In this article, I look at the best places to find expired domains for 301 redirects. Aged or expired domains are a quick and easy way to add backlinks to your site and therefore increase your search rankings. This is something that you can do regardless of whether you built or bought a website, and it works well either way. Before reading this article, make sure to read my article on how to use 301 redirects to rank higher on Google — that article explains how 301 redirects work and why they help you in your search rankings.
Table of Contents
- Find expired domains via search
- Marketplaces to find expired domains
- Determining if an expired domain is worth buying
- Buying a website? Get the Website Investing Beginner’s Kit
- Key points
As a website investor, you are constantly looking for ways to boost the traffic (and thus value) of your websites. The most obvious way to do this is to increase your ranking in Google search results.
While there are a lot of ways to do this, a reliable one is to get more backlinks. Now, there are many strategies to use in order to get those backlinks, including several white hat and some black hat ones, there is one that I find quicker and easier than the others.
The technique is simple: buy a domain with backlinks and use a 301 redirect to direct traffic for that domain to yours. This is allowed by Google because it’s commonly used when businesses merge.
The question is: where do you find those domains? Well, there are a lot of places. I’ve tried nearly all of them, and in this article I list the best places to find expired domains from my experience.
Find expired domains via search
If you’re interested in ways to find expired domains, you’ve probably heard about expireddomains.net. Expireddomains.net is a search tool for finding domains that have recently expired or are going to expire soon. It also allows you to search different marketplaces where expired domains may be.
Expireddomains.net can be a useful tool in certain cases; however, don’t expect to find a top notch domain here and actually get it. So what are the best use cases for expireddomains.net?
- Finding expired domains in low competition niches, such as local businesses
- Finding domains that are about to expire in low competition niches
- Identifying high competition domains that are about to expire, and then using one of the marketplaces below to actually find them for sale
Finding expired domains in low competition niches
If you have a website that’s local then you’re in luck. It’s pretty easy to find expired domains in local niches without having to pay much more than the registrar fee. You can do this easily using expireddomains.net.
To find an expired domain with backlinks in a low competition niche, start by going to expireddomains.net. You can filter domains that have expired by clicking the Deleted Domains button on the top left.
You can then sort by the Dropped column, in order to see all expired domains by when they expired.
The next step is to filter the list so that you only see domains that have a good backlink profile. To do that, click the Show Filter link on the top left:
Once you open the filters box, you will see a filter for backlinks. Don’t use this, as it doesn’t work. Instead, click on the SEO tab to see additional SEO searches:
Setting up the search query
Then, under SEMRush Google.com, enter 100 for the rank and check the SEMRush Rank box.
Now, return to the Common tab. On this tab, you can enter the keywords you want to search in the Domain Nam e Allow List. Then save the filter using the link below.
Finally, click on the Column Manager link at the top right in order to add columns to your page. Expand SEMRush and select all of the subcategories to add them to the page. Once done, click Save Changes.
Now, you can go back and click Deleted Domains in order to see the list of domains that match your search.
The Semrush results aren’t fully accurate, so basically you use them only to filter domains that may have useful backlinks. You need to research further to determine whether the domains in the list are actually worth using.
In the final section of this article, I will explain how to determine whether an expired domain is worth buying.
Marketplaces to find expired domains
DropCatch is the place that you’re likely to find the best expired domains at the lowest prices. Many of the well known sellers of aged domains source them from DropCatch.
DropCatch is a domain catch service that grabs domains when they expire. It seems to do a better job of nabbing popular domains than some of the other services, like Catched. Unfortunately, that means that you pay more, because DropCatch domains that are in demand go straight to auction, and the prices get pretty high. Nevertheless, DropCatch is one of the first places you should search for an expired domain.
I have found that expireddomains.net doesn’t do a good job searching DropCatch auctions — even though it’s supposed to — so if you’re looking for something after it has expired, you should go to DropCatch directly.
If you used expireddomains.net and found something before it expired, chances are pretty good that DropCatch has caught it, so once the domain expires, it’s a good idea to go to DropCatch’s website and search it.
There is some complexity to signing up for DropCatch, since you are required to submit a photo ID for verification. Once you’ve done this, however, it’s pretty easy to search their interface.
Domain Coasters has domains that are a tier below some of the other aged/expired domains sellers. But that also means they’re significantly cheaper.
Most domains you’ll find on Domain Coasters are less than $200, and many are less than $50. The selection is large and varied, so you’re likely to find something that’s worth using for your site.
You have a quota of a certain number of domain names from their catalog that you can see every day, but it is large enough that you should not have a problem with it.
Godaddy Auctions is a good place to find expired domains because so many people know about it, and they therefore list their domains on it. While it’s not easy to search Godaddy Auctions, you can often find domains with a good backlink profile on the site.
The good thing is that expireddomains.net’s search engine works well with Godaddy Auctions, so you can use the method in the previous section (and then click on Marketplace Domains and then Godaddy. After finding domains that meet your criteria, you can go over to Godaddy and enter a bid.
Another good alternative for finding expired domains is Seo.domains. This is a weird one because the site goes on and off-line frequently, and the entire thing seems a bit iffy.
However, I have purchased from them and they are legitimate. I was able to get a high quality travel related domain with backlinks from reputable news sites for a lower price than I would have gotten elsewhere.
Seo.domains has a reasonable size catalog of domains, and the prices aren’t quite as high as other expired or aged domain brokers. You need to register in order to see the list of domains, but once you have done so, you can see all of the details of the domains.
Determining if an expired domain is worth buying
Now that you have found one or more expired domains that you may want to buy, you need to determine whether the domain is actually worth buying. So how do you do it? I have an entire article on determining whether an expired domain is worth buying, but in the rest of this article, I will do an overview.
Wherever you find expired domains, you need to carefully look at their history and their backlink profile in order to make sure that the domains are worth purchasing — and more importantly, that they won’t hurt your site’s current rankings.
Getting an overview of the domain’s quality
The first thing I do is go to the free domain authority checker on Website SEO Checker to see the basics. I do this because it’s the quickest and most efficient way to determine a domain’s quality. You can enter multiple domains at the same time to get information on all of them.
The tool gives several datapoints regarding the domain. I go into full details about how to use this report in another article. The key points are:
- Make sure that the domain authority (DA) is high enough (you will want to look at your site and competitors’ sites for reference)
- Make sure that the percentage of quality backlinks is high (PQ)
- Ignore the spam score (SS), since this refers to the current site on the domain
Getting quality details from Ahrefs or Semrush
For a full explanation of how to use these tools to filter out expired domains of high quality, check out my article on that topic. If you are looking for key takeaways, they are:
- Go to the referring domains report to see which domains are linking to this one; you can sort by DA to see the most important domains first
- Look for real links from high DA sites, and when you find them, click through to ensure that the link isn’t spam and that it’s still there
- Look at the lower DA links to the site to identify any spammy links; all domains will have them, but you don’t want too many
- Click through any links that you suspect are spam to determine if they actually are
- Check if the domain has any keywords — they most likely will not, but if they do, see if they are useful or spammy
- Go to archive.org and check the site that was there before to make sure it wasn’t spam
Buying a website? Get the Website Investing Beginner’s Kit
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To help you out, I am giving away my Website Investing Beginner’s Kit, which includes a valuation worksheet, a due diligence worksheet, an income planner, and much more. All you have to do is sign up for my mailing list, and you’ll get website investing tips and insights — as well as the Website Investing Beginner’s Kit — delivered straight to your inbox.
Finding expired domains for 301 redirects can be a chore. But there are a few good sites that make it easier. In this article we looked at:
- Godaddy Auctions
- Domain Coasters