Imagine how HORRIFIED you would be…
…if you discovered that a Catholic English school you linked out to from your .edu domain was no longer an English school, but now a budget plastic surgery site?
And just imagine how GRATEFUL you would be to the person who pointed that out?
You’d want to return the favour right?
This is the principle behind expired domain link building and why it WORKS.
In the video below I’m going to take you through the entire expired domain link building process, from prospecting to outreach using my favourite tools for link building: ExpiredDomains.net, Majestic SEO and BuzzStream.
I made a little niche site about laminate flooring just for this video, so all the outreach you see is REAL and I even landed an amazing link on a PR4 page whilst filming!
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Here’s the FULL TRANSCRIPT and an explanation for each step of the process:
Expired domain link building is when you find an expired domain and tell everyone who’s linking to it that they’re linking to an expired domain and then suggest your link as a replacement.
Expired domains can take many forms…
Sometimes they’ll be a parked domain like this:
Often they’ll be a 404 page and other times, they’ll have been hijacked and transformed into a low quality one page site that is totally unrelated to what the old domain used to be.
E.g. this domain, which was once owned by a Catholic English language school, is now a dodgy plastic surgery site:
For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ve created a little niche site called LaminateFloorBlog.com:
You see, I used to be in the laminate flooring industry back when I was working in China, so I know A LOT about the industry!
The particular page I want to build links to is all about how to clean laminate flooring the right way. (Incase you were wondering, the right way is with microfiber mops!)
To find expired domains go to ExpiredDomains.net and type in your keyword, e.g. “floor”.
Sort the results by DP (Domain Pop = number of backlinks from different domains) to find the best opportunity. This one really stood out:
Open up the site in a new browser window to make sure it is indeed expired (sometimes the sites on ExpiredDomains.net are still live).
Go to Archive.org and enter the domain into the Wayback Machine to see what the site was before it expired:
Click on the time period when the site looked like it was fully operational:
This site turned out to be a flooring manufacturer that had its own laminate flooring collection, making it a great fit for expired domain link building:
To find out who’s linking to the site use Majestic SEO
Go to Majestic SEO and download the backlinks of all the URLs linking to the root domain:
High Trust Flow and similarly high Citation Flow is a good sign of a decent backlink profile:
The more those two match up the better!
Download backlinks in Excel format, select all and sort by Source Trust Flow, Largest to Smallest:
Why sort by Source Trust Flow?
Because Trust Flow tells you…
- Exactly how much link juice a site will pass on to you
- And sites with high Trust Flow
- …have more trusted sites linking to them
- Which means you ONLY want links from these sites
- And can quickly decide which sites you DON’T want links from
Copy all Source URLs with Source Trust Flow above 10 (because you only want links from quality sites).
In the video example only 1,417 of the 76,785 URLs had a Source Trust Flow above 10, which just goes to show why it’s so important to do this!
Paste the URLs into Ontolo’s Remove Duplicate Host Names tool to de-dupe the list. (If you have Scrapebox use that instead).
Copy the de-duped list of URLs and create a new Excel sheet.
In this new Excel you’re going to…
- Strip the URLs to their root domains
- Run the root domains through Majestic SEO
- Delete any root domains with Trust Flow below 9
- And prepare the list for email outreach
Name the first column “Linking From” and paste in the de-duped list.
Now, delete any broken URLs, then use Ontolo’s Extract Unique Hostnames tool to strip the URLs to their host and put the unique domains into a separate column named “Domain”.
Here’s what it should look like once you’re done:
In the video example this left me with 327 prospects (down from 1,417).
From now on let’s call this Excel the “Primary Excel”, because this is the one you’ll be working in throughout the rest of the tutorial.
Now it’s time to check the Trust Flow of the root domains.
Because even if a URL has high Trust Flow, it DOES NOT mean the entire domain is trustworthy.
That’s why you MUST also check the root domain’s Trust Flow to catch the sites that slipped through the net and remove them from your list of prospects.
Copy the first 150 root domains from your Excel.
Because the Bulk Backlink Checker tool you’ll run them through in the next step can process a maximum of 150 URLs at a time.
This tool is in Majestic SEO > Tools > Bulk Backlinks:
Paste the URLs into the Bulk Backlink Checker and click the Check Backlink Counts button:
Download the report, copy these 3 columns: Item, RefDomains and TrustFlow, and paste into the Primary Excel:
Rename the Item column, “Domain” and repeat the process for each remaining block of 150 domains.
Select all and sort by Trust Flow (Largest to Smallest):
Then remove anything below Trust Flow 9 or 10:
(This condensed my list of prospects from 327 to 305).
Finally, delete domains not worth contacting, e.g. Wikipedia, competitors, sites with less referring domains, etc.
This will leave you with much less prospects (151 in my case), but only quality, relevant sites:
You can now remove the RefDomains and TrustFlow columns from the Excel.
I add a Link Tag to keep track of my prospects later in BuzzStream. (This is a Custom Field I created in BuzzStream to keep track of each set of prospects I upload):
Email outreach with BuzzStream
You are now ready to begin outreach with BuzzStream!
Login and create a new project for the post you’re building links to:
Name your project:
And enter the URL of the page you’re building links to:
Upload your list of prospects to the project via the Link Monitoring tab:
When you upload the file, make sure the data fields match up correctly:
Whilst BuzzStream is scraping contact details from those sites, you can create an email template for outreach:
Use the [ul:Linking From] field:
By the time you’ve finished creating your email template BuzzStream should have finished scraping those contact details!
Sort by discovered contact info and select all the people BuzzStream found emails for so you can begin outreach IMMEDIATELY:
(Naturally, for the remaining contacts BuzzStream couldn’t find emails for you’ll either need to visit those sites yourself or outsource the research to someone else).
Click “Start Outreach” and choose the email template you just created:
The [ul:LinkingFrom] field should now be replaced with the correct URL:
You can schedule your emails for later or send now:
After just sending 4 emails I received this reply:
Which was a VERY nice link on a PR4 page:
And that’s my process for expired domain link building! I hope it helps you create your own efficient routine!
I just wanted to share with you the exact way I build links using expired domains because this is one of the main methods I’ve been using to build a ton of links to my new niche site and take my traffic from 220 visits a day to over 500 a day in less than a month:
I’d like to give a big shout out to Brian Dean of Backlinko for introducing me to link building with expired domains in his post about SEO for Ecommerce, also to Aaron Hawkins who taught how to get the most out of Majestic SEO and most importantly to Matthew Woodward for his EPIC guide on how to create and optimize YouTube videos!
Here’s a recap of the tools I used in the tutorial:
And if you’re looking for more KICK ASS resources on expired domain link building be sure to check these posts out:
Leveraging expired domains to build links is hands down one of the most effective link building techniques out there!
It took me a hell of a lot of time to learn Illustrator, iMovie, Powerpoint, video editing and put this whole damn thing together, so please do share if you liked it
Also do make sure you subscribe to my brand spanking new YouTube Channel: Clambr Up to get more over the shoulder videos just like this one!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and if you have any questions about expired domain link building, or a suggestion for my next video please leave them in the comments below.