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Buy dropped domains for backlinks
Is that still efective?
joost




msg:4135852
 12:26 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

A few years ago I developed the strategy of buying dropped domains with good backlinks and pagerank, and either 301-ed them to one of my main sites, or host them with a bit of content, and link them to my sites. Now, years later, some of those still bring in nice traffic and PR.

After Google stopped counting the page rank I stopped doing this. Since they now looked at who owned a domain before and after it was dropped, I figured Google might punish my ranking for this because this is not the intention of a 301.

Recently I found a nice typo domain for a competitors' generic keyword domain (2 generic words in one domain; one spelled wrong) and could not resist. And it's bringing in nice traffic. But I fear for retribution from Google.

My question: Is anyone still using this strategy (for the traffic)? I assume PR indeed does not pass through anymore, as was announced? Any thoughts on retribution from Google?

 

wheel




msg:4136241
 10:17 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Traffic? What's that? Like when you get ranked in the serps? :) I've never bought a drop for traffic, but I do have a good number of drops that get some reasonably good traffic.

I have no stats, but have no reason to suspect this still wouldn't work.

I wouldn't do a 301 though, I'd do a full site on the drop and smack yourself a link. Too many 301's, way easy to detect. Ownership of domains on the other hand, can and in this case probably should be, hidden.

I'm pretty sure that there are places where you can grab a domain as it drops (i.e. before it actually drops). That's probably the way to do this.

Not that I do this. (Seriously. I screw around a bit with drops, but not in the way most here would).

joost




msg:4136383
 7:11 am on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great advise, Wheel, thanks!

With traffic I mean, in this case, visitors mistyping the URL of my competitor (hwitewidgets.com) or following misspelled incoming links.

Since I shot first and asked questions later (I set up the 301 already, that is) I'll just leave it and hope just 1 won't hurt me.

But I found some other, less atractive drops (like great-white-widgets-site.com) which I'll just forget about. Not worth the effort of puting up minisites. Should I find better ones, I'll follow your advise: private registration, minisite linking to my site.

Your last remark makes me wonder what other thing you do with drops, but I'm sure you won't tell me ;-)

martinibuster




msg:4136385
 7:17 am on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Last I checked, dropped domains get reset for ranking. So do domains that have never been regged but have typo backlinks.

wheel




msg:4136487
 11:31 am on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

With traffic I mean, in this case, visitors mistyping the URL of my competitor (hwitewidgets.com) or following misspelled incoming links.

I wouldn't touch a typo of my competitor. I think that's a recipe for grief if your competitor finds out. If all of a sudden it's fair game to take traffic that is explicitly looking for them, then what will they consider fair game for you?

Last I checked, dropped domains get reset for ranking.

Really? How recent? I've bought drops this year that ranked just fine on new, related content.

joost




msg:4136527
 1:32 pm on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't touch a typo of my competitor. I think that's a recipe for grief if your competitor finds out. If all of a sudden it's fair game to take traffic that is explicitly looking for them, then what will they consider fair game for you?


You are absolutely right: it is not a tactic I would recommend to others. This particular business, however, is very competitive, and people compete with generic keyword domains, not branded domains. There are dozens of these typo variations of my domain, for instance, which others registered before I saw the need. So I guess (and hope) this competitor will learn to live with it, just as I have.

I've bought drops this year that ranked just fine on new, related content.


That's a great tip. It's good to know that part of the strategy still works.

martinibuster




msg:4136575
 2:34 pm on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Whatever backlinks dropped domains had won't count toward ranking. Backlinks get reset. This has been the case for several years now. Previous to the change the backlinks would acquire whatever PageRank they formerly had prior to the drop. After the change, which happened quite a few years ago, the backlinks got reset.

This change also affected typos with pre-existing backlinks. The pre-existing backlinks get reset.

I'm not saying you can't rank a dropped domain. Just that the backlinks get reset and this has been going on for years now. I remember when it happened, it was literally like overnight the expired domain market changed. I was fairly active buying dropped domains until this change happened. If I buy an expired domain nowadays it's for whatever traffic the links may bring, not for the equity.

Danny Sullivan discussed this issue with Matt Cutts [searchengineland.com] last year. If you need to hear it from Matt, help yourself. Here's an excerpt from the Danny Sullivan article:

Google’s Matt Cutts told me:

There are some domain transfers ( e.g. genuine purchases of companies) where it can make perfect sense for links to transfer. But at the same time it wouldn’t make sense to transfer the links from an expired or effectively expired domain, for example. Google (and probably all search engines) tries to handle links appropriately for domain transfers.

Adding further, he said:

The sort of stuff our systems would be designed to detect would be things like someone trying to buy expired domains or buying domains just for links.

Fgump910




msg:4136657
 4:04 pm on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great info everybody. I have what may be a silly question. Is there any way to acquire a site without these backlinks getting reset or discounted? At what point do engines realize that the domain is expired or transferred and actually devalue these links?

I was wondering if there is a way around this...perhaps by reaching out to the webmaster directly. Just curious!

wheel




msg:4136706
 5:23 pm on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is there any way to acquire a site without these backlinks getting reset or discounted?

Yes.
At what point do engines realize that the domain is expired or transferred and actually devalue these links?

Don't know. Common sense would suggest time until new content is in place would be measurable. Probably also the actual content that gets replaced as being similar (though I've seen some pretty gruesome exceptions to that).

I was wondering if there is a way around this...perhaps by reaching out to the webmaster directly. Just curious!

See? Now you're thinking! There are ways, that's certainly one.

martinibuster




msg:4136712
 5:30 pm on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is there any way to acquire a site without these backlinks getting reset or discounted?


wheel's answer and my answer seem to contradict, but they don't. :)

Fgump910




msg:4136804
 8:26 pm on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks guys!

The reason I asked is a pretty well known design blog is still up and running. He basically says that he is done blogging about 3 weeks ago, but makes no mention of his future plans. I really wanted to snatch it from him and get that juice baby!

p.s. don't

wheel




msg:4136823
 8:55 pm on May 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

What you've just described is a phone call, don't wait for it to drop. Give the owner some cash before anyone can compete.

The few drops I do pick up, I have a max bid of <$20. But I just made an exception, got a keyword rich .com just moments ago for about $1k. No site or history on it, somebody must've been sitting on it and let it drop. Absolutely bizarre. The only reason I even knew it existed was because I did a whois on it a few weeks ago and realized it was pending delete. Unbelelievable - the keywords are my second best trophy term and I got the domain.

It's going to take the weekend for me to calm down :).

CainIV




msg:4138050
 10:31 pm on May 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dropped get reset, I just tested on two domains

Hiding the whois means nothing to Google who has that data in my opinion irregardless.

You are much better trying to bid on the domain and get it before it drops.

Still a very good business decision when done right.

internetheaven




msg:4138289
 9:46 am on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Unbelelievable - the keywords are my second best trophy term and I got the domain.

It's going to take the weekend for me to calm down :).


Ah, those moments are great aren't they? Funniest one I ever had was where I sent an email offering £1,000 for a .co.uk domain (around a third of what we'd paid for the .com) - the email address on the whois bounced back. Six months later the domain was dropped and I got it for £5.

wheel




msg:4138878
 6:23 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I sent an email offering £1,000 for a .co.uk domain (around a third of what we'd paid for the .com) -

One of the other bidders would appear to be the owner of the ccTLD of the same term. They do not have a site developed on their domain. I might call and ask them if they'll take their last bid amount on the .com, for their ccTLD. Because they just defined what it's worth to them, right :).

Manga




msg:4140392
 4:57 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

An alternative to buying domains for seo is leasing them. That way you do not have to worry about anything resetting since as far as Google is concerned nothing has changed.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4141465
 8:20 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google makes over 300 small changes per year to their algorithm and those are rolled out unevenly (physically and in timeline) so attempting to label certainties in a state of flux is futile.

You CAN save the backlinks IF you put up the same content on the same url's and do so before they are deemed gone. You must restore ALL pages otherwise you disrupt the internal link structure and your link tree is broken. If you buy a domain in hopes os salvaging pagerank you buy the whole. When you attempt to shift the rank elsewhere you poison the tree. There are better ways to get ahead.

NoLimits




msg:4141867
 2:09 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have sites that I have removed all content from (years ago) - that retain their PR to this day. Anyone care to explain that if maintaining content and link structure is so critical?

penders




msg:4144551
 11:05 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have sites that I have removed all content from (years ago) - that retain their PR to this day.


A fluke? A glitch in the Google/Web Continuum?! Seriously, any sites where I've removed all content and not set up redirects elsewhere have (reasonably quickly) resulted in a PR of 0!

wheel




msg:4144567
 11:51 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have sites that I have removed all content from (years ago) - that retain their PR to this day. Anyone care to explain that if maintaining content and link structure is so critical?

Who said maintaining content or site structure has anything to do with PR? It clearly doesn't, so what you just described is 'working as expected'.

When you trash a site and the PR goes to 0, that's Google changing the PR calc - that's the exception. They've decided that outside the PR calc your site should go to 0.

NoLimits




msg:4146698
 2:08 am on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well...after a couple years with no content on the PR3 site I'm referring to - I'm going to re-launch the site with entirely new content in the next few weeks, so I'll be sure to note and report any changes.

mobernard




msg:4147143
 9:26 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

what I experienced over a quite large bunch of domains is (prerelease auctions and dropped domains), after getting them, setting a splash page, and submitting them into google webmasters:

* a pagerank appears on the next PR update, e.g. a reasonable one according to the backlinks
* on google webmasters, I can see the domain to get some results for some keywords or phrase
* after developing such a domain with a targeted website based on duplicated content, i get very decent results compared to a blank domain.

Thus, if a domain backlinks get somehow devaluated after a drop, this seems more a matter of partial loss than a total loss.

Question: if a dropped domain gets, let's say PR5, do you expect this PR5 to be significantly to another PR5 (in the same niche)?

fathom




msg:4176539
 11:35 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Little late to this thread but I spend an average $5-10K each month on expired domains for the past 5 years and ZERO have been reset.

I've found that "usually" the site owner(s) that use to link to a different website either removes their link in time or does a redesign and that's the cause of "lost juice".

Researching your choices is the key.

jk3210




msg:4176656
 3:43 pm on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

fathom, after you acquire a drop, what sort of site do you put on it? A copy of the old site? Similar content?

soxos




msg:4184750
 12:00 pm on Aug 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have sold 2 websites now, both projects which where too time consuming really, but good rankings, so I sold both (two seperate sales to 2 different people) very recently to my competitors for a good price. The rankings are exactly the same. Both domains have totally new whois data and both sites are hosted on new servers.

So I wonder what part of the sale is devalued? because doesnt seem to be in this case.. Why should it be? Because effectively all that happened was the business was sold.

But at which point does Google believe a business was sold OR a domain was bought for SEO? I struggle to see how Google can accurately predict the motives behind either case - perhaps if they smacked a 301 on it straight away, then yeah - but in any other case? I am not so sure.

Perhaps 3 factors are considered:
Downtime
Whois / ip changes
Content changes

S :)

Dreamcontest




msg:4192831
 11:32 pm on Aug 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

this is often somethign ive wondered about.. i would also like to know via fathom or anyone else who has done this is they replace the content with new stuff..

it would make sense that that links that have been created already may be taken down if it reaches the point that someone is willing to let the page expire like others have said here... but before i invest $$ in this i hope someone can clear the air a bit more :)

wheel




msg:4197994
 8:21 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dream, I think you'll find that the answer isn't precise. You may have to experiment, and what you may find is 'sometimes it works like this, and sometimes, it doesn't'. And why it goes one way or the other, hard to say.

I've bought a drop, thrown up a wordpress default install with 0 content, and 2-3 years later it's still showing great PR. I've bought a drop and thrown up great content, and huge PR drop fairly quickly.

Use your head, use some common sense, try a few things to see what works. Buying drops, or more specifically, catching them before they drop, is a low risk business. Plenty of domains out there for $10-$20. Go get 10 and try it out.

SEOPTI




msg:4198677
 6:30 pm on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would not spend $5-10K each month on expired domains, for this money you will get domains + projects.

wheel




msg:4198785
 8:03 pm on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not if you're getting them at $20/domain and getting them before they drop (i.e. they're not actually expired). that way you are getting the domains+projects.

potentialgeek




msg:4200439
 7:58 am on Sep 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Q. Is redirecting a large number of domains suspicious?
A. [youtube.com...] (Matt Cutts)

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