Hi Guys! You're about to read our first guide about finding domains for your PBN. Take a cup of your favorite drink, sit back and ...enjoy! Who doesn't like a good fat PBN link? For PBN's we're using expired domains. These are of interest for the links they earned before termination. But here's the problem. Websites can become cluttered with a lot of harmful stuff during their life. Let's be honest: who will abandon a successful site? Who brakes up with a hot girlfriend? Do you often see people throwing the cash around? Yes, that's stupid, that's why it doesn't normally happen. And that's why we should triplicate our scepticism during domain search. Good websites are abandoned only when force majeure happens. Usually these are sad things like owner's death or liquidation of a company / organization. That's why good expired domains are rare and finding one is a sterling opportunity. Here's how expired domain search funnel actually looks like: After checking a couple of thousand domains you understand that it's a tough racket. And you become not so picky as you'd like to be. A site that doesn't have a big hairy kitty pic on homepage now seems a gem. BUT! It's not enough that the domain seems to be ok. It should be ok. Otherwise the process will look like this: So how to find a gold instead of cat poop? We've prepared a list of 12 indicators of bad domains. Some of them are more obvious while others are rare. Some of them are red flags while others will help you estimate a domain better and expect less from its value. The guide revolves around three places where shit hides: web.archive.org snapshots, Google index and backlinks. So you will see screens with them a lot. So let's begin! 1. When (almost) all backlinks are pointing to images. Threat level - low Potential power - low Why it's bad: Google ranks documents that have links. These domains don't have pages with authority. Instead there are image files that have authority. But you can't point that authority from image files. Our sample site scenarinstitute.org has got this problem. Also this link profile is unnatural: images were picked by some spammy spiders or added to autosubmit directories using spam software. Such domains are neither valuable nor harmful. So why waste your cash on them? 2. Irrelevant pages in Google index. Threat level - high Potential power - low Why it's bad: For example you're looking for a fashion/style domain. Its metrics are fine and backlinks look legit. But suddenly you spot that this fashion related domain has a plenty of casino subdomains in its Google index. The proper reaction is WTF? That's a strong signal that domain is compromised. And there's a huge probability that it is already flagged by Google. So take a deep breath and skip this domain. 3. Fake GOV/EDU/MIL Links. Threat level - low Potential power - low Why it's bad: So you are looking for a domain with strong links. And you stumble upon a domain that looks really cool: it has many gov backlinks. We all know how powerful these are. But actually, not every link from a gov site is valuable. Psychotherapy-counceling.org has got autogenerated low quality links which everyone can build. It's a cheap exploit of CMS those gov sites are using. Even one natural link from a good blogspot blog is much more valuable than these. So why should you spend money on such domains? 4. Strange links in footer. Threat level - high Potential power - low Why it's bad: Footer is one of spammers' favorite places. It allows building sitewide links that are stickier and last longer. This website has got an injection of a plenty external links into its footer. These links are irrelevant, they're exact anchor links. Sometimes new links could appear in this block. All these factors are endangering site's reputation because they're signs of a link dump. 5. Anchor links pointing to 'hello world' page. Threat level - high Potential power - low Why it's bad: Hello world pages are dummy templates to show how WP theme functions. These are literally useless for normal surfers and search engines give them no credit. Such pages should be removed because that's what leads to Google Panda penalty. This is why anchored backlinks that are pointing to 'hello world' pages is a strong signal of unnatural link profile. Unnatural links can be strong but they are risky. So it's definitely not what we're looking for and this is why I would not recomment buying grandluxemagazine.com 6. Website was redirected to another site for years. Threat level - average Potential power - low Why it's bad: 301 redirect can be used in different situations. Situation A. Website owners decided to change their domain name. A site with all it's contents moves to a new domain. Old domain also redirects to a new address for a couple of years. Situation B. Someone purchased an expired domain and merged it to his money site. This domain 'served' some else's goals for years. In both of these situations Google crawlers were redirected to another domain for years. All the authority that original domain had was transmitted to another property. You can argue that now you will point this domain to your money site and the authority will move to your website. This isn't likely to happen because all this time the domain in question wasn't functioning as a live website and did not receive any new links. Mjrpuniversity.com has no site and doesn't earn links for a long time, hence it is dead both for users and search engines. So it's useless for us! 7. A lion share of backlinks come from the redirected domain. Threat level - low Potential power - low Why it's bad: The most valuable component of expired domain is its backlinks. The quantity and the quality of its backlinks determine its authority and value. Buying an expired domain we take a risk of backlink removal. People who linked to an expired domain can notice that now it has changed, or points to another website. And they may remove links. If our domain has 100 linking root domains, in a year we can lose 10-20% of these. That's ok because the vast majority of backlinks will still be active. But when we have a domain with backlinks through 301 redirect we take a much bigger risk. If owners of this domain decide to remove 301 redirect, our backlink profile will dramatically go down in value. 8. All internal pages of website are redirecting to its homepage Threat level - average Potential power - differs Why it's bad: Redirecting internal pages to a homepage is a common expired domain SEO practice. How it works: You don't want to restore website's URL structure. Also you don't want to lose all those backlinks pointing to internal pages. Redirecting all those pages to root is the solution! If you notice that expired domain is already using this technique - it means that another webmaster has already used this domain. And he decided to abandon it. Why would he do it? The domain is either too weak or has got a Google penalty already! 9. Website and backlinks have two different niches. ...and another picture: Threat level - high Potential power - differs Why it's bad: In our example an expired domain jeffersonyouthsports.com has a clear topic - youth sports. But in ahrefs we see dozens of essay-related links. They are irrelevant and unnatural. All of them are anchor links - that's a second sign of unnatural link building. And the third factor is enormous amount of essay related landing pages on a sports site. On another screenshot we see even worse situation: the backlink profile is dominated by pharmacy spam. Verdict: someone used these domain to grow parasites on it. So this site is a used material and we should avoid it. 10. Vast majority of exact match anchor backlinks Threat level - high Potential power - differs Why it's bad: Our sample domain women-clothes.com is EMD. But that was not enough for its greedy owner. So he decided to bombard it with exact match anchor links. That's dangerous because of Google Penguin algorithm that 100% hit it. This domain can only be used after you disavow all these links and build new naturally-looking mentions. But isn't it better to buy a new domain in this case? 11. Domain with trademark violation. Threat level - high Potential power - differs Why it's bad: This domain was sued for trademark violation. And was transferred to the trademark owner. You don't want to risk getting sued once more. Also even if domain wasn't sued but it contains trademarks in its name I recommend avoiding it because its a great risk to lose a domain. 12. When a domain has hacked backlinks. Threat level - high Potential power - differs Why it's bad: It's obvious: hacked links are unethical, hacking websites is illegal. Buying an expired domain in a best case scenario you won't gain any authority because those links will get lost. In the worst scenario you'll become a target of revenge for owners of hacked sites. How do I know that links are hacked? A site writemyessay4me.org has hundreds of links from universities that are invisible on page but are present in page source. Also their code has got a clear pattern. Wrapping it up This guide was made to help the community with expired domain search. Domain names aren't blurred because they aren't a secret. Also it's a great exercise: you can check them and find a crap yourself. If you found this guide helpful - please, let me know. It will be a great pleasure knowing that! Got interesting samples of shit? Please, share it! Good luck!