If you want to start a brand new project and want to get a little head start in the game then I would advise looking for just deleted domain names that already have a pretty decent DA (domain authority) or PA (page authority) with backlinks (websites linking to the deleted domain) already in place.
One of the places where you can look up recently deleted domains is https://www.expireddomains.net/deleted-domains/.
To narrow down the search you can filter the results by .com only and a keyword phrase that appears in the domain name.
In the example website https://www.expireddomains.net/deleted-domains/ they provide the number of backlinks, etc. already but I found out from experience that these numbers are NOT accurate and should be used as a guideline only!
The first thing we did is copy and paste the data into a spreadsheet to that we can sort and easily work on the list in front of us.
I sorted the columns by the number of backlinks, amount of traffic, etc. so that I could explore these further.
When I sorted the spreadsheet by the number of backlinks with the largest number first I examined the backlinks to see if they were spammy or all from just a few domains.
When doing research for a client we found some good domain names. We looked up what the website used to look like before the domain got deleted by using the WayBack machine.
Some of the websites did not relate to what the customer wanted to put up so we deleted these from the list.
The next step was to examine the backlinks of the top deleted domains that had the most backlinks.
I used the tools from Moz’s Link Explorer to take a closer look at the backlinks.
Ideally, this is what we were looking for:
- A large number of backlinks that are not spammy.
- The backlinks coming from many domain names that are not in the same IP block.
- Backlinks that match your language.
- Backlinks from websites that relate to the website that you want to put up.
It was discovered that there were only a few worth looking at. One of the sites we had thousands of backlinks pointing to the old domain name but they were not of high value and although the site had a DA (domain authority) of 24 we chose not to use this one. Domain authority is ranked from 1 (brand new site) to 100 (a super authoritative site like Google, Amazon, eBay, etc.).
The next step was checking the amount of traffic to the old website that got deleted.
In another column from the deleted domain list, it had an estimate for the amount of traffic that visited this deleted domain’s website. We double checked this estimated number with the result that Spyfu showed us. The amount of traffic was within fair range with what the deleted domain name website showed us.
Another way to research this is to see how many times this website was mentioned on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. One quick easy way to do this is doing a search in Google using the domain name between quotes like this. “examplesite.com”. This will show you all the websites out there that use exactly this domain name on other websites.
Deciding on a domain name
Since we did not find any super positive domain names we decided to start out with a fresh one. One of the first steps we did is run what she wanted the website to be about through a thesaurus and created a list of similar keyword phrases that related to what she wanted and ran them through a traffic estimator like the tool that Moz uses.
The next step after we found out what phrases were searched for the most we plugged them into Google Trends to see how the searches for each phrase did throughout time. Using one of the Moz tools it also showed us how hard it was to rank for each keyword phrase that we had on our list. This would be very important in determining to build a website around or possibly picking a domain name.
After the client has decided what domain name to use and finding out it was available, (it had many searches, was steadily growing in interest in Google Trends, and was not to difficult to rank for) I told her that we should look at her keyword phrase that she wanted to use as a domain name in the SERPs (search engine results pages). It was discovered that on the first two pages of Google The keyword phrase was part of the domain name or a page of the domain name telling us that having the keyword phrase in the domain name was still a huge ranking factor in this example.
Note: It used to be easy to rank for a website by purchasing a domain name that used the keyword phrase within its URL. This is no longer the case. But there are examples sometimes where this still rings true. The domain the client picked happen to be one of these examples.
In the SERPs, I used the Moz Tool Bar to quickly give us an overview on the DA (domain authority), PA (page authority), and links for each site that was ranking in Google. An overview of this data showed that a website that used the keyword phrase had a low DA and PA but still outranked a website with a much higher DA and PA just by the simple fact that its keyword phrase was in its domain name. Another thing that was noticed was that these two sites still beat out giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy!
It was decided at this moment to use the domain name that the client picked out. But there was a problem…
The domain name she picked up would be easy to rank for, had a high organic click-through rate (which means that the likelihood that people will read the domain name will find what they are looking for when they click the link) and had potential.
So what was the problem? It broke the cardinal rules of picking a domain name.
- Easy to Spell
- Easy to Remember
- And is ‘catchy’
The domain name was not any of these because it was hard to spell, pronunciation, and remember but I told her not to despair. We could purchase another domain name that was easy to spell, remember, etc and just have it forward to her excellent keyword phrase domain name. This way she could tell her clients over the phone, on the radio, etc. the simplier version domain name and it will just forward to her keyword rich, more accurate description domain name. She would be getting the best of both worlds.
Be looking for part two in this series of a new SEO project.