Google’s John Mueller answered a question about using expired domains for ranking purposes. He explained how there are many legitimate reasons why expired domains have been registered and why balance and caution need to be used to determine which are being used for devious purposes.
Question about expired domains for ranking purposes
Expired domains have been a popular way for websites to get instant links for many, many years. It’s a practice rick who is as old as exchanging links (agreeing to link back to another site in exchange for a link).
Screenshot of Google’s John Mueller about expired domains
There is nothing new or modern.
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It’s a popular tactic that is growing in popularity.
Here is the question:
“I see a lot of discussions about people buying expired domains to use the links associated with the expired domains.
They’re creating a site on an expired domain or redirecting an expired domain to a second domain they want to review.
Google resets the backlinks of expired domains so they have no effect if someone buys them and creates a website on the expired domain. “
Google’s miller began his response by stating that this is an old practice that Google knows well.
“Well … I don’t know … these discussions have been going on since the beginning when domain names expired and people were trying … I don’t know … to keep using some that had a good story and trying to build things up there.
At first I think probably just to keep the name alive and then of course for SEO reasons at some point. “
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Lack of specific factors identifying spam applications
Mueller acknowledged that their algorithms are trying to detect what an expired domain is being used for, but acknowledged the difficulty as newly registered expired domains are being used in a completely innocent and legitimate way.
“Our systems are trying to understand what to do here, and I think we’re doing it right for the most part.
So it’s not that there is a certain factor that we’d look at and say, Oh, they’re trying to do something underhanded with these expired domains. “
Dealing with expired domains requires caution
Mueller then noted that the process of dealing with expired domains requires great caution.
“We have to be very careful.
Sometimes people revive expired domains and really run the old website again. Sometimes people pass a website from one owner to another, so … the domain name changes ownership.
And these are all normal situations, and it’s not like Google go in there and say, Oh … we have to be extra careful here. “
Recognizing motives for the expired domain usage is difficult
Mueller then emphasized that dealing with expired domains requires care.
So when you come across situations where essentially people are trying to abuse the system by picking up expired domains that have absolutely nothing to do with what they were working on and hope they rank well in the search achieve … um … that’s something that matters sometimes, a bit difficult.
We have a lot of practice with that. I don’t think we always get it right, but at least the many cases I’ve investigated there seem fine.
But in any case it already exists … I think it will continue as long as people can change hands and reuse existing domain names.
It’s kind of part of the web. “
How Google deals with expired domains
Google’s Mueller stated that caution should be exercised when it comes to how expired domains are being used.
He said there is not a single sign that an expired domain is being misused.
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So many domains have been registered that they can be deleted that it seems almost impossible to identify a domain that has not yet been registered at any given time.
This must certainly complicate the process of identifying whether someone registered a domain name during the normal course of creating a web presence or whether someone knowingly registered the domain for ranking purposes.
Interestingly, Müller did not answer the question of whether the links to the domain will be reset. Resetting the backlinks means not using any existing links to the domain for ranking purposes.