Authority Site Strategy Using Multiple Expired Domains
Below is a strategy to build an authority site using multiple expired domains. I call this strategy both the 301 Building Block Strategy and the second part of the strategy is 1+1 = 3.
This is all about using several niche relevant authority websites built on expired domains, placing quality content on them and through internal link building getting the search engine to recognize the new website owner as an authority.
One of my favourite posts are these detailed advanced tutorials. Below I share the exact details of new strategies I am using including the specific tools, steps and procedures I use is what I enjoy most.
Are you not yet an SEO Expert? If so this will likely be too advanced, checkout – How to Make a Wordress Website
The strategy is a combination of…
- POWERFUL Expired Domains Relevant to Your Niche
- Epic/Niche Dominating Blog Post and an Advanced Content Strategy
- Silo Structure on Your Authority Site
- Analyzing and Combining Great Content
- Consolidating Similar Posts – Content Audit / Content Pruning for the Search Engines
Part A – 301 Building Block Strategy to Create an Authority Site – Introduction
Why the name 301 Building Block? The idea with this strategy is to use these very powerful domains, niche dominating epic posts and a silo structure on your authority site to build the site out building block by building block.
The idea of systematically building out new silo’s and using one niche dominating post to link to all the sub-posts is an idea discussed at Authority Hacker here – https://www.authorityhacker.com/site-architecture/
Summary – Content Strategy & Link Building Plan
- Find extremely high quality and clean relevant expired domain with quality backlinks and purchase it
- Set up a simple site with around 5-10 blog posts and monitor how it responds in Google
- Identify a niche you can build a silo around and map out the silo structure
- Build silo structure including Epic Niche Dominating Blog Post with proper anchor text for all internal linking
- Confirm Google is viewing the expired domain positively based on traffic and ranking
- Move articles and 301 redirect expired domain to the Epic Niche Dominating Post
Here are some basic results to share so far for the quick ranking and traffic several sites have had. See below for the detailed steps to execute the strategy outlined above.
This strategy has not resulted in explosive growth but what it has done is provided a very systematic way to build out my authority site which has already started making money $150/month in 2 months.
This section will get into the exact details of how I go about setting up these building blocks.
There are three basic steps for completing this strategy which can result in a quality backlink profiling for fantastic off page SEO…
The appeal of this strategy for me is the systematic way I can repeat this strategy in different niches on the same site.
There is no reason that a site can’t continuously be growing one building block at a time.
How Risky Is This?
Nothing is without risk, even pure white hat SEO in the form of getting a guest post has risks, but I believe this strategy is low risk for the following reasons…
- This already naturally occurs online when one business is purchased by another business. Often when say 1 consulting firm purchases another consulting firm it will 301 redirect the old business domain to a new page on the acquiring businesses site.
- If done correctly the user will be better off. The visitor to the old URL will end up on an authoritative post providing information they will find useful which is better than the alternative of ending up at a dead site.
- Risk can be mitigated by being able to see how Google views the domain before 301 redirecting to the authority site. If Google responds negatively to the site the strategy fails but the authority site is not put at risk. If Google responds positively with traffic and ranking then we can move forward with rolling the expired domain into the authority site and see increased traffic!
- Risk can be mitigated by only performing this move with PREMIUM domains with ONLY REAL backlinks. For this strategy more than most uses of expired domains I believe it is important to only use sites that were “real” and have “real” backlinks.
Part A – 301 Building Block Strategy Step by Step…
Below is the procedure for how to go about getting executing the 301 building block strategy…
There are a lot of ways to find and buy powerful expired domains. None are easy or cheap.
1.1 Identify Domains
My Ultimate Expired Domain Guide is still very much relevant and the basis of the strategy my team uses for identifying opportunities to purchase domains!
However to find the kind of premium domains I want to use for the 301 building block I have had to use a newer method which works well for me because of the size of my team.
If you are looking to purchase domains yourself than Domain Auctions or Domain Brokers would be the best way to go but again this will be expensive.
What Domain Metrics Do I Look For
|Good Domain||Great Domain||Amazing Domain|
|Alexa Rank||None||10,000,000 or higher||Under 10,000,000|
If highly relevant, clean and can be purchased at an inexpensive price I will execute this strategy with that domain.
Ideally I am looking for “Great Domains” but again these are expensive. The successful examples in this post were both just under Great Domains.
Finding an amazing domain that is relevant is almost impossible so I can’t build a system around rare events but if one comes along I would get it(if the price was within reason).
My Secret Weapon – Large Team & Massive Back ordering
The secret weapon I have for buying these high quality domains at lower than market value is because my team is out scouring the internet for expired domains. In the process they identify dead sites about to drop.
A by-product of all this searching using the scraping method I talk about in the ultimate expired domain guide is that I find a lot of broken sites following a broken link.
By having a detailed list of all these sites and then rolling over 10-40 backorders each week I put myself into a situation where I can pick up a handful of very powerful domains for cheap.
How You Can Find Great Domains – Auctions
Other than purchasing from a broker or domain provider the easiest way to buy premium domains is to purchase them at auction (typically GoDaddy) but this can be very expensive!
How to find relevant expired domains with page rank and backlinks at the Auction Sites…
This post provides an updated strategy for finding expired domains with traffic.
Tool to make auctions easier there is a handy tool from SpamZilla
1.2 Keyword Research
Once you identify some potential domains it is important to determine if it would make a good candidate for the 301 building block content marketing strategy.
What I am looking for with this strategy is a domain that is powerful and relevant enough to link to an article that will have a lot of searches each month.
A good domain must…
- Be powerful (step 1-1 should have us with a list of domains)
- Be as relevant as possible
- Have enough potential traffic to be worth building a site around
During step 1.2 (Keyword Research) I am looking to identify keywords or a group of keywords which fit in the overlapping area above and have 500 searches per month.
- Searches per month 500+
- Modest-Weak Competition
- If using Ahrefs for Keyword Research the target KD < 30 but 70 is acceptable.
To get more details about doing Keyword Research and specifically which Keyword Research Difficulty measurement is the most accurate checkout this post.
Don’t worry too much about keyword research…simply make sure that there exists a niche with enough traffic to build a silo around.
For those familiar with building a traditional niche site the idea is to build a niche site style silo.
This past step will vary based on your monetizatrion strategy, whether it is Amazon affiliate marketing or lead gen will change what domain you are ideally looking to buy.
1.3 Buy Domain
Now that I have identified a potential domain in 1.1 with a great backlink profile, confirmed it would get enough traffic to be worthy of being a 301 building block it is time to purchase the domain.
2.1 Setup Site for Building
This step involves getting things in order to be able to build the site.
- Setup Google document for site creation
- Define Site Title
- Define Site Post Titles
- Add Site Building Instructions
- Access My Free Template
- Define host to build site on & change nameserver
- Install WordPress and (I use infinite WP for this & highly recommend it)
- Infinite WP works on the server and the wordpress install shows no signs of code associated with infinite WP
2.2 Create Simple Content
Step 2.2 is about getting some simple content created that will be able to show if the site responds will with Google or not.
I have found 5 articles is enough to be able to determine if the site is going to rank well in Google.
The strategy I use for getting articles created I wrote about here and it still works now just expect to pay a minimum of $3-$5 for a 500 word article.
- 5 Posts targeting specific problems/keywords
- 500 words per post
- Useful articles and not written for SEO
- Link to relevant sources, add images etc
2.3 Setup Simple Website
For step 2.3 the idea is to setup a well optimized simple website that looks reasonable and doesn’t take too long to build.
Built into the google document I have for this project is a checklist for the website creator to make sure the site meets these requirements.
2.4 Finish Website
In this step the job is to do a quick check to make sure the site is all setup correctly. Nothing fancy but the project manager just needs to do a QC check to make sure there are no glaring mistakes.
Here is a decent example (not my site) of a relevant site built on an authoritative expired domain that is now getting relevant traffic – http://thelittlehouse.ca/
3.1 Review at 30 & 60 Days
Part 3 is where the power of this strategy comes in with reviews at the 30 day mark and 60 day mark you will quickly be able to see how Google is viewing the site and make a go / no-go decision on combining it with the authority site.
The best way to make sure these checks happen for me to is to have the project manager enter a calendar event in Gmail for us to review the site at the 30 and 60 day mark.
Here are the three things to check for…
1. Traffic Quantity and Source
I am looking to see quick sustained organic traffic growth with a lot of traffic coming from the keywords we are going after.
The site below is one of the sites my team built and has quickly gotten over 200 visitors per day with the majority coming from organic search.
2. Google Ranking
Based on the check above this seems odd but a simple test I like to do to see how Google is viewing a site is to copy a title for an article word for word and put it into Google.
If it is a longer title 5+ words I would like to see the site ranking on the first page.
How Google ranks the site for the longer article titles is a great indication of how Google views the site overall.
3. Articles Indexed
This could really be the first check but if for any reason after 30 days the sites posts are not being indexed it is an indication that there could have been a penalty applied to the site at some point in the past and therefore should be avoided for the 301 building block strategy.
Check by going to Google and entering – “site:url” to see if it has been indexed.
Go-No Go Decision
Based on the review at the 30 and 60 day mark we need to make a decision if it is a good candidate to progress to the next steps of the 301 building block strategy.
Not all sites will be good candidates and I have had some that initially looked very promising but then fizzled out.
My Six Figure Challenge Authority Site Examples:
So far for my authority site project I have done 2 301 Building Blocks…
One – Former Industry Website
Two – Former Site of University Program
3.2 Epic Blog Post
Now that the decision has been made to make the move it is time to get an EPIC post created that will be worthy of ranking in the top spot in Google for the target keywords.
There are different strategies/thoughts on what EPIC means but to me it means…
- Answers the searchers query better than anything else online
- Adds value beyond words (includes additional features to improve linkability)
- Length does matter – repeated analysis by Moz, Neil Patel and others have shown a positive correlation between length of article and search position. 5,000 words if possible is my target.
One way to systematically create an epic post is to do a large round up post as described here.
Here is how I try to get the epic post created…
- 5,000+ words
- I prepare some portion of the table of contents to make sure it will be very useful
- Amazon books on the subject are a great starting point
- Cost $1/100 words (don’t go too cheap on the article and produce a large poorly written/useless article)
- Add video, images or simple tool if at all appropriate
This epic/niche dominating post acts as the “pillar” article or main silo and will ultimately link to all other posts in the silo that will be created as part of this strategy.
3.3 Map the Move & Create Additional Posts
Pulling off this strategy can be a little complicated but here are a few ways I really like to simplify it…
- All posts associated with this “building block” should be grouped into their own category
- The epic post and all sub posts including those moved from the initial build on the old URL will fall into this one category
- Taking a complete inventory of all former pages is key. There are 2 sources to identify old pages/posts to make sure get included in the 301 redirects.
- MajesticSEO (find all URLs on the site that have links to them)
- Archive (find all posts on the site that have been captured in archive.org – simply click around the site and find all possible posts – a sitemap page can be very helpful if one has been captured by archive)
Using the example site (again not my site) you can find all the pages that should be redirected by following majesticSEO and Archive.
To keep track of this research use tab 2 in the Google document I shared earlier and here –
Each of these URLs should either…
- Be redirected to a relevant post on the authority site
- Have an article created which closely matches the topic of the original post and 301 redirected to that new similar post
In addition to identifying the old posts from the site it is important to map out another group of posts all of which will fall under the silo structure of this building block. (Great Silo Structure Overview)
The additional posts should be a mix of articles to rank as well as articles to try and generate links/shares. (Tutorial on how to generate great post titles quickly!)
Add these posts to the tracking document and assign writers.
3.4 301 Redirect Posts and Add Additional Posts
Rubber meets the road here!
In this step it is time to publish posts at the authority site and 301 redirect the old URLs to the new EPIC Niche Dominating post and the other relevant posts in that category.
There are a few ways to do this redirection but the plugin I prefer is Redirection (free).
With the step above done executing the 301 redirects in an organized way is not hard.
Make sure to track 404 errors at the expired domain and be sure to go in 2 weeks after doing the 301 redirect to clean up any 404 errors.
So there you have it the 301 building block strategy, a systematic approach to using powerful expired domains to build out an authority site.
I am using this strategy now to build out my six figure challenge website and as you could see above have had success with it.
Although this post is almost 3,000 words there are a lot of sections I did not cover in great detail. Please ask questions below and I will be sure to answer them.
Good luck and happy building!
Question 1 – What happens if I have multiple pages ranking for the same keyword in the SERP s
This SEO strategy can cause a problem where several of the pages for the site each take up a similar spot in the SERPs.
The section below shows how to handle whether this is the homepage or another page on the site.
In my case the problem was the site was not ranking as well as I would have liked for the target keywords and I wanted to boost the rankings.
Having 2 results on page 2 is not worth nearly as much in terms of traffic to a couple top results on page 1 as shown in several studies such as Catalyst CTR study shown below…
The basic strategy was to create a better post using some of the content from the post already ranking ok for the target keyword and 301 redirect the post to the homepage where the improved article will be live.
- Create a MOSTER 4k word VERY useful post formatted to look awesome with Thrive Themes
- Move some of the content from the post already ranking ok for the keyword to the new article
- Post the new article as the homepage content
- 301 redirect the post that was ranking for the target keywords to the homepage
- Get a couple Use My PBN links built to the homepage
- Keyword “Best DC’s” Household Product – 5,400 volume keyword moved from 10 to 3 & settled at 7
- Keyword “Best GDC” Household Product – 590 keyword moved from 7 to 3
- Keyword “Best DC” – 5400 volume keyword moved from 17 to 3 & settled at 5
- Conversion Rate Increase to 3.24%
- Traffic Increase by ~40%
How to Implement:
If you are wondering how to tell if this strategy makes sense for you to implement here is how I suggest you analyze your situation and potential opportunity…
- Check Google Analytics for your top pages by organic traffic
- Enter each of your pages and homepage into SEMRush.com to understand which pages are ranking for what keywords
TIP – If you have a post ranking better than your homepage for your target keywords this is a good indication that this strategy would be worth using.
Another Variation on This – If you have a couple posts that are ranking both only ok for the target keyword then I would attempt a similar strategy where you upgrade the content, post it on one post and then 301 redirect the old post.
The end result has been a decent 40-50% improvement in organic traffic by making it clearer to Google what URL on the site should be ranking for the given keyword.
Although this SEO strategy won’t be applicable to everyone I hope that it gives someone some ideas about how they can generate some improved rankings and results for their site.
Interesting strategy. I have seen stuff like this done but this is a clever combination of multiple strategies.
I like the idea of having a buffer site to see if the domain will work before moving it over to your money site.
Looking forward to seeing exactly how you make this plan happen.
The “buffer” gives me a lot of confidence that the strategy is lower risk!
Does this mean creating 5 pages on an expired domain whereof
– one is the epic post
– four are shorter posts
and then you move only (when site is indexed by G) the epic one to the authority site as “post 1” and 301 from the epic article on expired domain to “post 1” and the rest of the expired domain to the homepage of the authority site or do you redirect the whole expired domain to “post 1”?
Also please be so kind and explain if the 4 other pages on the expired domain are on topic posts or something like disclaimer, about, contact, terms & conditions ?
Thanks for making me think again 😉
Hi Tom, thanks for the question.
No I don’t create the epic post until I know if the site is going to be decent or not. The reason is simply the cost is too high.
All 5 posts I refer to are on topic posts.
Hopefully this and the post I have coming out tomorrow answers your questions.
Have you created or can you create a dummy blog that’s silo’d? I always question whether I truly understand the graphics..
Hi Bo, have a look at this post – https://websiteincome.com/build-site/
Dom does a great job providing an overview of how the silo structure works.
I recently starting to follow you, and I am learning a great deal. If I am not mistaking you are from the USA. Did you ever tried to build and rank a website in a foreign country?.
I recently did some basic research, and I was shocked what the first 10 results were for a 6000 p/m keyword in a foreign country.
I recently just purchased a website that is Spanish.
This will be the second foreign language site I have worked on the first did not go well but the second one seems to be doing ok so far.
Hey Jon, looking forward to seeing more. Was recently bemoaning the fact that few are writing about “new strategies” to rank like this. I don’t think I’ve used 301s to the extent I could be, so look will be back to read pt2.
Hi Curt, glad to provide something of interest.
Even if the new strategy isn’t a perfect fit it is always great to get a glimpse into what others are doing to rank their sites.
What metrics do you use for the domains that you 301? TF,CF,DA,PA,PR,LRD’s?
It really depends but…
PA – 40
DA – 30
CF – 30
TF – 25
PR – 3+
Alexa – <20,000,000
Would be a great domain. These are very hard to come bye!
Sorry for the double post, I can’t edit my previous.
What method do you use to 301 your domains and how do you go about hiding them from the SEO bots?
I use the plugin redirection.
I don’t hide from SEO bots….the only people asking to hide sites are people with something to hide. It seems it would be very easy for Google to go about finding all these sites and flagging them for a more detailed analysis.
Hi Jon, good post and I am looking forward to reading the series. Quick question (and maybe this has been answered in previous posts): Is it important to use a different IP address (hosting) for the expired domain than for the website that you are redirecting to?
I think that you have said (in some previous post) that for the Authority site, you are using brand new domain, right? Better safe than sorry with big G…?
Anyway, interesting strategy. Is there any recommended ratio between authority site articles with and without 301 redirects?
I have few smaller sites (both new domains and expired domains) of the similar topics, that I want to merge in one larger ‘authority’ site – easier to manage and maybe will rank better as one ‘large’ site…
Yes I am using a fresh domain.
No recommended ratio. I think it needs to stay within reason…that is a judgement call for everyone to make on their own.
This is something similar to my switchbox seo experiment. Is a great idea to add in silo structure into it which i never though of it
How is it working out for you so far.
I think one difference is I don’t look to bother with any tiered link building and eventually the site will get wrapped up into the authority site.
Hi, John Good post and I’d like to know Is it necessary to use seo hosting for expired domain?
congrats on your progress pertaining your site .Can you suggest which site is ideal for someone new in the IM to start with , authority site or niche site. can you write an article how to build a niche site from scratch . Perhaps you can put up a case study for that. few items you may want to cover in the article
1. what is niche and how to find profitable niches. Some guru’s says follow your passion. does following passion will able to generate online income.
2. what are the steps we need to follow in order to slowly increase traffic. is it good to have one niche sites or more sites
3. Monetization method . how to monetize for niche sites.
4. i’m not a native english speaker. Basically i’m from Malaysia . how to find affordable writers to help me out in writing posts
hope you can reply to my questions. sorry for the bad english anyway