In this article I want to go over the process of buying an expired domain so you can start building your own private blog network also known as a “PBN”. I will go through the process step by step and I will list the best tools and places I use to make the process easier.
I know it may seem confusing at first but trust me, it’s a lot easier than you think. It might seem like you have a lot of ground to cover but once you do it a couple of times the process becomes easier. Stick around to the end of the article because I will also be sharing a way that you can monetize your own private blog once you learn how to buy your first expired domain. Ranking is not the only way, your own PBN can be quite profitable.
Let me start off by answering some FAQs
Do I have to buy domains relevant to my niche?
No. However if a relevant domain is available and it looks good after you have done your research then it’s worth it. As long as the content on the page is relevant to the money site then you’re fine. I would recommend buying generic domains like “http://youknowme.com” because I can make the subject matter of that site about almost anything.
However just from common sense I wouldn’t purchase “http://fitnessfanatic101.com” and target a gold affiliate website.
Can you post multi niches on one site?
Personally I wouldn’t and I would avoid doing this. I would also be wary of using paid services that do this. Most private blog network services do this because it’s easier for them to make money. As soon as you get a manual review on the PBN website it’s obvious what’s going and it’s likely that your links will be worthless in the long run. Ask before hand.
Build a PBN around a niche. So fashion PBN for clothing sites or Electronic PBN for technology websites. Fitness and health PBN for fitness sites, you get the idea. We can make these websites into authority sites and have them look more natural.
Should I used unique content?
Yes! Avoid spun content at all costs. Why would you pay a lot of money to buy expired domains and then throw crappy content on it? I know you want to keep costs low but seriously!? Search for Natasha Nixon’s article service and buy 500 words of great content for $6. Or you can get worse but unique content for a cheaper price. If you’re building a PBN then my guess is you can afford unique content.
Next let’s talk about buying expired domain names!
Tools recommended in this process can begin to add up and can put a dent in your pocket. A way to cut down your costs is to seek out other people on SEO forums who are building private blog networks as well. They will be using similar tools that I recommend in this article and you can go about sharing a membership with each other on some tools. The cost will drop depending on the amount of people you cut in on the arrangement.
I use register compass to find expiring domains. It costs $37 a month or a month depending on what type of membership you go for.
Register compass is by far the best tool out there for finding expiring/expired domains mainly because of it’s search filters. Here is a video I made recently where I am going over some of the search filters inside register compass.
Finding the potential domain is just the start. Once you have set your filters and you have found some potential domains next you need to do the dirty work and make sure the domain is worth the purchase. This process is very important so do not skip any of these steps. Skipping the following steps could mean you buy a dud domain and you have wasted your time and hundreds of dollars.
What are you looking for in an expired domain?
This is the big question. I have a checklist of what a domain has to pass in order for me purchase it. I will do my best to explain what I am looking for and then I will show you the tools I use.
Check for fake PR on http://www.checkpagerank.net/
Using http://www.checkpagerank.net/, paste in the domain you want to buy and it will tell if the PR is valid or not.
Search for info:domain.com on Google
Searching “info:domain.com” in Google will tell you if the domain has 301 redirect. If a different domain shows up then forget it. Be careful because sometimes just one letter will be different in the domain name.
Make sure the website is indexed
Search “site:domain.com” in Google, if the website shows up then it is indexed.
Use The Way Back Machine
Go to http://web.archive.org/ and just check what type of website it was previously. Also if the website that shows up seems to be completely unrelated to the domain then be careful.
http://opensiteexplorer.org – I use Open Site Explorer to look at Domain Authoriy, Page Authority, MozTrust and the number of linking root domains.
Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) - As we know pagerank has not been updated for quite a while now and it’s no longer the best metric to look at when purchasing a domain because it might not be accurate.
From my research some people are relating domain authority to be similar to pagerank. So if the domain authority is between 50-59 then it’s a PR5 domain, if it’s between 20-29 in then it’s a PR2 domain. Knowing this also helps us see domains that are not as strong as the PR they are given. Sometimes a domain will show up as a PR5 but the domain authority is only 29. This could mean that at best the site is a PR3 and people think they bidding on a PR5 domain and will pay more than what it’s worth.
The higher the page authority and domain authority the better the domain. I typically look for domains that have a PA of 20 or higher and DA of 20 or higher. The higher the numbers the more it will cost. You know if you’re on the right track when you see that people are bidding on the domain already.
MozTrust - You want to look for a site that has a MozTrust above 3. Anything above this amount is great.
Root Domains - You should look for a site that has more than 30 root domains at least. If you find a good looking domain but it only has very few root domain linking to it then be careful. You want a site with lot’s of linking domains because if some sites stop linking to you then the site loses authority. It also looks less spammy, if the majority of links are coming from one source then beware.
Majestic SEO – I use this site for checking the amount of external backlinks, Citation Flow (CF), Trust Flow (TF), to check for spammy backlinks and to find out which URL is better (with or without www.)
External Backlinks – You want to make sure the domain has a good amount of external backlinks. As mentioned earlier you want the site to have a lot of backlinks so if some websites realise the domain has expired and they remove links it won’t have a big impact on the overall PR.
Trust Flow and Citation Flow - This is a metric created by Majestic SEO. The higher the numbers the better. Generally you want to find a domain that has a TF and CF of more than 20 which is very good. Obviously you don’t have to follow this rule, if I am looking for PR2-PR3 domains then I will lower this number to 15 and above.
Backlinks - I check the backlinks tab for three reasons. One is to make sure that the site has a nice varied backlink profile, if all the links come from one website or a large volume come from one site then I will avoid the domain. Secondly I like varied anchor text. If the site was previously trying to rank for “nike trainers” and all the backlinks mention “nike trainers” then this might put me off. I like to look for varied and generic anchor text. The third reason is to make sure there are no spammy links. I don’t want to see links from porn websites or pharmacy websites.
WWW. or Without WWW? - You want to make sure you set the domain up how it was previously. Some sites use the WWW. in the URL and some do not. This matters because the links point to one of these URL types. What I do is I check in Majestic SEO which URL has the better TF and CF metrics and go with that.
Buying The Domain
After you have made sure the domain checks out ok you will want to place your bid. Godaddy auctions can be the cheapest because snapnames and namejet start from $69. Godaddy domains can start from $10 but as the auction get close to ending there will be more people bidding. Set yourself a budget, for a PR2 I will go max $60. For a PR3 I would bid up to $100. I have purchased great PR4′s for less than $100. When you move up to buying PR5 and above domains the cost will jump up so expect to pay $500 or more. Again make sure that you do your homework.
What I like to do
I like to search results for domains that will expire in the next two weeks with Godaddy. I set the price to less than $30 and I look for generic domains that I can use. So if I want to build a health network then I make sure the domains I look at are generic enough that I can put health and fitness content on there.
I do not bid on them right away, I watch them on Godaddy and I get notified when the auction is coming to a close. Next I see how much the price has changed, if it’s still within my budget then I will go through my checklist and see if the domain is worth bidding on.
Something you want to watch out for is you have to renew the domain (about an extra $10) and you will want to hide your whois information (another $10). So keep this in mind when buying these domains that there is an extra cost on top of the amount you pay at auction.
Briefly on hosting domains. Avoid C Class hosting or SEO hosting. Find multiple cheap hosting providers (you can find hosting for $1.50 a month) and only host one blog from the same network on one provider. Do not host all domains on one hosting account.
Making money from a PBN
Other than ranking your websites and client sites there is an alternative way to build an income.
Some people charge $15 month for a link on their PBN. So if you buy 10 domains and each site has 10 outbound links on them, you have 100 slots at $15 each. These would be recurring payments which are the best. Just a thought.
I do not know everything, this is what is working for me with my blog network. If I have left anything out that you think should be included or if you have any questions then leave a comment below and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.
Very soon I will do my best to write a step by step report with videos included. It will cover the whole process from how to buy an expired domain to setting up the website and how I link back to a money site.