Using Old Domains for Search Engine Optimisation

So is buying old domains a good strategy for SEO…?

A couple of years ago I decided to research the SEO strategy of buying and acquiring old domains for the purpose of increasing natural rankings.

Before I tell you some of the strategies, here’s some information on a domain I purchased that goes against all the theories about resetting the rankings of a domain when the WHOIS information is changed.

I bought the domain from which is a drop domain catching service, and after 1 month transferred the domain to a new ISP, changed the DNS and hosting. A new Joomla site was installed and I built a few links to it and it still has its original ranking and page rank. This is now a quality web directory and is used for directory submissions.

Since then we have bought many domains, moved them etc and have never experienced a drop in page rank. There may be a drop in natural keyword rankings temporarily, but this is not something to worry about if you the domains purpose is for back links. As long as the domain maintains its page rank – that’s what matters!  To reinforce this point! Would Google penalise you for selling your domain or moving it from a poor web hosting provider. I doubt it!

We also study the backlinks of a lot of competitor sites before we engage with our clients, and time and time again, and I see keyword rich domains being used for back link purposes for a lot of the top ranking sites on the first page of Google.  These domains are sometimes purchased new and sometimes they are acquired and bought from the various domain drop catching services like, or These domains are not used for 301’ng purposes but for placing back links on to the target sites home pages and inner pages. This is a viable strategy for SEO link building, and is a strategy that is used by many.

Example: A website that is targeting ‘water sports’ keyword phrase.

A. SEO Short Term Strategy: Buying old domains.

(1)  Search for some relevant keyword rich domains that are up for auction, sale or about to expire. Go Daddy has an auction section where you can bid for domains.

Other places to get domains is where you can create an account and start searching for domains straight away.

Here’s a search on domains with the key phrase ‘water sports’

Here you can see some potential domain names that require some further research.

(2) Analyse the page rank, back links and check the SEO ranking using opensite explorer – a great free SEO tool.

This will confirm what the linking sites are and if the anchor text is relevant.

(3) Once you have found a well matched domain, make a bid and wait to see what happens.  If successful all you have to do is wait 30 days before you can change the registrar.

One disadvantage with is that they do not have a domain forwarding service so you have to move the domain out if youd don’t want to pay their high hosting prices.

B. SEO Longer Term Strategy: Buying new domains

(1)  Purchase 2-3 new domain names with the word ‘water sports’ in it. Try and restrict the domain names to 3 words and avoid hypens if you can. eg.

(2)  Populate these sites with different content that is relevant to your target keywords.  20 pages for each site.

(3)  Build links to these sites and aim to gain page rank of 2 with in a year. You will need to build back links using a mix of social media and other sources. Be sure to use the domain name as the anchor text from the backlink – this will give the site a natural link profile.

(4)  Use the domains and back link to your home page and inner category pages. Do not 301 the whole domain as the domain being 301’d will lose authority due to de indexing of the site. The backlinks to the 301’s site will still be passing link authority, but

(5)  You could 301 one of these domains

There is another way to purchase dropped domains by becoming a name registrar and building your own drop catching system but this option requires some technical expertise and a small pot of money. Only worth doing if you run a lot of website businesses.

Rankability can advise your company and implement these types of SEO strategies to get you to the top. Speak to one of our SEO consultants to find out more…


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