Quick Answers #3 – Old/Expired Domains

This question just in from Till

Hi Eli,

is an old domain just worth if it has quite a lot backlinks or is an old domain also worth if it’s just in the index of search engines, but has almost no backlinks (0-20).

Regards

Till

Great question. It captured my attention because theres always a lot of talk in the SQUIRT forum about expired domains. Several members of the community are talking about how they’re building their SEO Empires with snagged expired domains. I kind of cringe when I hear that not because expired domains are bad, but because I personally have no idea about the history of the domain. Frankly it could sway either way. The practice of using expired domains could be good or bad. The problem I have with it is the unpredictability, which I’ll get to in a moment. For now I assume the people know what they’re doing when they buy the domain and are making wise decisions. Much like buying a used car always do your research and find out the background of what you’re buying. The inherent problem is, the odds are stacked against you. If it was a good domain with value someone would of kept it. Yet, mistakes are made and there are some definite gems out there and if you aren’t on the field you can’t score. So while I think buying up expired domains for SEO reasons is a good thing if you know what you’re doing I am hypocritical in the fact that I don’t do it myself. The main reason is due to a question I have myself.

This question just in from Eli

Hi handsome!About 8 months ago I had several domains expire on me and never managed to pull them out. They were good domains with links, never banned or penalized and were part of several different projects. I reregistered them quickly and managed to get them back. I had no real purpose for them so I added them to a common platform site network I was working on with several other new domains. All the sites had the same structure and went through the same promotion, but for some reason the expired domains took nearly 3 weeks longer to get indexed than the brand new domains. 8 months later they still seem to perform about the same as the other sites, but I’m curious with all their previous backlinks and such why did those exact domains take longer than the others to get reindexed. Any ideas of why that was?

I still don’t know. I don’t have the attention span long enough to buy some control domains and wait a year to expire them out and hope I manage to get them back in order to do any tests and figure it out. Anyone else experienced this by chance?

Either way I see buying expired domains for SEO reasons as having the following benefits.1. Established inbound links2. Aged inbound links

Other than that your still starting from scratch. So my philosophy is, unless the domain is a gem, such as either a good name or it having phenomenal unique backlinks (ie lots of links or saturation like you mentioned) than its easier and more predictable to just work with new domains. Not to mention it saves a bit of headaches and time, and even sometimes money. Which brings me back to the predictability thing. I sometimes get questions from people about a particular basement or foundation site that was an expired domain like it suddenly dropped in ranking, or it got banned, or it lost a bunch of pages in the index. Anything out of the ordinary.

BTW I’d like to take this moment to remind everyone that in case you never noticed, every year right before Christmas sites tend to drop in saturation levels in Google. Its probably due to the upcoming updates that usually happen in January, I don’t know. Either way it seems to happen every year near the beginning of December.

So in cases like this you can look at stuff and maybe find a problem, or you can just write it off as the search engines being weird, but when your dealing with a new site on an previous registered domain you get that extra variable. Is the problem caused by a problem with the site, search engines being weird, or the history of the domain causing problems? It makes the job of diagnosing problems and learning from mistakes that much harder. For me personally, I’m still going to be doing this in 5 years so theres no point in forcing unneeded shortcuts on myself. All my domains will eventually become old, all my domains will eventually get link age. I just let time do its thing and in the mean time work on new exciting projects. <- its a good life

Which nearly answers the question about old domains. Old domains aren’t something I think people should stress about. Every single site I build, while I’m building it, I’m wishing the domain was old. Hell when I’m buying the domains I wish they were old. Yet in a year none of it matters and nothing has changed. I’ll still be wishing the domains I am buying now were older like the domains I bought last year and the year before that. It’s like playing Sim City, it doesn’t matter if you have it on fast mode or slow the strategy is still the same. Because the beautiful thing about age factors are, they are done for you

PS. Please read my Follow up post to SEO Empire if you haven’t already. It talks a lot about shortcuts and how to speed up the process of rankings, which I think is where time is best spent. The more experience you have with that the less you have to worry about domain age.

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Quick Answers #2 – The Word of The Day Is Class-Cunt IP

Now that I put the dreaded C-word in the title mine won’t be the only office in the nation calling it Class-Cunt ips. Watch, you’ll catch yourself doing it and frankly you deserve it. To make the transition into a technopotty mouth easier with a handy mnemonic: A Big Cunt Drowns Easier (E is incase we ever make that switch the government keeps rambling on about).

I probably get more questions about my distribution of IPs than any other type. Frankly I can answer it in one word, evenly. But once again hitting up our Open Questions post here’s a question that I think best illustrates the topic.

This one is from Quinton Figueroa

1. For each domain do you split your subdomains up in multiple C Class IPs or do they all stay on 1? Does it depend?

2. For each domain do you link from your subdomains to other subdomains or do you keep each one as its own stand alone “site”?

3. Do you set up in the 100’s of subdomains or in the 1,000’s of subdomains (or maybe more) per domain?

Appreciate the help man, you kick ass!

Google doesn’t penalize a site because of the other sites on the same IP or class. I say this with confidence because even though Matt Cutts publicly said it in one of his video dialogs I still researched it myself to make damn sure (you can thank me later ionhosting). I also haven’t seen any evidence that the other search engines are any different. So I speak the same answer whether I’m talking about one site having a different IP than another or a subdomain having a different IP than the main domain. It’s all under the same point of reference, but to address the question directly what’s the one primary reason why a subdomain has a different IP than a main domain? Thats right, it’s on a different server.

Side TrackBTW when people say a statement like, “I haven’t seen any evidence” it usually means they haven’t LOOKED at any evidence. For future reference, give statements like that about as much authority as a one legged security officer. Do your own research.

Back On TrackIf there is no penalty for sites being on the IP and there is no explicit reward for being on separate IPs than all thats left is two small benefits of 1. If your sites are black hat it makes it harder to track all them down. 2. The links appear to be more natural between two sites if they are on separate IPs (whether or not this is an actual benefit or not remains to be seen). So whole IP diversification business boils down to costs vs financial reward. So while in the past I’ve been very cautious of my own IP dispersement, which was only in part because during that period I was able to acquire IPs very cost efficiently, since I have lessened my efforts. The rewards vs the costs just aren’t there enough to invest any worry into the matter. So my answer is simply “evenly.” Use what you got. If you get a server and it gives you 10 free ips. Use them all and just distribute your sites amongst them. You won’t regret it and at the same time you wouldn’t see any explicit benefits from dumping a bunch of extra money every month into more ips. The money is obviously better spent on things thats make more revenue such as domains and servers. Even if you had unlimited IPs how would you end up distributing them? Evenly…

To be perfectly clear, even though I take IP distribution with a grain of salt it doesn’t mean I take nameserver distribution lightly and the same applies to domain registration info. In fact I’d say the one exception to the IP carefree rule is if you happen to write a blog teaching people how to bend over Google like a Japanese whore. I mention it, because I know some of you do. In which case be very careful about what sites you allow others to see. Throwing a few decoys out also doesn’t hurt because “do no evil” policies don’t apply to profit risks. Paranoia? For a year and a half yes, after Oct 21st of this year. No. You may not get it, but someone somewhere just shit their pants. So feel free to giggle anyways.

As for questions 2 and 3 if you would of asked me a year ago I would of had a completely different response. Yet the basic principle still remains. I talked about this topic to great depth in my SEO Empire Part 1 post. Reread the section where I talk about the One Way Street Theory. The decision on how many subdomains as well as whether or not they should be orphan subdomains or innerlinked is a decision I make by asking whether or not those subdomains would be of benefit to the main domain. If they are of a benefit to it than i establish a relationship between the two (ie a link either one way or exchanged). If they aren’t than I keep the subdomains orphan. BTW the term Orphan subdomain or Orphan Subpage was a term coined by an obnoxious troll here. I kinda liked it so I kept it. It means the subdomain has no relationship with the main domain or any other pages or subdomains of the site. Watch out for innerlinking between subdomains though. Think in terms of sites who do it effectively and sites that don’t. If your innerlinking in a way that mimics About.com or similar than great. If your innerlinking in a way that say Blog Solution or something would, for the sake of link building to each subdomain, I’d advise against it for footprint reasons and for god sakes if you’re hosting a blackhat generated site on a white hat domain don’t even consider it!

Do’s and Don’ts of Subdomains.Do create subdomains for the purpose of exploiting an established domains domain authority. – I’ve talked a lot about software related sites. I think they’re a great and easy way to build domain authority. Anything related can be thrown into a subdomain. I got a couple general sites that have great domain authority and anything i throw up on it does well in the SERPS almost instantly. I make sure to not over do it and it works out very well for me.

Don’t create subdomains to save on domain costs. – It’s less than ten dollars a year for fuck sake. Don’t risk trashing a $20/day site and its authority that it took you a year or two to establish to save $10/year.

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Quick Answers #1 – Easy Link Building

I’ll be dedicating a few posts to grabbing questions in the Open Questions post.

There were several questions like it, but I think this one represents it the best.

From Matthew

Hi Eli,

I’ve read through your blog and its amazing info. Thanks. I have a question. I’ve read through and I find the link building stuff (black hole SEO) a bit too complex, could you suggest any other effective link building techniques? I’ve heard great stuff about TNX.net.

Thanks!

I haven’t heard of TNX, but here’s a really simple one most haven’t thought of. Much like ugly girls tend to have better personalities pretty and clean sites tend to be harder to link build, or at least take more effort initially. So a little technique I’ve been using a lot lately is to build sites that gather links really easy. A quick easy way to do this is to build a site that distributes something people want to either put on their websites or social site profiles (ie. myspace, facebook, youtube and such). I’ll give you the most basic of examples. In a really old post on this blog I put up this picture:Since then everyone and their dog has been hotlinking to it, especially since it’ll often times show up in Google images for the term Middle Finger. Not that I care but it illustrates the stupid shit people spread and its effectiveness can be used for links as minuscule as it is. So lets say all I had in my arsenal was this stupid picture of a flaming middle finger. I post it up on some site get it in google images and such just like i did. Then under it I put a textbox that says something like Put this on your ____ copy past etc etc. The code has a link to a random domain of mine, the domain doesn’t even have to be active, or it can be a money site. Who really cares? After awhile the flaming finger image gathers enough links to that domain that i just 301 redirect the domain over (doesn’t even have to be an entire domain as I’ll mention below). All the links goes to my new pretty site.

This is a really weak example I realize, but it can be done with just about any media (video, image, flash, etc.) you’d like. It can be done with any type of site you’d like. As long as its the type that tends to be able to gather links faster than your other type of site. If I got big pretty sites coming out on a future date i can build several of these site and by the time the main site goes live I can have plenty of link volume to rank properly. The only reason why this extra work is necessary is because viral link building tends to be exponential. In other words you got to have links to get rankings and got to have rankings to have links. More links means more links. So it creates a nice little shove on a boat too big to leave the dock on its own. Best of all its really easy and rarely costs anything at all to do.

If you’re wondering why this all kind of sounds familiar or like you should already know it, its because its a creative spin on two of the more popular techniques on this blog, Link Laundering Sites, and Cycle Sites. On a side note I’ve found that this also works on subdirectories. So you can create a site that distributes media or allows people to upload their own and it has em all on a separate subdirectory or page, the links can even go to the same page the item is on. Once each subdirectory or subpage gets enough links to it, cycle it out and let the links go to a site that needs em. You can also put the media up on another subdirectory to be used again in gathering more links. The best advice I can give you on this is to look for types of sites that gain links quickly right out of the gate. They may not make a lot of money, they may be high bandwidth, it doesn’t matter if they’re all temporary. You can still steal the idea to do some easy link building on the harder sites.

More answers coming soon

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Open Questions

Well I’ve been working extremely hard this coming Christmas season. Got several personal big launches coming out as well as loads of other fun business. I’ve been writing nearly every day on SEO Empire Part 2. I also got several large followup posts in draft. It occured me though, as if I couldn’t with the flood of emails, that I haven’t updated in a month. So I thought it would be fun to throw out a few short and to the point posts before I dig down into my presents and finish up this bitch of a season.

So lets take on a few open questions. A public dialog between yourself and I and the other readers. I know theres lots of great SEO and marketing questions out there and frankly I can talk about it all day. Fire off any questions you got in the comments and for the next week I’ll be answering as many as I have time for.

Have fun and happy holidays!

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