Buying Dead Competitor’s Domain Names

Often time’s companies will go out of business and abandon their website’s domain names. These domain names often hold value even though the company is no longer in business. One SEO technique is buying up domain names pointing them at your website.

How to find the right domain names

Local Business Method:

Something I have used to find domain names is Yahoo Local. Not to bash Yahoo, but your business listings are often old and out dated. What this means is you can often find companies in their listings that are no longer in business. This method is great because if you are a local business you can find your dead competitors and scavenge links from their dead carcasses. Search for your targeted locations and keywords. I found that usually about 1 in 10 of the listings on Yahoo Local is dead. Jackpot now you found a potential domain, but how do you know if it is worth buying or even for sale?

Check if the domain is for sale

I often use GoDaddy to purchase domains because you can often buy a .com domain for under $5 with different GoDaddy promotions they may be running. Search for the domain name on GoDaddy is it for sale? If so now we need to determine its value.

GoDaddy Auctions

At GoDaddy Auctions you can find recently expired domain names. With the advance search you can usually find a few expired domain names with the keywords you are targeting.

Moonsy Expired Domains

How Long has the domain name been dead?

I use the Wayback Machine to test approximately when the domain name was last in service. If a domain has been dead for several months or years, often buying it will have little or no SEO benefit.

Does the domain name have active inbound links?

Are the active inbound links spammy?

There are several online tools that can tell you if a domain name has spammy links here are a few examples:

  • A Hrefs has a nice tool to check domain backlinks
  • Majestic has several tools to help you determine if a domain name has good SEO associated with it.
  • MOZ Open Site Explorer is great for recently expired domains.

You are trying to get better results in Google, so why not check to see if the domain name already has indexed pages by searching:

This search will return a lot of the indexed backlinks in Google. It should show anywhere the domain name is mentioned, but not on the domain name itself. Of course Google is not perfect, but if these results are too small you will know that the website probably has little authority.

If the active inbound links seem to good to be true, or if there are thousands of links from foreign language websites, then the domain is spammy and you should avoid purchasing it.

Is buying expired domain names a valid SEO tactic?

Yes, there is short term and fast benefit gained from buying theses expired domains. But you should be very cautious because buying the wrong domain could hurt more than it helps.

There are many strategies in finding expired domain names that I did not mention. If you a have a favorite way of finding or evaluating expired domain names, please share it in the comments below.