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[Guide] How to spamcheck expired domains the easy way

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by NotSoAverageJoe, May 31, 2016.

  1. NotSoAverageJoe

    NotSoAverageJoe Junior Member

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    Hey there guys, long time since I've posted here. Noticed a lot of people ask this lately, both on here and in different groups I'm in, so I figured I'll make a guide on how I spam check expired domains.

    The guide will cover the following:
    • Why you should spam check
    • How to find out how a domain looked like years ago
    • Clean anchors
    • Referring domains & backlinks
    Why spam check?
    When finding and registering expired domains, you'll get several heart attacks because you think you found the greatest domain of all time, just to find out it's actually been penalized by Google.

    An expired domain that has been spammed is likely to be have been banned by Google as well. Just think about it, if the domain had any authority, would the owner really drop it? Even if it hasn't been banned yet, don't take the risk and register it. Why make things more risky than they're already are?

    Obviously I don't need to explain why spam is bad for you, so just stay away from it.

    The most important step: Going back in time
    This is what I consider to be the most important step. Plenty of times you'll find domains that have amazing metrics with clean backlinks and anchors, in other words they look like normal domains. Don't register one just yet though, we need to find out if the website has been a PBN in the past or not.

    Here's an example of an expired domain I found:
    [​IMG]
    Oh boy, just look at those metrics, this domain has to be crazy good! Plenty of EDU and GOV domains, it's ranked at 22,086 in Majestic. :eek: This is what a super domain would look like, a lot of GOV and EDU domains look like this. But let's face reality, unless you're extremely lucky you won't find anything like this.


    Before we check the anchors, backlinks and referring domains (how to check these is covered below) it's time to go back in time. I use two websites for this:

    http://www.screenshots.com/
    This site offers screenshots of different websites, it's not as good as Archive.org, but in some cases it will show you screens which Archive missed.

    https://web.archive.org
    This site actually saves the whole website, meaning you can navigate through it as if it were live. This means you can see if there are hidden or cloaked links anywhere.

    Sometimes it's not very obvious if it has been used as a PBN or not. That's why you shouldn't rely on just one screenshot/capture. The best way to do it is to check the latest screengrab, the very first one and one somewhere in the middle. I found this to be a good way to see if a website has been used for spam or not.

    In our case, the above domain has obviously been used for some shady shit. Below is a screengrab from Archive.org. How do I know it's a PBN?
    1. Standard Wordpress blog template
    2. No information about the author
    3. Stuffed with keywords
    4. Completely incoherent articles ("Ray Ban Outlet Nashville couple accidentally", I mean really?)
    5. It links back to money sites
    [​IMG]

    If you don't find anything suspicious on both Archive.org or Screenshots.com you can continue to the next step.

    Step 2: Checking Anchors
    Anchors is another great way to tell if a domain has been used for spam or not. When checking anchor text I personally prefer Ahrefs as it tends to find more of them compared to Majestic. However Majestic has a handy "anchor cloud" feature, which makes it really easy to see the most popular anchors and how much they've been used.


    The key here is to know what the domain was used to before, most of the time you can find out by checking Archive or just by reading the domain name.

    The anchors below are for the domain "emmastonemovies.com"
    [​IMG]

    Anchors that are OK:

    • Visit website (General anchor)
    • Leaked (Could be a leaked movie)
    • Excellent idea (Could be used in a blog post for example)
    • View this link (General anchor)
    • Anything with "Emma Stone" (Because that's what the domain is about)
    Anchors that are not OK (Hint: They're all non-related to the domain):
    • Structure decor
    • Consumer electronics
    • Detektyw Wroclaw
    • Salt Water
    What about foreign anchors?
    It's pretty common to find anchors in foreign languages, you don't need to panic just because you found a Chinese anchor. Remember, there are other countries than the USA, you racist! To find out what the anchor says, just copy & paste it into Google Translate. If it's general or similar to the domain name you should be OK.


    By this point I already know if the domain has been spam/PBN or not. If you're still unsure you can go to the last step.

    Step 3: Checking the referring domains
    This is the last step in my process, if I haven't found anything in the previous steps I usually never find anything here either, but there are exceptions. I prefer Ahrefs for this.

    Below is a screenshot of the referring domains for a French shoe e-commerce store. Since it's an e-commerce AND in French, it would be kinda odd if people from different countries linked to it, right? I wouldn't recommend a French shoe store to my Indian friend, would you?

    Before you make up your mind whether the referring domain is relevant or not, give it a visit to see what it's about. Sometimes it can be a news site covering something, other times it could be a French guy living in China or some shit like that.

    [​IMG]

    In this case, 90% of the foreign domains come from blog comments. Comments themselves aren't that bad, but when you find thousands of comments on non-related blogs, it's a good sign of spam or just poor SEO skills.

    Quick tips

    Just because a domain has thousands of backlinks doesn't make it good. It's important to look at the ratio between the amount of referring domains and the amount of backlinks. Having 5 referring domains and 1,000 backlinks is not normal and will most likely be spam.

    There's no sure way to find out if a domain has been penalized or not. What we're doing here is analyzing and doing an educated guess.

    Don't let the metrics fool you. A spammed and penalized domain can look like a true authority on sites like Majestic. You can however sometimes figure out if there are low quality links pointing to a domain through Majestic metrics, a low trust flow but a high citation flow is a good indication (but that's what it is, only an indication) that a domain has been spammed with low quality links.

    Conclusion
    And that's how I check for spam on expired domains, it has worked wonders so far and I'm yet to register a penalized domain this way.

    I highly recommend you do all three steps just to be extra sure, it's easy to get lazy and miss a step and accidentally register a spammed domain. Take your time, check everything carefully and see if you can find any clues.

    Let me know if you feel like I've missed anything and I will gladly add it!:cool:
     
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  2. stahlisen

    stahlisen Newbie

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    Great guide man, can this be applied in a similar way when checking expired web 2.0s?
     
  3. NotSoAverageJoe

    NotSoAverageJoe Junior Member

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    Yeah, but I wouldn't actually bother since majority of spammed web 2.0's are banned. That's why you find so many "expired" Tumblrs which in reality are just banned.
     
  4. Zanskar

    Zanskar Regular Member

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    Thanks for the detailed guide! Very informative!
     
  5. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Lets not forget though that even IF a site has been spammed as a PBN that you can buy the domain, gather the shit links, do a Google Disavow, rebuild, and often get a clean slate. There is an art to dry cleaning a domain... but if you're good at it you can pick up some gems for pennies.

    -ThopHayt
     
  6. benman

    benman Junior Member

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    What if I have found few anchor texts in Ahrefs but the rest is ok?
    Just something like 30 backlinks from 2 domains that are spam.
    Should I disavow it through Google Disavow Tool?
     
  7. javabro

    javabro Power Member

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    Thanks man. Good guide. Keep it up.

    "both on here and in different groups I'm in"
    What are these groups ? Can i join ;)


    thanks
     
  8. K.H.R

    K.H.R Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    This is helpful for me, I bookmarked.

    Thanks OP.
     
  9. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    There isn't a "limit" that I have seen. If you're trying to clean the domain up disavow 'em all. Then keep it white hat for a while. I've disavowed hundreds of crap links on domains before. Thousands actually come to think of it.

     
  10. hatsatz

    hatsatz Regular Member

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    Great Share. Bookmarked OP.
     
  11. MonsterMag

    MonsterMag Power Member

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    I would add to check FB debug if the domain has been banned on facebook...
     
  12. SnoopyDrew

    SnoopyDrew Senior Member

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    Been looking for a guide like this for about a week. This is going to be a life saver for me. Will bookmark and read through it tomorrow. If you don't mind I might PM you and ask random questions. Let me know if that is okay. If not I understand! Thanks for the Guide its much appreciated!
     
  13. NotSoAverageJoe

    NotSoAverageJoe Junior Member

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    Send me a PM and I'll invite you!

    No problem, let me know if you need any help.

    That's interesting, I've actually never bothered with disavowing links on spammed domains. Mostly because I can find something equal/better in a shorter amount of time.

    Gotten any significant boosts from these kind of "revived" domains?

    That's a great idea, I'll see if I can add into the guide.

    No problem, and it's my pleasure! :)
     
  14. benman

    benman Junior Member

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    Yes I did disavow those links.
    But something strange because these links don't appear in Search Console(GWT). I see them with Ahrefs.
     
  15. ben mart

    ben mart Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks for your informative post mate.Bookmarked it.
     
  16. pressrelease

    pressrelease Power Member

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    good guide, thanks for info.
     
  17. frizzled

    frizzled Newbie

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    Great guide, you are right, seemingly great domains turn out to be spammy.
     
  18. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Yeah, a lot of the good expired domains have been used as a spam site. It's quite hard these days to find good ones. Like 1 in every 10 I find are clean. :-/
     
  19. Gromit

    Gromit Regular Member

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    Yeah it has got much harder to find something half decent now. You can start off with a list of 40 possibles and end up with 3-4 that aren't that bad.

    I'd check the organic traffic levels on the domains as well to see if you can to see if there's any drastic drops in traffic whenever a google update came out too.
     
  20. nahid133

    nahid133 Senior Member

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    Very detailed info, nice share thanks