The Ultimate Guide to Buying Deleted Domains

Every day, I browse through lists of dropped domains to find some hidden gems among the discarded junk. Upon observation, I know that 99 percent of individuals have no idea what makes a domain valuable in the first place. This is partly due to Godaddy and their outlandish commercials which attract all types of people into the domain and web development niche. The biggest question is:

Why don’t more people simply buy dropped domain names with previous backlinks and trust?

If you don’t know exactly what deleted/dropped domain name is, then refer to this image:


A couple reasons to buy expired domains are:

  • Has backlinks already pointing to the domain
  • May receive referral and organic traffic in Google, Yahoo! and Bing
  • Has a previous stamp of approval if strong websites linked to it
  • Lowers the cost of entering your niche/industry for the cost of a reg fee
  • Saves time brainstorming a new brand and lets you focus on content and marketing skills

If you’re looking to hand register a brand new domain, then I recommend trying a solid expired domain or two if it’s your first time. You’ll be hooked after a few buys because it’s fun to discover a hidden gem and helps you pick better domains if you don’t already know what makes a domain valuable in the first place.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Browsing for Expired Domains

First thing each morning, I head over to and spend a couple minutes going through the deleted and pending delete domains. This tool is simply amazing and FREE!

ExpiredDomains lets you search a ton of criteria such as domain length, pagerank, WhoIs creation date, without hypens or numbers, keywords, omitted keywords, TLD, etc. XXX transfer into expired status every day so you’ll save a ton of time using it. What would take 3 hours if done manually can be achieve in minutes.

I like to search for domains that are:

  • Free to register
  • .COM
  • Fewer than 20 characters
  • Without hypens
  • Without numbers
  • At least 10 MOZ External Links
  • DA of at least 20
  • Easy to Spell
  • Preferred 2 words

Once I sort out the domains, I export the domains into an excel sheet then copy them one by one in Notepad. This step is important because you’ll need to check the backlinks to see if it’s worth buying.

Another amazing way to find expired domains with backlinks is searching through old niche directories. I’ve only started using this method recently so check out this helpful article for more information on buying dropped domains. Searching through directories will reveal plenty of gems so don’t ignore this fairly uncommon method.

2. Check the Backlinks

You should have a nice list of domains by now if you used ExpiredDomains and searched manually through directories. Next, you investigate the backlinks using OpenSiteExplorer. It’s free to use but you need to create a Moz account to access the tool. Next, enter the domains and check their backlinks to see who is linking to the domain.

I look for 2 main things when investigating backlinks:

  • High PR backlinks pointed to the domain
  • Links pointing to top pages that you could rebuild and develop

Potential buyers LOVE domains with high pagerank backlinks pointing to them and your selling point gets much stronger with these kinds of links. PR3+ backlinks are extremely valuable so be sure to include this information when negotiating with an end user. If he knows about SEO, then high PR backlinks will help the domain rank higher in Google quicker and faster.

Always, always, always check the backlinks of any domain before you sell it. I’ve gotten emails concerning domains just because the buyer wanted the pagerank juice from the backlinks.

If you can’t sell your domain right away,  why not rebuild a few pages and monetize it until a buyer comes along? It’s a great way to build a longer term asset or prepare a potential domain flipping opportunity.

3. Buy the Domain

Register the domain name and either park it or throw up a quick WordPress website. Monitor your traffic through Cpanel or install Google Analytics. Next, find end users to contact that may benefit by owning your domain. Be sure to mention the aged backlinks pointing to the domain during negotiations.

Companies spend up to $1,000 per month for just 1 High PR backlink so your domain saves them a lot of money in the long run. Website owners may take down the backlinks but most only replace broken links. If you registered the domain, then your links should be safe for at least a couple months. I have never personally verified if a link has changed so I’m guessing many other bloggers operate similarly.


The deleted domain method is a wonderful strategy for hand reg domainers with an added twist. You now own a high valuable domain that’s been previously built out and has high value backlinks pointing to it. Using this strategy helps me focus on only acquiring valuable domains and prevents wasting time and money on horrible domains.

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