This is one thing that’s commonly debated amongst people looking to create a niche site. When starting a “new” website, should you should consider using an expired domain or should you start from scratch?
If you’re not sure what an expired domain is, it is essentially an old domain name that has passed the valid registration dates applicable. For example, if I registered a domain name in March 2017 for one year, but March 2018 I would need to renew that domain name with my chosen registrar (GoDaddy, Namecheap etc). If I didn’t renew the domain, eventually it would become expired.
What’s the value of these expired domains? Well, when a domain expires, it loses it’s age and that’s completely reset in the eyes of Google. What it doesn’t lose, however, is the existing backlinks that are redirected towards the domain. This means that any link juice – authority, or whatever you want to call it – is still being directed towards the domain. Therefore, if you were to recreate a website on this expired domain, it would already be favourable in the eyes of Google due to the links that were directed there towards the old website. Make sense?
There are a few reasons you might want to pick up an expired domain. The 3 main ones are;
- Building a Private Blog Network – If you have the time, a PBN could be a good investment to help increase the rankings of your website. Beware though – they can be a nightmare to manage if you keep accumulating new domains. Of course, when you create your network of sites you’re looking to use sites that already have some authority, which is why expired domains are perfect. Remember to wait a few months before linking back to your own website from your newly created. If you’re not sure what a PBN is and have no idea what I’m talking about right now, click here.
- 301 Redirects – Essentially, the idea is the same with utilizing all expired domains; you want their authority/juice. Nothing is a more clear example of that than a 301 redirect, in which you use the power aimed at the expired domain and redirect it to your new website. This can be a great method, but be sure to make it look natural by using related domains (don’t redirect an expired shoe company website to your niche site about garden gnomes) and limit yourself to one, maybe two good 301 redirects.
- Your own site – If you’re starting a new website that you’re planning to rank in Google, it can be a good idea to use an expired domain. This means that your website will already have some authority and will have an advantage over other new websites. The bad side of this though, is that you won’t have the option to choose your own domain name – it’s up to you to decide whether this matters to you or not. You’ll also have to consider the anchor text that’s directed towards the site.
If you’re looking at any expired domain, you’ll want to be sure that it’s “clean”. This means running it through an SEO analysis tool like Ahrefs and checking the backlinks that are directed towards the website. You’ll also want to visit the Wayback Machine and see what the website used to look like.
All in all, expired domains can be a great option if you’re looking to start a new website (for whatever reason). For your niche website, it all depends on how much control you want to have over the domain brand. If you don’t mind utilising someone else’s own domain name, then go for an expired domain (or even an expiring domain). If you want to create your own brand, then it’s best to go for a fresh domain so you have control over the name and it’s history.