increase traffic, but they also boost the authority which the search engine ascribes to your website. Higher authority results in better ranking and higher performance in search engine results pages.

This is important because Google doesn’t recognize when a domain changes ownership or hosts a different website. Authority, traffic, and other SEO benefits remain with the domain even as it changes hands. Instead of starting from the ground up, you can capitalize on work that someone else had already done. Hosting your website with a domain that already has a traffic flow and good backlinks can be a real game-changer. However, this isn’t the only way to capitalize on authoritative domains.

Create A Private Blog Network

Maybe you can’t use a new, high-authority domain name to host your website. The name could simply be too different to be compatible with your branding. Alternatively, switching from one domain to another could cause more harm to your established traffic flow than it’s worth. In this case, you can create a Private Blog Network (PBN) to leverage your high-authority expired domains.

In the eyes of a search engine, not all backlinks are equal. If an obscure website with no authority or regular traffic starts backlinking to your website, the gains will be marginal. This is how Google, Bing, and other services prevent people from creating shell websites that do nothing but backlink to their real pages. However, you can work around this limitation by buying reputable expired domains.

Once you have domains with some authority among search engines, you can use them to start new websites. With a modest investment in content creation and design, you’ll have a website that starts producing meaningful, SEO-boosting backlinks you can take advantage of. Additionally, you can repeat this process with any number of domains you buy. In doing so, you can effectively use brute force to rapidly ensure your primary website rapidly becomes a high-authority resource. While this is no substitute for quality content, it will allow a good website to go much further, faster.

Redirect Traffic

The easiest, most foolproof way to capitalize on existing backlinks is with a 301 redirect. In this case, you can make it so that traffic to your new domain automatically redirects itself. This is particularly beneficial if you’ve purchased a domain with high-performing backlinks, such as a link from the New York Times or Washington Post. It basically ensures a steady trickle of traffic to your website and requires very little effort on your part.

Of course, the drawback is that it doesn’t utilize the full potential of an older domain. While traffic redirection is the easiest way to use an expired domain, it also confers the most modest gains.

How To Buy Expired Domain Names

Expired domains are clearly a valuable asset for any SEO-minded webmaster, but that still leaves the question of how to purchase one. There are many ways to go about finding and buying expired domains.

Backordering In-Use Domains

Backordering is a bit like mining for gold in the sense that you might place countless backorders and get nothing for your time and effort. However, it’s just a matter of luck to eventually collect any number of high-value domains just as they expire.

Backordering is essentially the process of reserving a domain that’s in use. If the current owner renews their lease on the domain, then you’re out of luck for at least another year. However, when you backorder a domain that expires, you’re able to buy it immediately. It’s hardly possible to build a business around backordering since it’s a matter of luck unless you have good cause to believe a domain will expire. However, this is still fine for the simple reason that placing a backorder requires very little time and effort.

Expired Domain Auctions

Many registrars run auctions when their domains expire. In this case, you’ll be able to place bids and contest the domain for a certain period of time. For instance, GoDaddy runs auctions that last for seven days. This means that if you check their expired domain auctions once every six days, you’ll never miss out on the chance to collect a high-value domain name that’s relevant to your industry. The same principle also applies to any other website that runs domain auctions. So long as you check periodically, you’ll have the opportunity to capitalize on any new expirations.

Expired Domain Marketplaces

While some registrars use an auction approach to selling domains that expired, others use a marketplace approach. In this case, you can either search for a digital marketplace page or filter expired names from their normal page. From here, you might explore the list manually or input relevant keywords to see what’s available. Given the number of domains on the market, you have good odds of finding a reasonably valuable expired domain.

If you’re having trouble finding the right domain or need help capitalizing on expirations, you might consider hiring a premium domain broker. While their services include buying, selling, and evaluating, they typically have broad subject matter expertise. As a result, a domain broker can help you find and buy expired domains.

VPN.com Premium Domain Brokers

At VPN.com we’re experts on all things pertaining to domain names. If you want to find out more about buying expired domains, we can help. Our range of industry connections gives us access to thousands of valuable domains on the aftermarket. It’s a simple matter for us to find your perfect domain name on your behalf, so turn to VPN.com when you need a new domain name.

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