What Happened When I Spotted An Expired Domain In My Google Webmaster Tools Console?

Hi guys,

Brett from Niche Laboratory here.

In this post I’ll share what happened when I spotted something unusual in my Google Search Console.

First of all, Google Search Console is what used to be called Google Webmaster Tools. I use it a lot. The most useful part is the Search Analytics report under the Search Traffic menu.

I suggest you periodically scan this report for new opportunities. It’s most useful if you already have a niche site that’s getting traffic.

If you get quite a lot of traffic then you might find domain names being listed in among the search queries.

For example, I found this in the Queries report for one of my sites:

Wow – a domain name – http://nichekeywordsfinder.com!

I should point out at this stage that this wasn’t a domain name that I owned at the time.

I did a bit of research and found out it had expired. Even better is that it wasn’t listed as a Premium Reseller Domain. So I wouldn’t have to pay $$$$ to acquire it.

But was it worth buying in the first place?

What interested me is that the final column in the image above shows the number of impressions in Google Search results I have been receiving for this query. 85 over 90 days isn’t a huge number, but it’s a lot more than this site gets for other queries. Also it’s worth bearing in mind I was only ranking on page 4 of the search results.

At this stage I thought that this domain might be worth buying. So I snapped it up and I’m currently in the process of putting a keyword tool on it. More on that later…

So what used to be on nichekeywordsfinder.com, and does the domain have any value?

I don’t actually have a paid membership of any of the backlinks or other tools out there like SpyFu  , ahrefs or SemRush. But from what I could tell the site used to be an affiliate site for Micro Niche Finder. Sadly Micro Niche Finder is no longer working, so I guess whoever built the nichekeywordsfinder.com site had simply let it expire.

So why are people searching for the domain name?

More importantly, if you buy an expired domain that has backlinks, will you get traffic from the day you buy it? And will the domain rank?

From what I’ve discovered so far:

Expired domains are really worthwhile finding if they already have a bit of a following and you can get them for a good price. In my case I got the domain for just $0.99.

If you find a popular expired domain, it’s quite easy to rank for that domain. Most search results for expired domains are just scraper sites that give some generic information about that domain. These sites are so easy to out-rank:

Of course if you buy the domain name itself then it should rank at #1 for its own domain! In my case, my new domain was ranking at #1 for its own domain within a week of registering the domain.

I’ve also found out that if you re-register an expired domain, it will start getting traffic within a day or two of you buying it. Obviously it depends a bit on how many links are pointing to it, and what volume of traffic it will get from those links.

I am starting to get some Google Search Console data about my newly acquired domain. It has 27 backlinks apparently. They don’t seem to be of that high quality. However there is a link from YouTube, which is really nice.

As to the long term success of buying an expired domain, it largely depends what you do with the site.

User intent is really important here.

What are people searching for when they go to your site?

If you can deliver on what they are looking for, then your site should be a success.

In my case the user intent is to find niche keywords. So the most logical thing to do is to put a keyword tool on the domain.

What keywords will you rank for?

That depends on what content you put on the site. You won’t necessarily rank for the same keywords the site used to rank for. If you do want to rank for those keywords, then make sure you add similar content to what was on the site before. Use the web.archive.org site to give you some clues as to what your newly acquired domain used to look like.

As to my new domain, I’m in the process of building a keyword tool on there. Check out http://www.nichekeywordsfinder.com to take a look. It will be a while before it rivals Niche Laboratory. The good news is that I have learnt so much from Niche Laboratory that the new keyword tool will be faster, leaner and even more useful than its predecessor.

Will I buy more expired domains?

I would say yes, but it’s unlikely they will be bought after finding leads in the Google Search Console. The bad news here is that this is the only expired domain name I’ve ever spotted in my Search Console. I do however rank for some unexpired domains. I love it when I do, because it means my site is well positioned to muscle in on somebody else’s niche!

Have you ever found a domain name in your Google Search Console? If so, did you do anything with it?  Leave your comments below. Also I’d love to know if you have ever had any success with buying expired domain names.


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