Digital Marketing

Find expired domains using Ahrefs

28th of August, 2019

One less-popular but surprisingly effective SEO strategy I’ve come across as an SEO has been 301 redirecting expired domains.

Questions about expired domains

What’s an expired domain?

An expired domain is simply a domain that has been expired and has now become available to re-buy at a standard domain registration price.

Why would you want an expired domain?

The use of an expired domain is simply to build upon its pre-established reputation and/or 301 redirect it towards a money-site.

How do you find expired domains?

There are multiple ways! However, throughout my time as an SEO, using Ahrefs (a paid tool), combined with a few other free tools, has to be one of the best methods I’ve seen out there!

Use Ahrefs to find expired domains

Prerequisites for this guide

Below is a list of prerequisites that you’ll need to continue with this guide. However, realistically, the only money you’ll need to spend is for Ahrefs.

Step 1) Find a high-authority and similar-niche competitor

Searching for a non-localised broad term in Google
Source: www.google.com

In order to find this, simply Google your primary keyword in the broadest term and see who pops-up first.

You’re likely going to have the most success with big brands with domain authorities of 70+ in my opinion. Therefore, most localised searches won’t work for this.

Step 2) Put the domain into Ahrefs’ site explorer

Ahrefs' broken links checker
Source: ahrefs.com

There are 3 very simple steps you need to follow for this part:

  1. Open Ahrefs’ site explorer and enter in the domain of your competitor.
  2. Once you’ve done this, click on the Broken Links tool.
  3. Finally, export your list of broken links.

Step 3) Copy all the URLs into a URL-to-domain tool

Using Website SEO Checker's Extract URL to Domain tool
Source: websiteseochecker.com
  1. Open your CSV using Excel or OpenOffice and copy all the domains under the Link URL column.
  2. Once you’ve copied this, add in into this URL-to-domain tool and be sure to:
    1. Uncheck the include subdomain setting.
    2. Check the remove duplicates setting.
    3. Check the convert domains to lowercase setting.
  3. Remove duplicates, convert domains to lowercase.
  4. Finally, copy the list of domains the tool outputs.

Step 4) Bulk search a domain registrar with your list of domains

Using Name.com to batch search domains in order to check their availability
Source: name.com

Bulk search the list of domains you got from the URL-to-domain tool using a domain registrar such as Name.com.

Once you’ve done this, copy all the available domains into a separate file, as we’ll be searching these in Ahrefs in the next step.

Step 5) Use Ahrefs to analyse the domain’s value

Using Ahrefs' Batch Analysis tool in order to find domain attribute for multiple domains
Source ahrefs.com

Put your list of available domain names from your domain registrar into Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool.

Once you think you’ve found a decent-enough domain, go check it’s backlinks using the Ahrefs’ Backlink tool accordingly.

You’ve found an expired domain, what next?

Firstly, go and buy it!

Once you’ve done that, it’s entirely up to you on if you want to use it and build upon its current reputation or using Google’s Change of Address tool and 301 redirecting the site instead.

Either way, something to look out for is the 404 errors in your search-console. As in order to maximise the potential of the expired domain, you’ll need to redirect these accordingly too.

Any other useful domain tips?

Are there any other useful tips which you’ve felt I’ve missed within this guide for finding valuable expired domains?

If so, I’d love to hear about them! Please be sure to drop me a comment below, in order to let me know.