In the previous chapter of the expired domains saga, we covered Web 2.0 profiles. While those are great, they cannot even begin to compete with a link from a high PR expired domain. So, it’s time for us to find some of those. Today, I will show you how you can quickly and easily find cheap expired domains which have amazing stats and will cost you no more than the registration fee. We ride.
What You’ll Learn
- Preparing the stage – a few words about PR and the method we will use to find cheap quality expired domains.
- A step-by-step tutorial on finding cheap high PR expired domains – whether you are looking for a single expired domain or a bunch, this is the fastest way you can find them.
- The best practices when looking for quality expired domains – an expired domain might look like it is a gold nugget, but before you rush to register it, read this section.
- A summarizing conclusion – bottom line is…
Preparing the Stage
First of all, if you are too lazy, or you just don’t have the time, you don’t necessarily have to go through all this manual work. There are easy-to-use tools out there which will automate the entire process for you and simply list the expired domains and all of their metrics in an easy to filter table – I am referring to Domain Hunter Gatherer. Or you can simply head over to a huge expired domains website such as ExpiredDomains.net.
Now that we covered that, let’s start with PageRank. As most of you probably already know, PR is no longer updated at all publicly since 2014 and probably never will be. However, Google still keeps this metric in their database and updates it on the back-end, but just for general purposes, not for ranking purposes.
This means that the PR we see is not reliable or accurate at all. For example, you might be looking at some website with PR0, but on the “back-end”, this site might already be PR3, because it has a gained few PR4 backlinks and a PR5 backlink maybe, but the public PR is still not updated so we don’s explicitly see that.
This possible difference in private and public PR is exactly what we will use. We will find such domains that are a hidden PR2 or PR3 or even more, and we will register them. Now, because publicly these domains will still look like they are PR0, chances are no one would be auctioning them or would have registered them. So you will end up with a PR3 domain for the registration price which will be around $10 depending on the TLD.
Basically all you need for a domain to be a strong PR2 or even a weak PR3 is a single PR5 backlink. In order to find those (the PR5 pages pointing to expired domains), we will be using blogrolls (really old pages). If you don’t know what a blogroll is, it is basically a page that lists links to other blogs. Simple as that. So we will find such blogrolls which have a PR of at least 5, and we will check all of their outbound links to see if any domain has expired. Potentially, we can find hundreds if not thousands of expired domains using this simple method that I am about to share with you so hold on to your knickers.
What can you do with such domains once you register them? Well, depending on the domain’s metrics in the face of DA, PA, TF, CF, backlinks, previous content, number of previous owners, etc, you can use it as a:
- Money site – starting a money site from ground zero is quite difficult. You have to wait a while before you begin seeing some traffic, sales, etc. However, if you use a domain that already has some background, you will have a head start. If the expired domain you found looks nice in terms of backlinks and has an aesthetic name, go for it.
- PBN site – you can simply add this site to your own private blog network or you can use it as a feeder site in FBN (our tutorial and review here) to squeeze even more links from it..
- Or you can even sell it – you can list an auction on GoDaddy and try and sell the domain once the public PR gets updated. A nice PR3 domain goes for around $50 – $100 so this is a ~500 – 1,000% ROI if you pull it off.
That’s basically it. Now, it’s time to find us some nice and cheap high PR expired domains.
A Step-By-Step Tutorial On Finding Cheap High PR Expired Domains
The first thing you will need is either Scrapebox or GScraper. Both will get the job done. For this tutorial, I will be using Scrapebox, because I already have some nice proxies at hand courtesy of GSA Proxy Scraper (check out the ultimate GSA PS tutorial), and because I am more familiar with it. You can also opt to use better quality proxies, for example, the ones from BuyProxies which will get the job done faster, but it’s not mandatory. The ones from GSA Proxy Scraper will work like a charm. Without a further a due, let’s find those expired domains we’ve been talking about.
Step 1. Finding Referring Sites
In the first step, we will be finding blogroll pages that will contain external links to domains that might have expired. Now, you can do this in 2 ways – niche specific, or more general. I decided to go with the first one, so I gathered some keywords in the weight loss niche from Google’s Keyword Planner:
Step 1.1. Preparing Scrapebox
Now fire up Scrapebox and paste the keyword “blogroll 2005” in the “Harvester”. This keyword will basically show blogroll pages from 2005 in the SERPs, so that Scrapebox can, well, scrape them. Why 2005? Because we want to go back at least 5 – 10 years to make sure that these blogroll pages contain links pointing towards expired domains. The next thing we want to do is merge this keyword with our weight loss keywords. We end up with a total of 801 keywords:
Step 1.2. Scraping For URLs Pointing at Expired Domains
At this point we are ready to start up the harvesting process. Time went by, and after a little over 40 minutes the “Harvester” finished its work. The end result was 141,800 target URLs:
Step 1.3. Filtering the Referring URLs
Now it’s time to filter these out. The first thing we want to do is remove duplicate URLs. Click on “Remove/Filter” and then select “Remove Duplicate URL’s”. After the clean, we are left with 28,097 unique URLs. The next thing we want to do is check each URL’s PR and then remove all URLs with a lower PR than 5. So click on “Check Pagerank” and then select “Get URL Pagerank”.
With our 28k URLs, this will take quite a while. I just want to note that the process is usually much faster with GScraper because it has those in-built proxies which are in the thousands, meaning you can afford to run the PR checker at a much higher thread count.
Time went by again and the PR checking finished in just 48:44 minutes at 10 connections and 0 RND delay. Again, I used my daily proxies from GSA Proxy Scraper – this has been a good day for public proxy scraping. I guess I hit a happy proxy hour or something. Anyway, all of the 28,097 URLs now have a PR. The next thing I want to do is sort the URLs by PR and remove any URL that is not PR5 or higher. This final filter of the first step of this expired domains tutorial leaves me with 67 URLs a.k.a. the source URLs:
And there you have it. These are our referring URLs which potentially point to expired domains. We should check them don’t you think?
Step 2. Finding The Expired Domains
First of all, I will export my 67 referring URLs from Scrapebox to a file named “source urls”. The naming part is extremely important and should not be overlooked. If you start naming your files whatever, you will lose track of their contents. And trust me, we will be creating a lot of files throughout this cheap expired domains tutorial.
Step 2.1. Configuring Xenu
The next thing I want to do is start up Xenu’s Link Sleuth, which is a free software and will help us check all of the outbound links on each of the our 67 source URLs. Install the software and fire it up. Then go to “Options” -> “Preferences…” and change the “Maximum depth” setting to “1”. I think the default is “999”. This means that Xenu will check only the outbound links on our 67 URLs. Adjust the thread number according to your internet speed and machine configuration and click “OK”:
Step 2.2. Finding All Outbound Links on Our Referring URLs
Now it’s time to run Xenu. Click on the “File” menu, select “Check URL List” and import the “source urls” file. You will see Xenu go to work. Depending on the number of threads you are running, this can take a while. I set it to 100 because I got some wicked Internet connection, and in 19:04 minutes it was done. After Xenu finishes, click on the “File” menu and select “Export to TAB separated file…”. Name the file “expired domains unfiltered” and save it. So, out of our 67 referring URLs, we have found a total of 35,031 outbound links, each of which could potentially be an expired domain name.
Step 2.3. Filtering the Outbound Links
After that open the text file in Excel and expand the first, second, and third columns. Here’s what I’m looking at:
So the first column is the URL, the second column is the status code, and the third one is the status text as shown in Xenu. That’s what we will be looking at. We need all URLs which have status text “no such host”. This means that the domain has expired. So quite simply select the “Status-Text” column and sort it from A-Z. Then simply search for “no such host”. Hopefully it will take you to the first URL that has such a status text.
After this you have to select all of the URLs that have “no such host” status and copy them to your clipboard. Okay. So far so good. Now switch back to Scrapebox and import the URLs you just copied into the clipboard – click “Import URL List” and select “Paste/Replace from Clipboard (replace current list)”. We end up with a total of 1,145 expired domains. Now, let’s clear them up a bit.
Step 2.4. Filtering the Expired Domains
The first thing we want to do is remove duplicate domains – click on “Remove/Filter” and then select “Remove Duplicate Domains”. After we apply this filter we are left with 1,024 expired domains. Then click “Trim to Root”. We need just the domain names, not the page URLs. And so, these are our expired domains guys. Finally, export them – click on “Export URL List” and then select “Export as Text (.txt)”. Name the file “expired domains” and proceed to the next step of our expired domains tutorial. Just for reference, here are the 1,024 domains we have found in this tutorial:
Step 3. Checking The Expired Domains For Availability
Now, 1,024 domains are quite a lot. If you went out and tested each one separately, you’d waste a lot of time. This is where GoDaddy’s bulk domain checker tool comes in handy. We have a limit of 500 domains per check, but that’s cool.
Step 3.1. Cleaning the Domain Names
Now, before we paste our domains in there, we want to remove the “http://www.” portion in front of each of them. We do this by going to Ohashi US and pasting in our 1,024 domains. After the clean, scroll down to copy your clean domains.
You will see that there are now 838 domains left since the cleaner removed some incorrect domains or simply didn’t support a certain domain TLD. Now copy those 838 clean expired domain names and paste them into the “expired domains” file to replace the old dirty 1,024 expired domains. At this point we are ready to bulk check on GoDaddy.
Step 3.2. Bulk Checking the Expired Domains on GoDaddy
So open up the “expired domains” and copy the first 500 domains. Paste them into the bulk checker tool and click “Go”:
As you see, out of the first batch of 500 domains, 150 are available for registration. The rest are taken or incorrect. Not too shabby huh? Now copy all of the available domains and save them to a new file called “available expired domains”. Let’s check the remaining 338 domains. Again, the same process. It results in another 106 available expired domains.
Copy and paste them into the “available expired domains” file. We end up with a total of 256 available expired domains. Remember when 256 MB RAM was huge? Anyway, now it’s time to look at some domain metrics – I’m talking about PA, DA, TF, CF, etc. We have to know all of these stats before we even think about registering any of these 256 domains. Remember, all of them have at least one PR5 link pointing at them and they all go for the price of registration which is around $10.
Step 4. Checking The Metrics Of The Expired Domains
Now checking all of these domains for all of the important metrics can be a bit tricky. Sure you have free tools that check PA, DA, TF, CF, etc, individually but you want a free tool to show all of these in a single table right? Well, I got some good news. There is actually such a free tool which does all of this in a single user interface and it’s called Netpeak Checker. It’s completely free – all you have to do is create an account when you start up the software and you are good to go.
Then you want to go to “Settings”, and you configure your Moz, Ahrefs, and Majestic accounts so that it can start getting some metrics from these 3rd party services – if you don’t have Ahrefs and/or Majestic, skip them. You can get a free Moz API key from here, and you can register free accounts on both Majestic and Ahrefs. However, keep in mind that both Ahrefs and Majestic have a daily usage limit for free accounts and we need those metrics, especially the Majestic ones for all of the domains.
You are also going to need a bunch of proxies – either fresh ones from GSA Proxy Scraper, or beast ones like the ones from BuyProxies. I went with the latter just because I run the software at just a few threads, so I can use some of my GSA Search Engine Ranker proxies. The other thing you will need (not mandatory) is an AntiGate key. Yes, there will be captchas popping up here and there and if you don’t have the time to solve all of them manually, I suggest you head over to AntiGate and you purchase some captchas. I set the threads of Netpeak to 5 and I disable Ahrefs and Yandex.
Now, because I know that most people will not have Majestic SEO subscription, I will show you how you can get TF, CF, and other relevant metrics for free and then how you can add them to the metrics we get from Netpeak Checker. So in a sense, you will get all of the important metrics for the expired domains without spending a single dollar. Here’s how you do it.
First, you will need to setup your metrics – Netpeak Checker shows a lot of metrics by default, but in our case, we don’t need all of them. Select the following:
- Index domain
- Domain Age
You can also get social metrics from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, VK, etc, but we really are not looking for those since our domains have probably expired for quite a while and all of the social stats will show zero.
At this point all you need to do is click the “Load” button and copy paste all of the 256 expired domains from the “available expired domains” file. Click “Save” and prepare for the show. Now, depending on the number of threads and the number of domains you loaded, this can really take a while. Hit the “Start check” button and watch as the metrics update. After about an hour, Netpeak Checker finished the job for our 256 expired domains. Take a look:
I sorted the results by PR and as you can see, we have a number of domains above PR0. But as we explained, PR is not a reliable domain metric at all, however, a PR4 is still not so bad as a start, because it would mean that this domain was doing well at some point (prior to 2014) in order to get that public PR of 4. The rest of the metrics come mostly from Moz and we also have the domain age according to Web Archive, which is a good pointer and tells us a lot about the domain’s history.
Now, before you start picking out domains for manual investigation, you want to add metrics from Majestic as well and here’s how you do that. First of all, click the “Export” button and save the domain metrics to a file called “expired domains metrics”. Good. The next thing you want to do is download the free trial of Market Samurai, or if you have the full version, just use that. Simply create a new project and click on the “SEO Competition” tab. Before we import our domains into the tool, we need to once again clear them from the “http://” portion.
Open up the “expired domains metrics” file and copy all of the domain names. It is important that we copy the domains in the exact same order that they are as in that file. Now, we need to clear them from the “http://” portion otherwise, Market Samurai will not show accurate Majestic statistics. This is extremely important. So open up Ohashi US again and clean the domains.
Now click “Add custom URLs” and paste the cleared domains. Then click “Add URLs” and wait for Market Samurai to do its thing. When it’s done, you will be looking at something similar to this:
As you can see, we now have Majestic metrics for all of our 256 domains. Now let’s add them to the “expired domains metrics” file with all of the other statistics. Click “Export” and name the file “expired domains market samurai metrics”.
Now fire up Excel and open up both that file and the “expired domains metrics” file. What you want to do is simply insert 4 columns from the “expired domains market samurai metrics” file into the “expired domains metrics” file – CF, TF, RDD, and BLD. In order of appearance:
- CF – Citation Flow.
- TF – Trust Flow.
- RDD – the total number of unique domains pointing at the specified domain.
- BLD – the total number of external backlinks pointing at the specified domain.
As you remember, the domains in both files are in the same order – sorted by PR, so you can simply copy and paste each of these 4 columns from the “expired domains market samurai” file into the “expired domains metrics” file. And there you have it. The final file with all the metrics about the 256 expired domains we found in this tutorial:
That wasn’t so hard now was it? For those who do not have time to do all of this, there are always online marketing services such as Register Compass for example. You simply paste in your domains and it will show you all of the metrics you will ever need – PR, Moz metrics, Majestic metrics, domain age, number of archives, buy now price, registrar, auction, topic, and a lot more. But as you probably guessed, it’s not free.
Anyway, back to our expired domains tutorial. So far, we have jumped through hoops and ladders, but we have found 256 expired domains available for registration for about $10. And now we possess all of the metrics we need in order to choose the best domains out of these 256, register them for the standard fee, and use them in the appropriate way.
Some of them might be great for joining your PBN, some of them might be eligible for immediate auction – you must analyze all of them and decide. And maybe, just maybe, you have stumbled upon a beautiful gold nugget that is perfect for a money site. That is when you really hit the jackpot. And it all starts with the keywords you select when you scrape for referring URLs.
I want to also point out that some of the referring URLs might not be DoFollow, so you’d also want to account for that. You can either filter the outbound links when you scan them with Xenu and remove all of them which are redirected via NoFollow links. Remember, a NoFollow backlinks doesn’t pass on link juice.
I left all of them in this tutorial, because I wanted to find all kinds of sites – both quality and spammed to hell – so you can get a taste of what’s lurking out there in terms of expired domains. This concludes the step-by-step tutorial, but we are not done yet. We have a lot more work to do. Let’s get to it.
How to Tell if an Expired Domain is Worth Registering
When we are out hunting for expired domains, we have to be extremely careful. There are many domains out there that make a great first impression, convince people to purchase them at a suspiciously reasonable price, and then cause them regret. Just think about it. Do you have any idea how many other people and drop catching services are out there on the prowl for expiring domains?
I mean, the chances of a domain expiring and no one re-registering immediately are quote slim. So if you find a PR5 domain for example, that has been dropped, but not re-registered immediately, you must first perform an in-depth analysis of said domain. You must always be smart when it comes to choosing expired domains. Fortunately, I will share with you, one of the best expired domain analysis strategies. And here it is:
To Buy or Not to Buy?
Bottom line is, adclixa.com is a decent expired domain as we saw from our in-depth expired domain analysis, and I will actually register it in a minute. It is not a eligible for a money site from what I’ve seen, but I will surely use it somehow – probably sell it for some profit. If I do that, I will update the post and share with you my ROI. Here’s proof that I really registered the expired domain adclixa.com:
Can you see? I paid a total of 1.13 euro for it. I used a GoDaddy discount coupon which gave me a huge discount on .com domain registration – keep in mind that you can only use one such coupon per account.
Over the course of this step-by-step tutorial on finding cheap high PR expired domains, we got some niche keywords, took advantage of old blogrolls, found our referring URLs, removed those of them with PR lower than 5, got all outbound links on the remaining referring URLs, kept all outbound links which were expired domains, filtered the expired domains, cleared their domain names, checked all of them for availability, checked all of the important metrics of the available expired domains, and we found a bunch of domains worth registering.
And the best part is that all of this cost me 1.13 euro. That’s it. No subscriptions were purchased, no software was bought – we used only 100% free online marketing tools to get the job done. So you see, finding quality high PR expired domains not always requires you to have capital. If you know how to look for those gold nugget expired domains that no one else knows about, all you need is a just few bucks.
And of course there’s always the alternative – you can simply purchase a software like Domain Hunter Gatherer (our tutorial and review) and have all the hard work done for you instead of doing it yourself. DHG will find you some expired domains with just a few configurations and a click of a button. But I assure you that if you employ this finding expired domains method which I shared with you for just one day, by late night, you will probably have several decent domains registered for just a couple of bucks. Your choice.