Finding Expired Domains in NZ For SEO & Link Building
Taking advantage of expired domains is nothing new in SEO. When done right - and when you manage to find some that are worth buying, they can be yet another way to build relevant links to your website - Or use for other purposes.
We are going to cover ways to find decent domains in New Zealand such as .co.nz and .nz domains that might be useful to use for your SEO and link building campaigns.
Currently, there are not many rules and regulations for buying New Zealand domains. Unlike Australia, you aren't required to provide any proof such as an ABN or anything saying you have a business and require the domain.
Australian websites are a little more tricky. James Gatward who runs a Melbourne web design company says this about Australian Business Numbers:
"It is advised that you have an ABN if you are using your domain for your company or other commercial purposes. This not only helps you to register a .au domain, it also adds to the site's reputation."
So for NZ you can just register the domain from somewhere like OnlyDomains and you are set to go - Great for PBN's as you can just build up an entity with a random address and phone number as well, then create an alias profile to manage the domain. You can come across some pretty good domains that might even be worth using as a New Zealand affiliate marketing website. If you're trying to rank an Australian business, you may want to use .com domains as PBN's instead.
When you take the time to do them right, it is a nice way to get some good wins with your rankings in Google - Especially when there isn't that much competition.
If you're relatively new to SEO I suggest treading lightly with these, because if you end up buying the wrong ones or leaving a trail of footprints, it can be quite harmful.
While Google isn't as smart and amazing as many people think, you still need to be careful. There are also those petty people who can't handle the fact that you did a better job at ranking and will attempt to tear you down by reporting anything they can instead of focusing on their own skills.
We call them Nark-E-O's since they aren't considered real SEO's in this game. Negative SEO is nasty and I recommend you avoid going there or you will get burnt pretty bad should someone find out what you're doing. You also never know who you are dealing with, and they may fight back a lot harder for a lot longer when they find out someone has been trying to destroy their business.
What Are Expired Domains, And Why Are They Good For SEO?
Often times it happens when a business closes down and they no longer need the domain. In other cases they could be failed projects, domains dropped by hoarders, domains dropped from changes within a business, forgetfulness, or many other reasons.
Domains expire because you can't actually permanently own or buy them. Instead, they are essentially rented out to you and you need to keep renewing the registration each year - or what ever period of time you pay in advance for the domain.
When it comes time for renewal, obviously you just pay to get it renewed. If you forget, or decide not to renew your domain, it will go into a holding period and is then set to expire.
Once a domain expires, it is no longer in your possession and will be available for anyone to buy for their own use, so be careful with your own websites and make sure you don't let them expire if you need them. You may not be able to get them back if you do.
Smart SEO's keep watch over domains that are expiring soon, and use various tools to figure out if they are worth purchasing for their own benefit or not.
Most of the time, expired domains are just worthless - especially in places like the US. There are so many large companies picking up all the good ones at scale and leaving the rest of the crap for everyone else.
In New Zealand, there aren't as many people watching out for them - Or they aren't doing a very good job at filtering out the good from the bad. You can often get lucky and pick up some relatively good domains.
Expired Domains Can Have A Nice History That You Can Utilize For SEO
The theory is that if the previous website was well established. Google trusts the domain and when you buy it and build it out, the domain retains some of that trust and can be used as a powerful link building asset if you continue to build upon it and generate traffic to it.
There are many people who question if this is actually the case - and rightly so...
Surely Google is smart enough to know that a domain has expired and is now being used for manipulation right? - In a lot of cases this appears to be true and the domains are worthless.
However, depending on how good it was, and what you do with the domain when you buy and re-build it, you can regain some of that 'trust' to be used for SEO.
This is not an article for debating the theory, but I will say that I've used this tactic quite effectively. I've managed to bring back many websites from the dead and have them ranking in Google just fine. It needs to be done the right way though.
If the website was well established, and ended up gaining a lot of traction in Google, there are often a lot of good relevant and powerful backlinks pointing to the domain ('Authority' websites referencing the domain, acting as votes that the site is worthwhile and trusted).
If it had good rankings organically in Google, sometimes you can even recover them and start pulling in traffic pretty quickly too. Local business websites will often also have a Google My Business listing you can attempt to claim as well ;-)
So What Makes For A Good Expired NZ Domain?
One thing to quickly note is to avoid making the mistake of thinking that just having a good name will fast-track your way to the top of Google.
While a good name can help, if it is a fresh domain with no power, you may as well just go for something branded and build that up. Exact match can work fine, but we aren't looking for fresh domains - unless you want to.
It is probably better to elaborate further on this with a different post.
Don't always think that a domain is going to be amazing just because what ever stats you are looking at say so. You need to look further into it and take the stats as a rough guide to help speed up the research process - Most stats can be inflated and manipulated, or occasionally show false-positive signals.
Ahrefs Domain Rating
I've used Ahrefs quite a bit, it is a great tool to help with research and I recommend checking it out for yourself.
Moz Domain Authority (DA) & Page Authority (PA)
Majestic Citation Flow (CF) & Trust Flow (TF)
What Are The BEST Metrics To Use?
Part of it I believe is whatever tools and metrics you get used to using. After researching hundreds of domains using the same methods, you get pretty good at identifying what is likely to be good vs bad based on experience.
Personally I use a combo of DA, PA, CF, & TF when looking for expired NZ domains. I do also swap tactics occasionally and use Domain Rating, or even sometimes SEMRush's metrics as well.
Because they are just expired domains, I'm not looking for anything spectacular anyway. Most are de-indexed from Google, and aren't generating traffic.
I just want something clean, that has some good and relevant referring domains, and overall healthy looking stats so there is minimal risk of finding out it has a penalty already. They're not something I put a huge amount of time into unless I get lucky and something really good shows up.
Site Profiler For Domain Analysis
I like to use SiteProfiler for this strategy. It gives you a quick and nice overview of the standard DA, PA, CF, TF stats, while showing referring domains and what the top ones are, as well as anchor text info.
Another good thing about it is that it's pretty cheap for what you get. Part of Mangools suite of SEO tools, so you also get many other uses for it - particularly their keyword research tool which is really great.
If you are just getting into this, I'd suggest checking it out. I have been using the Mangools suite of tools for a long time along with the more advanced SEO tools and still recommend it.
When looking at New Zealand domains using this, a pretty average site is a DA of about 15-20 with about 10 referring domains. Most people from the US will laugh at those metrics, and while I agree it isn't much, they can still have their uses - especially for local SEO, but for quite a low cost you can start from scratch and push metrics to a similar amount by just buying some local citations.
I try to aim for a site with a clean anchor text profile - so no spammy words or anything. Relevant backlinks that make sense to be pointing at the site. Ideally some well known sites in the industry are good as well.
30-40+ referring domains isn't too bad, and a DA above 25 is generally where I'll start paying closer attention to a site - Again, this is JUST for NZ and expired domains, totally different story for other places and use-cases.
If you're consistent, you can get lucky like with the example below. A site I stumbled across, and bought for about $20.
Useful Tools For NZ Expired Domain Hunting
Since this is a pretty basic SEO tactic, I've tried to use cheap/free tools for the process so you can get started on a low budget.
Expired Domain Websites
For the up-coming domains, it is mostly an auction process where you watch and bid on domains that you want. If they manage to catch the domain in their directory and you win the auction, then it is yours!
They transfer it to 1stDomains.co.nz for registration and you can either keep it there, or transfer it to somewhere else.
The main issue with this site is that they don't provide any metrics or data on the domains that you are looking at. It simply lists them and has a range of filters for you to navigate through and find what you are looking for.
This isn't a major problem, it just means that you need to take the extra step of running every single domain through an analysis tool to even quickly check if they are worth looking into further or not.
I still use this site, but I do find it a bit annoying if I don't have a lot of time to spend researching. If you're skilled in building scripts, you can automate a lot of the research process however.
For the purpose of this article, I won't focus too much on this website, but it is definitely worth using as you can find some good sites to buy.
If you don't mind spending a bit of cash, one thing you can do is just filter by the domains people are bidding on since they are more likely to be useful if others are bidding for them. Just watch that they aren't bidding specifically for the name and it is actually a fresh domain with no history or real value.
What you need to do is create a free account, and use various filters to find the type of domain you’re after.
The good thing about this site is that it provides some metrics to help scan through a list and help determine if a domain is worth exploring further or not.
Generally what I do is re-organize the rows and columns so they show the relevant metrics that I look for. They provide you with Majestic’s Citation Flow and Trust Flow metrics which can help indicate that the domain in question has some relevant links pointing to it.
Obviously, these are just third-party metrics and we know that Google isn’t using them. But it helps give us some clues about the domain.
I will often filter them by CF or TF and pick out the ones with relatively good metrics.
From there I use Wayback Machine to take a look at the type of content that was on the website previously.
Wayback Machine shows you timestamps in history of what the website looked like while it was managed by previous owners. This is a good way to find out if it has been used for spam, how many times it has been re-designed and what was done to it.
Most of the time it is really obvious that the site has been spammed to death. Usually they are turned into crappy irrelevant ecommerce websites selling shoes - I refer to those as ‘shoed’ websites because it is very common. you can also see pretty quickly if another ‘SEO’ company has used it as a PBN.
A lot of the companies that do this are still living in the past, where they think that taking any domain just because of its metrics and using it to link to all your clients is a good idea. It isn’t. An example would be buying a florist website and throwing up crappy articles about your electrician clients. You’re just asking for a penalty by doing that.
It also becomes quite obvious which SEO companies are getting this wrong, consistently. I’ve bought a lot of domains recently and the ones with penalties are ones that have been abused by a few local SEO companies that seem to all be using the same reckless strategies.
Basically what you’re looking for is a relatively clean history. Those are what you want to be investigating further.
It is a paid tool, but relatively cheap for what you get out of it. I suggest you give it a go if you want to save yourself some time.
I've found it doesn't seem to have as many domains as expireddomains.net so if you can't find what you are looking for within a specific niche, then it can be worthwhile pulling a list from expireddomains.net. What you can do with that list is use SpamZilla to quickly analyze those domains and give you an indication that they are spammy or not. Just watch for false-positives which can happen occasionally.
No tool will be perfect, but for the price, this one is pretty good. I check it almost daily to try and find any domains with good metrics that may pop up. I also use it to help with finding good auction domains on places like GoDaddy etc.
I like that they have an archive built into the tool from Wayback Machine, along with providing more information about if the domain is indexed still, as well as a basic backlink checker.
SpamZilla has its own spam metric which is quite helpful, along with also showing DA, PA, CF, & TF metrics which are useful to check as well.
Which ever way I use to find a domain, I'll always also run it through something like Site Profiler's basic website analysis tool for checking backlinks. And/or I'll also use SEMRush to check it out as well.