Drop-domain from A to Z: what it is and why, how, and where to buy it

Link Building
Expired domains can play an important role in the promotion strategy of the Internet project. We will explain where, how, and why you can buy dropped domains and what to do with them later.

Drop-domain from A to Z: what it is and why, how, and where to buy it

The name is a destiny

Everybody knows why the site needs a domain. Simply, it is the address by which the resource is identified on the Internet. A successful domain name is important for the success of the site and its promotion - navigating to memorable and easy addresses does not require effort.

On the recommendations of registrars, the name of a new domain should reflect the essence of the site and be easy to write and perceive by ear. It is highly desirable not to repeat the names of well-known companies and brands. In general, picking up a great domain name is a whole art. Besides, all the creativity often goes to waste as it turns out that the domain with the desired name already exists and belongs to someone.

What is a dropped domain?

A dropped domain (expired, abandoned, deleted, etc.) is a domain whose owner has not renewed the registration in time. There may be many reasons for this situation: the company has closed down, the owner no longer runs a business in this niche, one has forgotten about this domain or died.

After a certain period (depending on the regulations of each domain zone - from 30 to 70 days from the date of the registration expiration), the domain is removed from the registers and ceases to exist. Dropped domains are put up for auctions and become available for free sale.

Each such domain has its history. Domains with an expired period of validity can be used to build your website. When you buy a dropped domain, you buy its entire history, with ratings and backlinks accumulated during its existence. This will allow your site to be indexed better and promoted faster than a site developed from scratch. Therefore, domains already promoted in their niches are often bought to improve performance in SEO and Google.

Domain search methods

1. Special platforms where the lists of free domains are published. 

Finding out when a domain expires is easy with free tools on resources such as whois, GoDaddy, or any other service that registers domain names. There, you can find out the exact date of registration expiration, domain IP-address, as well as information about the current owner and his/her contact details.

2. Analysis of domains that may become free in the nearest future.

To not get lost in the range of names, we recommend to:

  • Search for dropped domains that are referred to by reputable sources. Analyze domains in the TOP and who they refer to, look for dropped ones among them. You can do it manually or by using specialized services. This way, you can get resources at the level of Wikipedia or other top sites among the backlinks.
  • Pay attention to dropped domains that have references to competitors. To do it, find the sites with the expiring registration in the competitor's link profile and take note of them.
  • Monitor competitors who refer to dropped domains (analyze the external backlinks of the competitor, search for potential and already existing dropped domains from acceptor sites).
  • Track direct competitors. Identify competitors and check which of them are about to complete registration. It is possible that some of these sites will soon move to the category of dropped domains.

3. Search engine results

Perform this operation with the parsing software and SEO-analysis. For example, ScrapeBoxNetpeak SpiderNetpeak Checker, and others.

4. By EMD

This parameter is searched by https://ru.megaindex.com/a/dropdomainshttps://www.reg.ru/domain/deleted/ for runet and https://www.expireddomains.net/ for foreign market segments.  They can be used to spell out a name or part of a name and see the available options for free domains or those to be freed soon.

What criteria to consider when choosing a dropped domain?

Almost every SEO specialist working with dropped domains has supported or even created a certain method of selecting expired domains. But there is a common list of criteria, which are definitely worth attention.

The availability of quality traffic

Buying immediately after the domain with live traffic is registered will save the budget for advertising and promotion because, if the site is quickly restored, its authority will continue to work for the business of the new owner.

Visibility in search engines

Even the most beautiful and seemingly good domain in terms of metrics may not be ranked in the search engine for some reason. It happens if malware was detected on a site, it got under web filter due to violations and spam, and for other reasons. Before buying, make sure that the domain is not under the web filter. 

Age 

There is no point in buying a newly created site - the essence of buying a dropped domain is that the name already exists on the Internet for some time. When buying a site with history, make sure not to get a site with a " wealthy history," which was once used for dubious business, spam, posting materials for adults, trash content, or the one with bad karma for illegal affairs. You can get acquainted with the comprehensive history of the resource for free with the help of the service https://archive.org/. In the archive, you can see how the site looked like in any period of its existence and what was posted on it.

Relevant backlinks from quality resources

Backlinks are an important factor in ranking. Qualitative backlinks of a dropped domain will allow increasing the rating in search engines. However, if trash resources refer to a site, this will negatively affect the rating. Therefore, links must be checked. It can be done with such specialized services as MajesticSerpstatAhrefs. A comprehensive analysis of a link profile and a free application to search for free domains is on MegaIndex.

Domain authority

Important factors for determining the quality of a dropped domain or a domain with an expiring registration are indicators of authority and trust of the resource located on it. You can define metrics with the help of such services as MozAhrefs, and others. The higher the trust and authority level is, the easier and faster it will be to launch and promote a new project on the site.

Theme

Thematic compliance is especially important if an expired domain is purchased for a business website. However, for quality links, you will also need relevance by topic. A drastic change of theme will be a disadvantage and will cause rating downgrading; therefore, it is necessary to focus on projects from close niches.

Ranking by key requests and content quality

Ideally, the site was previously promoted by thematic keys, and it contains unique quality content that is appreciated by search engines. It is better to find out if this is the case and analyze how the domain was ranked by key requests before the registration deadline with the help of AhrefsSerpstatSEMrush services. Content for analysis will be available through web archive and search engine caches.

Where and how to buy dropped domains?

1. Domain name auctions

Auctions are regularly conducted by domain name registrars. If the owner, for any reason, has not extended the domain within 30 to 70 days (depending on the registrar's regulations), it is put up for auction. The auction lasts 7 days, during which each interested buyer can offer the price. At the end of this period, the domain will be transferred to the one who offered more. At auctions, you can find and purchase good dropped domains for which the registration has just been completed.

It is possible to apply for registration of the desired domain in advance and get it at your disposal after the previous owner's registration expires.

Examples of sites with auctions

godaddy.com is the world's largest domain name registrar. The startup manages 80 million different domains, including international domains, with rare and premium names. Many of them, with a certain amount of perseverance and luck, can be purchased at auctions.godaddy.com.

Another popular resource is expireddomains.net. It provides the possibility of a flexible setup of dropped domain search with the help of filters. There is an extensive database for selecting suitable domains, which is regularly updated. The service allows you to set up about 20 parameters, which help filter out the results relevant to your requests. Besides, they show the date when the registration period is expected to expire. The information will help to submit an application in time and re-register the resource if the owner does not renew his/her rights. What is important is that the service works with domains from foreign markets.

UKRNAMES.COM conducts domain auctions with foreign and Ukrainian names.

2. Public platforms and forums

Domains that have not been sold at an auction go on free sale. Lists of free domains are placed on public platforms. You can find them by using the search engine.

Also, offers to buy and sell domain names are sometimes placed on thematic forums.

3. Buying from the current owner

You can buy a free domain directly from its owner before the registration period expires. Such an opportunity is provided by sites like Snapnames.comPool.comNamejet.com. In this case, during the purchase, data of the new owner will be added to the information about the domain, and metrics will be saved without any decrease observed after the registration ends. However, it should be taken into account that buying a domain from a private person is a risky business with unpredictable results. It is easy to lose both money and a domain. It is safer to make a purchase through official registrars, especially since they have domain brokers, which will help to resolve all the problematic issues.

4. Buying from web speculators

Cybersquatting has long been known on the Internet. It is hardly possible to buy a domain for cheap from people engaged in the speculative resale of sites. Usually, a lot of money is required from interested buyers. But when the issue is about specific domain names, it is possible that using the services of squatters is the only way to get the desired domain name.

How are dropped domains used?

Expired domains are purchased for different purposes. How they will be used in the future depends on further promotion strategy. They may remain independent resources or become part of a campaign for optimization of another site. Let's review the most common ways to use expired domains.

Business website

When registering a new domain name, it will take a long time to gain credibility with search engines, and promotion from scratch will require significant funds. It is much easier to register a dropped domain, which has previously been promoted. If you have bought an expired domain that has been successfully promoted, you can use the positive background to the benefit of the new project. In this case, the resource will enjoy the benefits of the authoritative site and avoid the "sandbox," in which the beginners are retained for months. With this domain, you can start developing immediately and reach the TOP in the short term.

PBNs

Using expired domains to create a private network of quality information sites owned by one person is the most common way to use dropped domains. The strategy allows occupying a segment in a certain niche. In the future, resources created on the basis of purchased domains are aimed at improving the ranking of the main site, and they provide an opportunity to get backlinks for it free of charge. 

Adding redirects

If you have a domain with quality thematic content, it can be combined with the promoted resource. Adding redirects to the main site is performed through 301 redirect. The redirects lead page by page or all at once to one page of the recipient site. This allows you to transfer a part of the authority, link juice, and traffic of the donor to the site.

Links placement

Backlink building and promotion in the organic search engine result are influenced by small thematic satellite sites, on which links to the site being promoted are placed. It is important that link placement on such resources is free for the owner; it will be possible to adjust the content at any time.

Money site 

Advertising, own contacts, and various commercial forms are placed on the updated dropped domain.

Pre-landing site

Pre-landing sites with expired registration periods are used to create new intermediate sites that prepare clients for buying the advertised goods. It is a kind of a gasket between a teaser advertising message and landing. The page contains useful information stimulating interest in the product and offers a link to the main site. It is enough to update the design and content, and the previously used pre-land will again drive customers to buy.

Conclusions: pros and cons of using dropped domains

Buying dropped domains is a common practice. However, it is worth considering all the pros and cons of such a decision first.

Advantages

  1. Obtaining an effective name.
  2. Quick backlink building.
  3. A good reputation of a resource affects trust rank and citation index.

Disadvantages

  1. Before buying, it is difficult to assess the quality of the domain with complete confidence. It may be under filters or previously redirected.
  2. Search indicators may be artificially increased.
  3. The site may have been previously used by scammers.

Thus, one should work with this tool carefully and thoughtfully, taking into account all the risks.

Kyryk Oleksandr
SEO Consultant

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