SEO Experiment: Alternative Expired Domains

By now, everybody is familiar with the expired domains gray-hat tactic. You purchase a bunch of expired domains in the same niche as your own and point them to your site with a 301 redirect. If you’re really thorough about it, you can also research each domain’s backlinks and contact their respective owners to point their links to your site, while replicating the old content. It might just work.

I do have an alternative use of expired domains, though:

SEO Satellite Sites

While it will take more time than the regular tactic, this one might yield better results, and it’s not gray hat any more.

Let’s start with a real world example:

Suppose you want to rank for “SEO services” in a specific location, so you’ll need to employ a combination of tactics.

1. Research 3 to 6 expired domains in your niche

Use a combination of keywords, such as, and also go for alternatives, such as Try to use regional TLDs, if possible, such as .ie and stick to .com, .net or .org (in this order).

Note that we do not own any of the domains above.

2. Replicate the previous content (up to 3 pages)

If the niche is really similar, even identical, try to replicate the previous content, and also check which pages have backlinks. In my case, I found lots of links pointing to an /about page, so I recreated that one.

You don’t need a CMS, you only need HTML and CSS in order to code the ultimate SEO landing page.

Try to keep the content relevant to your niche, keywords-rich and natural. Keep the pages simple, as you’re trying to rank for your keywords.

Keep the satellite sites isolated. Add them to Google Search Console and Google Analytics and wait. At some point, they will start to rank. You can even market them a little, share them or send them to friends.

Mine ranked organically after 1 month.

Note: These screenshots are from the old Google Analytics (GA3).

The only disadvantage of this method is the time required to set up each site, track it and measure it in Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

The last step is to, eventually, link to your main site. The satellite sites fulfilled their purpose. As they start ranking, they will push your main site up, which, in turn, will gain more popularity and more traffic.

If you’re happy with the outcome, let the satellite domains die out or expire after a year. If, out of these 3–6 sites, one looked more promising, keep it and keep adding content to it. Eventually, it will reach your main site’s SERP and even go higher.

An alternate last step would be to permanently redirect all these domains to your main site and try the initial expired domains strategy, i.e. contacting the backlink owners and asking them to change their links.

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