How Agencies Can Grow Client Businesses Using Aged Domains

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One of my favorite strategies for powerful traffic growth is using aged domains. While some affiliate marketers have caught on to the strategy that building a brand new website on a used domain is an excellent strategy, many agencies underestimate the power of using a good abandoned domain. 

This is an incredibly powerful strategy that can help agencies grow client sites at astonishing rates without having to create an entirely new blog on that domain. 

This strategy also has the benefit of not costing hundreds of man-hours pitching for guest posts at a relatively low response rate.

Using this strategy effectively starts with understanding what to look for to find the right aged domains.

What’s an Aged Domain?

An aged domain is simply a domain name that no longer has an active website on it but once did. If someone kept up a blog for ten years then decided not to renew it, once it expires that becomes an aged domain.

Not all aged domain names are equal. The quality of the site that used to be on that name, how many (quality) backlinks point to the name, and how long ago the name was abandoned all make a difference in its effectiveness.

4 Benefits of Aged Domains

Using an aged domain doesn’t just provide benefits for brand new sites. These provide a variety of benefits for an agency’s clients that shouldn’t be ignored.

Skip the Google Sandbox

If the client’s site is relatively new, it can be very difficult to get traction in Google’s rankings. While this is very basic knowledge among Internet Marketers and SEO specialists, this isn’t anything a client wants to hear.

Especially when they are paying agency fees to get results fast.

Redirecting the juice from an aged domain can help to shoot a relatively new, or even brand new, site out of Google’s sandbox and into the SERPs.

This applies to older client sites that shouldn’t have any sandbox issues but maybe have still struggled to get crawled consistently. Skipping the sandbox is a big benefit.

Powerful SEO Benefits

Having an aged domain redirected to a client’s site is like taking all of the backlinks that went to the original site and pointing them all straight at the client. This can be an incredibly powerful boost to the authority, trust, overall rankings of a client’s posts.

Its also a lot cheaper than buying a fully built out and successful website. Website’s can command a high figure when sold because of the profit they are generating. An aged domain gives you the benefit of all of the backlinks without nearly as high or a price tag.

Unique Linking Opportunities

Some domains may have links from very hard-to-get sources or authority sites that simply don’t link out anymore. This gives a serious boost to SEO efforts because it means links that would otherwise be impossible to get for the client.

A proper redirect at least gets the benefits of those links and sets a client’s site apart from their competition.

Allows an Agency to Focus Limited Time/Resources Elsewhere

There are many different strategies for acquiring links, improving both on-site and off-site SEO, and working to improve the overall brand for a client. There are also only 24 hours in a day. 

A few good-aged domains redirecting all of their link authority to a client’s site saves all the time and effort that would be needed to manually reach out and build that level of a link profile. Depending on the quality of the aged domain, this could save hundreds of hours of work.

Those resources can then be spent elsewhere to do an even better job for a client.

Strategy: Acquire Abandoned “Business” Domains and Redirect

One of the best ways for an agency to use and scale this strategy is to look for and acquire abandoned business domains. There is often an abundance of these and they offer a huge well of untapped potential.

Why Do This?

There are some very good reasons to focus on business domains. One simple one is that many small businesses have run a small SEO campaign or even worked to get links of their own for a site. Online newspapers may have featured a small business and linked to them.

That means among the 70% of all businesses that eventually fail (source) there are a lot of domain names that have links to them a client’s competition will almost certainly not have.

Redirecting this link juice from otherwise dead websites can drastically improve a client’s rankings in Google and other search engines. 

Step 1: Find a Relevant Aged Domain/Business

Finding a good aged domain is crucial. Old domains that were spammed, hammered with Google penalties, or otherwise never attracted any links aren’t going to move the needle much. If at all. 

While some aged domains can occasionally just be stumbled upon, most of the time the options are going to be a vetted domain marketplace or an open auction. There are potential pros and cons to both when trying to find a relevant aged business domain.

ODYS is a vetted marketplace that gives members access to an excellent selection of aged domains. This is where I prefer to buy my aged domains because they consistently perform well.

Due to being a vetted marketplace, this means a lot of the homework has been done already. The domain names here are going to move the needle if used properly. That makes it easier for an agency to locate the right domains for their client’s business and know they will get results.

GoDaddy Auctions

GoDaddy is an open auction platform that offers plenty of opportunities to find and purchase a good-aged domain, assuming you outbid the competition. However, it’s very important to note that GoDaddy Auctions are an open auction system.

This means none of the guarantees or vetting that comes with Agencies are fully responsible for their own research, vetting, and getting the information needed to decide whether or not to pull the trigger.

These are two of the best options when it comes to finding aged domains.

Step 2: Analyze SEO Tools to Understand Which Pages to Recreate

It’s very rare to see a site where all the links went to just the home page or the internal pages received the same number of links from other sites. If the links were built naturally, then there will almost always be some articles that attracted a lot of traffic, attention, and links.

It’s important to rebuild those pages (URLs) and have those redirect individually to the client’s site. This is how to get the most value out of any redirect. 

Good SEO tools are needed to see what old pages from the domain were linked to and which are most “seen” by Google. Using tools like Ahrefs and others can help to clearly see what needs to be built and which pages can be ignored.

Step 3: Perform Redirects and Google Search Console Site Move

The next step is performing the actual redirects and then letting Google know about the change. These steps are crucial to making aged domains work for the client.

A 301 redirect needs to be set up for each URL that has backlinks. This can be done in variety of manners. Here is a good write-up explaining the process.

Once the tech people in the agency take care of this, the next step is to notify Google directly so it recognizes this change. This tells Google that the old website has moved to a new URL and all authority, trust, links, etc should move from the old URL to the new one (the client’s).

Use Google’s change of address tool through Google Search Console to notify them. Then Google will make the necessary changes on their end.

Step 4: Monitor Ranking Impact

Always track the impact. How is it possible to know how effective the aged domains are for a client unless the ranking changes are closely monitored? Test domains from different sources and see which provides the best results.

There might be small changes or large ones. By tracking the impact, small tweaks can be made to see if further optimization is possible for better results.

Case Study: Acquired

the website flip is a newsletter and blog discussing the buying and selling of website assets that generate revenue. They also offer a course on buying and flipping aged domains.One strategy that we’ve used to grow the business is to use aged domain redirects and thus acquired

The reasons for acquiring this domain were as follows:

  • Aged domain since 2006
  • Existing backlinks that would take significant time to obtain or be impossible
  • Perfect topic match

After acquiring the domain, we analyzed the backlinks and redirected each URL to a page on my site, the domain homepage to the existing homepage, and the remaining pages to a press release page. 

Graphically, this is what it looks like:

In the business world, when one business merges with another (i.e., mergers and acquisitions), they share the news through press releases on their website. This strategy mimics that behavior by announcing to the world that has acquired

This ensures that we follow best practices in the real world as large businesses do.

Takeaways: By acquiring relevant aged domains, we are receiving the benefit of the domain’s authority but also reducing competition in the search results. It’s a win-win.

Wrap Up

Aged domains are a powerful tool that many agencies have overlooked when helping clients grow their sites. This strategy is a powerful way to get the most out of what domains can potentially offer.

Getting massive results for clients on a consistent basis means more clients, more positive word of mouth and more income. What agency wouldn’t want more of that?

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Jared Bauman

Jared Bauman is the Co-Founder of 201 Creative, and is a 20+ year entrepreneur who has started and sold several companies. He is the host of the popular Niche Pursuits podcast and a contributing author to Search Engine Land.