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How do you find expiring domains?

7 min read
Brett Farmiloe

To help you navigate the complex world of expiring domains, we've gathered ten invaluable tips from top industry leaders, including marketing managers and web strategists. These experts share insights ranging from using dedicated tools for domain tracking to targeting relevant keywords on domain marketplace platforms. Dive into their specific strategies to enhance your domain search process.

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1. Use dedicated tools for domain tracking

As someone who's been in the Internet marketing industry for years, I've learned that finding valuable expiring domains can be a goldmine. My best tip is to use dedicated tools and services that track expiring domains, like ExpiredDomains.net or GoDaddy Auctions.

Be specific about your search criteria. Consider factors like domain age, backlink profile, and SEO metrics. A domain with a good backlink profile and decent SEO metrics can give you a head start.

However, be mindful of any potential penalties the domain may have incurred in the past. Always conduct a thorough background check before committing.

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Simon Brisk, Director, Click Intelligence Ltd

2. Investigate domain history and spam signs

Review the domain's archive and hosting history, focusing on changes in ownership or content. Investigate anchor texts for spam signs related to Viagra, casino, or any foreign language anchors. 

Scan the Google index for remaining spam-like content and monitor the domain's organic traffic trends via Ahrefs or Semrush. Significant traffic drops could indicate shady link-building activities that need a closer look at historical links.

Connect the domain to the Google Search Console to detect any manual penalties. If none are found, and the domain passes all checks, it can be considered a good, clean domain.

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Ilija Sekulov, Marketing and SEO, Mailbutler

3. Leverage GoDaddy Auctions and bid strategically

Leverage domain marketplace platforms like GoDaddy Auctions to find expiring domains. GoDaddy has a dedicated section for expiring domains, where domains about to become available for auction can be found. 

Use the search filters provided to narrow down options based on criteria such as keywords, domain length, extension, and traffic. Analyze each domain's SEO metrics, backlink profile, and potential penalties before placing a bid. 

Monitor the watchlist regularly and bid strategically within the budget. Prioritize quality over quantity and choose domains that align with the SEO strategy. GoDaddy Auctions is a reliable platform that can help secure valuable expiring domains for SEO efforts.

Unlock the power of expiring domains with GoDaddy Auctions! Leverage search filters, analyze SEO metrics, and bid strategically for quality domains. Maximize the SEO strategy today!

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Dhruv Shah, Digital Marketing Manager, Yegital

4. Discover domains via niche-specific forums

One often overlooked tip for searching expiring domains is to research niche-specific forums. These forums provide a unique perspective and potential access to expiring domains that may not be widely listed elsewhere. 

By actively taking part in these communities and engaging with fellow members, you can discover domain owners sharing upcoming expiring domains or getting recommendations on valuable domain opportunities. For example, in a technology-focused forum, you may come across discussions where individuals mention their expiring domains related to software development. 

Engaging in such conversations can help you discover relevant and valuable domain names that align with your industry or niche.

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Ben Lau, Founder, Featured SEO Company

5. Employ domain lists and backorder services

Use a domain name expired list. There are several websites that list expiring domains. These websites can be a great way to find domains that are about to expire and that may be available for purchase. Use a domain name backorder service. 

A domain name backorder service will allow you to place a bid on a domain name that is about to expire. If the domain name expires and is not renewed by the current owner, the backorder service will purchase the domain name for you. 

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Brenton Thomas, CEO, Twibi

6. Focus on quality and set keyword alerts

When hunting for expiring domains, use specialized search tools or platforms like GoDaddy Auctions and ExpiredDomains.net. These provide comprehensive databases of expiring or expired domains.

Then, focus on quality, not just availability. Consider the domain's history. You can use tools like the Wayback Machine to check if the site had reputable content. Avoid domains that were used for spammy practices, as they might be penalized by search engines.

Next, consider the domain authority (DA) using tools like Moz. A higher DA might provide some SEO advantages. Remember, the key is not just to find an expiring domain, but to find one that can add value to your online presence.

Finally, set alerts for keywords related to your business on these platforms. This way, when a domain with your targeted keywords is about to expire, you'll get a notification. To sum up, you want to secure a domain with a clean history that will bring you value, rather than extra work!

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Dylan Nichol, Website Strategist, Glenire Digital

7. Manually search for keyword-focused domains

Searching for domains by desired keywords has always been my favorite method for finding new domains, especially ones that are soon to expire. 

This is a somewhat slower approach to finding expiring domains, but when you find them, you find domains that fit your niche, industry, and keywords. 

I like to do all of this manually, and although it takes more time, the quality of domains I find is significantly better.

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Cath Brands, Chief Marketing Officer, Flintfox

8. Refine results with advanced search filters

My tip when searching for expiring domains is to use advanced search filters. Many registrars offer powerful filtering options that allow you to narrow down your results by TLD (top-level domain), keyword relevance, length of the domain name, and even by the age of the domain. 

By using these filters, you can further refine your search results to only display those domains that meet your criteria.

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Tristan Harris, Demand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Digital Marketing Agency

9. Choose between subdomains and subfolders wisely

Google does not favor one option over the other. However, there are some pros and cons to using each method.

Google can treat this subdomain as a separate site, so the number of backlinks should be allocated to a separate domain. However, this point is negated if you set up internal linking correctly. A subdomain is more difficult to manage from a technical point of view. Also, each subdomain requires a separate robots.txt and sitemap.xml.

To determine which is better, you need to analyze the niche in which you work or will work. From experience, it is seen that projects, for example, in the iGaming niche, use the subfolder option more often. And in the essay-writing niche, they use a subdomain more often. Therefore, make the final decision from the SEO point of view after analyzing your competitors.

If there are two options, choose the solution that will be easier for you and your developers to manage.

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Victor Karpenko, CEO, SeoProfy

10. Target relevant keywords on domain marketplace platforms

As the CEO of an insurance marketing agency, the best tip for searching for expiring domains is to utilize specialized domain marketplace platforms. These platforms offer valuable insights into expiring domains, including their metrics, backlink profiles, and historical data. 

One unique approach is to target domains with relevant industry keywords, ensuring alignment with the insurance niche and increasing the chances of reaching the target audience effectively. Prioritizing domains with strong domain authority and quality backlinks provides significant SEO benefits and a solid foundation for digital marketing efforts. 

Through the strategic use of specialized platforms, keyword targeting, and evaluation of domain authority, successful identification and acquisition of expiring domains that have enhanced the online presence and contributed to the marketing success at Stratosphere have been achieved.

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Casey Preston, CRO and Founder, Stratosphere

Disclaimer: Opinions belong to the authors alone and does not necessarily represent the views of GoDaddy. All trademark rights belong to their respective owners. Third-party trademarks are used here for demonstrative and educational purposes only, use does not represent affiliation or endorsement.