What Are Dropped Domains And Are They Bad For SEO?

Laura Ginn

Dropped domains have been in the SEO news for years. It’s always been questionable as to whether or not they can harm your search for a clear bill of health SEO wise. First of all, let’s establish exactly what dropped domains are.

What are Dropped Domains?

Dropped domains are simply a previously registered domain which has expired. The domain has literally been dropped by a previous owner, leaving it available for the next user. Typically, someone registers a domain, uses it for at least a year, but then fails to reregister the domain name. This means that the domain becomes available again on the open market, meaning that someone can come along, buy the dropped domain, and start using it as their own website.

One of the main reasons why some people like to buy dropped domains is because they come with baggage, and at times, that baggage can be good. Dropped domains with existing backlinks and page rank are often quite sought after in some markets, simply because there is a chance that you can get up and running with your site more quickly.

Dropped Domains – Good or Bad?

The question of whether or not dropped domains are good, or bad, is a tricky one. Each case has to be judged independently, but there are some good benchmarks to consider if you look into the possibility of buying a dropped domain.

Blacklists and Prior Reputation

The first thing you need to do is to find out whether or not the site in question has been blacklisted in the past or not. There’s no sure fire way to assess this, but a good hint is to do a search through Google for your site along with “site.domainname.com” and if your site doesn’t come up, there’s a very high chance that the site has been black listed. Next step? Don’t touch it with a bargepole!

Check the Backlinks

Use one of the many free online backlink analyser tools to find out what backlinks already exist from the site. A good deal of backlinks that are relevant for your niche and from good creditable sources could actually help you but obviously links coming back from adult sites or gambling sites are not likely to help you.

Catchy Domain Name? Great!

If you have assessed the domain to make sure it was a good site in the past, and it has a catchy domain name, then this could be good news for you. You are always likely to get a little more traffic because of this, and since the name is good, you might still get a little ambient traffic when you start the domain up again, to help you to get started quickly.

Good PageRank

You can easily check the page rank of the page, and obviously, the higher the rank, the better it is for you. Of course, lots of people don’t pay too much attention to PageRank anymore, but there’s nothing to say it doesn’t help at all. Check by installing a PageRank add-on with your browser.

Good or Bad – What’s the Answer?

Quite simply, it depends on the domain. If you are considering using one, just make sure the history appears to be clean. The one thing you need to bear in mind is that there are no guarantees with a dropped domain. You could get stung no matter how closely you check into the history. So, err on the side of caution, but also be aware that with a bit of background checking, you can find yourself a great domain that is entirely clean!