Collecting a lot of link value can also be aided by acquiring domains (domaining). Buying a domain that ranks number one will bring you that number one position even when you slightly alter the message on that website.
Domaining also allows you to link to anything from your acquired domain, so you can redistribute its link value. In some cases you can redirect the entire domain to make the destination website receive all the link value. You can even merge the link value of multiple domains into a single one.
Very Old School, But it Still Works Wonders
You might have already heard about this strategy because it has been around for more than 10 years. That's why I'm so surprised that I seldom meet any SEO competitors when bidding on domains with great link profiles. SEO experts only compete in auctions when the domain name itself includes some great keyword combination.
Link Hoarding by Buying Domains
Whatever topic you need your future links for; you can buy domains with a lot of authority links directed at it even before you need the link value. Once you need the link value you already have a batch waiting to be used. As an SEO firm you can instantly help your customers to get a head start on their competitors.
I once worked on a couple of huge PR campaigns (mainly for lobby groups) that required the PR firm I worked for to hoard millions of dollars in link value and domains. After four years of collecting domains and building links, they made a healthy profit selling the link value within a 6 month period (the 2012 presidential elections).
What Domains Do You Buy?
Domains with link value become available once the current owner has little use for it anymore. This happens in various occasions, which all have their unique signal for Google to pick up and act on when they suspect unnatural behavior.
- Expired domains are of no use to their previous owner and come fairly cheap. It is however the easiest signal for Google to detect. Julie Joyce wrote about this in "How to Build Links Using Expired Domains".
- Domains for sale and parked domains are another group of opportunities that spread their own signals. In many cases the domain placeholder itself is a signal for Google, but with every domain acquisition the combination of a simultaneous ownership-, hosting- and content-change offers the clearest signal. So make sure you spread these over a longer period and try to resurrect the original content first.
- Insolvencies or bankruptcies also make the domain become available again. Contacting the curator can often get you a lucrative deal on a lot of link value. Especially when the company name isn't continued by anyone, nobody knows that there is value in the acquired links. With the right approach Google has little characteristics to detect SEO intent.
- Outdated conferences and events are often accompanied by a domain with a year in it. These are kept as archive, but after about 2 years they receive no visitors anymore. Make them an offer they can't refuse.
- Any sign of outdatedness can be used to find opportunities. Use Google queries or your personal scraping script to look for old copyright footers or a news section without any recent updates. This is a strong indicator that the current owner has lost his interest in the domain and that it might be for sale for an affordable price.
The signs above indicate that a domain might be for sale. It doesn't guarantee that there is any link value left.
Your checklist should combine a link value check and indicator for outdatedness. Find outdated domains and look for the ones with link value or find well linked domains and look for outdatedness.
Be the First to Grab This Great Domain!
A great search query I haven't shared with many people yet is Bing's: [linkfromdomain:w3.org -2013 -2014] which shows "dofollow" links from an authority domain (in this case w3.org) to pages without any recent dates mentioned anywhere on them. It reveals multiple take-over candidates among which the domain "foodsubs.com".
A quick check shows that it has even more great links directed at it and the copyright hasn't been updated since 2006. I haven't touched it yet, so anyone reading this article might be the first to grab this great domain.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!