Believe or not, I am going to show you how I got 6,000 links in under an hour (without spamming). And it’s actually quite easy…
Websites come and go online. Webmasters build sites and grow their audience, and sometimes they stop for one reason or another and abandon their web property. When this happens, there is a cheap (or sometimes free) domain available that has years of hard-earned links already leading to it.
You can find these expired domains and use a simple 301 redirect to pass all of the link juice to your site (well most of it counts).
I’ll put my money where my mouth is right now and show you an example. Here is a Typepad site (click to verify) I registered for free using Typepad Micro that has over 6,000 links. Here is the Open Site Explorer data.
This site has loads of links from high PR websites like StyleHive and I got it absolutely free.
Now that you know this stuff is real, let’s get into the process.
How to Find Expired Domains
I have come up with a fairly streamlined approach I like to use, and it starts by visiting web directories.
First, navigate to the niche your site would be in. Most likely, the sites in your niche will be listed over a couple dozen pages, usually 1-9 and A-Z pages. Visit each one and run Check My Links, a free Chrome extension. This will quickly locate any broken links on the page.
Domain Hunter Plus is another Chrome extension that works quite well and has some additional features beyond Check My Links. However, I like using CML so I can easily spot exactly which links are broken on page.
The tough part about this technique is that you have to find unregistered domains that also have decent link profiles. It can be upsetting finding an available domain just to discover it has a really weak link profile. But don’t worry, we’re just getting started!
Any expired and available domain found directly in a web directory is a quick win. However, it usually takes a little more searching and savviness to find the good domains.
The next step is to visit every single site in your niche in the directory you’re browsing. That’s right, visit every single site listed in your niche, one-at-a-time. Just take it one at a time and make sure to write down where you last stopped. This will last you a long time and lead you to a LOT of link opportunities.
The first thing to do when visiting a new site is to run a quick broken link check on the homepage. This is especially useful if the site has a blogroll.
Blogrolls are the holy grail of expired domain locating. If you come across any Blogger sites, they almost always have a blogroll and if they link to a broken Blogger site, you may be able to snatch it up for free.
After you run a broken link test on the homepage, run the site through a backlink checker like SEO Spyglass. In SEO Spyglass in particular, after you analyze a website’s backlinks you can find any inbound links coming from 404 pages.
In the “Links Back” category, these pages will be labeled as “No (Page Not Found)”. This will provide you with even more broken links and expired domains to investigate.
If you haven’t noticed by now, you won’t take one single path during your exploration. Just from the broken links leading to one site you could end up with another 20 sites leading you to link opportunities. It is the web after all
After spending some time searching, you will likely amass a list of domains that aren’t being hosted currently, but aren’t available for purchase. There are two things you can do with these domains:
1) Find more broken links by running them through SEO Spyglass
2) Use them for Broken Link Building
If you can’t get the domain, use Open Site Explorer or Majectic SEO to find the top pages AKA the ones with the most links. If the link profile for that specific page is decent then throw the page into the Wayback Machine to see what used to be on the page.
Next, recreate a better, updated version of the resource on your site and email all the webmasters linking to the broken page. Let them know they have a broken link and that you have a new, similar resource they can switch the link to instead.
I’ve done this before with doshdosh.com which by the way is a link goldmine for anyone in the IM niche. Just know you won’t be the first to get to it
Taking Things Further
Every single site you visit in your niche is full of link building opportunities.
I know that my original example is about finding an expired domain, but if that’s all you’re looking for you are missing out. You’re going to be visiting so many sites in your niche, it doesn’t make sense to ignore all the other opportunity, such as…
1) blog commenting
If you visit a site in your niche with a blog, why not stop and leave a comment? Better yet, get a really relevant link from their site by using this search string:
site:theirwebsite.com Your keyword
This will search in Google for the page on their site most relevant to your keyword. Comment on this page for the strongest, most relevant link possible.
2) guest blogging
If you come across sites that have blogs then you’ll probably find some that accept guest posts. Add them to a list or start one if you don’t have one for guest blogging opportunities.
The opportunities for links and higher rankings will be in your face, so don’t ignore them. After some searching and a few links, you’re bound to come across your 6,000 link goldmine.