Everything You Need to Know
What is an aged domain? An aged domain is a domain that has been used or registered in the past, usually for an extended period. Because of their age, search engines have been indexing aged domains for many years. Aged domains can be valuable for your business, especially if you want to increase your website traffic. Like us, people who frequently work with aged domains know their worth firsthand. Read on for our comprehensive guide to these domains and what they can do for you.
What is an Aged Domain?
An aged domain is a domain that has existed on the internet for years but is no longer registered to a website.
A domain is the name of your website. It comes after www. and before .com in your website address. Many domain names are the names of the businesses or individuals that purchase them.
How Should You Choose Your Domain?
If you are looking for an aged domain or any domain for that matter, you want to choose one that meets the following requirements:
- Accurately describes your business, services, or purpose of the website
- Short and easy to spell
- Uncomplicated and straightforward for your customers to remember
The best domain names tell your customers (and search engines) exactly who you are or what you do. The simpler, the better because visitors will be more likely to remember and correctly spell the domain on the first try.
How Can Aged Domains Benefit Your SEO?
Aged domains can be valuable to your website because they significantly improve your search engine optimization or SEO. In other words, an aged domain can help you rank higher and more often in search results. These domains are beneficial in the following areas of SEO.
Link building is of the factors that Google uses to rank websites in search results. There are two types of links: internal links, which connect pages within your own website, and backlinks, which link from other websites back to yours.
Backlinks can be extremely difficult to build for a new website, as they require significant networking and high-quality content that others want to link their readers back to from their own pages. They are also worth a lot more to Google and other search engines ranking your website.
An aged domain comes with all of the previous owner’s backlinks for their website. For example, if you purchase an old domain from a former furniture store, all other pages that previously linked to that furniture store will now connect to your website.
These backlinks will improve your SEO rankings and bring more traffic to your website.
Another benefit of an aged domain for your SEO is increased traffic to your website. The more people who visit, stay on, and engage with your website, the better your page looks to Google and other search engines.
Older domains bring more people to your website because there are links to them around the internet. They also bump your website higher on the search results pages, resulting in more clicks from people searching for related items.
Keep it relevant to achieve the best results. If you’re looking to increase website traffic by using an aged domain, make sure to get one that is directly related to your website.
For example, if you own an Italian restaurant, purchasing a domain previously used by an auto body shop is not likely to bring new potential customers to your website.
Google Algorithm & Domain Age
Google’s algorithm, or formula to determine which websites will rank highest, directly considers the age of a domain. Usually, the older the domain, the more likely the website will rank higher on the search results page.
This benefit is even more significant if you use a previously ranked domain or one with a good reputation with Google or other search engines.
The exception is when the domain has an adverse history with Google, such as being reported for spam or something similar in the past. We’ll go into more detail about this and other related situations later in the article.
If the prior owner of your domain listed it with online directories, it would still be listed when you begin using it. These online directories, such as the Yahoo! Directory, will help you rank highly in the search results.
An online directory is where you can list your business information, such as your website, and link back to your website. While most are free, some are not, so you can benefit from past owners of your domain paying to list the website.
Appearance in online directories can increase traffic and provide additional backlinks (discussed above) to improve your SEO and bring more relevant traffic to your website.
How Do You Find Out the Age of a Domain?
You can check the age of a domain using free tools on the internet or purchase a domain from professionals who have already completed a manual audit.
One easy-to-use free tool is Site Checker, where you can type in a domain name and retrieve the date that the domain was purchased and when the current registration will expire.
However, it is best practice to review a full audit of any aged domain before you decide to use it. A full audit will include the age of the domain, existing backlinks, anchor text quality, metric balancing, and an analysis of the domain’s use in the past.
Where Do Aged Domains Come From?
You might be wondering why people would let their domains go if an older domain has so many benefits. There are a few reasons why this might happen.
One source of aged domains is simply people who allow their domain registrations to expire because they no longer use them, or in rare cases, because they forget about their upcoming renewal. Over 158 million domain names are registered just under “.com,” so it is only natural that their owners will discard some overtime.
A domain might become available if the prior owner missed their registration payment. This has become more unlikely as domain registrars have put grace periods and better reminder systems in place, but it still happens occasionally. A domain registrant might miss the reminders, forget, or simply be unable to afford their domain renewal for the upcoming year.
A domain registrant might also forgo their domain if they no longer need it. Maybe they have purchased a new domain more relevant to their business or services, perhaps they closed shop, or simply decided that their website is not worth the cost of the domain. In this situation, their domain will become available for others to use.
Finally, a domain could close for a negative reason, such as a company declaring bankruptcy or shutting down for harmful or illegal business practices. If this is the case, you definitely do not want to use the domain for your own purposes. Not only could it have a negative reputation online, but you might also find yourself targeted by people seeking remediations from the people who previously owned the domain.
As you can imagine, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about a domain before you decide to make it your own. While it is perfectly safe and even beneficial to adopt an older domain whose registration simply expired, it can be downright detrimental to purchase one with an adverse history or reputation for spamming customers.
We’ll cover more about these and other risks later in the article.
Where Can You Get an Aged Domain?
You can get an aged domain by purchasing it from a domain supplier or picking it up at an auction.
Thirty days after the domain expires, it will usually go to a 7-day auction where people can purchase it for their own use. Sometimes, these bidders will be individuals, and sometimes companies planning to re-sell the domain to other people.
For most people, purchasing an aged domain from a company selling them is the best option. This is simply because domain sellers tend to have the resources and expertise to ensure that the domain has a healthy history and nothing is lurking in its past that will come back to bite the new owners.
If you decide to purchase an older domain on your own, be sure to complete a full audit of its history, backlinks, link paths, anchor text, metrics, and previous hosting at the web address. Otherwise, use a professional service to ensure that the domains you purchase will not put your business or website at risk.
How Much Does an Aged Domain Cost?
Domains come with different price tags based on their history and value for your SEO. They can range anywhere from under $5 to millions of dollars. In fact, in 2007, a domain name actually sold for $5 million! But don’t worry – that is an unusually high number.
The cost of a domain will cost more if it has a strong history of optimal SEO rankings, contains popular keywords, or has been around longer than others.
Factor these costs into your budget to ensure that you can purchase whichever domain is the best fit for your needs, especially if you are in the market for a more generic or popular website name.
Can You Purchase an Aged Domain if You Already Have a Website?
If you’re reading this article and wishing you considered buying a domain with history before setting up your website, don’t worry! You can still benefit from purchasing an aged domain.
You can purchase a domain and link it to your existing website with a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is a permanent connection that will send website visitors from one address to another.
301 redirects are relatively simple to set up, especially if you use a website builder/CRM. You can usually access a redirect setting from your dashboard to quickly set up a single or group redirect from one domain to another.
Risks of Aged Domains
Before we wrap up, we must touch on some of the risks associated with purchasing and using older domains for your personal or business use.
While adopting an aged domain brings you all the positive history associated with it means that you are taking on any negative history associated with the domain.
A 2021 report from Cyber Intel Mag found an increasing trend in malicious domains out there for purchase. In fact, their study found that one in five older websites is actually considered hostile, unsafe, or risky.
We mentioned earlier, the easiest way to ensure that you are not purchasing an unhealthy aged domain is to buy it through a professional service that completed a quality audit before selling you the domain. While these agencies might cost a bit more than buying them personally, the peace of mind will be worth the extra cost.
We will cover some of the most common risks associated with older domains so that you are familiar with them as you consider which domain to choose and decide how you will purchase your new website name.
A History of Spamming
Ensure that whichever domain name you adopt doesn’t have a history of spamming or illegally contacting website visitors. Even worse, the website could have been used to plant malware or other dangerous software on viewers’ computers.
You don’t want your own website to be associated with a spammy or illegal website for obvious reasons. This can hurt your SEO and your reputation, as people might remember that your website was once a malicious site.
Bankrupt or Legally Questionable Companies
Some domain names were previously owned by companies that went bankrupt or were forced to close due to illegal or other harmful activity. You will also want to avoid these domains because people might associate your unrelated company with the one who previously owned the website address.
If you take on a company’s domain that caused people trouble in the past, you can target unwanted requests or messages. For example, creditors of the other company might begin sending you messages because they think you are the same company.
Another example of these unwanted messages could come from former customers or investors seeking damages from you, or even those who just want to leave a negative review about the other company.
While you could explain to each of these individuals that you are not the company they are looking for, save yourself the headache by choosing a domain without this adverse history.
Blacklisted by Google
The worst-case scenario in buying an older domain is spending money to purchase a website name that Google and other search engines blacklist. This means that Google will not show the website in their search rankings, regardless of what you do with the domain now.
This is obviously an undesirable situation, especially if you purchased the domain to improve your SEO and appear higher in Google search results.
While it is possible to remove a domain from the Google blacklist, it can be tedious and sometimes even impossible. In this case, it’s much better to avoid the situation than to purchase a blacklisted domain with the hopes of resolving the issue.
Google blacklists websites, IP addresses, and even email addresses if they have questionable content, malware, or can otherwise cause harm to viewers. While some of the blacklisting criteria (like that mentioned above) are pretty obvious to the average observer, other elements can be more challenging to identify on the surface.
Aside from obvious malware, Google will also blacklist domains that trigger automatic downloads, pull information from users’ computers, have outdated plugins, poor site security certificates, or if they get suspected of plagiarism. Sometimes Google will even blacklist a website for being so unorganized that it cannot figure out how to “crawl” the website.
These lesser-known blacklisting triggers mean that a domain could be blacklisted, and the prior owner or users might not know. They might have added a third-party app that Google found suspicious or simply failed to update its plugins, resulting in their addition to the Google blacklist. All of this makes it even more imperative that you make sure the aged domains you purchase come from a reputable dealer and have been cleared by a thorough audit before the sale. If you find yourself in a situation where you have a blacklisted domain, you can begin the process of resolving this problem in your Google Search Console.
Aged Domains Conclusion
Overall, aged domains are well worth the investment because they significantly improve your SEO and increase traffic to your website. Be sure to choose a healthy domain that is relevant and easy to remember for your website visitors.
The easiest way to ensure that you adopt the best domain possible for your website is to purchase your aged domain from a professional service that will complete a robust audit before selling you the website name.