PBN HQ, SEO.Domains, and SpamZilla are among the best marketplaces to find aged and expired domains. However, no single source is perfect for every use of aged domains and you’re well advised to search through various databases and get acquainted with the process of vetting aged domains.
Using aged domains is a well-known SEO tactic with roots leading all the way back to when Google first developed its PageRank algorithm. While there’s no point in pretending like aged domains are some super-secret SEO hack that will instantly eliminate your competition, their use is not as widespread as it could be.
So, whether you’re getting domains for a PBN or just trying to get a head start with a new site, below is a brief primer on the fundamentals of finding, buying, and using aged domains.
What Are Aged Domains?
Aged domains are website addresses that were created, used, and whose registration period has either expired or is about to expire. Some use the terms “aged” and “expired” domains synonymously, but there’s a meaningful difference between the two. Namely, not all aged domains have expired, and not all expired domains have aged in the sense that matters for SEO purposes.
Why Buy Aged Domains?
In short, aged domains bring with them the links, authority, and legitimacy (in the eyes of search engines) that a domain can only have by being active over an extended period of time. For that reason, aged domains can be an excellent way to:
- Get a head start if you’re creating a new online business
- Add new sites to a private blog network
- Give your existing sites a boost through the use of (clever and methodical) redirections
- Develop the aged domain and then sell it for profit down the road
Each of those points relies on a different set of benefits that aged domains provide. For instance, if your goal is to redirect the domain to improve another existing domain, one of your primary considerations will be the number of links it brings along with it.
However, if you want to develop the aged domain into a thriving business, you’ll also need to consider things such as the domain’s previous activity and the marketability of the domain name. Of course, aged domains aren’t an ideal solution for every situation, as paid link building is often a better solution for short-term SEO gains.
Choosing and Vetting Aged Domains
This section is by no means an exhaustive guide on how to validate and choose the right aged domains for your purposes–instead, think of it as the fundamental checks you should be doing. If an aged domain passes these checks, you can move it into the next consideration stage where further due diligence can take place.
That said, these are the basic aspects to consider before purchasing a domain:
1. Creation Date of the Domain
It should go without saying that the most important factor of an aged domain is its actual age. The longer a domain has been around with a single owner, the better. As a relatively arbitrary starting point, experts on aged domains suggest that the one-year mark is the least they’ll look for to consider an aged domain for purchase.
2. Domain Life Cycle Status
Domains can be active, expired, in a renewal grace period, in a redemption period, and pending deletion. Ideally, you’re looking for domains that are still active and nearing their expiration. Purchasing an expired domain and then restoring it is slightly less effective and requires more work, but can still make sense if you’re planning on using it for a private blog network.
If a domain has reached the “pending deletion” stage, it may have already been dropped from Google’s index, and at that point, it will take quite a bit of time and work to restore any SEO value to the domain.
3. Domain Screening With SEO Tools
Next, you’ll want to use as many tools as are comfortable with to verify that the domain has any SEO value. Ahrefs, MOZ, Majestic, and SEMRush are some of the industry-standard marketing suites most people rely on. How to use these tools falls outside the scope of this guide, but it’s a good idea to become well-versed in at least one or two of them to reliably and quickly run a domain through a basic check.
4. Topical Relevance
Like it or not, the semantic web is here, and the closer a domain is to the topical area you want to develop, the easier it will be to continue populating it with content. You don’t need to look for exactly the same topics, but if your goal is to release content about dogs, a domain with content at least relating to animals would be appropriate.
Aged domains can be an extremely valuable resource if you invest the time in learning how to use them. Be sure to start with: creating a list of trusted sources (we offer a few of our top picks at the start of this guide), considering what characteristics you need from an aged domain based on your goals, and learning the basics of vetting aged domains. Happy hunting!