This case study is about how Naim, our client, bought a SerpNames expired domain in April 2021 for $700, then sold it in November 2021 for $18,000.
Naim built the site from $0 to $1929 per month, then flipped it for $18,000.
Are you ready for this amazing story?
I will reveal everything about:
For the sake of privacy, the domain name will remain anonymous. But we'll share the screenshots with you.
Ready? Let's begin.
Naim is familiar with working with niche sites, building them from scratch, and selling them. Before now, he only worked with new domains.
Those new domains went through the sandbox period when Google blocked them from ranking because they were new domains with zero authority.
Google’s sandbox period lasts from three months to eight months.
Naim left the niche site space in 2019. He sold all the sites in his portfolio and tried other businesses (both online and offline). When those did not work out well, he returned to working with websites.
This time, he tried expired domains. The main reason why he decided to use old domains is that they rank in a much shorter time than new domains because they already have authority.
In Naim’s words, “Getting a niche site started with a fresh domain vs. an expired domain is like coming into a race with a Ferrari instead of a Toyota Prius.”
So, on 25th April 2021, Naim bought a $700 expired domain from SerpNames. This is where the story begins.
Backlinks and Semrush Domain Rank:
Naim considered two main factors when choosing this domain.
First, our client wanted a niche he was passionate about, and that had a real potential to bring in revenue.
For him, the outdoors was the perfect niche. Not only was the outdoors an exciting niche for Naim, but it also had many high-volume keywords with low competition.
He also wanted a domain with a strong backlink profile and few authority links.
The backlink profile is crucial because it gives a website much of its authority. Many strong backlinks increase the chances of succeeding with an expired domain.
If you buy a site with spammy links, you may attract Google penalties and waste time and money.
According to Naim, the best way to find an expired domain is to pick the niche first. Select a niche, then find an expired domain that matches it as closely as possible.
After Naim acquired the site, he 301 redirected several backlinks to maximize the link juice of the expired domain.
First, he looked through the domain's links and selected the most powerful ones. Then, he redirected them to the homepage.
He resurrected old pages relevant to the new content he was about to publish and internally linked those pages to new ones. Internal linking also helps with passing link juice to new pages.
Naim redirected 80% of the backlinks to the homepage. The other 20% had their pages recreated and internally linked.
Our client did not make any significant changes to the site structure. He installed a lightweight WordPress theme and redesigned the homepage. He also used RankMath SEO for the Schema structure.
Naim started publishing new content immediately after he gained access to the expired domain.
According to him, the initial new content push helps an expired domain rank. His usual practice is to publish a ton of content in the first three months and then slow down.
Naim published 4 to 6 articles per week. Before he sold the domain, he published a total of 67 articles.
47 articles were informational posts, and the other 20 targeted commercial keywords.
Naim constantly updated the site, even if it meant refreshing old posts. However, he only edited articles that needed it. If an article was ranking all right, he generally left it alone.
The word count of his articles depended on the topics. Sometimes, he determined the count by calculating the average words of the top-ranking posts on the search result page. Other times, he used SurferSEO.
On average, Naim's informational posts ranged from 1500 to 2200 words, while the round-up review articles ranged from 3500 to 5000 words. He avoided publishing individual reviews and only did round-ups and buyers’ guides.
Our client used Ahrefs to find possible keywords to rank for and optimized his articles with SurferSEO.
Naim and his business partner supervised the publishing of new articles. Naim researched the keywords while his partner wrote the content.
At the end of each month, they split the cost of running the site 50/50.
Naim added 3 to 4 internal links per article.
He generally used natural anchor texts and interlinked the articles whenever it made sense. There was no deliberate topic cluster building.
Our client also built 5 new backlinks over the time he managed the site. He only used the guest posting method and added one or two backlinks per month.
Those new backlinks came from competitors and relevant sites with high traffic and domain authority.
The only monetization method used on this expired domain was Amazon Affiliate. Naim promoted products with prices ranging from $70 to $500.
He did not use display ad platforms like Ezoic because the outdoor niche has a very low CPC (cost per click). Therefore, he didn’t think it was worthwhile to include any ads since the potential income was too low.
Naim began to generate significant income in July after he purchased the site in April.
In July, there were 360 clicks and 94 purchases. The conversion rate was 26.11%. He made a total of $88.20 in July. The average revenue per sale was $0.9
598 clicks were recorded in August. But, the conversion rate dropped to 6.52%, and 4 items were returned. Only 39 purchases were recorded. He still made $84.71 with an average revenue per sale of $2.17
A huge income boost came in September. The domain drove 3774 clicks to Amazon. 207 purchases were recorded with a conversion rate of 5.48%. Naim made a total of $553.42
In October, the recorded clicks reached 6,986. 497 purchases were made with a conversion rate of 7.11%. Earnings in October were $1048.79
The site drove 11,150 clicks to Amazon and generated 912 sales. The conversion rate slightly increased to 8.18%. And income for November was $1929.36
In November, Naim decided to sell the site when he discovered the domain name was trademarked.
Since the trademark is still active, our client will have to change the domain name if the original company returns to the business.
So, our client decided to flip the site. He advertised the domain in a Facebook group called Flipping Websites.
In November 2021, Naim sold the site for $18,000.
He sold it through Escrow to a close client who knew about the trademark and still wanted the site.
Acquisition cost: $700
Total site expenses, including hosting, content publishing, and link building: ~ $4000
Amazon Affiliate Revenue:
$18,000 + $3,704.48 - $4,000 - $700 = $17,004.48
Naim’s biggest challenge while starting this project was raising the money to buy and invest in the website. He had lost substantial income on an offline business he was trying to run.
Naim also wishes he published more informational content than commercials.
Now, Naim no longer owns the domain. But he plans to use only expired domains in the future and to test the 301 redirection strategy.
Our client plans to expand out of the Outdoor niche into the broader outdoor space. He plans to implement other monetization techniques like display advertising, selling ebooks, and selling t-shirts.
Naim is working on including personal touches in his content using actual images and customer stories. He’s also focusing more on acquiring natural backlinks.
According to Naim, there are a few things you should put in place to maximize the results you get from an expired domain.
First, only buy a domain from a reputed expired domain provider.
Second, buy a domain after you have developed a site-building strategy. Naim says, “Don’t buy a domain first and think about your site-building strategy. Make sure you know what you want and what type of site to make, and then look for domains.”
He also advises working with multiple domains simultaneously to minimize risk.
And voila! The end of this case study.
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