Expired domains: why and how to recover them?

Many SEOs are interested in expired domains. Indeed, a good referencing in Google is links + content. To have content, it is “sufficient” to write it (requires time and know-how) or outsource it (requires budget).

What are “links”? How to get them?

Google highlights websites that have links from other sites.

If the ENA, the Elysée or a Le Figaro type media link to an E-commerce page, this page will be considered very interesting by Google and it will offer it more to Internet users.

Obviously, it is not easy to obtain a link from prestigious sites. This requires relationships… or the budget to buy a publication with a link in a national media for example. But it is expensive: around €2 excluding tax. Imagine if you buy several…

Expired domains offer an alternative for those with time and a more limited budget.

What is an expired domain used for?

How to make it profitable?

Manuel Cebrian found a nice example of expired domain name (NDD) usage on Twitter.

The first place in Google on the query "best grinder" is still laurent-fabius.net at the time of writing the article:

What happened to this domain?

Why is it ranked so highly in Google?

Active since 2005, lauren-fabius.net is of course originally the site of the French politician, member of the Socialist Party:

old site laurent fabius

He decided from 2013 to opt for laurentfabius.fr and set up a 302 redirect:

302 redirection

This is a first mistake because 302 redirect does not at the time pass SEO juice like a 301 redirect, while nothing prevents setting up a 301 if not a misunderstanding of natural referencing.

Second error then: not renew domain name while it brings SEO weight (the links from the old site point to the new one).

Even in 2022, the site still retains links from its first life:

old site seo links

The SEO therefore started with a link base for his new project.

He has made a very clean technical site and has rethematized by getting some links DIY-related:

new links set up on expired domain

It is not enough to recover an expired domain name with potential to win automatically.

There is an element of risk in the operation:

  1. The new owner may lack the time/money to operate it properly.
  2. Google may notice the maneuver and not give it the natural positions it deserves given its links.
  3. Legal risk in case of registered trademark etc.

For the record, the laurentfabius.fr site is now also abandoned; which handyman will succeed in seizing it?

site down inaccessible

When does a domain name expire?

Here's the lifecycle of an expired domain, based on an infographic by sketchlex.com :

domain name life cycle

After its active reservation between 1 to 10 years, if it is not renewed after a period of grace and redemption (more expensive), the site becomes reservable again.

It is when it is at the end of its life that SEOs, sometimes from all over the world, will fight to recover the domain name.

How do I find and buy an expired domain?

Generally :

  1. Either the expired domain has great potential and several platforms will compete at auction for their customers, charging for this service (“snap”).
  2. Either it has too few links and/or an unmarketable theme and it may be possible to retrieve it for free.

Find a free expired domain name?

To familiarize yourself with expired NDDs, I advise you to register on the free platform expireddomains.net.

You can use different filters to select a domain that is a priori desirable:

free expired domain name search

I say "a priori" because the competition being tough, the best domains go to auction before they expire.

Do you think you have found a nugget? Remember to take a good look at its history on archive.org. The site may have had several lives, including the resale of knockoff Nike Air Max.

Participate in auctions on an expired domain name

The battle will be done through different specialized platforms, which will try with their robot to capture the domain as soon as possible as soon as it is back in the wild (less than a second ;)).

To learn more about the available platforms, I recommend this video by David Chelly:

It should be understood that it is not enough to place an alert on the domains soon to expire to recover them. You will face an army of robots and it will be a question of being the highest bidder on the platforms to win.

If you are really attached to a domain name, you will be the highest bidder on all platforms. You will only be charged on the platform where you won.

And it can go very high; it's up to you to invest correctly!

record sale expired domain name

Classic auctions and sales on GoDaddy

GoDaddy is one of the web's leaders in domain name registration.

His activity is so important that he organizes the auction of expiring domain names. Internet users can also try to resell their domains.

buy resell expired domains godaddy

Be careful, because these are domains that do not necessarily have SEO potential but commercial potential for their name according to their seller.

Criteria for finding a quality domain

Jerome Pasquelin launched a training course dedicated to the search for quality expired NDDs.

He shared great insights at an SEOCamp'Us Conference in Paris in 2020:

I earned my first income on the web in 2012 by developing and monetizing the traffic of my sites (AdSense ...).


Since 2013 and my first professional services, I have had the opportunity to participate in the development of more than 450 sites in more than +20 countries.

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