In this short guide, I'll be giving you a detailed tutorial on how to find great expired domains using my favorite expired domains software - DomCop. This software works with you to help find domains that are due to expire, have already expired, or that have been archived.
DomCop enables you to apply filters so that the results you see fit the criteria most suitable for your needs, so the main focus of this article is looking at how to use the software effectively and the use of specific link metrics. DomCop is not free, so you will need to buy the software. However, if you want to find high-quality domains, the investment is well worth it.
This tool works to save you time and energy when searching for domains because it allows you to set your criteria and focus on the domains that are of most interest to you. Not only will the time you spend searching for domains be used more effectively, but also the high-quality domains you find will improve your site's SEO and drive more search traffic to your site. You will soon see a good return on your investment by using the tool.
Navigating the DomCop Dashboard
The first thing to look at is the dashboard, where you will find plenty of information. This may look confusing at first, but staying methodical in your approach makes it far easier to navigate the dashboard and get the information you need.
First, take a look at which domains are expiring by clicking on the tab at the top left. These are the domains that provide the best opportunities. Working from left to right, you can access the expiring domains, domains that have expired, and those that have been archived.
The ability to filter your searches is one of the things that makes DomCop such a great tool. From the dashboard, look at the expiring domains and then click on the 'show filter' button. If you stay on the 'simple' option, you can then go ahead and create your first filter, which will start to reduce the number of domains according to what you are looking for.
Click back onto 'show filter' button, and you will see several options that can be changed by moving the sliders provided. The first step is to change some settings so that you have a much better choice of domains.
First, set Majestic Trust Flow to a minimum of 15 and the Majestic backlinks to 10. This will require domains to have a minimum number of high quality backlinks so that you just get to see the quality domains. These are the ones that you could use to drive traffic to your website. If you do want to use PBNs at some stage, increase the number of backlinks accordingly.
It helps to set the minimum number of backlinks low so that you have a wider choice of domains.
Finally, set the DA (Domain Authority) filter to 15.
The main reason for keeping these settings is that you want to exclude any low-quality domains which could end up wasting a lot of your time. Anything less than DA 15 or Trust Flow 15 is unlikely to be a good opportunity, so it helps to exclude them earlier rather than later. Of course, there are exceptions, but often domains that have lower metrics than these minimums are unlikely to be worth pursuing further.
Once you get used to the tool, you can adjust the sliders up and down according to your needs.
Listing types are placed in the center of the screen, and these can be left on. If you want to, you can adjust the industries by clicking on the downward arrow and choosing from the list. However, the 'all industries' category is good to use as it is based on the Majestic Topical Trust Flow Topics. If you want to find domains specific to your business, then you can change it to the particular industry if you wish.
To get a wide range of options, just keep the settings for the TLDs at .com .net and .org. There are multiple other options you can choose, but when first setting out with DomCop, it helps to keep things simple.
Analyzing the value of the domains
One of the first things you will notice is that there is usually a very high price tag for the expiring domains. These domains have usually got good link profiles, and as such, there will be a lot of competition for them at auction. This leads to significant price increases, so you will first need to establish whether or not these domains are overvalued.
Let's take as an example, a domain that has been valued at $1500. To establish if it is worth the price tag, you will take the domain and place it through Moz or Majestic to analyze its link profile. This shows how the domain has grown its authority. If this has been done via a PBN or other unnatural links, then its probably not worth $1500.
As you follow this process more often, you will become increasingly aware of how to identify a domain that is not worth the price, and conversely, those that are. Using the tool regularly and carrying out the analytics will make you faster and more effective.
Sorting by price range
Price range is another key way to sort domains. For example, if a domain has a TF of 15 and a DA of 25 and a starting price of $36, you need to ascertain if it is worthwhile pursuing the domain. You can do this by checking the links - if these go to prominent websites, it is a good sign that you may want to investigate further.
A note on foreign language links: It pays to use Google translate and check the originating domain, for example, if a site has links from Japanese Wikipedia it is a high-value link. Too often people ignore any domain with foreign language links. You may often find one of these gems tucked in among the low-quality opportunities.
Once you establish that the links are of good quality, you need to be sure that they are still live. This can be easily confirmed by searching on each of the pages. If you continue to check the links and find that more and more of them are still active, you start to create a profile of the domain as something that is an excellent opportunity.
If everything stacks up, you know that you now have a potential opportunity to buy a high quality expired domain.
Next, take a look at the history of the domain by checking on it at archive.org. This will tell you if the domain has ever been used for spam, a private blog, or in any way that it wasn't designed to be used because if it has, it is not a domain you want.
If you see that the site has been used inappropriately, for example, a casino website or blog or just as a way of funneling traffic into a casino site, for example, the domain should be immediately rejected.
The main thing is to develop a method and way of operating that works for you. For example, you might put a domain straight into Moz or Majestic and take a look at its profile, or perhaps put it into archive.org to rule out inappropriate use or spam right from the start. Ultimately, you end up with the same result, but you may find that some routines work better for you than others. As you are learning to use the DomCop tool you will start to find a way of working that suits your style.
At this stage, you can repeat the process until you find the sort of quality expired domain you are looking for.
Checking the domain's history
DomCop shows the Trust Flow, so if you want to find some expired domains that you wanted to leverage for your own business, you can filter for your industry using the relevant tab. For example, you might choose the Industry tab and use the search to find relevant domains. If you then check the domain at The Way Back Machine, it will tell you who or what once used the domain.
Many domains once belonged to old web development companies, and these provide excellent opportunities. Web developers would pop a link into the footer of every site they developed and built their company's authority as a result. If you find one of these domains and put it into Moz or Majestic it will show that the sites are powered by such links.
Look out for footer links that are exact matched keywords because this can present a whole plethora of problems you don't need, but if they are generic or branded links, these are worth looking at further.
Some links are just not relevant, for example, if they are site-wide links. Also, if the client website is in an unrelated business to your own, they are not going to provide good value.
This type of opportunity is not the highest quality available, but it does have some decent links which can be used to 301 direct traffic to other better properties. For example, if you have a very high-quality website, you could send traffic from the expired domain into this site. So redirecting Tier 2 properties over to Tier 1 means a lot more traffic arriving on your website. These sites also provide a buffer that helps to keep your site safe.
Avoiding Spammy Websites
As you scroll down the list, you will see a lot of domains with strange names. If a site looks a bit spammy, avoid it and keep searching for those that look legitimate. Once you find a domain you like the look of you can add it to your watch list by clicking the star button and save it to go back and look at later. If you find a company and can see that it has no history of spam, that would be a contender, so check it out at Moz or Majestic for more investigation.
Look for red flags as well as good quality links. Again, if the footer text is full of keyword-rich links, you will want to avoid it. Once you have thoroughly assessed the domain you can either accept it or reject it and move on.
So, if the domain fits your minimum criteria, click the star and save it for later. Once it is in the favorites list, it can be monitored for price and to see if it is sent to auction. It is also easy to see if they are undervalued so you can move quickly to secure it for your business.
Using the expired domains tab
All of the filters for this tab will be identical to that used for expiring domains, simply because the criteria for accepting or rejecting a domain does not change.
Again, use your judgment when it comes to names that look spammy or as if they are not a real website or business. These are often easy to spot, and it is not worth wasting time on them when you could spend it more productively focusing on domains that look genuine.
If you suspect a domain may have been used for private blogging, you can find out easily by checking on some of the outbound links. A private blog network is characterized by many irrelevant outbound links and if you see this, the domain will not meet your criteria and you can reject it.
Expired or Expiring Domains?
With the expired domains, it is well worth continuing to look for good opportunities because while this can take some time, it does produce domains that can be purchased very cheaply. The expiring domains often cost a lot more because they produce fierce bidding at auction as buyers compete for the higher quality opportunities they offer. It pays to be cautious with expired domains because there is always the chance that the previous owner abused them and then allowed them to expire.
Many people prefer to stick to expiring domains for the following reasons:
- The domains are of higher quality
- The domains are likely to be a real business
- The domains are less likely to have been used for spam
- Unlike expired domains, they are not likely to have been used multiple times
- Expiring domains are often still indexed in Google
You can check for indexing by googling for "site: domain.ext". As an example if you want to see whether this website is indexed then you enter "site:expireddomains.io". If no results show up, then it might be best to avoid this domain.
If you find that the domain is still indexed in Google you can then continue assessing it further to see if it qualifies. For example, if it has been used for spam it will not be suitable and can be rejected.
As you can see, you will have to wade through a lot of low-quality options before you can secure the high-quality domains simply because there are many more low-quality opportunities than high-quality ones available.
It pays to be very, very choosy about the domains you pick. Not only do you need to make sure that the links will hit your site but also that they are the very best available. You need to search and refine your lists constantly, and it takes a lot of time and effort to find some really good opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
We've been getting a lot of emails from readers asking some questions on expired domains that we did not answer in the guide above. We've answered them below. Hopefully you will find these answers useful
What is an expired domain?
An expired domain is a domain that has not been renewed by it's previous owners. Often this happens when a business shuts down. These domains can now be registered by anyone.
Do expired domains still work?
Yes. As per Google Trends the interest in expired domains has been constant over the last 5 years. Expired domains if used correctly, still work well.
How do I use expired domains?
There are four way to use an expired domain
- Use for your money site
- Create a PBN
- 301 Redirect to your website
- Flip the expired domain
How long until a domain is available after it expires?
When a domain expires, it enters a 30 day Redemption Grace period, during which the original owner can still renew the domain. Once this is over, it enters a Pending Delete period of 5 days during which no one can purchase the domain and no renewal is possible. As soon as the domain exits the Pending Delete period, it drops and is available to purchase.
Can I buy a domain after it expires?
Once a domain expires, you can purchase it after waiting for the 30 day Redemption Grace period & the 5 day Pending Delete period to end.