Are you in SEO and affiliate marketing? Are you starting a new affiliate website on an expired domain or just improving search engine rankings of the existing ones with 301 expired domain redirection?
The team from SERP.domains share their 5 expired domains vetting tips for your higher success as an affiliate marketer.
The internet opens up new doors to business creation daily. There seems no end to the opportunities it provides if we take the time to delve into the intricacies. One of the areas that are taken off in recent years is affiliate marketing.
This revenue-sharing business model involves the placement of links in website content to direct traffic to other businesses or e-commerce sites. The affiliate earns a commission from each sale generated from their link.
Is it complicated? Not really. It’s a simple concept with the potential to be a big-earner for anyone with a desire to break from the traditional rat race and develop an online business. Are you interested? It’s certainly an appealing option and one to keep in your back pocket.
There’s plenty of material about affiliate marketing on the web, but the most crucial step in the process is choosing your domain.
New or Expired Domain?
Affiliate marketing works for either, but purchasing a new domain means you’re starting entirely from scratch. You may have a blank slate, but it takes a lot of extra work to develop page authority. If you build your business on an expired domain, you benefit from its age, existing backlinks to the domain, and its page rank.
Expired domains are those that haven’t been re-registered by the previous owner and become available for purchase. The pool of expired domains is deep and diverse. With so many available, how do you choose the right one on which to build your business? Here are five vetting tips you should implement when considering an expired domain.
1. Relevance of The Domain to Your Niche
It’s common sense to select a domain name relevant to your topic, but there’s more to the relevance aspect than the name. Some domain names are quite generic and don’t give any indication about the content of the website.
How do you check the relevance of an expired domain to your niche? You can do this in two ways.
Check the Topics of The Backlinks
You can do this by Ahrefs.com. You enter the domain name, and click Backlinks. The search brings up the number of backlinks and the referring websites that link to the domain you’re checking. This information is valuable as you can see how relevant the backlinks are to your topic/niche.
Check the History of The Domain
Archive.org is the perfect tool to check the domain’s history. Pop the domain name into the Wayback Machine, and Archive gives you a timeline relating to the domain. You can click on any year and select a circled day in a month to see a snapshot of how the site looked on that particular date. It’s a great way to check the previous content on the domain and determine its relevance to your topic.
It helps to choose the domain that’s most relevant to your niche. If you’re building an affiliate site on health and fitness, look for a domain on that topic. Likewise, if your niche is Caring For Your Dog, find a domain name relating to canines.
There’s some leeway if you can’t find an exact match in the graveyard of expired domains. You can buy one with a broad topic and repurpose it to suit your niche. You can’t take a tech site and redesign it for health and fitness. Google picks up such discrepancies, and you might find yourself in hot water.
2. Contextual Backlinks
A contextual backlink is part of a block of content rather than on a list of links. When you build a link into an article or similar content, it’s more likely to be long-lasting and not disappear after you buy the domain. Buying a domain with strong backlinks is a big step towards the success of your affiliate marketing business.
You can run the backlinks through ahrefs.com and check the following:
- Dofollow – Links marked “dofollow” have better value as they contribute to the domain’s page ranking. Links marked “nofollow” are still worthwhile but won’t influence the page rank that much.
- Domain Rating – If a domain has a number of decent backlinks and it’s clean, go for it even if DR is lower.
- Referring Domains – You should always manually check that the backlinks are still “live.”
It’s best to avoid an expired domain if many backlinks derive from forums, comments, or directory. These can restrict the potential success of your business.
3. Rating of The Expired Domain
Always check the rating of any expired domain that you’re considering. You can do this on ahrefs.com. The key is to find an expired domain with a reasonably high rating and with valuable backlinks. These domains aren’t easy to find, and it can take some time for you to check the validity of the various backlinks and the quality of the referring websites.
Backlinks should always be relevant to the domain’s topic and preferably be contextual rather than built into comments or discussions.
Try to avoid domains with any DR if they are spammed, no matter how quality backlinks are.
4. The Number of Referring Domains
Take a close look at the number of referring domains when you’re considering buying an expired domain. The more referring domains there are, the more weight your website will hold, and the higher it will rank.
It’s worth investing more money initially on a strong expired domain than snapping one up for peanuts and having to expend unnecessary time and energy, creating backlinks and building up your domain rating. With a strong domain from the start, much of that work is already done, and you can start generating an income sooner.
Remember to check that most of the backlinks on the referring domains are contextual.
5. Clean Anchor Texts & Archive
Anchor text is the clickable phrase or word that links to another webpage. As we’ve discussed, these links should occur organically in content to benefit your domain. Unnatural backlinks – those that are irrelevant – with spammy, wordy anchor texts can result in Google hitting you with penalty.
You can check anchors on ahrefs.com. Anchors should always flow well in an article and not be messy or awkward.
You can check the Archives to see if the expired domain was part of a PBN. A PBN, or private blog network, is a network of websites used specifically for building links to a single domain to increase its authority.
Use the Wayback Machine on to see snapshots of what the site looked like at different times in its history. Avoid any domain that was part of a PBN or even a “link farm”. You don’t want to incur penalties before you’ve started to earn an income.
Other domains to steer clear of are those with Chinese language popping up in the archive.
While branching into affiliate marketing is an exciting venture, it’s essential to safeguard your future business by purchasing the strong expired domain from the start. It’s not sufficient to choose one purely on the name alone. Your domain is the foundation of your business and, with an inadequate vetting process, your reputation and that of your business may suffer down the line.
Take the time to go through all the aspects we’ve discussed before purchasing your domain. If you’re not happy with the domain history, or feel there’s a risk of being penalized, ditch that domain and try another one. Invest your time before you invest your money. Building an affiliate business on an expired domain is still an affordable way to get rankings and stable income relatively fast.