Digital Insights

Can Building Links From Expired Domains Help Your SEO?

Published: April 23, 2015

Ever since Google began shortening the list of acceptable link building practices, webmasters have been burning the midnight oil, experimenting with alternative methods for building quality inbound links. Despite Google’s best efforts, inbound links remain one of the single most effective means of boosting search page rankings. Links that originate from a value-driven authority website pass along much of that valuable “link juice” authority to the sites that they link to, creating a “stamp of approval” that Google respects and rewards. The problem is that Google’s restrictive guidelines have transformed link building into such a cumbersome and time-consuming chore that many webmasters have all but given up on building links.

In a nutshell, Google expects all links to be freely given and earned editorially based solely on the merits of the content being linked to. This means that you not only have to write fresh and unique content that can’t be found elsewhere, you’re expected to spend countless hours building up a personal relationship with each potential link grantor in the hope that they publish your material and include a link to it.

It’s enough to make you lonesome for the good old days when you could get 1,000 links to your site simply by shelling out fifty bucks.

The Case for Buying Up Expired Domains for Link Building
There are a number of expired domain name auctions, Go Daddy for instance, where you can acquire an expired domain name for as little as $10. Better quality domains with higher authority numbers could set you back several thousands of dollars. Under the right circumstance, these domains could provide sufficient authority to give your linked-to pages a boost in the search rankings.

The catch is that you can’t simply buy an old domain, redirect the links to your own site, and expect miracles to happen. Chances are, Google is going to take note of the change in ownership and will not credit your website with any of the link juice from the existing links.

So Where’s the Benefit in Buying Expired Domains for Building Links?
An expired domain with decent authority and a clean link profile can pass valuable link juice to your website but you’re going to have to work for it. For starters, you need to pick the right domain.

  • Compile a list of expired domains that have at least some degree of relevancy to your niche.
  • Look for domains with a fairly decent authority ranking. MajesticSEO and SEOMoz are two of the most popular tools for determining domain quality.
  • Examine the domain’s link profile and take a look at the quality of the inbound links. Steer clear of domains that are filled with spammy or totally irrelevant links.
  • Check to see what 301 redirects are pointing at the domain. Spammy 301s are a definite red flag.
  • Use the Wayback Machine ( to determine if the site was previously used for questionable purposes, such as selling pornography or Viagra, that might come back to haunt you in the search rankings.
  • Determine if the site was previously part of a link network, which is another red flag.

I’ve Got a Decent Expired Domain – Now What?
Once you’ve acquired a decent expired domain, the real work begins. The best way to reap the link juice benefits is to rebuild the old site page by page. Create fresh content that is relevant to the theme of the old domain, and reach out to the webmasters who provided links to the old pages and offer your updated content for their consideration.