Building a Private Blog Network, the priority is to find an excellent expired domain. Here I will write my checklist to let you know how to check expired domain properly.
We all know private blog network is one of the leading link building methods right now. It works like magic if you know how to build your network. Even its risky as hell if you can’t set it correctly. Finding an expired domain is very easy, but a good one is almost impossible. You need tools, knowledge and time to find a solid domain for your network. Knowledge means you need to know how to check expired domain to find out if its good or not. If you are not able to do it, then you will land up with some crap domains which might cause penalization for your money site.
I started building PBN in 2013. Even I had no clue its called PBN as I was working as a VA for a team. They were making the network for a specific niche with the expired domain. They taught me how to check the domain, set it with content and all. I was like okay, its another link building method using the expired domain for more link power rather than using free microblogging platform. Later I found out it’s called PBN which is the most powerful link building process in the market. I believe it started gaining popularity at the end of 2015.
In 2018, we all know about PBN. How it works, how to set up and all other facts about it. Also, few people are saying its the end of PBN method in SEO now. It might be, but still, it works for me. This post is for the newbies again who started working with PBN currently. I made so many mistakes while building my network. Trust me, at 2016 our 7 Amazon affiliate site got penalized together. And its all because of using shitty PBN. I was missing some minor points while taking domain into our team network. And that minor cause became a big mistake later. So here I am going to write all the checklist I am currently following to let you know how to check expired domain.
How to Check Expired Domain
Its kind of data entry type work to follow up the checklist for each domain. Still, its worth to invest time here to avoid any risk factor arise in future.
I am not talking about how to find the expired domain. Finding list of expired domain and then go through each one of them is a time-consuming process. To make it quicker we can minimize the list by sorting down based on few metrics. It’s all about how I check the expired domain for PBN purpose. I prefer to use Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) from MOZ, Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) from Majestic, Domain Rating (DR), Link Profile and Ref. domain no. from AHREFS.
For me, the minimum standards I follow –
DA – 10+
PA – 10+
TF and CF Ratio – 1:2
Ref. Domain – 20+
By following the above standards, I sort out my list of domains. Then go through each one of them manually.
Step 2: –
Metrics Analysis: – Checking general metrics are not a big issue anymore. Everyone knows how it works now. Still, I am going through via screenshot how I do it.
Moz check up –
Moz recently introduced Link Xplorer replacing Open site explorer. If you have paid account at Moz, you can easily get the API and use any tools like scrapebox for bulk checking the list of domains authority. Also, there is some free checker available online. I don’t rely on Moz backlink data as I believe their database is not upgraded like the other tools.
What I like about Moz that if there any weird link exists in the previous profile it will find it. Even sometimes AHREFS, SEMRush, Majestic none of them showed those links, but Moz did. You can see that this domain PA & DA is quite good comparing with my standards. It has a few weird links but let’s proceed to the next step.
AHREFS check up –
Here comes the most crucial part. AHREFS metrics are essential for me. What I checked from here are following –
- Domain Rating –
It’s another general metrics or indicators like PA or DA to understand how good the existing link profile is for that expired domain. You can’t blindly rely on it. After all, it’s a third-party metrics. For better understanding read their official blog post about DR and how it works from here.
- Ref. Domain –
The most important part of choosing an expired domain is the referring domain. The most number of domain means the more power it consists.
Although the DR is low, the referring domain is excellent. What we need to notice here not the total Ref. domain number. We need to check how many domains are live. We can see the total referring links are 251. But only 55 is live right now. Still its higher than my following standards.
- Do-Follow Links –
Another important fact is how many dofollow links we have. At above image, we can see out of 251 referring domain total dofollow links are 205. And the percentage is 82% which is quite impressive.
- Link Profile –
Here you need to invest your time. We need to check most of the links carefully. What I did to check from where the incoming links came. I mean what types of domain and what types of links. You can notice most of the domains has like 100+ ref. domain but they got 50-60% links or maybe more from Blogspot or Typepad or any other web 2.0 platform. So it’s important to find out the source of each link properly.
- Anchor Cloud –
Checking anchor cloud or text is essential. You can understand if the link profile is abused or not. Chinese anchor or adult keywords or any types of the weird anchor is suspicious and risky to take.
- Best by Links –
It’s one of the amazing features of AHREFS. And here we all did mistake while buying an expired domain. Using this features, you can check that which pages get the most no of links. It’s not necessary that all links will point out to the home page. It might link back to the inner pages. So we need to check how many links are for the home page and how many for the internal page. If most of the links targetting inner pages then are we able to recover those pages or not? Example –
We all can see that the most no of links pointing to the two inner pages. Only nine links are linking back to the home page. Now what we do purchase the domain and set it up with new content or old whatever with the new setup. We get hyped that I got a domain with 250+ referring domain. But a few days back we can see no push in the SERP. Then we come up to the point that PBN is dead. But the fact is you never checked this option. You exactly don’t know out of 250 links how many are working for you. Because if you don’t recover those inner pages, then all links will count as 404 error. In the above image, we can see 40 links are pointing to the two internal pages. If I don’t recover that two pages, I will miss that 40 links power or juice whatever you say. Another important issue we need to think that can we recreate those pages or not. You can see so many weird URL structures which are not possible to recreate. But the matter of fact, those URL structure is not possible to set. Maybe possible but it requires lots of attention. My focus is always to go with the easy option because I am unable to create those weird URL format.
- Incoming Link Traffic –
This is an optional fact but still worth to try if you have multiple choices. Guess you got 10-20 expired domains which have excellent PA, DA, clean link profile with easy to set best by link option. Now you are confused to choose which one to buy. Guess you don’t need 10-20 domains now. Maybe 2-5 will work for you. Now how you will filter the top 5 out 20? The typical answer will be any specific metrics. Either no of referring domain or DA or anything else. But here I check something different. Example –
You can see this domain has a total 55 live referring domain. And I sorted down the list based on organic traffic. Now we can see a few the links has large no of incoming traffic. It’s stats the quality of the linking domain. So I prefer to go with the traffic no rather than sorting based on authority or no of links. Remember it’s not a mandatory option. I only did that when I need to choose a few from the multiple choices.
So these are the main points I check by AHREFS while finding an expired domain.
Step 3: –
After completing all the steps, I go to the web archive. Check the previous domain history properly. If the domain has 4-5 years data or more, I carefully check all the year’s screenshot. Its necessary to know if the domain is already used as PBN before or spammed by Chinese or anything else. Keep that in mind no consideration if you see any negative point here.
- Used as PBN before
- Used as the Chinese website
- Used as redirection (few people don’t mind to buy a redirect one, but I don’t)
- Any adult content
- Any pharma related site or content
- Micheal Kors shop or Louis Vuitton or Nike products (these are mostly spammed to death)
Step 4: –
After that, you need to check the Google index data. Just go to Google and type “site:yourdomain.com” to check if it’s still index, or not. If you see its index, then it’s a good sign for you. If not no need to worry. Most of the time due to inactivity Google deindex the domain. In that case, if you are impressed, then you need to buy the domain. Set it up with few contents and check if it gets indexed or not.
Here is my list to check an expired domain properly. There might include some other significant facts you need to add. Feel free to share with me so that i can learn it from you.