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The Pros and Cons of Using an Expired Domain to Build Your Website

The Pros and Cons of Using an Expired Domain to Build Your Website

You don’t have to register an entirely new domain when building a website. You can use an expired domain instead. Expired domains are those that their former owner has abandoned. 

If a webmaster doesn’t renew his or her website’s domain, it will expire. The registrar will then place the expired domain up for sale. Before buying an expired domain, though, you should weigh the pros and cons of using them.

Pro: Fast Indexing

Search engines will probably index your website in less time if you build it with an expired domain. With a new domain, search engines won’t know that your website exists. Only after discovering your website through a link or ping will they add it to their index.

Using an expired domain eliminates the need for search engines to discover your website. Search engines will remember crawling the website that was previously on the expired domain, so they’ll return to it. They’ll revisit the expired domain to crawl your website and add it to their index.

Pro: Direct Traffic

Your website may generate more direct traffic with an expired domain. Many expired domains have traffic. Some of them attract hundreds of visitors per month, whereas others attract thousands or tens of thousands of visitors per month. 

Using an expired domain allows you to capitalize on this direct traffic.

Even if the website with which the expired domain was previously used has been taken down, users may visit the address of an expired domain. Building your website with an expired domain means it will attract these users.

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You can find expired domains with traffic available for sale on domain auction houses. When shopping for an expired domain, you should be able to sort the results by monthly traffic. 

This sorting method will display the expired domains with the most monthly traffic at the top of the auction house’s results.

An expired domain can provide your website with backlinks. Backlinks aren’t connected to websites; they are connected to domains. If you build your website with an expired domain, it will receive all of the previous site’s backlinks.

Like with direct traffic, you can typically sort expired domains by backlinks when browsing a domain auction house. Not all expired domains have backlinks. 

Nonetheless, expired domains that were previously used with popular websites may have hundreds or thousands of backlinks.

Pro: Search Rankings

An expired domain can help your website earn higher search rankings. With both traffic and backlinks, your website will start off on the right foot. It will possess page signals that encourage search engines to rank it higher.

Search engines evaluate backlinks for rankings. An expired domain will likely provide your website with at least some backlinks. 

At the same time, an expired domain will attract visitors to your website, some of whom will probably interact with your site while creating other positive ranking signals in the process.

Con: Risk of Penalty

There’s a risk of a ranking penalty when using an expired domain. For extreme violations of their webmaster guidelines, search engines may impose a domain-level ranking penalty. 

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It’s also known as a legacy domain penalty designed to prevent or restrict all web pages’ rankings on the targeted domain.

If you use an expired domain suffering from a legacy domain penalty, your website’s search rankings will take a significant hit. 

Some legacy domain penalties will prevent your website from ranking anywhere in the search results. You can usually get a legacy domain penalty lifted by submitting a reconsideration request to the search engine that penalized it, but doing so can take several months. 

New domains, conversely, are fresh, so they won’t contain any lingering penalties.

Con: The Cost

Expired domains usually cost more than new domains. Most registrars like GoDaddy sell them on a domain auction house. To buy an expired domain, you’ll have to place the highest bid on it. 

There might be a dozen other users bidding on the same expired domain. As you fight them for the highest bid, the price of the expired domain will increase. 

The back-and-forth bids can trigger a bidding war that inflates the domain’s price.

New domains, conversely, have a flat price. They aren’t sold on domain auction houses. Instead, registrars sell them at a fixed price, such as $10 or $12 per year. 

Depending on the demand, expired domains can cost anywhere from $20 to $100,000 initially, and you’ll still have to pay for the annual registration. To save money, registering a new domain is the way to go.

Con: Limited Name Options

You’ll have limited options regarding the name when using an expired domain. You won’t be able to choose your own domain name. 

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Instead, you’ll be limited to using the name of an expired domain. If there are no expired domains with a name that matches your website’s purpose, registering a new domain might be the better choice.

Using a new domain gives you the freedom to choose any name that isn’t currently registered. Maybe you want to use a target keyword as your website’s domain name, or perhaps you want to use a unique brand name. With a new domain, you can choose any available name.

Con: Trademark Issues

There’s the potential for trademark issues as well. 

Expired domains can contain trademarks, and many businesses use domains with trademarked terms.  However, some of these businesses may forget to renew their domains, resulting in their domains expiring.

If an expired domain contains a trademark, you generally can’t use it for commercial purposes. The owner of the trademark may request that you hand over the expired domain. You can avoid trademark issues such as this by registering a new domain.

You’ll need a domain before you can start creating content and building your website. There are new domains and expired domains. 

Using an expired domain offers fast indexing, direct traffic, backlinks, and improved search rankings. 

Expired domains are more expensive and come with the risk of penalties and trademark issues.

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