Spam checking is the most crucial part one must do before purchasing a domain. Let’s say you’re about to buy a house. Do you just buy it without doing any research about the neighborhood, value for money, build quality, location, etc? In the same way, the expired domain needs to be researched properly before investing your time and money. Unfortunately, there’s no way to automate the entire process for now. But we have simplified it to save your time. For us, it’d take anywhere between 3-10 mins to thoroughly scrutinize the domain. I’m sure after reading this article you will be able to identify the spam of any expired domains. Before getting started with the spam check process, let’s first understand the issues with reusing a spammed domain. Why you shouldn’t use a domain that’s been reused? If you’re looking for an expired domain, you have to make sure it’s not reused for any sort of spam activity. For several reasons, we don’t know what all sneaky stuff the previous owner did to the domain. In most of the cases, domains that are reused must have got some sort of penalty. If you want to reuse the expired domain for SEO purposes, then make sure it wasn’t reused in the past. So here are the steps to make sure your Expired Domains are Virgin / Spam-Free. Wayback Spam Checking Wayback Archive checking is the first thing we do. Spammers got so advanced which makes it tedious to figure out whether they’ve been reused or not. Here’s how you can find it out: Chinese/Japanese Archives Records If you’re into the expired domains game, you’d know how common is it to see amazing powerful domains being reused as Chinese/Japanese sites. Have a look at this domain! It has impressive links and has around 300+ RD. But unfortunately, it has been reused as a Chinese electronics site. It’s a shame powerful domains like this have been ruined 403 Forbidden Error Many PBNs would have blocked bots especially backlinks crawlers like Ahrefs, Majestic and more. But there are plugins that block every bot except search engine bots. So it returns forbidden error in Wayback as they’ve blocked the Wayback crawlers. If a domain returns 403 forbidden error for the homepage, check it thoroughly or better just skip it. Most likely it’d been reused. PBNs We process tons of domains and it’s pretty easy to spot a PBN. Most PBNs have the same patterns as: Full Homepage Posts Basic themes Spammy articles (Payday loans, Pharma, etc) Totally out of topic content (Like Car loan articles on a health domain) Typical PBN Style However, some people might be sneaky. The new owner might have recovered the old way back archive and installed WP on a separate directory and inserted links! Link Insertions Link insertions are hard to spot because the site will look exactly like the original version. Look out for links in sidebar, footer and in source code too. Here is a snap of the reused domain with link insertions in the footer. Redirection The redirection is fine. Some businesses might move to a new URL and they would redirect their old domain to a new domain. In such cases, It’s totally fine to use! Example: Newyorktimes.com redirects to nytimes.com A gaming website redirecting to its developer’s site. However, if it’s redirected to an irrelevant domain, then it’s better to avoid it. Example: FoodandNutrition.com to NFLcheapjerseys.com Anchor Text Spam We have been through this several times, where domains are super-clean, nothing suspicious would have been detected in Wayback, but when we check the anchors it’d be ruined with anchors like buy Cialis online, payday loans, etc. Two possible explanations we have: The new owner might have retained the same wayback and inserted links or tried to rank the domain through inner pages Someone did negative SEO on the domain. Whatever the case, it’s always better to skip those domains. PRO TIP: Always use Historical Index in Ahrefs to check out all the anchors and backlinks. Here are a few examples: Here’s a keyword list of few commonly found spammy anchors: mbt, cheap, buy, pharm, storebrand, gstar, adidasoriginals, japanoutlet, valentinojapan, evisu, jimmychoo, burberry, tiffany, newbalance, lacoste, vivien, clarks, isabelmar, westwoodjp, chanel, canadagoose, ambien, klonopin, hcg-diet, givenchy, japan, xanax, coupon, celine, tronics, levitra, percocet, codone, codeine, louboutin, vuitton, nike, airmax, ugg, porn, sex, viagra, cialis, moncler, payday, coach, juicy, michaelkors, michael-kors, replica, oakley, phentermine, ray-ban, toms, loubotin, jordans, handbags, gucci, drdre, ralphlaurens, jerseys, lakers, lebron, rayban, michaelkor, yeezy, prada, rxelimite, bentyl, tetracycline, rimonabant, zimulti, benicar, vermox, cytotec, propranolol, zoloft, millen, air max, timberland, ymcmb, snapback, outlet, woolrich, parka, ed hardy, victoria secret, true religion, thomas sabo, paul smith, penis, north face, mont blanc, mulberry, kors, lululemon, longchamp, jordan, jack wills, hollister, herve leger, abilify, accutane, acomplia, adderall, adipex, advair, allegra, ambien, amoxil, ativan, avodart, caduet, carisprodol, celebrex, celexa, chantix, cialis, claritin, clomid, codeine, coumadin, crestor, cyclobenzaprine, cymbalta, diovan, effexor, ephedrine, fioricet, fish oil, flomax, folic acid, fosamax, gabapentin, hoodia, hydrocodone, keppra, klonopin, lamictal, lasix, levaquin, levitra, lexapro, lipitor, lisinopril, lortab, lotrel, lunesta, lyrica, metformin, methotrexate, naproxen, nasonex, neurontin, nexium, norvasc, omeprazole, oxycodone, oxycontin, paxil, percocet, pharm, phentermine, plavix, prednisone, prescription, prevacid, prilosec, promethazine, propecia, protonix, provigil, prozac, ritalin, rogaine, seroquel, sertraline, simvastatin, singulair, suboxone, tamoxifen, thyroid, topamax, tramadol, trazodone, tylenol, ultram, valium, valtrex, viagra, vicodin, vioxx, vytorin, wellbutrin, xanax, xenical, zetia, zocor, zoloft, zyban, zyprexa, zyrtec, asphyx, asshole, bdsm, beastiality, bondage, boobs, cock, creampie, cumshot, cunt, dick, erotica, femdom, fetish, fisting, fuck, gangbang, lesbo, lezbo, masochism, necro, orgasm, orgies, orgy, pedophil, penis, porn, pussies, pussy, sadomasoch, sex, slut, threesome, tits, tranny, transvest, whore, beats (by Dre), debt, (canada) goose, moncler, kors, payday, ugg, outlet, webcam, sneaker, shoe, bag. Drop & Nameserver History This is another great hack to spam check the domains easily! To check this method kindly unlock the content locker There was a piece of news around the community, that Google resets the backlink profile as soon the domain is expired, thus the link juice is lost. (Source) However, it was a false statement. After various testing, expired domains do carry its old link juice. Matt Diggity tested this out and it turns out some expired domains did pass the test. If domain ownership, nameservers, hosting changes too many times, then the domain may not pass the PBN test. Tools that can check Nameserver changes, Drops, etc WhoISrequest CompleteDNS Domain Tools Any domain which is dropped more than 3 times is probably reused and it’s better to avoid such domains. Nameservers to Avoid .jp namesevers 1 dollar hosting nameservers like HawkHostings, SEOHosts etc Redirected Links It’s not uncommon to see domains being redirected to inflate metrics/tier links / Spam redirects. And it might slip out of your eyes easily. Use Ahrefs “With redirect chain” option to find out the redirected links. There is no point in registering an expired domain that doesn’t have authority links directly pointing to it. Low-Quality Links Low-Quality links are just a waste of time. We make sure that our domains have min 30+ RD and have contextual links from DR 80+ sites. We filter out domains that have low-quality links. Low-Quality Links sources: Directory Links Web 2.0 Links Comments/Bookmarks Forum links GSA/Xrumer links Google Search Results Google search result is a good way to find out the old cached version of the domains. Sometime, wayback might have failed to capture the website and search results could reveal how it was being used. Summary Spam Checking is quite a time-consuming work for sure. But with the above-mentioned methods, you can simplify it to save time. Using tools like WhoisRequest is going to save you a lot of time and helps you to filter out domains with drops using their API. In short, you have to make sure that the expired domain wasn’t reused and has good quality links.