How to Buy or Transfer a Domain and Retain Pagerank, Authority and Trust to Protect your Investment

Domain TransferThere are many reasons why expired and deleted domains may be desirable for an Internet marketer . They can give you a huge kick start for your website flipping project. A prospective buyer will be more interested in purchasing your site if it’s build on a solid, aged domain. Aged domains are always a great way to start your very own website. It saves you from having to deal with the Google sandbox effect (Google ignores sites that are built on brand new domains for a couple of months). And finally, they are used by many gray/black hats for SEO purposes. This is done by buying the domain, creating a website and putting a link to your money site on the aged domain. Whichever the reason why you want aged domains, you will want your brand new asset to retain its value. In this article, I will show you a simple technique to increase your chances to preserve the potential of the domain. First, let’s take a look at what we mean exactly by the value of an aged domain.

The Three Key Factors that Determine the Value of an Aged Domain

The Page Rank

Pagerank

This is a metric from Google themselves. It measures the amount of do-follow backlinks that point to your domain. A decent domain will have a PR3. PR4 and PR5 are very good metrics. Higher PRs are way above average and will cost you thousands to get hold of unless you’re pretty lucky.

 

Trust Flow

Trust FlowThis is a metric from Majestic SEO. Trust flow goes from 0 to 100. A decent domain will have a trust flow of 20 or above. Anything above 40 is exceptional. This metric measures the quality of the links that point to a site, rather than the quantity. Citation Flow is Majestic SEO’s metric that measures the quantity of the links. It is very similar to Page Rank (but since Page Rank is Google’s official metric, most domainers rely on that, rather). The ratio of trust flow/citation flow is very important for determining the trustworthiness of a domain. Ideally it should be 1 or below (that is trust flow > citation flow). Most sites that acquire their links naturally will have TF/CF approximately equal to 1. Spammy sites will have a much higher ratio.

Domain Authority

Moz DA This is a MOZ metric that predicts the power of a domain to rank in search results. While personally, I have always found that citation flow is more important to receive a good amount of link juice from a domain, DA is THE key factor to consider if you want to use the domain to build your site on it. A decent domain authority is 20. Anything up to 40 is very good. Above 50 should be considered exceptional.

How To Preserve the Value of the Domain

Just imagine it: you buy a great PR5 domain with a domain authority of 40 and a trust flow of 30 spending $500 on Flippa, and a few months later it’s Pagerank is reset to 0, it loses all its Trust Flow and loses Domain Authority too. It’s time to start pulling your hair out! What has gone wrong and why did this happen? Before taking a look at how we can prevent this horrible scenario, let’s make a few considerations.

Was the Domain Really Valuable to Begin With?

Fake Pagerank

A domain may appear to have high Pagerank, Trust Flow and Domain Authority, when in fact it’s worthless. If you are buying your domain from sites such as Flippa and Go Daddy, know that there is a way to fake out the Pagerank of a domain. The Trick is to use another domain with a high Pagerank and create a 301 redirect from this domain to the one being sold. When Pagerank is inspected via traditional methods, it will look like the domain for sale has the same high Pagerank like the older one, when in fact it does not have any at all. After the newer domain is sold, the seller removes the 301 redirect and the newer domain’s real Pagerank is revealed.

When you’re considering buying an aged domain, always use this tool to check out whether the Pagerank is real or fake.

Fake PR

Google Penalties

Many domains can still retain their Pagerank, even after they have been hit by a major Google penalty. Pagerank alone isn’t enough to make certain that a domain isn’t penalized by Google (in which case you will want to stay away from it). The first test that you should make is to type site:[yourdomain].com into Google to check that the page is at least indexed. Be careful because in the case of deleted domains (as opposed to expired ones), Google may have just de-indexed the site because it has been offline for a while. In that case, once the site is made available again, everything will be fine. In general, if a domain has been deleted for over three or four months, it’s normal for Google to have de-indexed all pages from that domain. A further test that you may want to make is to type the keywords that make up the domain. For example, if the aged domain is arthurburlo.com, just type Arthur Burlo in Google, and, hopefully, that should bring up the domain on page one. If the domain is actually made up of profitable keywords, such as moneyearningsites.net, this test will likely fail, unless the domain has a very strong Domain Authority — so strong that it ranks for those competitive keywords on page one.

Link Quality

Pagerank, Trust Flow and Domain Authority are determined by the quality of the links pointing to a site. Even when the metrics are real, it’s very easy for these to drop sooner or later, unless you’re not very careful when checking out the link profile of a site. For example, suppose that an aged domain we’re interested in has a real PR5, domain authority 20 and Trust Flow of 25. Now suppose that this domain only has ONE single backlink coming from the homepage of a PR9 domain. If that one link is removed, the aged domain will lose all its high metrics! This is why, it’s important to check that a domain we’re interested in has a diversified link profile, otherwise, if the domain only has links, no matter their quality, from a handful of high PR domains, it’s really likely that those links will be lost soon, together with all the value that the domain might have had. Especially if the links come from another site belonging to the former owner, or the links were purchased are no longer being paid for.

Link Quality

However, even after checking that the domain is indeed a high quality investment (real PR, TF, DA and diversified backlinks), we’re still at a risk of losing everything. Why? Google penalties, of course! Google will devalue the links if they find out that the content on the domain has changed significantly. My best piece of advice is this:

If you have just started out buying domains, start by purchasing low-end PR2 domains. They aren’t useless at all! You can flip sites and make a profit with these, and they do provide link juice too. If you make a mistake, you will be losing only $10-$40, not hundreds or thousands of dollars! Once you have mastered your skills, move to high-end domains.

No matter how powerful or weak your domain is, once you have spent some cash on it, you will want it to retain its value and you can achieve this by:

Resurrecting the Old Site on your Aged Domain

The best form insurance you can get to preserve the value of your aged domain is to reconstruct the old site that was on the domain. This includes the CMS, theme, website structure (URLs), plugins and actual content. Before giving you a brief guide as to how to achieve this task, let’s discuss a concern that many of my readers will have at this point.

Copyright Violation

You have bought the domain, but that does NOT mean that you now also own the content that was hosted on it. That content still belongs to the former owner of the domain. Nevertheless, many marketers and SEOs reconstruct old sites on their newly-acquired aged domains everyday and, very rarely, do they get sued for it. You risk losing way more money by building up new content on your domain than by rebuilding the same site, so I advise you to go ahead and do it. Most of the time, the owner of the old domain didn’t care paying $10 to the registrar to secure that content, so it’s highly unlikely that they will care about what the new owner is doing with it. There are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. If you want to sell your website on Flippa (or any other similar site), you should build a whole new site on your aged domain. Try to preserve the CMS, theme, plugins and site structure, but do not copy the actual content, since selling content that you don’t actually own can put you in a whole deal of trouble, both with the former owner of your domain and your site’s buyer!
  2. Use copyscrape to check whether the old content has been republished (instructions on how to access the old content in the first place are given below). It may be the case that the former owner has published his old articles on a new domain, for one reason or another. Copyscrape will let you know if the content has been republished. Again, here I would proceed as in case (1) — copy everything except the actual content itself (the articles).

Most of the time, if you leave the links and everything else that pointed to the former owner’s other sites and put a notice you should be fine. The notice should say something like, “Thanks to former owner, Mr. Name and Surname, for contributing to agedomain.com. Please make sure to visit Name and Surname’s new site at newsite.com”. The former owner may even be happy of having a bunch of links from his old domain without even having to pay the registrar’s fee! If that isn’t the case and the owner asks you to remove the content, then do so. You should do that anyway. The key is to do it slowly, changing the theme, articles, other content, plugins etc. over a period of time rather than all at a go triggering Google’s penalties on your aged-domain. Once you have changed everything in a matter of a few months, you will be set and go with a fresh high PR site ready to be flipped or used for SEO.

Technique

To reconstruct the old site, your first stop should be The Way Back Machine. Go there and type the address of your domain. You will be presented with a calendar highlighting the dates when snapshots of the aged-domain had been taken. Click on the dates to view these snapshots of the webpage for the domain. Save the latest one that had a real valid website on your computer.

Way Back MachineClick to Enlarge

It is important to reconstruct the whole of the site, and not just the home page. You need to recreate all articles and pages because many of the links pointing to your site will point to internal pages and articles. Failure to reconstruct these will lead those links to 404 error pages, which will result in a loss of Domain Authority (Homepage Pagerank and Trust Flow should not be affected, but too may 404 errors can trigger Google’s alarms). Make sure that the URLs on the new site match exactly the ones on the older one. For instance, if one article on the older site was on the URL h**p://ageddomain.org/my-first-article, make sure that the permalink to the article where you copy that content is exactly the same and not, for example, h**p://ageddomain.org/first-article.

PermalinksClick to Enlarge

If you can’t find the older site on The Way Back Machine, try typing again site:[yourdomain].com in Google and check all the pages that are listed in everyone’s favorite search engine. Click on the small arrow and then on “Cache” to check out what the page looked like!

Google

To find out the theme and plugins that the old site was using, download FireBug for Firefox and open it by right clicking inside your browser and selecting “Inspect element with FireBug”, while on The Way Back Machine’s or Google’s cache of the page.

Check the control panel for the FireBug tool. At the bottom left hand side corner of the screen is the html of the page. Most of the information you need is in the head section. Expand that. Check the css and js files that have been loaded in the head. These will often have the names of the theme and plugins being used. Simply install them and try to make the new site look as close as possible to the old one. You may need to play a bit with the settings of the plugins and the theme to achieve the best results.

Fire Bug

That’s all. If you have failed in the past with aged domains, this guide may hopefully help you have better success next time. Once more, if you’re unsure about what you’re doing, start with an inexpensive domain and do some training with it. Or call a professional, who will be happy to help out. 🙂 If you don’t know where to find one, just head to my contact form. I reconstruct sites at the speed of light and for a very modest fee. Or, drop your questions and concerns below, and I will be happy to help you with some free advice. Happy aged domaining!

2 thoughts on “How to Buy or Transfer a Domain and Retain Pagerank, Authority and Trust to Protect your Investment

  1. Hi Arthur,

    Amazing article. Thank you!

    I have purchased a domain 1 week ago, PR 3, PA 40, DA 30. Installed a fresh theme and placed a 10 x 1000 words original articles with videos and pics. Put 3 links to money site from the sticky post on home page.

    Today I have checked the domain rankings and PR 3 is staying the same buy DA and PA are 0 now…. What have I done wrong? Should I be reconstructing the web? What if it has 100s pages!

    We need to hack the database of the old site and copy it to the new one I think. Would you be able to help? What is your fee for one domain?

    Anyway, is it too late to get the old PA and DA back?

    Very depressed…

    Thank you.

    Elina

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