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Dropped domains, also known as expired domains, are domains that have recently expired or that is about to expire. Buying such domains can be a smart way of either getting a name you prefer or gaining traffic and authority quickly on search engines.
One of the factors that affect search engine rankings is age of domain and the amount of back links a website has built over the years. If a dropped domain excels in those aspects, it can help you establish authority quickly.
However, there are also pitfalls associated with it. And this piece will discuss both so you can make a better informed decision on if this is for you.
Value of Dropped Domains
Out of the over 250 million domains registered worldwide, hundreds of thousands expire annually. A lot of these expired domains are of little value, but there are some that are very valuable and some that are actually premium domains.
Domain name is important for many reasons, and been able to influence search engine rankings positively is one of them. Domain names that are quite valuable include those that are exact keyword match, key word specific, and premium domains. The problem is that such domains are rarely available. However, there are some that expires and may be up for sale.
Boost Traffic and Authority
The beauty of such domains is that it increases the authority of your website and can significantly improve traffic. The benefit is that you spend less time and money and other resources trying to get your website to rank or increase traffic. Also, it means that whatever effort you put in will not just produce faster result, it will also produce a more pronounced result.
The fact is if you get a good dropped domain, it can improve your traffic exponentially.
Ranking in search engine, even when you do all the right things, is a long, arduous process. It can take years to build credible back links, achieve good page rankings, or get SEO favours from the major search engines.
That is why a lot of people use this strategy and piggyback on premium domains or reputable domains that have been dropped. Just buying expired domain and redirecting the traffic to your website can get you faster result.
Purchasing a Better Domain Name
For those stuck with a domain name they don’t like, this also gives them a chance to purchase a name they prefer.
It’s often a simple process and it’s similar to purchasing a new domain and registering it. And at times you can get these domains without emptying your back accounts. The possibility of getting a premium piece of online real estate cheaply or at an affordable rate has led to a growth in the number of people looking to take advantage of it.
Also, building a website from a dropped domain can be a straight forward process for someone with the right knowledge. And even for those not tech savvy, there are a lot of freelancers that the task can be outsourced to cheaply.
Pitfalls of Using Expired Domain
Too often people get pitched on the beauty of using dropped domain to solve all their SEO problems and challenges. In some quarters it is even pitched as a magic pill that will solve all problem once and for all.
The reality is a little grimmer and it can outrightly backfire. Here are some of the reasons you may not want to consider it.
Not All Traffic Is Good Traffic
Often people purchase dropped domain based on the traffic statistics a domain has. Butoften those traffic statistics are padded by junk traffic. The problem with junk traffic is that once you buy a website known for junk traffic and has been de-indexed from major search engine unknowingly, you may end up wasting resources trying to improve its search engine rankings.
Website owners build spam website and make money off the traffic with a long term view of selling it once they have been heavily penalized by search engines or de-indexed. Then they let the website expire and sell it off to unsuspecting buyers at inflated price, based on current traffic counter statistics that is padded by bots, crawlers and automated scripts.
However, a proper SEO analysis can be done with various tools that might help you judge what kind of traffic a site has if you choose to go through this route.
It’s true that the age of a domain contributes to search engine rankings and it is one of the reasons people opt for dropped domain.
However age also comes with a reputation. Similar to the above reason, once search engine’s algorithm views a site negatively for whatever reason, buying such site will also include buying the negative reputation and it will undermine your effort later.
The domain may also be associated with people or company that search engines have blacklisted.
And this is actually more difficult to access from thorough analysis. But when you see a dropped domain priced too low or the bid for it is very low, it may be a sign that you should walk away.
Waste of Time and Resources
Even if you are able to do a thorough due diligence and you’re certain that the site you want is legit, you may end up not getting it, only for the owner to renew it. They may have up to ninety days to renew the site even after it has expired.
Also, bidding for a domain name may take between 45-60 days and nothing is really guaranteed. In the end you would have spent productive time in a worthless venture.
Also you can become emotionally attached in a bidding war and you could end up shelling thousands of pounds on a domain name that is of little value.
If you must go purchase a dropped domain, do not get emotionally involved and be willing to walk away. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because more people are willing to pay more for a domain name it must be very valuable.
Precautions to Take
Generally, it is better to build a site from ground up than to try to capitalize on a dropped domain. The initial steady traffic and SEO rankings can backfire in future.
“However, there is no doubt that purchasing dropped domain can have immeasurable benefits if done right. The most important advice is to do a due diligence and ensure that the previous owner wasn’t engaged in any dubious SEO practice,” according to Brendan Wilde, Marketing Executive, at Openhost Domains.
Even if you only decide to redirect traffic from the dropped domain to your website, it will still significantly affect your website if the domain has been heavily penalized or de-indexed. Hence, a proper SEO analysis is the key to getting it right.