Many people are wary of purchasing a pre-owned vehicle for a common reason – the risk of inheriting the problems it has experienced in the past. The same goes for buying an expired domain name – you simply don’t know whether it has a history of online success or failure. Some domain names expire simply because the owner forgets to renew them at the end of their registration term. Others get “dumped” because they can no longer succeed in the search engines. With such uncertainty, why not avoid expired domain names altogether?
Expired domain names can bring instant page rank and link popularity – two important SEO factors that can take a new Web site a considerable amount of time to achieve with a new domain name. By taking advantage of the previous owner’s SEO efforts, you can jump to the top of search engine results pages simply by buying a domain name. However, much like with a pre-owned vehicle, there is always the possibility of getting a “lemon.” If this happens to you, there could be serious consequences for your online business. If you’re considering using expired domain names, there are a few key areas you should investigate before buying domains that have a history online:
What does Google® say about the domain name?
If you choose an expired domain name that was once associated with a serial spamming or reciprocal linking infraction, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle to gain search engine ranking. Google, in particular, blocks domain names that break their stringent regulations. And once the Web site is blocked, you’ll have to petition to have your new Web site indexed. This takes time and effort – which defeats the purpose of buying an expired domain name for immediate linking and ranking opportunities. Google’s cache is a helpful online tool for public use. Type “cache:yourdomainname.com” and you’ll get a glimpse of the version of the site that was used for indexing. If no cached version exists, it could very well indicate a problem.
Who is linking to the domain?
While using expired domain names can help bring you instant link popularity, remember that the quality of the links is more important than the quantity. Take a close look at the Web sites linking to your prospective domain name. Ask yourself: Is their content relevant to my Web site? What is their page rank? You can check a domain name’s inbound links by typing “link:yourdomainname.com” into the Google search box.
When was the domain name created?
A search of the WHOIS database can tell you the date that the domain name was originally created and when it expired. Search engines view longer registration terms as a sign of stability and this can help your rankings. Also, if an expired domain name stood the test of time, it is a positive indicator of its legitimacy.
By taking steps to check expired domain names before registering, you can eliminate the possibility of getting stuck with a “lemon” that may sour your SEO success.