February 15th, 2012 Add Your Comments Bookmark and Share

Sometimes when you’re surfing around you just happen to come across an idea that is so stupid it might just work. I had one of those ideas 3 days ago and within 24 hours I’d doubled the traffic to a website and “the idea” had covered its own costs. I don’t mind sharing this one becuase 1. It involves some work (so that’ll count 90% of you out for a start :)) and 2. It can be used for any website.

It’s all do do with aged domains. In the past I wrote an application for finding valuable expired domain names (domains that either had residual traffic or backlinks). Depending on how much work you want to put in either 301 redirecting these to an existing website or rebuilding the domain up are easy ways of getting a short term boost in Google. Unfortunately since the Yahoo search API was pulled that application isn’t working, I’ll probably fix it at some point. The thing I stumbled upon a few days ago isn’t so much the domain research as finding an actual source for potential valuable expired domains. The big secret is forums.

I was on an AV forum (not that AVforums) looking for some information about getting a spare remote for an old TV I have when I saw that amongst the many posts people would recommend a website without hyper-linking it, don’t know if it was a forum restriction. I copy and pasted the URL and found that the domain was dead. Strange. Then again lots of brick and mortar businesses start websites that they then find to be too much hassle so they just leave them. Inventory management can be a massive ball ache! However these types of real world business websites tend to gather impressive links (from local news stories, business directories, suppliers etc), backed up by the natural citation I’d found in this case. So once I’d checked the domain was available (yep) it was straight over to Majestic SEO to have a look at the domains backlink history. The top 5 backlinks (out of over 1100) were all from web pages with a minimum Page Rank of 3. Any idea how much 5 PR3+ links would cost? I bought the domain for $9.99 and redirected it there and then to a page on one of my websites that deals with finding good TV deals in the UK. Within 24 hours that website which hadn’t seen more than 20 visitors a day for over 12 months was hitting nearly 50 a day and I made my first sale from it in more than 6 months. I’m up to 2 for this week now.

This got me thinking that maybe there were more domains out there like this. Domains that were (at 1 point) attached to real businesses and that attracted attention from real online forum communities. You don’t find many genuine forum users recommending “Jims Autopost WordPress Product Splog”. I’ve found 4 so far in just the 1 niche and having spent no more than an hour or so playing around doing it.

The Method

1. Think of the primary keyword for you target domain/page, do a Google search for “that phrase” + forum

2. For each forum you get back do a further search in Google. This time you are searching for any mentions of a domain within the forum. So for example if I was searching AVForums.com for .net domains I would use:-

“*.net” inurl:www.avforums.com ****

Important Bit:- Do this several times over replacing the *.net with other domain extensions but DO NOT use the extension of the forum domain e.g. in this case .com The real gold in doing this will be found by checking local domains, for example, .com.au , .co.uk, .ie etc but it’s also worth doing all mainsstream TLDs (.net, .org, .info) The fact the domain will likely not be keyword targetted tends to mean it bypasses the bulk domain buying tw@ts who buy up these things as soon as they expire.

3. When you get the results back do not worry about clicking each search result, just copy and paste the found domain from the results page into your favourite domain name registration service, I use Namecheap for this, to see if it is available. The vast majority will still be active websites, you’re looking for the odd one that isn’t.

4. If it’s available now put it into Majestic SEO and get some history on the domain (you can get a free Majestic SEO account here).

5. It has some backlinks? Excellent, you can now follow the link provided in Majestic SEO to see what sort of quality page the link resides on.

6. Find more than 1 or 2 PR2 or better followed links and all of a sudden the few dollars for the domain has more than paid for itself.

A couple of things to note. This tends to work because you’ll usually find small business owners offering up advice on forums for the chance to mention their business. 3 years down the line that business might not exist. Also, don’t limit yourself to niche specific forums, think locales as well 🙂 Finally, you know you are doing something right when Google starts to challenge you thinking you are making automated queries. Don’t be panicked by this, if you get challenged just complete the Captcha and carry on – you are after all doing this manually how Google likes.

I have a list of over 70 forums that I’ve got to check and that’s just for 1 idea. I know it’s not exactly the most fun job in the world but I’m just checking the odd one as and and when I get bored doing other things. In those few days since I started this I’ve found 4 domains that were worth buying and I’ve got another on the list that has expired and is just pending.

****Now I know that that this example with AVForums is rubbish, but honestly there is no way I’m going to give out specific domains I’ve tried this with. After the $100 Adsense day debacle I have learned my lesson and hell you don’t even want to know what this post did to the price of scrapbooking keywords on 7Search!