Can you really find expired domains with high traffic?
This is not such a black and white question as it seems to be.
Selling expired domains with high traffic can be a shady business, therefore I wanted to go over the possible pitfalls and scams first and at the end of the post you will find your best scam-free bets for buying expired domains for traffic.
First of all, the traffic of a domain name depends greatly on the website and the rank of its pages in Google. Once the website is not there any more, as Google runs into 404 errors, the pages start getting de-indexed and organic traffic will start to die off for obvious reasons.
Unfortunately after the website is discontinued, months go by before the domain actually drops, which also works against you.
Because of the above, if you buy a domain for its existing traffic, you may be better off if you buy an existing successful website. Usually this is more expensive though.
Different Kinds of Expired Domain Traffic
There are several different kinds of traffic a domain may have.
The first one shows up in your Google Analytics account under direct traffic. People know the domain and people type it into the URL box. Or they have it saved as a bookmark. There could also be e-books around that have links to the site and people click on these links. Unfortunately these decrease over time if there is no website maintained.
There is also referral traffic from other sites and social media through links, this can also be a significant source of traffic. YouTube videos, Facebook pages, Pinterest, Reddit, niche forums and websites, links from guest post. However, if the site is dead, links will eventually get removed, as broken links decrease the ranking of a site. Thus no one wants to have broken links around and eventually such traffic also decreases.
As a rule, looking at the number of backlinks can give you a rough idea about the traffic a domain gets, as more backlinks usually mean more possible traffic.
If you are looking for actual traffic, you need to grab the domain while it is still warm and continue it immediately, otherwise you may be buying a bunch of hot air.
The Quality of Expired Domain Traffic
When we talk about traffic, we always need to consider how targeted the traffic is and how well it is going to convert.
Many companies sell expired domain traffic. I have purchased such traffic and out of 5,000 visitors I didn’t get one single sign-up for my list. I recommend that you can check out this guide on buying expired domain traffic and other low-cost traffic.
There are a few things you need to be aware of when you deal with purchased expired domain traffic. If you buy such traffic, you may be buying bot traffic or other low-quality traffic mixed in, usually there are no guarantees.
If the traffic you buy doesn’t convert, it will negatively influence your website’s ranking in Google because of the increased bounce rate and the decreased time spent on your site.
If the domain is listed for sale at an auction, the traffic counter may be clicking in all the “visitors” that are simply interested in buying the domain. These visitors will not convert (and disappear) when you buy the domain.
The third important point has to do with anchor texts: each link pointing to the domain that brings a visitor has an anchor text. They click on the link because of that text and the surrounding content.
When you get such traffic to a domain that only has the home page, you have no idea what the person who clicked on the link was looking for. Therefore, even though the domain is in your niche, the traffic may not convert at all.
If you buy any kind of a domain with the purpose of a redirect, you need to carefully study the anchor texts and the original URL that the traffic was leading to and you need to create a similar page on your own website where the visitor will find what he was looking for. For this reason, plain 301 redirection of an expired domain doesn’t work, Google will detect it as spam in the anchor text analysis.
If you are shopping for traffic, you can also buy a domain name that has a keyword with a high level of search traffic. But most people don’t mean this definition when they say high traffic domain.
This is potential traffic that you need to work on in order to leverage, and it ties closely into niche selection.
High search value doesn’t necessarily equal high traffic, as competition for the given keyword also has its role. High traffic keywords are many times extremely competitive and you will not be able to rank for them.
Once in a while you can find a high-traffic keyword that has low competition. Like this one:
The keyword is “liquor cabinet”, and it has 22,000 monthly searches per KWFinder.
(Link opens in new tab, you can check the keyword for yourself. KWFinder is awesome for your occasional keyword research needs – you can look up a cuouple of keywords per day and in addition to general Keyword Difficulty it also gives you the difficulty rating of each of the search engine results for that keyword.)
As you can see, the competition is all in the green, easy, a Pinterest pin ranking in position #2..
However the question is, how likely is it that you would buy this wine cabinet on Amazon or anywhere online? Or a washing machine?
You need to have an idea about monetization, traffic itself is not going to make you happy.
The traffic numbers displayed on an expired domain/website can also be misleading. They could include non-human visitors, such as bots, which will not help you much. You could also get traffic numbers that quote the peak, which is not representative of everyday circumstances.
Some sellers use dishonest tactics to boost the traffic statistics just before the sale, e.g. by buying cheap pop-under traffic, and they charge you more because of the numbers, however those visitors won’t be there long after you purchase the domain.
Alexa.com is a standard way to judge traffic. However don’t forget that these numbers only come from people who use Alexa’s browser extension, therefore this value is not exact. Alexa traffic can also be manipulated by buying cheap traffic.
SEMRush, Ahrefs, MajesticSEO – If you found an expired domain that was previously developed then plug it into any of these websites and find out what kind of traffic history it has. You can get a better idea on where the traffic comes from, what kind of search engine rankings the website previously had, how good of quality the links are which point to it, plus a number of other important factors that can determine if the previous website was “legit” or “spammy.”
Is It Easy To Buy Expired Domains With Traffic?
Here is the problem with this subject: Most domain registrars grab the high quality domains when they expire and send them for auctions.
That is why it is quite difficult (but not impossible) to find expired domains of good quality. It takes some sorting through crap. This also applies to traffic.
These companies have state of the art equipment and software to find the cream, and the average Joe simply cannot compete with them using his own laptop. And this drives the price of such domains high.
The Best Place To Buy Domains With Traffic
Despite the above, there are places where you can buy such high traffic expired domains and not a lot of people realize this.
Your cleanest opportunity and best bet is the following:
You will see many domains being auctioned on DynaDot that have thousands of monthly visitors and no reported revenue. You may get these for the $11.99 starting price and be lucky. Unfortunately you never know what you are buying until after the purchase… but this is your least manipulated source of high traffic expired domains.
Go to the Dynadot Expired Domain Auctions. You will see the following form:
Just enter your keyword, mark the monthly visitors and press search, and you can bet on the expiring domain names.
Look at these Dynadot search results of traffic domains:
If there is another person who bets on your domain, that will work just like a standard auction.
There is another interesting site that you can buy expired domain names from that provides traffic stats. This site is Name.com.
The third place you can find expired domains with traffic is GoDaddy auctions, but this site is a lot more geared towards making money for its owners by auctioning everything possible rather than helping you get your domain at an affordable price.
How To Create Traffic From Expired Domains
There is another way to get traffic from expired domains. This requires more work on your part, but may be more lucrative.
You can buy an expired domain picking it based on backlink profile and other metrics like DA>20, TF and CF>15, and making sure your domain wasn’t spammed.
The more backlinks from sites that already have traffic, the better. Like this one:
Then you install WordPress and rebuild the site from scratch either based on Archive.org and/or with your own content.
For this to work, you need to make sure you preserve its link juice. You do this by looking up the page distribution of the incoming backlinks with a software like SEO SpyGlass (it has a free version), and by making sure that the pages that are linked to by other sites actually exist. If you skip this, all that link juice will go to waste as a soft 404.
The reconstructed page should also match the anchor text of the links pointing to it, so that the visitors find relevant content.
Once you do this, you can instantly get the referral traffic from the linking sites and you will have a better chance converting it even if the traffic is not a high volume.
Additionally, If you let the site sit there for a few months, after some it will time regain its previous ranking and collect its previous organic traffic if there was any.
You can add to this traffic by ranking new pages in Google by adding your own long-tail content.
This way you will have your own site that is very much like a PBN, but it is totally legal and you can use it for traffic, link juice or you can even sell it for a profit.