How to 301 Redirect Expired Domains for Link Juice

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How to 301 Redirect Expired Domains for Link Juice | Expired Domain 301 Redirect in SEO

Webmasters buy links to boost the juice of the site under promotion. For this, the authority of the donor site must be high. Link juice can be increased not only with backlinks but also with 301 redirects from the expired domain.

The main advantage of this method is that when promoting in narrow niches, the site owner can increase the site’s authority without spending thousands of dollars on backlinks.

1. How to Use Expired Domains for SEO

Domains that have not been renewed by the previous owner can be used as a tool to improve the position of the main site. This link-building technique is suitable for projects in different niches, but it is important to properly organize the process of finding and redirecting expired domains. 

Beginner webmasters pay much attention to working with expired domains, but they fail to build an effective promotion strategy and get a bonus in the indexing and ranking of the site. 

The work with expired domains involves constant monitoring and analyzing large amounts of data. If a purchased domain has spammy links or irrelevant content, it may harm the site under promotion. 

1.1. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

Private blog networks are created so that a webmaster has a certain number of sites with manageable link mass. In such situations, you do not have to buy a lot of links on exchanges but partially cover the need using your own sites. 

PBNs can be beneficial for SEO but only if the owner of the network is extremely cautious. Google is constantly improving algorithms to detect link exchange schemes and private blog networks. 

A negative PBN scenario implies the imposition of penalties on all resources that are part of the network. This does not always happen, but if the sites have signs of being related to each other, the probability of penalties increases dramatically.

Private blog networks are also used to 301 redirect an expired domain for SEO. If you create a PBN on the basis of new domains, many months will pass before the main resource will obtain bonuses for search engine optimization.

1.2. The merger technique — 301 redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that tells Google crawlers that the page or site has moved to a new URL. Redirecting expired domains to the main resource is almost instantaneous, provided the steadily working redirect. 

A redirect is not a marker for search engines that a site is struggling for organic traffic in an unfair way. But merging resources that have nothing in common can make algorithms suspicious. 

If the domain history is clean, the niche matches, and the link profile contains no dangerous backlinks, the expired domain can be used to work with a PBN or redirect to the promoted site. 

There are several redirect techniques that differ in approach and effectiveness. You can redirect one page of the expired domain to the main site or 301 redirect all pages. It all depends on the characteristics of the expired domain and an SEO strategy.

2. How to Improve SEO Rankings with a 301 Redirect of an Expired Domain

301 redirects from expired domains allow passing the link juice to the main site. All accumulated page authority — PageRank — is passed from the donor to the recipient. 

The method of optimization cannot be considered white-hat, but if you follow the rules of security, you can avoid search penalties. However, there is no 100% guarantee of protection, even with good cloaking. 

If a webmaster bought an expired domain before the pages were removed from the search engine database, you can expect a quick positive result for SEO. However, one expired domain may not always affect the position of the site.

The issue is that many webmasters overestimate the value of expired domains. Such domains are good for building PBNs and merging, but it is not always possible to get the main site to the first page of search results.

The effectiveness of working with expired domains depends on a large number of factors. If your niche competitors have a good link mass, even 5-10 expired domains can be useless. But this does not mean that you should refuse to work with them. 

3. Finding and Testing an Expired Domain for Redirect Purpose

301 redirects from expired domains can be useful for site positions if the domain is quality. Before registering a domain, make sure it has a clean history and there is no suspicious content on pages.

Webmasters use expired domains for different purposes, and it may turn out that an expired domain has lost its positive features because it had been used earlier. It is necessary to check this before paying the registrar for the domain. 

Expired domains are different, and in each case, the decision on using them should be made based on a combination of factors. It may have good backlinks in the profile but duplicate content or dubious internal links ruining everything.

3.1. How to find expired domains with quality backlinks

Finding domains with quality backlinks is not always time-consuming, but you should keep in mind that there is a constant struggle between webmasters for good domains. It will be difficult for newbies to compete with peers with large budgets.

Several criteria can be used to assess the quality of an expired domain:

  1. Clean history. The content of the site did not violate the law, it is unique, and the language matches the geolocation of the domain.
  2. Good link metrics. Optimizers typically use DA and PA by Moz, DR and UR by Ahrefs
  3. No spam. The site should look like a resource that was designed for a particular topic. You can check for spam through SpamZilla. 
  4. Preserved structure. If the content of the expired domain is high-quality, you can restore all available pages with Web Archive parsing services.

301 ongoing redirects of backlinks from expired domains will be useful for SEO only if search engine algorithms have no claims to expired domains. This can be verified only after the site is recovered, re-indexed, and if there are good dynamics in organic SERPs. 

Searching and analyzing expired domains is time-consuming; so, it is better to use automated tools. But you should not completely reject manual analysis — even the most advanced services can fail to find all spammy links or suspicious content.

3.2. Expired domain registration process

Most quality expired domains are registered through a pre-order system. Webmasters who want to purchase them submit requests, and once the domain becomes available, request processing begins. 

You can buy expired domains directly from registrars, but they are likely to be weak in terms of link profiles. Optimizers and domainers buy the majority of good expired domains for big sums of money and do not leave a chance for beginners.

Among optimizers who deal with expired domains, DropCatch, which provides pre-order services, is very popular. The auction participant with the highest bid gets the domain after it expires.

Rarely, there are situations where no one wants to buy an expired domain, and the bid turns out to be the only one. Then, it is highly possible to get the domain immediately after the expiration of the renewal period, which is given to the previous owner.

3.3. How to check that the expired domain will not harm the site

Before buying and redirecting the domain to the main site, it is impossible to get a 100% guarantee of its effectiveness for SEO. There are situations where, after registration, the domain is not added to Search Console. This means that it is blacklisted. 

You can properly test the domain with SEO analysis services and specialized tools for dealing with expired domains. There is always the risk of buying a low-quality expired domain. 

3.4. Redirect options

301 redirects from an expired domain can be done in several ways. This applies to both approaches and methods of implementing the redirect. In some cases, standard examples of the code for adding to .htaccess do not work because of the features of the web server.

Setting up redirects through the .htaccess configuration file is relevant for Apache-based servers. Nginx uses a different syntax, and the examples below will be irrelevant.

It is possible to do an ongoing redirect from one domain to another as follows:

Redirect 301 /

Redirect from one page to another:

Redirect 301 /old/

Also, you can redirect by means of module mod_rewrite:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.*) [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http: // %1/$1 [R=301,L]

4. How to Properly Do 301 Redirect of an Expired Domain

A redirect can be done in several ways. In each case, the result will be the same, but approaches differ. There is no way to determine the best way to 301 redirect an expired domain for SEO because the result depends on the approach to configuring the redirect. 

It is important to make sure that .htaccess is protected from being overwritten; otherwise, the redirect can be lost after a plugin update or web server configuration modifications. And then, the mirrors will no longer be integrated.

4.1. Implementing 301 redirect in the .htaccess file

The easiest way to do a 301 redirect is to add a snippet of code to the .htaccess configuration file. If it is missing in the root directory of the site, you need to create a file on your computer or in the hosting control panel.

For a redirect to work correctly, the file must be located at the root of the site. When added to internal folders, a redirect will not work. After setup, it is worth checking the correctness of work with Bulk URL HTTP Status Code or any other service.  

4.2. Implementing 301 redirect at the domain registrar

Most registrars provide possibilities for manual redirect setup. The domain owner must enter the control panel and specify the URL for the redirect.

When using the registrars’ tools, keep in mind that it is impossible to set up a 301 redirect via .htaccess. This may cause cyclic redirects, and the site will stop loading.

5. How Much SEO Juice is Passed through 301 Redirect

Optimizers often argue about what is better: juice from a trusted resource or a 301 redirect from an expired domain. When you redirect one page to another, the recipient receives the link juice of one URL.

And if you merge two domains together, the donor will pass the link juice in full. For the resource under promotion to get the maximum benefit from the expired domain redirect, you should use 301 redirect rather than 302 and other types. 

If in a few months after a redirect, the dynamics of the site position are the same, the expired domain may have quality problems. You can try to boost it with backlinks and new content, or 301 redirect a few more domains.

6. Is There a Danger in Using 301 Redirect from Expired Domains in SEO

Sometimes, risks from using expired domains are far greater than potential benefits for SEO. Not every expired domain is quality by default. 

Optimizers need to focus on checking all essential domain metrics and check whether a 301 redirect to expired domains is possible. If there are doubts, it is better to reject the domain. 

Google does not tolerate any schemes for manipulating ranking algorithms. The use of expired domains is considered a black-hat technique, and it is important to understand that implications can be highly unpleasant.

Do not count on the fact that search engine algorithms will handle the redirect positively and the site position will dramatically increase in a short time. The result depends on a large number of factors.

7. How Many Domains You Can Redirect

Theoretically, you can redirect any number of expired domains to the site. But the more 301 redirects from other domains will be done for one resource, the higher the risk of being penalized and losing positions in organic search. 

A 301 redirect of an expired domain will work perfectly if several conditions are met:

  • the domain has a clean history;
  • donor and recipient niches match at least partially;
  • there are no suspicious links in the profile of the expired domain;
  • an optimizer is constantly working to improve the quality of the domain;
  • new links appear on the main resource;
  • if expired domains are used for PBNs, there should be no relation between them.

Experienced SEO specialists do recommend redirecting all purchased domains to the site but act carefully. And remember about the importance of ongoing link building. Backlinks from trusted resources, along with the juice of the expired domain can have a greater impact on the site position. 

You can quickly buy quality backlinks on the PRPosting exchange. More than 44 thousand domains in different niches and locations are available for webmasters. Link posting is monitored manually; so, articles, news articles, interviews, or other content will be published in time. 

The service takes care of all problems: from the preparation of articles by professional authors to refunds within 7 days. Convenient filters allow making a list of donor sites according to the specified parameters in minutes.

8. What Tools Are Recommended?

Even novice webmasters know how to do a 301 redirect from an expired domain, but finding and working with such domains requires relevant experience. The main problem is not to catch domains but to filter sites. 

To save time on routine work, it is worth using a set of useful tools. They allow for the automation of most standard tasks. A webmaster will need to monitor the situation and conduct a deep manual verification of domains. 

Each domainer has its own set of services; so, the choice should be made only after active use. You can pay attention to:

  1. DropCatch. The service does an excellent job of catching and registering domain names.
  2. SpamZilla. The tool provides a list of expired domains and helps find spam content on pages.
  3. Domain Ronin. A comprehensive tool for finding and checking the quality of expired domains.
  4. Web Archive. The service shows the history of content updates on the site.
  5. Archivarix. The tool restores content from Web Archive.
  6. Whois History. Displays the history of data changes in Whois.

Tools solve most problems, but they do not guarantee that the purchased domain will be quality by default. So, before you 301 redirect an expired domain for link juice, you need to make sure there are no negative consequences.

9. Conclusion

Expired domains can be used to create PBNs or redirect to a promoted resource. Through the 301 redirect, the link juice of the donor site fully passes to the recipient. 

Google has a negative attitude towards domain redirects if this is done to manipulate ranking algorithms. Therefore, it is important to follow the safety rules and not provide search engines with grounds for suspicion. 

Buying a problematic expired domain implies expenses, but you should not redirect such domains to the main site. If the problem is detected too late, and search engines perform page checks, you need to remove the redirects and wait for re-indexing. 


Will an expired domain 301 redirect affect SEO rankings?

An expired domain 301 redirect will only be useful for SEO if the donor is quality and there is no history of hosting illegal content or acting as a satellite site. 

How many expired domains can be redirected to the main site?

It all depends on the conditions in a certain niche. If your competitors added 20 domain redirects to their sites, there is no guarantee this strategy will work. Therefore it is important to analyze the situation and monitor the dynamics. 

Is there a danger in using a 301 redirect from expired domains for SEO?

The danger is that you can’t get a guarantee of an increased position or the absence of penalties in advance. In some cases, expired domains can harm the main site.

What to do with an expired domain: a 301 redirect or a private blog network?

The decision must be made based on the quality of the expired domain and the approach to site promotion. For a PBN, you will need a minimum of 10 projects, while you can 301 redirect 5 abandoned domains. 

Kyryk Oleksandr
SEO Consultant

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