Choosing the right domain name (website address, or URL) for your organisation is pivotal for any online venture.
The perfect domain may not always be available though, when you search on sites like 123-Reg or Names.co.uk. So the other option for any online business, organisation or start-up is consider purchasing a premium aged domain name as opposed to a brand new one which may not be the best fit for you.
Like anything in business, there is a price tag attached to novelty. Premium domain names can be costly and there is no way to be certain that the investment will pay off. Recycling a pre-existing domain name that may have just lapsed is not without risk. However, it could be the perfect way to launch a new website while enjoying the benefits of a previously forged reputation.
Do People Really Trade in Domain Names?
Table of Contents
In this post we will explore the following topics:
- 1 Do People Really Trade in Domain Names?
- 2 Are There Any Drawbacks to Purchasing an Aged Domain Name?
- 3 What is a Top Level Domain (TLD)?
- 4 Buying Aged Domain Names with new TLDs
- 5 Conclusion
What is the Domain Names Aftermarket?
The domain names aftermarket is bigger than you may realise. Sometimes, this is down to good old-fashioned opportunism. A smart individual will think ahead of the game and snap up a domain name before a more established business has a need for it. A recognisable domain name can be the ultimate marketing tool.
Perhaps the best example of the importance of a domain name in SEO is www.21stcenturyfox.com. While you may expect this site to belong to the celebrated movie studio, it was snapped up via an online domain registrar by an enterprising private individual back in the 1990s. Right now, the domain automatically redirects to another site. You can bet your bottom dollar that it sees a whole lot of hits.
In addition to SEO branding, a unique top level domain and strong keywords in the domain name can help any business stand out from the pack. In a crowded marketplace, it’s pivotal that people can remember the URL of our website. Using an appropriate address is a key step toward this goal.
What are the Advantages of Purchasing an Aged Domain Name?
There is one huge reason why it’s worth investing in aged domain name – brand recognition, authority and SEO.
The Importance of Domain Names in SEO
Domain names age like a fine wine. According to research, domain names aged three years or older account for over 60% of traffic on Google. That’s a very substantial customer base that you could be opening yourself up to. What’s more, various reports show that Google always takes the age of a domain into consideration when ranking search results. If you’re struggling to crack the mysterious algorithms of Google, it may not be your content that’s holding you back, it may be simply that you have a brand new domain name which Google isn’t quite ready to trust. You’ll just have to play the waiting game. Or, of course, you could leap to the head of the queue and consider buying a premium aged domain.
Of course, there are other SEO benefits of doing this. You can also piggyback off existing traffic and high-authority backlinks if you purchase an aged domain name. This comes with certain caveats – namely, an assumption that the previous website actually attracted visitors, that these are relevant to your organisation and that the backlinks weren’t toxic. Do homework on your domain name and ensure that the site had a solid reputation. People sell domain names for a variety of reasons. In many cases, there will be a perfectly reasonable explanation for a domain name to lapse. Just ensure there is a wholesome explanation why your URL is on the market
Finally, don’t forget that there is nothing to say that you need to use your aged domain name. Think back to our earlier example of www.21stcenturyfox.com. The site that visitors are taken to upon clicking this link is entirely unrelated to anything that would be expected. You could take advantage of finding a lapsed URL that still ranks highly in the domain names aftermarket, and then using it to redirect potential customers to your own business. Just try to use this trick for good, not evil. You’ll soon lose visitors if you are clearly attempting to deceive them.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Purchasing an Aged Domain Name?
As with any venture, you’ll need to think carefully and do some research before investing in an aged domain. While the right URL can be a huge boost to your SEO prospects, the wrong one can be a very expensive mistake. In fact, let’s start by discussing price. An aged domain name will not necessarily be cheaper than registering a new one. In fact, given all the reasons that we discussed above, you should expect to pay more for a sound domain. A good reputation with Google can be worth its weight in gold. Try to avoid getting sucked into a bidding war at auction using sites like Flippa or Sedo. You may later regret making an impulsive purchase.
Do your homework and investigate just why the domain is no longer active. It could be blacklisted or penalised by Google for matters beyond your control.
Some of the things to investigate include:
- Is the domain still indexed in Google? You can follow the guidelines here to check – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7440203?hl=en. Another useful guide is https://searchengineland.com/why-google-cache-lies-to-you-and-what-to-do-306343
- Was the site previously hacked? You may get an indication from checking the site’s history on Wayback Machine
- Did the previous site owner purchase traffic through bots? You can get an idea from checking on Alexa
- Has the site ever been used to host pornography? Check on Wayback Machine
- Is the site packed with dubious keyword stuffing? Again, view Wayback Machine and check over the content and keywords
- Has the website been accused of plagiarism? This is difficult to check for past content but you could check on Copyscape
- Has the traffic fallen off a cliff recently? Again, check Alexa or other tools like SEM Rush
- What is the search volume of any keywords in the domain name? Check Google Keyword Planner for average search volume data, you can even filter by location
Before handing over any money and committing to an aged domain, ensure that the site will meet your needs.
Finally, ensure that the domain name is still relevant to your niche and business. It’s possible that the domain is up for sale because it’s no longer unique or is simply undesirable or difficult to remember. As marketplaces become saturated, a savvy operator may have moved on to a new site with a new brand. Check your SEO and make sure that your domain name will actually attract visitors.
What is a Top Level Domain (TLD)?
Think about some of the websites that you visit every day. We’re willing to wager that these include the usual suspects. Google.com, Amazon.co.uk, Facebook.com.
Something you’ll notice about these sites is that they end in the traditional .com, or a localised equivalent. This is known as the top level domain, or TLD.
It’s common sense for corporate behemoths to use a general TLD. The brand names of these tech giants are so ingrained into our culture that using a different TLD would cause needless confusion. For a smaller business that is attempting to capture the imagination however, a unique TLD can be a great SEO ploy.
What Are the New TLDs and Are They Worth Considering?
Contrary to what you may believe, no website is restricted to the same handful of TLDs. The days of every site on the web ending with .com, .org or .net are over. New TLDs are being made available every year, enabling businesses to advertise or brand their offering.
Imagine you’re running a design agency, for example. This agency may be named Jones and Reeves, after the surnames of the founder. Now, www.jonesandreeves.com is a hugely generic TLD. If you were a start-up company looking for a design agency, nothing about that URL suggests that you click. What if you chose www.jonesandreeves.studio or www.jonesandreeves.agency, however? That will raise an eyebrow.
TLDs are not restricted to the line of work that a URL may be in, either. Locations are available, such as .london or .paris. Alternatively, you could even reverse the order of a typical URL. Rather than www.jonesandreeves.studio, you could look into www.designstudio.jonesandreeves.agency. using a sub-domain, The world of TLDs is opening up, and you’ll have no shortage of options.
What About Domain Name Keywords?
As with the above examples, having all of these new TLDs available to you, also opens up a world of possibilities as far as highly sought after domain name keywords are concerned.
Maybe you are a retailer selling toys and you would like to buy toys.co.uk or toys.com as an aged domain name – the domain name is short, memorable, keyword focussed and relevant. According to Google Keyword Planner, “toys” has an average of 1,220,000 Global monthly searches. Bingo!
Sadly, one of those does’t appear to be available and the other is owned by and redirects to toysrus.com, so very little prospects of buying either. However if we start looking at new TLDs, the options are much greater. Right now, toys.store does seem to be available, albeit with a hefty minimum price tag of $50,000.
What are the Downsides of New TLDs?
Naturally, however, new TLDs will not suit everybody. In the quest to make your URL memorable, you must ensure that you do not overcomplicate it. If Google changed their TLD overnight to www.google.search, would you remember that? Most people will continue to enter .com into their address bar, and assume the site is down when it fails to connect.
In addition, there are still a number of people in the world that retain a healthy cynicism toward e-commerce, and the internet in general. Such individuals have learned to trust in TLDs such as .com. Anything else may appear like a novelty and be written off as somehow lacking legitimacy.
Finally, there are cost implications. New TLDs are generally much more expensive than a generic equivalent. You may be spending a great deal of money on a tool that deters, rather than attracts, new customers. Think about whether the niche of your business requires a new TLD, and the repercussions of using such a contrivance.
Buying Aged Domain Names with new TLDs
This may seem like a contradiction, but many of the new TLDs have been around for a number of years now.
This means that there is now an opportunity to buy aged domain names using new TLDs. Even though they are often more expensive to buy from new, the benefits here are that you will often find an aged domain at a lower cost than the equivalent generic TLD version. For example, a three year old myshop.com may be more expensive than a three year old myshop.store domain. However, you still benefit from the fact that the domain is three years old and has good domain name keywords.
Hopefully you’ve found our ‘Why Should You Consider Buying Premium Aged Domain Names & the Importance of Domain Name Keywords in SEO’ guide useful. If you have any questions or need support with choosing or acquiring a domain name, or even building the website, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.