In this case study I show you how I found a site that is available to register right now with a PR 3 backlink from a PR6 Domain. There are a lot of great free sites out there that provide some of the information I'll show you how to gather (like expireddomains.net) but none that I am aware that show all of this info for free. Regardless, you'll be able to research expired domains yourself by the end of this tutorial. [FONT=&]Step One: Download Some Free Tools:[/FONT] 1) Netpeak Checker: http://netpeak.net/software/netpeak-checker/ This is by far one of the best tools out there and it is free! 2) XMLToCSV converter: http://xmltocsv.codeplex.com/ Another free tool that will allow us to work with some expired domain lists [FONT=&]Step Two: Grab Expired Domain Lists[/FONT] After installing the two programs above, we can start working with some lists of expired domains. 1) GoDaddy Auctions: ftp:[email protected] When prompted for a password just click "ok" and you will gain access to the site. A page will load with a bunch of different domain lists. The file names are pretty self-explanatory but the ones I pay attention to are: auction_end_today.xml.zip - Domain Auctions ending today auction_end_tomorrow.xml.zip - Domain auctions ending tomorrow closeouts.xml.zip - Buy It Now domains that you can get really cheap (these are the ones not purchased at auction) Also, the lists are updated daily. I like these lists because you don't have to wait a long time to find out if you won them. If you just follow all the domain auctions, sometimes you might have to wait 1-2 weeks for the auction to end. By just checking the lists of domains that will end in a day or two or that you can buy right away you remove that wait time (you still must wait a week or so after winning an auction for the sale to clear). 2) JustDropped.com Archives: http://www.justdropped.com/drops/index.html The domain lists you find here are domains that are available to register. No auctions to worry about and no waiting just go to any registrar and register them by hand. Granted, the vast majority of these domains are no good and have been picked over when they went through the auction process before dropping but if you consistently analyze the domains lists each day you will find some worthwhile and since we have software to do all the analyzing for us it's just a matter of copy/pasting the lists into the software. [FONT=&] Step Three: Working With The Data:[/FONT] If you use the justdropped.com lists, you can just copy and paste it from justdropped.com directly into NetpeakChecker. Some extra data will be copied that are not domain names but Netpeak will just ignore that data and scan the domains. It's much faster to do it this way than trying to clean the lists by hand....let the software do it. Using GoDaddy is a bit more tricky. And you have a couple options. Once you download the file you want from GoDaddy's site, you can either import it into Excel in which case it will automatically parse the XML file into columns and you can copy and paste the domains into NetPeak Checker. Sometimes if the file is large it can take a while to import. If you don't want to wait, or don't have excel you can use the XMLtoCSV converter linked to above. Just open the software, tell it to open the xml file you downloaded from GoDaddy and it will then convert the xml data into several CSV files. The CSV file you want is the one named: item.csv You can then open this file with any CSV editor and grab the expired domains listed in the "TITLE" column [FONT=&] Step Four: Using Netpeak Checker[/FONT] Ok, now that you have your list of domains, it's time to use Netpeak Checker to analyze the domains. 1) Import list of domains: Click the "Load" button and paste your list of domains into the text box that appears. Depending on the number of domains, it could take a while to import. I've imported 500,000 domains at once with no issues but that many domains will take a couple hours to import! It works a lot faster if you scan in chunks of 20,000-30,000 domains at a time. For whatever reason, I've noticed that importing domain lists without "www." in front of the domains is a lot faster than including it. And this is important. By default all of the domains lists do not have the www. in front of them. I like to analyze BOTH the www and non-www version of the domains because they will have different metrics (especially if using SEOMoz data. 2) Select Your Metrics: There are a ton of metrics available to you. Some require proxies and others do not. I scan the domains in a couple "rounds" Using different metrics. The first round is meant to eliminate as many domains as possible from the list. Round 1 Scan: 1) All SeoMoz Metrics - this will give you the number of backlinks, Page and Domain Authority, Domain MozTrust, etc. 2) SemRush - This will let you see if any expired domains are still ranking for any keywords in Google. There won't be many but you can sometimes find some good ones. After the scan is complete. I use the filter to only show domains with a Page Authority of 35+, Domain Authority of 25+ and Domain MozTrust of 3+ These are just values I use, it will eliminate 90-95% of all the domains. Feel free to use whatever values you prefer. Round 2 Scan: After filtering my list, I will add some additional metrics. 1) Majestic SEO Linking Root Domains - you will need proxies for this, the software also has an option to rotate between a bunch of Majestic accounts. I haven't used this yet as they just added this option but you will need to use either proxies or multiple accounts since Majestic has very low query per ip limits before they start blocking queries. After the second scan completes, I then filter the list to only show domains with a Page Authority of 35+, Domain Authority of 25+, Domain MozTrust of 3+, Linking Root Domains of 10+ At this point I usually am satisfied with the list and go on to the final step but there are a few other metrics I find useful and use from time to time like: Domain Age, Social Media Metrics, and PageRank. The rest of the metrics I rarely use but there is enough flexibility in the software that you can probably find any metric you prefer to use to evaluate a domain. [FONT=&]Step Five: Check Domain Anchor Text:[/FONT] This is the final step I use to prune my list of domains and it's probably one of the most important. You will probably find a decent number of domains matching your criteria, the problem is a lot of these domains have probably been penalized or used for spam purposes. So by checking the top anchor text pointing to these domains we can quickly see if a domain is junk or not and give us a somewhat reasonable idea if the domain is worth pursuing. Some of the things to look for when analyzing the anchor text are non English characters like Chinese (if you are looking for u.s based sites), obvious spam keywords in the anchor text (gambling, pharma, adult, get rich, etc). You will be able to tell pretty easily if the anchor text for a site is filled with spam. What you want to find are backlinks with generic non assuming anchor text like, site.com, www.site.com, sitename, "click here", etc are the best. If you see a mix of these kinds of anchor text and some keyword anchor text that appears related to the site that is good too. I have a custom solution that will take a list of domains and check the top anchor text to that domain using the free Anchor Text API from seomoz. But since this is about using free solutions, you can use this Anchor text checker: http://seogadget.com/anchor-text-tool/index.php The draw back is that you can only check 5 domains at a time but is is a pretty good tool regardless. So putting all of this together, here is an example of a domain that looks promising. It doesn't have a ton of linking root domains and I would like that to be higher but the page and domain authority are solid and you won't find many expired domains with a higher Domain Moz Trust. Examining the anchor text, we see it looks pretty clean as well with the top anchor text looking very generic to the domain and on topic: Finally, if we take this a step further and take a quick peak at the backlinks we can see there are some potentially good links as well. This domain has a link from a PR 6 domain on a PR 3 page: Even better, as I am typing this you can hand register the domain so the first person who wants it can grab it. While I haven't done a complete due diligence on this domain and you may want to look into it further using more advanced software and analysis, it might be worth the risk to grab right now. It also only has only 1 drop over the course of 11 years: This is the kind of domain you want to find but they won't fall from the sky into your lap. With some patience and persistence finding these kinds of domains is most definitely possible. Hope this helps someone!