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Website Marketing

Thinking About Buying Some Aged Domains

We’ve only bought new domains to this point. I’m thinking about getting an aged domain (or three) the next time we go looking for one (SitePoint and Sedo are two popular places to look if you’re interested). There are still good new domain names available but an existing domain has a few potential advantages.

Age Isn’t Just A Number

The age of a domain is one of the factors in search engine rankings. I’ve heard a few big name people say they’d buy an old domain if they had to start over again from scratch. The algorithms change all of the time but I have a hard time seeing how age would become less important. Spam sites probably won’t last as long as something lily white so it makes sense the search engines would trust older sites more.

Backlink City

I’ve written about it before, but getting links is one of my least favorite things to do. A lot of existing domains already have links to them. Someone might have put up a web site, built up some links, and then decided it wasn’t worth it. A lot of those links won’t just go away.

Some of those links might be low quality and/or not have the anchor text you want. That probably matters more for highly competitive terms which is an area we largely ignore. Even low quality links have some value just because it takes time and/or money to create links at all. You can shop around for link building services or link buying services to gauge how much the existing links are worth.

Traffic In A Box

You could buy some instant traffic when you purchase an aged domain. It might be a trickle. It might be untargeted. Or it could come in droves from the exact audience you want. It’s possible to determine a range of the value of that traffic. Whether it’s the value of getting a position in the SERPs, or PPC costs, or referrals, or type-in traffic, it’s worth something too.

Random Thought

Actually, figuring out some sort of valuation formula seems like a good exercise to do. I’m sure the big domainers already do this. Maybe a few tools already exist? I wonder if we could create one if not?

Three Reasons To Start Fresh

  1. Cost is the main reason we hadn’t bought an existing domain. Some of the better names are really, REALLY expensive. It’s possible some of those are undervalued but, like I said, I don’t have a valuation formula.
  2. Another bad thing that I’ve discovered doing PPC is that Google remembers domains. So if someone did a poor job sending AdWords traffic to a particular domain then the big G will remember that. Even if you’re a PPC pro that bad domain history built by someone else will cost you. I’m really not sure how to figure that one out beforehand. I guess you could set up a campaign and send it traffic but that kind of seems like a bad idea.
  3. It’s also possible for a domain to get banned from the organic rankings too. Say the previous owner did some shady stuff. It got Google’s attention and they got nuked. Maybe they were completely removed from the index or something. Well, do you really want to buy that domain and try convincing Google that they should like it again? I don’t.

Take The Leap?

We don’t have any experience in this area so there are probably lots of things we’re missing. It could be something we decide not to do at all too. As we do gain experience, it’s definitely something we need to consider.

What are your experiences with buying existing domains?


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