Expired Domains vs. Buying Domains at Auctions

expiring-domains-vs-expired-domainsWe all know that PBNs are such a big deal because despite what misinformation Google puts out, they still work!

However, depending on the niche you are in, it can take anywhere from 1-100 strong PBN links to rank on page one for your desired keyword. Let’s say it only takes your site 10 strong PBN links to rank. To buy expiring domains or domains at an auction, you could be paying anywhere from $100-$2,000 for a decent domain name with desirable metrics.

If you want domains with many referring domains, high trust flow, high domain authority, no spam, and dozens of strong links, expect to dish out the cash. Even if you spent $300/domain and only needed 10 to rank, that’s still $3,000 plus the cost of hosting for a year, so another $100. That really isn’t much money depending on the ROI you expect to have, but what if you don’t have thousands of dollars to invest? What if your client doesn’t have that budget? What if you don’t want to take that big of a risk?

The alternative is buying expired domains. Expired domains are domains that were registered once upon a time, have some history, and even somewhat of a strong backlink profile. They have been dropped, however, so now they are available to register. One thing to keep in mind though is that they have already gone through the expiring process and even the auction process with no buyers, so chances are they aren’t going to have STELLAR metrics like the metrics you would be paying $100-$3,000 for.

What can you expect when you are buying expired domains? How does buying expired domains compare to buying expiring domains or domains at auction? What is buying expired domains, and what is it not? We’ve put together a little chart to outline some of the differences.

Cost

Expiring Domains

There is a huge difference in cost between expiring domains and domains that have already expired. At an auction, you can expect to pay a bare minimum of $100 for a decent domain, and all the way up to $3,000 and WAY more. This can easily be worth it depending on what you plan to use the domain for and the ROI you expect to get.

Expired Domains

When you go the expired domain route you have a couple of options.

  • Scrape them yourself: This is free but can be quite time consuming. There is a large learning curve. However, once you have the knowledge and a nice little system set up, all good domains you find are yours to keep and you only need to pay $9 for registration for a year or so. If you want to learn how to scrape high-quality domains by yourself, check out our domain scraping webinar series Domain Beast.
  • Buy expired domains: There are many people on Facebook and the rest of the internet that sell expired domains. They will often have a list with all of their domains, the niches, metrics, age of the domain, etc. Expired domains can go from $5-50 or so, depending on the metrics. Our pricing structure is roughly as follows:
    • TF 15-20: $15
    • TF 20-25: $20
    • TF 25-30: $30

As you can see, there is a huge difference in price between quality expiring domains and quality expired domains. If you are just starting out or aren’t that confident in your PBN-building abilities yet, buying expired domains is a great way to go as the risk is much lower, among many other good reasons to buy expired vs. expiring.

Metrics

Trust Flow
There are A LOT of expired domains with trust flow between 15-30. 25-30 are a little more tough to come by, but they are still in abundance. Many websites have links to them that have zero trust flow, so if you can pick up 5 of these babies with decent trust flow that could rank your website on page one. You may find something with trust flow 45 at auction, but it won’t be without a steep cost that potentially hundreds of other people are bidding on.

Expired domain we scraped and registered for $9

Expired domain we scraped and registered for $9

Domain purchased at auction for $1,00

Domain purchased at auction for $1,200

 

Domain Authority

High DA domains that haven’t been spammed are usually picked up at auction. Expired domains with DA 30+ are hard to come by, so don’t think you’re going to find one quickly yourself by scraping or that you can buy one off a domain broker for just $30… likely ain’t gonna happen! DA 20+ are hard to come by too. Anything with high DA has probably been spammed. We do find lots of domains that are around DA 10-15, however, that have solid metrics and a handful of solid links that are clean. DA 10-15 will still pass good link juice to your site and they are even great to use as redirects.

Expired domain we scraped and registered for $9

Expired domain we scraped and registered for $9

Domain purchased at auction for $1,200

Domain purchased at auction for $1,200

Referring Domains
Quantity of referring domains has a huge influence on the domain authority, so if the quantity of referring domains is high and it’s clean, chances are it would have been picked up at auction. Because of this, what is found on the internet as an expired domain often doesn’t have a high number of referring domains, but that isn’t necessarily bad. What you want to look at is the links that ARE there, the quality of those links, and the likelihood of them being deleted. Even if an expired domain only has a couple of good links, that’s still pretty good especially at a low price point.

Also worth noting, some niches don’t naturally receive a lot of links. Some people turn their nose up to anything that has under 10 referring domains, but many domains have less than 10 referring domains and are perfectly good. Some niches naturally don’t receive as many links as others… one being law. We find a lot of quality, clean law domains that only have a handful of good links, but they can still move the needle on your rankings and cost you pennies to acquire.

Expired domain we scraped and registered for $9

Expired domain we scraped and registered for $9

Domain purchased at auction for $1,200

Domain purchased at auction for $1,200

Link Profiles

Link profiles drive the other metrics mentioned above, but let’s cover it again because it’s important. You can often find expiring domains at auction with really, really good link profiles. They will have links from Wikipedia, news sites, .gov links, you name it, and lots of them. That is why they are at auction- because they are highly, highly valuable sites! We watched a quality site go from $300 to $3,000 in about 10 minutes a couple of weeks ago.

People buying expired domains often have expectations that the domains will have tons of high-quality links, and that is just not true. If you find an expired domain with five solid links (TF 10-40) then that is really good.

We sell expired domains and all the time people will say “well, the link profiles aren’t that great”. That’s true, because if they were AWESOME, they would have been sold at auction for $1,000+, not $20 from us. With that said, depending on your needs, expired domains could be a great way to own your backlinks for an affordable investment.

Expired domain we scraped and registered for $9

Expired domain we scraped and registered for $9

Domain purchased at auction for $1,200

Domain purchased at auction for $1,200

Process

Expiring Domains at Auction

The process to buy expiring domains has a large learning curve.

Basically, you’re going to want to sign up with an auction place like GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc. Usually that costs money. It’s not free. Then, you have to set some sort of custom search for domains with the parameters you’re looking for such as age, bids, bid amount, top level domain, etc. Every day or two you should get an email notifying you what domain auctions are ending with those metrics. You’ll need to download the list, clean it, filter it, place an initial bid. Oh yea, just because a domain is at auction doesn’t mean it’s spam free. We see people bidding ALL THE TIME  on domains with all sorts of spam and they probably have no idea how terrible the domains are.

Assuming you found a good domain you will place an initial bid, then auction places will notify you if you’ve been outbid. You’ll need to set a budget for what you’re capable of paying for the domain. These are proxy bids (set high bid and the auction house bids on your behalf). As the auction nears the end, pay close attention and if it’s close to your bid, feel free to bid more if you’re comfortable. Otherwise you’ll need to know when to stop bidding.

Anything with domain authority 30+ you can expect it to go for a couple hundred.

Anything with domain authority 40+, expect it to go for $1,000+.

Assuming you’re the winning bid, you’ll pay the auction house, wait at least a week to get your domain, and assuming the present owner of that domain doesn’t renew registration within that week of time, you will then be the new owner of the domain.

Not only do auctioned domains cost a lot but they take a tremendous amount of effort to get, not to mention it’s stressful!!

In a nutshell, if you plan to get a good deal at an auction, plan to spend A LOT of time with the process and plan to lose a lot of bids because there are a lot of people out there with huge budgets.

Expired Domians

Buying expired domains is a little bit easier. There are many people on Facebook (and probably other places on the Internet that we don’t know about) that sell expired domains. Here are a few Facebook groups where you can find those people:

Domains – For Sale

PNB Domain Marketplace

The Domain PBN Marketplace

Black Hat Daddy SEO/PBN Marketplace

These people scrape their own expired domains and put them on a sheet to sell. We sell expired domains as we have time, and this is what our sheet looks like.

expired-domain-sheet

In the sheet you will see a long list of expired domains that are available. You will see important metrics such as the niche, age of domain, page authority, domain authority, trust flow, citation flow, number of links, number of referring domains, and any other information the sellers feels is important information. We will note if a domain has any internal pages with high trust flow as that can be very useful to a buyer.

You will not see the domain names before purchase. This is because the domain is unregistered, so if you choose not to pay the seller after seeing the domain, sucks to be the seller! We had someone get access to our sheet once and they bought all of the domains on it without paying, so we were out a lot of potential money and hours of hard work went down the drain. We never caught the person but we sill have a file with the domain names so that we can spam them one day and make a fun case study out of it.

There is always a small amount of risk involved with these transactions such as getting a domain that has been spammed out and the seller refuses to give you a refund. Most domain sellers try to be reputable, maintain a good reputation, and will ensure that you get a quality domain with the metrics they advertised. If you are fair with most sellers, they will be fair back.

Summary

There are pros and cons to each approach you want to take to build your PBN. In short, you can still build a great PBN on a budget that is spam-free, has solid metrics, and is relevant to your niche. Here is what our top 5 links look like today. We  built these over the course of one month and today we hit page one for our target keyword.

Total cost for the four links you see? $36.00!

Our affiliate site top 4 backlinks built with expired domains

Our affiliate site top 4 backlinks built with expired domains

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5 thoughts on “Expired Domains vs. Buying Domains at Auctions

  1. Facebook groups are great, but there is too much junk to filter through. I like using good vendors for my PBN domains. I used to use http://domainswithpr.com/ but they seem to be dead now. Now http://domainsrforever.com/ seems to be a decent replacement.

    Also, in the excel sheet you posted, i see only non-www values of TF, CF and DA. How can people not realize that www often gives totally different picture? Only PA is www undependable.

    • Sorry for the delayed response Josh… we had some bad spam filter settings and missed some comments.

      I agree that there can be a lot of junk to filter through on Facebook whether you are a buyer or seller but it’s all about finding the golden nuggets and moving on :-)

      As sellers, we put on our list the highest metrics of the root, subdomain and full URL, but don’t specify the difference on the sheet.

  2. Really nice guide here Alyssa.

    After processing over a million expired domains on Hammerhead Domains, we’ve only found about 5 that are completely clean, DA above 35, and trust above 25. A lot of times when you find a really high trust and high DA one, it’s backlinks have been hacked.

    We also don’t use URL trustflow, cause it seems to skew the metrics if just one page of the site has good links. So these numbers are using root or subdomain trustflow – whichever is highest.

    So getting domains on auction is still relevant for really high end domains – but as you point out its super expensive. We’ve been doing really well using like 10-20 expired domains to rank a niche site and avoiding the $1200 auction domains all together.

    Keep up the great guides!
    Josh

    • Thanks for the input Josh! Yea… finding an expired, unregistered DA 35+ domain that is clean is VERY RARE lol. We find a good deal of DA 20 or so but a lot of niches don’t naturally get DA this high as not many people naturally link to them. I agree with you on trust flow… not a good metric to blindly go by. Or, you can have a high TF domain that only has one link to the site total.

  3. Pingback: Trust Flow: The Shittiest SEO Metric in Existence - SimpleSites.info

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