Finding Expired Domains: A Controversial Case Study

By Spencer Haws |

Is linking to yourself evil?

Today, I am going to discuss the topic of using expired/reclaimed domains to link to your other niche sites.  This is a controversial topic, so I want to give you fair warning.  These practices may be considered gray hat or even black hat.

Anytime that you venture to manipulate the search engine ranking of your site, you are going against what Google has suggested.  So, Google does NOT approve of these tactics.  If you decide to proceed with these tactics, you do so at your own risk.

Having said that, ANY type of link building is technically against Google’s policies.  So, if you are already out building links to your site, then you are already in the gray hat/black hat area.  So, you have to decide for yourself if this is a step further that you want to take.  I haven’t decided yet; I have not linked to any of my sites using expired domains at this point.

How I Learned About Reclaiming Expired Domains

I learned about the practice of finding high quality domains that have expired and then buying them from Hayden Miyamoto.  I interviewed Hayden for 2 different podcast episodes where he explained this practice in great detail.  Listen to Podcast 9 here and Podcast 10 here.

So, I can’t claim this process of finding expired domains as my own, but over the past few weeks I’ve found several good domains using these methods, so I know it works.  Podcast 10 is a great place to get a full overview; in addition, Hayden has made a couple of videos as well on his site that are great tutorials for using Scrapebox and Xenu Link Sleuth.

What’s the Value of Expired Domains?

Before I dig into how to find expired domains, I want to discuss the value of these domains.

An expired domain is simply a site that the owner let expire.  So, some sites may have been active for years and then for whatever reason were dropped.  The value is derived from the links pointing to that expired domain!  So, even though the domain itself is not active, these high value links often are alive and well.  Once you register the domain and put a site up, you immediately have lots of high value links pointing to your site.

For example, lets say a Local Electrician’s Union starts a website in 2005 – lets call it Perhaps the local newspaper, other unions, or even political parties all link to this website.  These are high quality links – enough that is now a PageRank of 5!  However, in 2010 the union is disbanded and the website dies; because the local chapter of that union no longer exists. Things like this happen all the time.

After sitting expired for 2 years, you find it and register it for $10.  Once you get a site up, all the links are still pointing to it from the newspaper, unions, and political parties – and it becomes a PageRank 5 again.  Now you can place a link on to any of your niche sites – you own it!  Suddenly you have PR 5 links pointing to your sites and this is more than enough to push you to #1 in Google for your chosen keyword.

This is all hypothetical, but you get the point.  These can be VERY valuable in helping you achieve high rankings in the search engines.

How to Find Expired Domains

I know of a few different methods you can use to find these expired domains.  I will again reference the video I linked to above where Hayden explains using Scrapebox and Xenu Link Sleuth to find these domains.  In a nutshell, here’s how that process works.

First, use Scrapebox to compile a list of high PR URLs that link to lots of other sites (hopefully old pages).  Then take this list of URLs and check to see if they are active using Xenu Link Sleuth.  Any domains that come back with the code of no host found, means that these domains have expired most likely.

Then you take these and see if they are available for registration.  If so, then you need to analyze their backlinks to see if its worth registering.  Yes, it takes some time to get the process down.

Hayden also built a tool that helps automate this process (its not for sale, so don’t ask).  The tool allows a user to input a huge list of URLs and it will automatically check if they are available AND it will analyze the backlinks for you.  Its a big time saver.  Hayden was nice enough to let me test it out, and I was able to find 3 pretty decent domains fairly quickly.  But it still requires a lot of work up front to find a good list of URLs – so its still a time consuming process.

However, because everyone does not have access to tools like this, I wanted to see if there were any other easier ways to find expired domains available for registration.  This led me to

This site only pulls the recently expired domains, so its misses a TON of opportunities, but its still useful.  I would recommend only searching for “free” domains (these are non-premium domains available for anyone to register).

I actually had my VA go through a TON of these domains and jot down some link stats for me to analyze.  He compiled a list of several hundred domains that met the criteria I will discuss below on

Want To Build Smart & Relevant Internal Links...Quickly?

NichePursuits Rating

Link Whisper is a revolutionary tool that makes internal linking much faster, easier, and more effective.  It makes it simple to boost your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. You can use Link Whisper to:

  • Bring out your orphaned content that isn’t ranking
  • Create smart, relevant, and fast internal links
  • Simple yet effective internal links reporting: what has lots of links and what pages need more links? 

Click here to revolutionize your site’s way of doing internal links

Build better internal links with Link Whisper

In a nutshell, I was able to fairly quickly find 8 domains on available for hand registration (about $10 each).  I installed a default WordPress installation and theme and have not put any content on the sites.  Now a week later, here are the results:

I think that’s pretty good results, what do you think?

How to Analyze the Links of Expired Domains

As mentioned, I use to analyze the links of these domains.  The stats that I look at are:

The most important out of the list is Domain MozTrust and # of linking root domains.  However, what’s not on the list is the actual links.  Its important to look at the links and make sure that they are not just spam links, and that they are still active.  In addition, if you can see that the links are coming from PR4 or PR5 URLs, then you know you have a good domain on your hands.

You will be able to get most of this information for free on Open Site Explorer, but you may be restricted in the number of searches you can perform each day (I’m not sure).  I have a SEOmoz Pro account, and its comes in handy for analyzing links and using their other tools.  I recommend you try it out for free for 30 days if this is something you are interested in.  Get an SEOmoz Trial account right here.

There are no set rules for what domains are worth registering.  However, if I see a domain with a MozTrust of 3.5 but only 5 linking root domains, I still might register it.  If the links are from high quality sites, I would definitely pick it up.  So, the sites don’t have to meet all the criteria listed above, these are just guidelines.

On the other hand if a domain only has a MozTrust of 2.0 but 1,000 linking root domains, I might NOT register it.  If the links appear to be spammy or are from low quality sites, I would avoid it.  I would look at Domain MozTrust as the must have stat.

As mentioned, with the help of my VA, I was able to register 8 domains within just a couple of days.  In addition, I’ve found a ton more that I just haven’t had a chance to analyze yet.  To give you an idea of what I’m finding, I thought I would publicly share a list of potential domains that I have not registered yet.  These are available for anyone to pick up if they want.  This just give you an idea of what’s out there:
[table id=1 /]
Update: Within 2 hours of posting this, all of these domains have been purchased…wow!

My Plans for These Domains

At this point in time, I have registered 10 domains that have quality links pointing at them.  As mentioned, I have a couple of PageRank 3 sites and several PageRank 2 sites.  But I have not done anything with them yet.

I could use these right away to start linking to my other niche sites.  Surely these would help to move some of my low competition niche sites near the top of Google, but should I?  I haven’t decided if I am going to use the domains for link building just yet.

Beyond the question of whether or not it crosses the line as a “shady” practice or not, its also fairly complex.  Properly linking to your own sites requires multiple hosting accounts, different C-class IPs, and even location diversity of hosting servers.  I’m not sure I want to go down this road just yet.  I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

What I have been considering is whether or not I could sell these domains as they are.  This is a VERY interesting thought.

Finding a Market: Where Can I Sell These Domains?

If I decide to not use the domains myself, how else could I make money using them?  I’ve been exploring different ways that I could sell these domains.  Flippa is basically not an option, because their fees are so high.  It costs $29 just to list a site, but I couldn’t realistically expect these domains to go for much more than $30 to $50 (depending on the quality).

However, if I (or you?) could find a place to reliably sell dozens of these types of domains each week – you could certainly find that many domains.  If someone got proficient at finding these valuable expired domains and had a place to sell them, they could do it all day long and make plenty of money I’m sure.

I am aware of some forums and other domain markets where people do indeed buy domains; but I haven’t sufficiently researched any to know if they are good markets or if I can recommend any of them.

These are the thoughts going through my head as I decide what to do with these domains exactly.

Your Thoughts

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Is using reclaimed domains to link to your niche sites crossing the line?  Do you know of a market that would be willing to buy these expired domains?  Overall, share any experiences or thoughts that you have on the subject below…thanks!

Niche Business Ideas | 142 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

You may also like

View all




Hi Spencer in some of my niches I see a lot of affiliated creating other sites that they link too….

Here’s an example…. links to and they are both owned by same person. If I look at link profile the links show up.

Pretty much the same concept as expired domains.

Or having a set of web 2.0’s that have a link to your money site. Very common practice.

Spencer Haws

Yes, its definitely a very common practice – I’m well aware of that. But this goes a bit beyond just linking 2 similar sites. Its finding a site that used to be someone elses and then leveraging it purely for the link value.

But your comment is correct – that perhaps its no more controversial that regular old link building.


Hi spencer, kind of off-topic, but how’d you get that table in your post?

Secondly, I think I’m gonna try my hand at buying expired domains…could even expand this idea and buy niche specific domains, and offer selling links on a small blog network.

Spencer Haws

WP-Table Reloaded plugin – works great 🙂


Awesome, thanks!

Gordon McNevin

I’ve just started doing this after listening to your podcast on the subject.

But I will share this – finding expired domains with expired sites, using waybackmachine to rebuild site structure. Then place Adsense on or resell site.

I’ve just started this but think it will work well!

Spencer Haws

Interesting idea. However, sites usually sell based on their earnings – not just quality of links pointing to it.

Kyle proctor

I don’t think I would go through the hassle. If you just got back into the Adsense world it would be a bad thing to get banned again.

All of the work can turn out to be for nothing if they catch on. Too much at risk but it is a great idea. I imagine with the right domain names topic specific it would be ok though.

Great article

Spencer Haws

I don’t the Adsense team looks at the links pointing to your site. This wouldn’t get you banned from Adsense. The adsense team is concerned with Adsense placement, quality of site, and where the clicks are coming from.

(On the other hand, this might get you banned by the Google search quality team, i.e. Google index – just like any link building could do.)


great case study spence. was wondering if you have any additional recommendations for finding url lists to use in link sleuth?

Spencer Haws

No, not specifically. But if you search, you can find lists.

Aric Jorgan

A cheaper alternative to find great domains would be to go to your Domain Host, get their list of expired domains (on the auctions) run it through scrapebox to check the high PR ones and run it through Scrapebox again to see if links are fake or not. I was able to purchase a pr 4 site name and pr 3 site for only $13 each ($5 for the domain $8 for the renewal and one year hosting because I used a coupon code)

I don’t have any plans for the sites that I find over there as of now, but I am thinking of building them as blog sites and sell outbound links


Can you find out if its against adsense tos? Never heard that it was but previous comment making me wonder.

Spencer Haws

Its not against Adsense TOS. Adsense is separate from the search quality team.


Great article Spense –

I have also found a handful of quite high PR domains – two of which have a page rank of 5!

Even if I don’t use these to link back to my sites I can quite easily sell text links for up $200 a month each. And if I don’t do that I could quite easily build out some quick sites to flip for $500 – $1000

Pretty easy money really for not so much effort and certainly a nice addition to ones income!

By the way – here’s a nice way to compare SEOMoz metrics. You can just drop the domains into this spreadsheet and it pulls the data back using the JSON query. Doesn’t show DomainTrust unless you pay for the API which is $500 month – but you’ll get enough data back to see which ones to manually test in Opensite explorer.

Be interested to hear what you do next!

All my best,



My mistake, link above is wrong – this is the CORRECT link….

Spencer Haws

Thanks for the link Johnny! That will be a big time saver to many people out there.

Also, yes, there is the potential to sell links or develop the domains themselves. I may look into these options as well.

Thanks for sharing…


Hi Everyone,
I have been finding expired domains for quite some time and have collected a list of 300+ expired domains that meet Hayden’s definition of “Standard Domains”. That is, they meet at least THREE of the following Criteria:

Potential PR3 or higher
PA 30 or higher (www or nonwww homepage)
Update: DA 25 or higher (lowered from 30)
10 LRDs or higher
Update: Root Domain MozTrust of 3 or higher (was using mozTrust to page)
Age 4 years or older

For anyone interested I am going to sell some of these list of unregistered domains for $5-10 each. I will provide all the necessary metrics for you to make a decision before revealing the domain name to you.
I have done all the hard work so you don’t have to.
For more details please email me at: [removed].

Spencer Haws

Adam – I removed your email address, as I don’t want this post to become an open market. However, that’s great that you’ve been able to find so many!


After hearing Hayden in your podcast I went hunting for old domains and found a couple of great ones, but I’m kind of stuck now figuring out how to monetize them now.

Selling PR3/4 domains is not an option I guess. High costs of entering markets like Flippa and pretty low prices for bare domains like that make it a no-go.

Using it as linking infrastructure for my AdSense sites is OK I guess but it feels like a waste of quality domains in many cases.

Developing them into AdSense or other affiliate sites is not a bad idea if they include lucrative keywords in domain names. But it makes the whole investment more complex, risky and time-consuming.

Developing them into sites that basically sell links might be an option but I have no experience with Text Link Ads and other systems. I don’t know what to expect, how many pages my site should have, if it makes any difference in the link marketplace whether I have 5 pages of content of 150 pages of content, how much I can make a month with PR3, PR4, PR5 domains, etc.

Developing them into other monetization models and selling them on Flippa is a great idea but – again – complex, time-consuming and risky if you don’t get to create desirable value for investors.

I still see lots of options and feel enthusiastic about expired domains, but the whole thing is a bit more complicated to make money off than originally expected.

What I loved about Hayden and the commotion he’d caused is that it allowed me to go in other directions, thinking laterally. Thanks Hayden and thank you Spencer for featuring people like that on your blog.

Spencer Haws

Its definitely not easy.


I somewhat agree about the slight “waste” of the quality of the link and just linking it to the money site. But you have to relaize that a small slight amount of effort on such high PR sites can drastically surprise you with results, as you mentioned by turning the actual domain into the money site but isn’t it the point of doing it in excess and in numbers? A niche in its own private host and setting it there with others similarly can and may turn into profit over the weeks or months but if you continue to repeat this task through small hosts, then the the chances rise sooner or later.



We’ve been looking into this lately as well but haven’t bought any expired domains yet.

How long did it take for your sites to get their PR back after you added the default WordPress install?

Here’s to your $uccess!



Hi Austin,

just thought I’d chime in here. From my understanding – technically the domains don’t actually lose their PR.

The page rank you see when you use a browser plugin or through a website is called `Toolbar Page Rank’ and this gets updated periodically by Google. Can be monthly – quarterly or even every six months – there is no official update schedule.

This means if you see a website with PR4 – it may really be a PR2 (or any other number). This number WON’T CHANGE – until Google does a Toolbar PR Update. Although PR is in a constant state of flux.

This is why it’s PARAMOUNT that you check the metrics people are talking about above.

Looking at the PR of a site (even on an auction) and only going on this is a very quick way to lose your money. Example. If I have a bunch of PR5 sites and I link to a PR0 site it will instantly be a PR3. Now I could auction this site as a PR3 and soon as it sells remove my links – bam… it’s back to a PR0. See the danger…

Make sure you check the backlinks! Use this site to do that –

Also – take a look at this video to see how link juice effects page rank…

Hope this helps a bit…


Spencer Haws

Great points Johnny…thanks.

Spencer Haws

It only took a few days for the PR to come back.


I have spent some time working on finding some good expired domains to buy directly from the registrars, you know… the ones you can get for $9 or less.

I have found and purchased three that are supposed to be PR4, PR2 and PR2.

I loaded up the basic WordPress install and the PR4 was still a PR4. Awesome!

The two PR2s aren’t showing up as PR2s yet but let’s give it a week and see what happens.

Hey, a PR4 for $9 makes me smile!

Take care!


Great post! I think is the best site for finding expired domains. It has more key SEO data than most sites and is totally free.


From a strictly white hat perspective, could you just build a similar site with one of the expired domains. I’m talking about a standard niche site or even an authority site.
Do you think the old links will help boost your site, even though they wouldn’t be targeting your keyword?
It would be nice to start with a pr3 or 5 even, instead of from scratch.

What do you think?


You can do that.

But you may have a difficult time finding an expired domain that has a domain name that would do well for you. If you were to register from the above list for example and tried to rank for just anything, then it probably wouldn’t do you much good.

Besides the fact that that domain has 929 linking root domains of which 100% are do follow (according to SEOmoz) which likely indicates an over optimized problem, as well as the fact that the domain with the highest Domain Authority linking to this site is a web host, I would say this domain might be considered spammy.

But if it weren’t then you still would have the challenge of ranking for anything due to the fact that the domain name doesn’t make it easy to rank for just whatever it is you want it to rank for.

You likely won’t rank on the authority of an expired site alone.

Spencer Haws

Yes, they would still help. Overall, they create a higher quality site, so any arbitrary content would rank better than a standard new domain. This is a good possibility…I may try lots of different options 🙂

Bradley C.

I did this, and it worked very well. I found an old site about a golf tournament that had come and gone years ago. It had some very authoritative links from golf magazines, golfing forums and even Wikipedia.

So, I built a site, did some keyword research (using Long Tail Pro, of course) and outsourced some articles. Today, I’m ranking in the top 30 in the SERPs for about half my keywords. One of my lower search volume keywords is already at the bottom of the 1st page.

That domain was picked up about 5 weeks ago, and I haven’t done any backlinking to the site. I also haven’t monetized the site yet, either, so I cannot really tell you that I’ve made any money from that strategy yet… but, I think the potential is there.

Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

Would you consider adding some content to these sites so that they are simply not just a site full of links – that way it would seem more natural to Google? Not completely sure of the strategy – going to have to go listen to the podcast episode!


Spencer Haws

Yes, you would want to fully develop these sites with original content, etc. You would make them quality domains in their own right linking to your niche sites.

Bradley C.

You will definitely want to add some good content. I have been using Newspaper themes and Magazine themes for WordPress, of which there seems to be a never ending supply (cheap, if not free).

So far, I’ve been making my links completely blend with the text, meaning that you cannot tell they are links. Not sure if this is a good move or not, but it looks better in my eyes if someone does a manual review of the site.



I was under the impression that getting those high ranked sites would only be benefical to your current stock of sites if the are “like minded” to the ones you currently have (ie you have a dog traning site and get a PR 3+ domain like for instance). It appears that linking to when you have a dog training site may actually hurt your site in the “eyes of google”. I would think you would like to find sites that have the high PR in the area in which you already have sites.

I like the idea of using the sites as Johnny stated above for text links but a lot of the domains seem like gibberish to me that might not be too beneficial for most people. Am I interpreting this wrong or what?


That’s what I got out of Hayden’s tutorials and podcasts as well.

Ideally the links going to the expired site are strong and on topic to what you are wanting to rank your money site for. Get a handful of same topic type expired domains and push some links to your money site and see what happens.

Spencer Haws

If linked to a site you had about fertilizer, do you think it would help? Of course it would. Links from authoritative sites still help, even if they are not in the same niche. Make sense?
Of course ideally, you always want it on topic – but it doesn’t always have to be.


Hi cool post.. this is something iv have recently started to try because i had a site that was a pr 3 from a launch jack i did recently so iv now decided to 301 redirect to another site in the same niche .. but i have only just done this over last couple days so cant say its made much difference but i will keep a check and report back on my findings..

also in regards to using aged domains as your own backlinks you certainly need to make sure if your doing anything that google might think of as a blog network you need to buy private register and host the domains on a new hosting account or the same thing that happened to BMR will happen to you..

also when your buying the domains use seo spyglass to check what websites are linking to that site, because a lot of people use the own blog network to prop up the domain and once you have bougt the domain, the backlinks disappear and so does the pr so i would make sure the backlinks are old and on sites that dont look like a blog network if that make sense..


Spencer Haws

Yes, you would have to be very careful if you set up your own network. Also, SEOspyglass may be an option, but as mentioned in the post – you can use SEOmoz.


also redirecting a high pr domain to another domain isnt a problem think of it this way how often do businesses change there name or go through rebranding? redirecting domains is normal and what most companys do..

for example.. which is a pr 5 and has a lot of backlinks and only sells laptops and the company goes through rebranding and they decide to sell most house hold items such as fridges and tvs etc etc so instead of having different domains they redirect to which in turn increase the backlinking power of there new website and all the link juice from goes to the new site

hope this makes sense..


Spencer Haws

Interesting idea Paul.

Gino @ Pr0ductive

Spencer, I bought two of the domains so I will report back how quickly they get back their PR. If I recall correctly Hayden said he built out each of his expired domains as a news clearinghouse type site, where they had a tech news section, a current events news section, a movie news section, etc. That way each site would cover a multitude of niches and he would post backlinks in a section that was on topic to his niche site. Is that how you plan on building out your expired domains? Also, did you put each domain on it’s own hosting? I have a dedicated box but I’m debating if I should buy a small virtual hosting plan for each domain or if I should just buy an IP for each on my dedicated box. Thanks man!

Spencer Haws

Hey Gino – as mentioned, I didn’t analyze the domains I listed – so I don’t know if they will have a PR or not. They were just examples of the types of domains I look at – hope they turn out good!


A word of caution. I had followed this method and made links using some domains (pr3) that I found as well as expired web 2.0’s with (pr2-4). This was on a 10 month old site. 4 months at #1 spot. Had slipped to middle of page 1 in mid may. After making these links, the main URL as well as the URL’s for posts are all de-indexed for their keywords. Only thing I have ranking now are privacy policy and tags.

Site is all original high quality content with diverse anchor text. This site did not get hit with penguin or panda.

Matthew Allen

After reading this post and all the comments to this point, it appears that this topic apparently isn’t as controversial as you thought. My observation is that people who build sites with the main intent of making money really don’t care what color hat they wear.. white, gray, black. Whatever works, it’s all about the money. People who only wear white hats are generally building sites for purposes other than making money, and those people aren’t reading thus blog! Thanks for another great read Spencer.

Spencer Haws

Yep, apparently its not as controversial as I thought either. Although it is true that if you do any type of link building at all – you are already trying to manipulate rankings…

David @ make app mag

Hey spencer,

Love your podcast and blog.

Some general thoughts re link building. Without a doubt very important in comp niches and Hayden’s approach is like a sledge hammer.

However, recently I put up a couple of sites in extremely lucrative yet rel uncomp niches and packed the sites with tonnes of amazing content that I created. Without ANY link building my sites have skyrocketed to page 1 within a couple of months and are ranking across multiple keywords even up to second place. Zero links! And I will definitely be ranking #1 across the board in these niches.

Now my competitors DO have links – what do my link-less sites have that the competitors don’t? Amazing content with great stats, namely high number of page views, high avg time spent on site (about 3 mins or so) and low bounce rate (around 30-50% I think). I think there is very little doubt that google is really putting a focus on the user interaction, which even takes precedence over the link profile.

Bradley C.

Spencer, like you I learned a lot about this stuff from Hayden. The process is both extremely addictive and tedious at the same time.

Over the last couple of months, I have refined my process, and learned more about what makes a great link profile, but the more I learned the more I realized that I needed the capacity to sort through more domains.

That led me to tools like, but like you said, that only let me look at recently expired domains. My options for parsing, filtering and evaluating domains were extremely limited unless I build my own application like Hayden’s.

So, that’s exactly what I did.

But, I plan on releasing it to the public in the next couple of months. Unfortunately, it won’t be free, since the API accounts that it utilizes cost me money. But, the monthly price will be reasonable.

I only mention it here because I will need some BETA testers soon (we are in private ALPHA testing now). The BETA testers will get free access to the application, until it’s ready for sale. At that point I will probably offer the BETA testers a significant discount in exchange for a testimonial.

Would you like to be my first BETA tester, Spencer?

Spencer Haws

Sounds interesting. Go ahead and contact me using the contact form.


Hey Bradley,

I’d be interested in Beta testing your tool. Please send me an email with details at [email protected]


Great informative post Spencer. How do you only search for “free” domains on

Spencer Haws

In the “filters” section – there is a “free” box.


If you buy via godaddy, then you have to pay for domain + registration charges, correct?

Approx it comes to $24/domain.

Spencer Haws

No, not correct. Buying the domain IS registering it. The cost is around $10 total.


Hey Spencer I just recently bought some expiring domains from GoDaddy Auctions and they do it differently then most others. Usually domain renewal is include but not with them. So it is the price you pay for the domain + registration. At least that is what I had to do every time I bought from them.


You could just sell the domains here on your site similar to how AdsenseFlippers sell already built sites on their site.

Spencer Haws

Very true, but I want to prove their value before I do that.


What is your view on foreign language domains? Both for extensions and language used on domain previously and language on the linking domains. Do you bother and do you think they can provide decent link value?
And what about drop age? Would you pick something up that has been down for say 5+ years. Do you think drop time affects their link value?
It is of course impossible for you to know any of this unless you are pals with Matt Cutts… but it would be interesting to hear your view.

Spencer Haws

I don’t do foreign language domains. I don’t look at drop age either, if the links are still there – the “link juice” comes back. (Although, maybe google will eventually change this…who knows).


Hey Spencer,

I have recently bought an expired domain with all the right metrics (hq links, good authority) But after registration it all has suddenly dissappeared. ‘no data’ on and all other pr-checking-sites.

What happened? All I did, was register and put a wp-site online.

All the best!


Spencer Haws

I don’t know.


Hehe, epic answer Spencer.

Anyone who has an idea, however, I’d be interested to know, too.


Hi melvin,

quick question – did you buy the domain with Whois Privacy? If not then Google may of just just crawled and seen the identity change of the domain in which case you are very likely to have lost a bunch of credibility (i.e. ranking). Not sure about Alexa though.

Also – you are checking both the www and the non-www – they WILL both return completely different results. Easy to get panicky if you see 0 on everything and then forget that the domain needs www in front of it!

What about the backlinks now – are they ALL gone as well – and how many juice links did this domain originally have?

If all the Juice was being passed by just 1 or 2 domains and the High PR site drops it’s link to yours then it’s bye bye ranking.

This is another good reason to have a whole bunch of good links coming in and not just one or two.

Other than than it’s hard to say with a bit more research.

What does Opensite Explorer say about the domain?

Jon Haver

If the high quality links are still there than don’t worry about the PR.

However, there can be a few reasons for loosing PR…

If you just registered it (1-3 days) than it can show as PR0 or PR? but come back quickly once a page of relevant content is up.

If the site had already registered/let expire a couple times and has been used for backlinks than the link juice may have already been “milked” out of the site. For a simple answer when you use a site for link building purposes it will slowly kill the sites backlink strength.

Supposedly(I haven’t seen this) but if you don’t have your whois privacy on than Google essentially resets the site and doesn’t give credit for the old links. Again I cant verify this.

If you want to email me the URL I might be able to figure out if its because of one of the above or a different reason.

Good Luck


Rob Cubbon

Hello Spencer, I’ve also been experimenting with Hayden’s techniques. Very interesting.

Just for the record, SEOMoz Open Site Explorer allows you to check 3 links a day. After that you can use which only allows you to check a few a day. After that you can use MajesticSEO.

As well as there is which will give you information about domains that are about to expire as well as those already expired.

I have picked up a PR5 (just demoted to PR4 last week!) a PR2 and a PR4 using a combination of these techniques.

Instead of using them to link to my sites I was interested in developing them into niche or authority sites in their own right with a view to flipping them or just keeping them as valuable sites.

The traffic has been slow to come despite the good PR but I’m sticking with them and we’ll see.

(Some of the domains I’ve bought have been out-right donkeys! 🙂

Spencer Haws

Thanks Rob! Great points. I think developing them into niche or authority sites is a very interesting concept.

Dee Gee

You don’t need Flippa to sell your sites. I am quite confident you could sell them with no problem just by advertising them on your own site. This one.

Spencer Haws

Yes, I think you are right. If I find that I am able to monetize or find value in these domains myself, then I may consider selling others here.

Jon Haver

Expired domains can be used very effectively to help your niche sites or diverify the link profile of authority sites.

I have found the most powerful sites(for link building purposes) to be sites that meet two criteria…

1. Sites that were clearly not built to make money – ie not keyword optimized sites like the ones we all build but instead ones like the fictitious site

2. Sites that have a diverse link profile 30+ unique URLs linking into it with diverse set of anchor text. PR is a decent indicator but doesn’t need to be a make or break decider. I use majesticseo to check out the links….quick and easy.

Also if anyone has had success with buying expired keyword optimized domains for the purposes of making money I would be interested in hearing about it. For the most part my attempts to build out an expired domain into an adsense site has not had great results.

Thanks for the post on this timely topic Spencer

Spencer Haws

Great tips Jon…thanks for sharing!

John Hicks

Think its worth pointing out the metrics are only a rough guide.

Ive been using similar methods. Ive extracted SEOmoz API data and discovered great looking domains with metrics all above what you have listed above Spencer.

I have a load on file to check they all have PA > 30, good moztrust, most with yahoo or DMoz links. The backlink profile of such domains is where the battle is won or lost.

There are several domains that have great metrics but lousy spammy backlink profiles but with moztrust > 3 so not sure how reliable the mT is!

Spencer Haws

John – the link profile is definitely the critical factor. You don’t want spammy links even if everything else looks perfect.


Hey Spencer, I’m wondering if your expired domains PR updated so quickly because of a recent PR update? From what it sounds like, you registered some domains, built skeleton sites, and then in a matter of a week, your PR had updated on several of these sites already!

I know of others (incl myself) who have been waiting much longer for a PR update – sometimes months. Hard part is you never know if the PR you currently have is even going to update at all. It’s all a big mystery.

Do you think it was something special you did or were these sites from a particular niche, or did you just happen to catch the PR update “wave” in time?


What if many of the links passing PR to the site are not going to the home page? Wouldn’t you have to recreate those exact urls to keep the PR flowing otherwise it would be lost because the page no longer exists on your site?


Actually, this is an excellent question, I am wondering as well?

Spencer Haws

You can use a 404 redirect for all pages back to the homepage. This gets all the links basically flowing to the homepage, rather than trying to recreate the entire site.


Cool thanks for that… so you are pretty confident that the pr will follow through to the home page with a 404 or does the plugin change it over to a different type of redirect? Any suggestion on a wordpress plugin that works good for this and passes the PR?


Spencer, related to this topic, I’ve heard that you shouldn’t have too many of your own sites on a single shared server when you are linking from some of these sites to others within the same server. ( know the diehards niche builders out there want a single site on a single shared hosting account. Others way to not have any more than 7 to 10 sites on a single shared hosting account.

My question to you is in regards to shared hosting vs unique IP addresses (not to be confused with dedicated servers). Is it of any benefit to getting a unique IP address for some of your sites, or should a person spend the money on making sure that site is on a different shared hosting company than your other domains that may link to it?

Spencer Haws

Yes, IF you are going to link to your own sites, they should definitely be on a different IP address.


I guess I wasn’t clear on my question. Do you think there is a difference between using a unique IP and just using shared hosting. Cause you can buy shared hosting and just have one site on it, or you can sign up to get a unique Ip with your hosting.


Thank you, Spencer, for offering such a good place to discuss about Hayden’s practice.

Well, using the method introduced by Hayden in the podcast, I have found quite a few valuable expired domains. It is not hard at all to find expired domains that are available to pick up. However, analyzing the link profiles seems to be a big challenge to me. I am not talking about domains with obvious spammy link profiles at the first glance, but for those that do have footprints of seo previously done at a reasonable scale, I cannot be sure if the domain was penalized by google or not. Here is the one that I found. (It is still available, so feel free to register it if you want).

DA: 34, PA:45, LRD: 135, # of links: 556, Domain Moztrust: 3.05. Potential PR: 3 or higher.

It seems to be a decent domain. But by looking at the link profile, about 80% are from directory links. The rest are blog roll links or web 2.0 links. The anchor text diversity is fine. What I am concerned is that the majority of the links are from directories. Do you think if it is a good domain? Will you registered it?

Thank you!


Thanks for posting and podcasting about this Spencer,
Something about it really piques my interests. My goal was to buy 5 expired domains this weekend, but it appears scrapebox is down. Hopefully it will come back, if not are there any alternative tools?

Spencer Haws

You can always try; which is where I have found several good expired domains.


DISCLAIMER: This is Black Hat (don’t wanna hear: “oh my God!”

Followed your instructions, got a domain PR3.
Uploaded premium theme from WooThemes.
Created lots of content using NoWriting trial in about 10 mins.
Got site into Text Links Ads. Sold first link. Made $20. Lots of $$ to come…
Now I’m in mode “repeat”.

Key: Take action guys!!


Interesting story thanx for sharing
I’ve bought 3 domains names because I liked the name
and it appears that they were old domains.
all of them were PR2, and old.
It was just luck, but I’m sure your method makes it rational and works.

Eddy Ota-Anthony

Spencer, your blog remind me of the saying that the good things in life are free.. some so call guru will charge arm and leg for the info you freely give way on this site.
Thanks to your info, I had manage to find a bunch of quality expired domain using this technique, I plan to use to backlinks power my other site.

Ok with that out of the way… I just wanted to let everyone know that with host9 (I am not affiliated wit them in anyway) you can easily host you expire domain empire of site, for $25 a month you get a bunch of diverse ip address at different geo location across four country including us, uk. The Netherlands .

You also have the option to have your owe private name server if you buy your domain from godaddy. This way you can completely eliminate all footprint. If anyone is interested let me know I will put up a free tutorial on my blog on how to go about, creating a private name server, and changing the DNS setting on host9 cpanel to grow your private blog network.


I’m very interested about your method use private name server when buy from godaddy, can you give me and some people here tutorial? I checked your blog and can’t find it. Thank you!


Hi Spencer,

I was wondering what you ended up doing with those domains.


Chaz Key

I have to admit you guys are close… There is a lot more to this that is missing. I have been buying expired domains for many years and using them for backlinks. I have a set of metrics I use to decide if the domain is worth the time and effort. I’m coming out with a new course that will go into what it really takes and what you have to do to restore not only the page rank but the search value of the domain.

Two of my best examples are and Take a minute to look at some of the domains they are linking to and you will see the value of the links that were passed on. Also take a look at the sitemap page on, it’s a pr3. hint, hint… Both of these domains were purchase as expired domains.

Although I didn’t purchase these just for links. I purchased them because they have true value.

I haven’t listened to the pod cast yet, but I do plan on it.



I was excited to get a domain that has existed for over 10 years – – and use it as the home to my UFO Blog. But I’m really fighting some anti-Google Love here, as I guess my links are a combination of old pre-existing links (for the site as it “was”) and the writing and link-building I’m doing now too (for the site that “is”)

Thanks for the good resources and further reading. I look forward to diving into this pool of understanding.


You are a genius! I am learning so much about SEO just reading from your blog. I have been trying alot of the tips and they seem to work pretty well.

Thank you so much

Vivek Bhatt

Hmm…. it is really very interesting Article Spencer , i enjoyed while reading it. but i am confused whether to get expired domain with high PR rank Or better stay out of this trick. also above some people have commented like it would be a bad idea and Google may ban if we dare to do it. can you tell me, the last suggestion? will Index team would do anything?
Thanks a lot, and thanks for sharing such a interesting post. 🙂

Spencer Haws

Vivek – I don’t think Google will deindex you for this.


Before my blog was and later i changed to but still showing both site on google.
So how can i remove from SEO.


It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your
RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new
updates and will share this site with my Facebook
group. Chat soon!

Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search
Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good
gains. If you know of any please share. Thanks!


I see a lot of expired domains(still indexed by google) with PA-50+, DA-50+, over 10k backlinks. Most of the backlinks are blog comments but there is still a lot of link diversity on some domains. Price is usually from $5 to $11 + 1 year renewal $9 for a domain like this. So, about $15-$20.
From what I see, most of them are abandoned because of low keyword diversity – Penguin.
Let’s say I buy one domain, I put 1-2 unique articles fro my niche and place a strong backlink on the homepage for my money site.
Is this “strategy” any good ? What is the value of a “strong domain” after is expired ?

Spencer Haws

Yes, its a good strategy. Although I am finding domains that are dropped completely and buy them for hand registration just like I would for a domain that was never owned before. So, its only $8 or so total. I look for domains that were never owned by SEOs.


Hi Spencer, just a quick question before I read the other comments, I’ve been trying to look for expired domains.

Do you think it’s a good idea to use free hosting (i.e. blogspot, weebly, etc) for the expired domains? Or should I invest on a webhost with a different IP address, etc?

This is a really helpful post and I’ve been checking Hayden’s blog, too.

thanks for all you do.

key bumping

Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless
I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or
maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My
blog goes over a lot of the same topics
as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.

If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!


Hi there,

Can anybody tell me how I can find expired Web 2.0s – Hayden mentions it a lot, but how is it actually done?

Any help greatly appreciated!


Yeah! I was wondering the same thing. How can we search for this expired high PR web 2.0 sites?? Any special query to use on Google or Scrapebox??


The expired ones I Have found (manually) you cannot register with the freehost (e.g. WordPress will not let me re-register).

There is also no grey market of people selling these (like there are expired domains) – you’d think there would be if this was actually possible to do.



In my own experience before I finally decided to purchase a high pr domains is that I checked the website that sells it, it should be trusted and reliable. Also I checked the pr on what is its actual age and checked it backlinks this might have some build bad links. I got my domains from and I was satisfied with it.

Ricardo Main

I agree with you. Domains are really a valuable asset. I have also bought a domain from and I am satisfied with their service and assistance.


Awesome post, Spencer.

I’m a little late to the party, but i had a question about redirecting these domains and passing the pr to the site its redirected to.

What kind of redirection should used for this?
Is it 301 or 302? I couldn’t understand how the temporary one or permanent one worked from the definitons I found and how it would apply in this situation.


To pass PR you have to make a 301 redirect.

LED Online Store

Its finding a site that used to be someone elses and then leveraging it purely for the link value. I am aware of some forums and other domain markets where people do indeed buy domains


Quick question folks when you buy expired PR domain and you redirect to you current domain would that mean any value to your current page?

2.Does it need to be related to the industry or not. Lets say Real Estate appraiser can you use domain that refer to something else(I don’t mean porn or that type of staff)but different type of industry/business or got to be related like real estate – real estate appraisers.

Thank you for your input.


This is a new concept to me. I have started down the path of a slim niche site when i got de-indexed. Now my approach is to build an authority site. I have about 40-50 articles written and have started adding press releases and article directory posts. However, I still just get 5-10 visits a day. What am I doing wrong?

I am thinking that If if buy some expired domains and write 20 articles and have some links to my money site( not making me money yet) that will help? Do I need to create another hosting plan for the expired domains (1-3) or can i use the same hosting plan?

Spencer Haws

Yes, you would need separate hosting/ip. And yes, better links would help you rank better (whether that is from your own expired domains or other sites probably doesn’t matter)


thanks for the valuable info. Do you have any suggestions on where to get links. I thought about guest posting on some blog service sites and willing to purchase but skeptical about the type of sites linking back to my site. Do you think it is a good idea to submit each site to a paid link directory?

seo web services

I would suggest submitting a highly spun article to web 2.0 sites (and creating a link pyramid) and another to a handful of article directories. The key is link diversity so don’t rely on one type of backlinking. Also less is more when it comes to backlinks so one PR3 backlink is worth more than 50 PR1’s. Good luck!


I’m finding some expired domains with this technique. About 20 so far. However, not single one of them has been anything but PR N/A. I thought most free domains on Xenu’s “No Such Host” list should have at least some PR? Am I doing something wrong here? In Scrapebox, before importing the URLs to Xenu, I check the URL PR (not domain PR) so this shouldn’t be the case.


Hi Spencer, I’ve been following the steps outlined here very carefully, and I’m happy to say that I have purchased two deleted domains which are now both have a PR of 2 and 3.

I’m using both of these satellite sites’s PR juice to point back to my money site. My question is in relation to the content and backlinks on the two satellite sites.

Let’s say I want to add several articles on each satellite site with backlinks. Is it a safe to only have backlinks pointing to my money site, or should I have backlinks pointing to some other random sites as well so Google doesn’t get suspicious.

Ideally, I’d like the backllinks only pointing to my money site’s homepage and inner pages, ‘contact us’, ‘about us’ etc…

But I’m concerned that too many backlings on either of the satellite sites to the one domain will raise red flags.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


Spencer Haws

I’d link to other sites as well. Ideally link to other authoritative sites.

[email protected] OPTIN PLAYER

Some expried domain has a high pr 8 or 9. However, the webmaster faked PR, so I has to check fake PR before buying.

Greg Nunan

Hey Spencer,

I think I may have commented on one of these expired domains posts/podcats earlier, but just an update – I implemented yoru link “trade” from the niche site duel that you talked about where you secured a nice, relevant one-way link from a survival site in exchange for a link to that site from one of your expired domains….

I tried the exact process, sent three emails off to site owners and ecured a nice relevant link within 24 hours! – Just wanted to say thanks – as I said in a previous comment, it’s pretty “ballsy” of you to have covered expired domain link building on your site. Quite a few haters of the technique out there.

I documented to process and my email templates etc on my blog if anyone wants any further info. What a great strategy!

Spencer Haws

AWESOME GREG! Great to hear that the strategy is working for you as well. I really should do more of this, hmmm….


This is a great article and I defnitely don’t think that it is controversial. Sure, these can be used for a private blog network but they could also just be used for a standalone site. If you can pick up a 10 year old domain that fits the bill why not? Google likes older domains and this can be a quick boost!

Luke Mitchley

Sorry if this has been covered earlier but, do you think you would have a better chance of ranking for keywords quicker if you were to find a domain around the niche you were targeting? Say you found a 5 year old expired domain that was similar to your keyword “coffee machines United States”. Would you rank faster than if you simply bought a new baby domain closer to your KW? What if you bought an expired old domain that was not related at all to your Keyword, would this rank the same?

Spencer Haws

Yes, you would probably rank faster. Its also possible to use an unrelated expired domain to rank. I haven’t played much in that world though. (Just once 🙂 )


I think what could work best is you could actually find a couple of expired domains in the same niche, and then register a fresh one, and point links from ONLY the inner pages of those expired links (of course after rebuilding content on them) that have high PR to the new site.

This way you won’t run into the risk of STRONGLY manipulating things wrongly (but of course as we all know SEO is all about manipulating and any form of link building is manipulation though not an outright attempt to game the system!)

What do you guys think?


Great article Spencer.I am really motivated by your post.After reading your article, i after that to find any potential domain.And luckily i find one within the hour after i read your article. i want an advice from you, this domain to relates to tablet pc that is highly competitive niche,but the keyword i want to target are not.So here is the state of domain
Age =1 year
PR = 4
DA = 22
Linking Sites =48
Do Follow = 98
Moz Trust = 4.40
Moz Rank = 3.58
Price = 33.99 $

What would you suggest that i should go after for that domain
to build a niche site.

Top Ten Competitors are…computing/‎ › Technology‎
News for tablet computers(03 Results)‎
Images for tablet computers › … › iPad, tablets and eReaders › Tablets‎ › Computers & Tablets‎

Kindly give me a piece of advice as i am new in niche business


Spencer Haws

Top 10 competitors seem difficult, but if you can get the domain cheap…who knows.


Spencer Thanks for reply.Is that price is ok for a .Co domain.


Hey Spencer,

Reading your blog for quite a few days for now so finally thought to post a comment.

Very nicely laid out article. I actually found this for searching after seeing a video tut on YouTube.

I did purchased a PR2 yesterday (first seen in 2007 as per wayback machine) but I saw today it turned to PR 0. I had WHOIS protection too. However, I did not setup any site on it instantly but did just now seeing the PR turning 0.

Also, the creation date is now actually June 2013 as I re-registered it, so it was originally registered around in 2003, so did this caused an impact or my late response to setup a site on it?

Curious to learn also if there are any chances for the domain to get back to PR 2.

Also wondering if you’ve any update (as such as PR increase/decrease) with those domains and what you have done with it.

Thank you. 🙂



Is it still a good advice to buy dropped domains with high pagerank and backlinks for SEO purpose? I don’t wanna get penalized.


Expired Domains

Yes it can still work just fine. You just have to make sure you buy the right expired domain. Make sure to avoid expired domains with fake page rank and spammy backlinks. Google love quality so find a good expired domain and put it to use. Good luck!

Glen Wilson

Great article Spencer. I have been looking for a guide on expired domain selection and this fit the bill nicely.

I see a lot of people using pr-powershot. What are your thoughts on that?

Spencer Haws

Never heard of it.


Interesting stuff. I haven’t found anything with DMOZ rating post-deletion in
Are they delinked to DMOZ at that point? As in – they can’t be crawled, so there is no data to compile?

Do you recommend back-ordering a good domain?
Also, how do you combat domain tasting?


I’ve been doing internet marketing for almost 3 years now and had no clue that you can pick up these high PR domains for basically nothing.

I’ve bought so many tools, like Scrapebox, for instance. Now I realize that it’s not so much about the tools, but a lot more about using your common sense rather than spamming the web.

I’ve learned a lot on your blog here Spencer. I’ve been looking to build some niche sites for several weeks, but still haven’t find a good niche and idea. I’d like to monetize it with Amazon, so I’m going through amazon categories to find some niches.

My main issue, from my point of view, is that with amazon the amazon listings always rank on top and then all the other sites.

Spencer Haws

Glad you are picking up some good tips here Jens! Best of luck…


I’m also find that buying a new EMD domain with the keywords I want to rank for and then doing a 301 redirect to my money site is paying off a treat. I don’t need hosting, I do a 301 via That might be something you want to look into.


Im curious Spencer, do you know of the tool PR powershot for finding high PR expired domains? Or do you choose not to use this tool for some specific reason?

Spencer Haws

Don’t know anything about it.


Vow, I’ve just picked up an expired domain with pr2 from I think I should continue doing this research.

vampire facts

Thankѕ forr sharing your thoughts. I truly appreϲiate үour efforts and I ԝill bе wɑitiոg for your further write ups thank you
once again.

Adam Finan @ Tropical Nomad

Spencer, always a pleasure to see your view on things. Using expired domains is a highly effective way to build up high powered links to niche sites..

Something I’ve always wondered..
‘Do you do any link building to the expired domains once you activate them?’
If not they will loose PR and DA if you activate them and Google crawl your site. I know this from experience. Do you think this is due to bad link profiles?

What do you do about the top linking pages from the domain? Do you do re-directs with these?

Websites will remove the links if they find they point to nowhere, so unless you re-create the links or redirect them there are chances of expired domains keeping there stats are slim. Whats your thoughts on this?

Also, there i a LOT of keyword stuffed generic comments in this thread not related to the content!? I read your site and use LTP all the time, but I don’t know how they are being accepted!

Spencer Haws

I don’t usually link build to expired domains. If you get domains with bad link profiles, then yes, they could lose PR/DA, etc. But many domains have had links for years from high value sites and chances are very small that they will go back and check all their links. Thanks for the heads up on the comments.

Recent Posts

View all