Expired Domain Case Study Update – Now with MORE Charts (June 2014)

case study update - new vs expired domains

It’s time for another Case Study Update. And, yes, there are a lot of images in this update. There is a lot of data available for us to look at here.

This whole case study is about using an Expired Domains for money sites rather than starting with a Brand New Domain. I am attempting to keep all the other variables equal to get a good idea about the impact.

One thing to point out about this update is that we are focusing on half of the case study sites – so that’s two sites. It turns out that with all the things going on (other projects, other niche sites, a full time job, and life in general), I realized I should only work on 2 sites within one niche to make things move more quickly.

If you are just joining us on the case study, you might want to start here. That page has a link to all the posts related to the case study.


Check Out the Executive Summary For Niche #1


Add Backlinks

The last several weeks were spent getting some backlinks up for both of our websites in Niche #1. This was fairly straight forward since we are getting links from either my high authority Private Blog Network or from the HOTH. This is working out very well as we can see more referring domains showing up in backlink crawlers like Majestic SEO and ahrefs.

Last time, I got a Platinum HOTH package (that’s an affiliate link – I appreciate the support!) I split it between the websites to save some money. Well, it’s good to save some cash but sometimes you do just need to make the investment for a project. I see that I do need to add another HOTH Platinum package for Niche #1. The package I got before worked out very well but splitting the links between two sites dilutes the link juice. The Platinum Package includes 8 x Web 2.0 blogs, each with 3 originally written articles. I choose the Standard Filipino Content which is cheaper than the American written content.

Let’s take a look at some data about the new backlinks.

The Expired Domain for Niche #1

We can see that there are quite a few backlinks out there for this domain. The data below is from Majestic SEO and ahrefs.

niche-1-exp domain-Majestic-SEO-backlink-stats-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Backlink Summary Report from Majestic SEO

Generally, the number of backlinks and referring domains reported from Majestic SEO and ahrefs is pretty close. Normally, I would not be surprised to see an even greater variance.

niche-1-exp domain-ahrefs-general-stats-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Backlink Summary Report from ahrefs

Here are some details about the specific kind of links. As you can see, the majority of backlinks are “dofollow.”

niche-1-exp domain-ahrefs-backlink-types-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Backlink Type Summary from ahrefs

Even though there are 222 backlinks reported by ahrefs, I am mainly concerned with the number of referring domains. It’s generally accepted that more backlinks from a single domain have diminishing returns – the backlinks still count but not as much link juice is passed.

niche-1-exp domain-ahrefs-general-backlinks-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Backlink Details Summary from ahrefs

This TF vs CF chart looks pretty good with a decent number of links near the diagonal line. We do see some of the low Trust Flow links there and they were there when I got the domain.

niche-1-exp domain-Majestic-SEO-TF-vs-CF-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Trust Flow vs. Citation Flow from Majestic SEO


As we can see, the Trust and Citation Flow are both respectable. In addition, they have a near 1 to 1 ratio. Some people believe that a TF to CF ratio of near one looks to be authentic and is typical of websites with a natural backlink profile.

niche-1-exp domain-Majestic-SEO-trust-flow-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.comniche-1-exp domain-Majestic-SEO-citation-flow-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

The anchor text is very good. I hid the actual text to attempt to keep the domain private. So I can tell you that the 30% is the “Other” category and majority of the rest is brand related, naked URLs, or generic anchor text. If there is anything keyword related, it is under 5%, plus it is unrelated to the niche that I am targeting.

niche-1-exp domain-Majestic-SEO-Anchor-text-distribution-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Anchor Text Distribution from Majestic SEO


You can see in the calendar view that links were added over the last month or so. The links that were added are noted in blue. The pink numbers are the links that were lost.

niche-1-exp domain-ahrefs-backlinks-added-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Calendar View of New Links from ahrefs


The same information is presented here but with a slightly different view. Many links were lost on the 10th.

niche-1-exp domain-ahrefs-new-lost-backlinks-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Graph View of New and Lost Links from ahrefs


Lastly, this graph shows us both the number of referring pages (vertical axis on the left side) with backlinks to our money site on the expired domain. In addition, the number of referring domains (vertical axis on the right side) are shown as well.

niche-1-exp domain-ahrefs-referring pages-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Graph of New and Lost Links from ahrefs

Now, let’s change gears and look at the website for Niche #1 on the New Domain.

The New Domain for Niche #1

The only backlinks to this domain were created by me (or my wife). As expected, there are far fewer backlinks to this domain overall.

Niche #1, New Domain – Backlink Summary Report from Majestic SEO

Niche #1, New Domain – Backlink Summary Report from Majestic SEO

Again, I’m impressed that Majestic SEO and ahrefs are reporting very similar stats for the number of backlinks. They even see the exact same number of referring domains!

Niche #1, New Domain – Backlink Summary Report from ahrefs

Niche #1, New Domain – Backlink Summary Report from ahrefs


Once again, we can see that the majority of backlinks are “dofollow” and there are zero “nofollow” backlinks. I believe that will be changing in the future since we will be getting started on some blog commenting.

Niche #1, New Domain – Backlink Type Summary from ahrefs

Niche #1, New Domain – Backlink Type Summary from ahrefs

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Backlink Details Summary from ahrefs

Niche #1, New Domain – Backlink Details Summary from ahrefs

This TF vs CF chart looks great to me.  There are clearly far fewer links but they have a nice distribution near the diagonal line. We don’t have the low Trust Flow links like we saw in the expired domain.

Niche #1, New Domain – Trust Flow vs. Citation Flow from Majestic SEO

Niche #1, New Domain – Trust Flow vs. Citation Flow from Majestic SEO

The TF and CF are lower since the domain has less backlinks. However, I like what I see given that they values are near one another – so the ratio is near 1 – and that’s a good thing.


niche-1-NEW domain-Majestic-SEO-Trust-flow-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.comniche-1-NEW domain-Majestic-SEO-citation-flow-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com


The anchor text is less diverse. In this case, we control all of the backlinks and that means we can adjust the anchor text however we want. That’s one of the main benefits of having your own Private Blog Network (PBN). Again, I’ve hidden the actual text. The 21%, 14%, and 14% blocks are brand related anchor text and naked URL. One of the 7% segments is the exact match anchor text for a targeted keyword phrase. The rest of the 7% segments are longer phrases with a partial match for the brand name or URL. I expect the 7% segment of exact match anchor text will diluted down to closer to 3% in the near future.

Niche #1, New Domain – Anchor Text Distribution from Majestic SEO

Niche #1, New Domain – Anchor Text Distribution from Majestic SEO


You can see in the calendar view that links were added over the last month or so. The main difference is that no links were lost for the new domain.

Niche #1, Expired Domain – Calendar View of New Links from ahrefs

Niche #1, New Domain – Calendar View of New Links from ahrefs

The same information is presented here but with a slightly different view.

Niche #1, New Domain – Calendar View of New Links from ahrefs

Niche #1, New Domain – Calendar View of New Links from ahrefs


All the graphs are directly from SerpBook. I have the system configured to send me an email each day so I can easily see how the sites are doing. I used to spend a decent amount of time on checking rankings and that’s a poor use of time. SerpBook has been a great move. (Here is the affiliate link if you are interested.)

Keyword 1 – Expired Domain

niche-1-exp domain-serpbook-KW1-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 1 – New Domain

 niche-1-NEW domain-serpbook-KW1-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 2 – Expired Domain

niche-1-exp domain-serpbook-KW2-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 2 – New Domainniche-1-NEW domain-serpbook-KW2-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 3 – Expired Domain

niche-1-exp domain-serpbook-KW3-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 3 – New Domainniche-1-NEW domain-serpbook-KW3-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 4 – Expired Domain

niche-1-exp domain-serpbook-KW4-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 4 – New Domainniche-1-NEW domain-serpbook-KW4-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 5 – Expired Domain

niche-1-exp domain-serpbook-KW5-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com

Keyword 5 – New Domainniche-1-NEW domain-serpbook-KW5-06.21.2014-nichesiteproject.com


There are not any major issues with case study right now. As you can see we looked at only Niche #1. I hit the point that many of us do…

I was overwhelmed with all the tasks associated with getting a niche site up and running…and more importantly, getting the site to rank. It was certainly ambitious to attempt to start 4 sites all at the same time.

I decided that Niche #2 will still be around when we are ready to start working on it.


Overall, I like the progress for both of the sites in Niche #1. It is not surprising that the expired domain is still ahead in the rankings. All those links still count even if the previous content is not at all related to the new niche.

I’ll will be getting another HOTH Package for the sites for Niche #1. It takes a few weeks to complete so I hope by the next update that we can see some movement.

By the next update, I should have about 5 more products reviews on each site. A couple writers from oDesk are working on the reviews right now.

I am really hoping that after a couple more weeks the PBN backlinks will have more of an impact. I am hearing from some other people that have a lot of experience with PBNs that it is taking longer for the impact of  backlinks to show up in the search results. If that is the case than we should be seeing some continued forward momentum.

What do you think about the progress so far? Do you think it is taking a LONG time for the sites from Niche #1 to rank? Have you been able to rank a site faster? If so, let me know how in the comments.
Also, if you think I am making any mistakes, tell me about it!
19 comments… add one
  • As always very helpful Doug. I have been happy with the Hoth as well!

  • seddek

    hi if i ordered the smallest package of the hoth how many links in total i will get that are pointing to my money site ?

    • Hi Seddek, you would get 6 In-Content Links coming from 3 different Tier 1 blogs. And that would cost you $60, right now.

      The other big benefit is that you get the login information so you can add more content (and more links) later.

  • Grant

    Doug – great post! I have a question about the expired domain mentioned above – where do you find expired domains? I have found a couple of websites online but they are hit or miss.


    • Hey Grant – Thanks for the comment! I recommend a couple of newer brokers out there – Domain Colosseum and Domain Peel.

      They have very competitive rates…Those are affiliate links up there and I would appreciate the support if you do decide to buy domains from them.

  • Kev

    Great post Doug. Quick Q, have you used Rank Hero yet and if not, how come?

    • Hi Kev – Thank you.

      I know a lot of people that have used Rank Hero with great success. They really like the service that Rank Hero offers.


      No, I have not used Rank Hero. It’s a very popular service so I believe that the more popular a service is the more vulnerable it is.

      So the very best networks are the ones you can’t publicly buy links on.

      I would say that if you are buying lots of links that it makes very good sense to diversify your backlinks and buy from multiple PBN services.

  • Mike

    Great update, Doug.

    Sorry if I missed it, but for this particular expired domain, did you get it from Jon Haver’s service? If so, what kind of metrics does it have in terms of PA/DA?

    • Hi Mike, Thanks!

      I have a few domains from Jon and they are excellent.

      However, this domain is from another source. The PA is around 40 and the DA is around 30.

      The domain is not at all related to the new niche – it’s comically unrelated. 🙂

  • Larry Gonzaga

    Nice case study Doug! Looks like they’re coming along nicely.

    So far, except for that 1 keyword, for the other 4 keywords it looks like the expired domain leads around 15 ranking places. Wonder if that will get smaller or bigger as you get to the more competitive sites, ie, those in the top 20, or top 15. Very interesting.

    Just wondering by the way, how many PBN links have you pointed to the sites (if you don’t mind)?

    • Hey Larry, Thanks! I was wondering the same thing. Like if the two sites will be just a couple spots different once more time passes.

      There are about 20 PBN links to each of the domains right now. I’m pretty sure that some of those are not indexed yet. In addition, those 20 PBN domains have a wide range of Page and Domain Authority.

      Like I mentioned before, it sounds like backlinks are taking a little while to actually impact the search rankings…Like 2 – 4 weeks in some cases.

      • Larry Gonzaga

        Yes, I’ve been noticing that the effects of backlinks seem to be taking more time than they used to.

        Wow, you’ve got a lot of expired domains in your PBN…. BTW, Do you space out the time when pointing links from your PBN?

  • Aff

    Hi Doug,nice valuable case study,thanks.

    1.About the hoth platinum
    package,are you targeting the links for each package only to the
    homepage of moneysite or boost and inner pages?

    2.For your experience how many hoth platinum package do you need to distribute your anchor enough for 1 niche site?

    3.20 pbns posts to each niche site is from 40 pbn sites overall ?How time spend and which frequency to send these links?

    • Hey Aff. Sorry I missed this question for a while.

      1. I go for a blend of the homepage and inner pages. It ends up being about 2/3 for the inner pages at this time.

      2. Well, it depends on what other link building you’re doing, like blog commenting. I think 2 – 3 packages are about right spread out over time.

      3. The 20 links are from mostly different PBN domains…I’m not sure if it’s exactly 40 since there might be overlap for a few of the domains. The 20 links for each site were published over a month or so. The content was outsourced, written by a contractor, and between my wife and I, we probably spent 30 mins per post including all overhead. I wasn’t thinking about it that way but that means about 20 hours of link building using the PBNs.

  • Nolan

    Interesting results Doug. Do you think the expired domain ranked better mainly due to age or because of the backlinks.

    Would an aged domain with no authority or backlinks do better than a fresh domain?

    • Hey Nolan, Good question.

      I am not sure…I don’t think my data sample is big enough to even guess.

      Would an aged domain with no authority or backlinks do better than a fresh domain?
      YES. I have seen many other people do this with great success.

      • Nolan

        Interesting, thanks for the response Doug!

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