How I Found A 200+ Referring Domain, 1.8K+ Traffic/Month Expired Domain With PBN Lab
I’ve been using PBN Lab ever since I started using expired domains (sometime in July 2015 – so that’s almost 2 years now).
I don’t have a monthly subscription since I only need a handful of domains every now and then, but whenever I need some, PBN Lab is my go-to software.
For this particular tutorial we’re going to learn how to find awesome-quality domains just like this:
Sweet mother of God.
One single homepage link from this site increased my rankings to more or less 10 spots – I guess this isn’t the magic link that takes me to first page, but I’m pretty happy with the results.
“But Yesh, that’s a fluke – you should be called FlukeMeister instead” (man I’m so corny)
I actually found a few more.
This one’s a got a hundred RDs and ranking for some keywords.
While this one has 90, ranking for keywords, AND gets some organic traffic.
Each domain is super niche specific and has links from multiple authority sites. I would love to share more, but that’s giving away too much.haha
Want to find expired domains like these ones? Read on and find out!
Note: Aside from being Facebook friends (lol), I’m not affiliated with PBN Lab in any way.
Turns out PBN Lab actually has an affiliate program.lol Some links might be affiliate links, but do know that I wrote this article without prior knowledge of the program’s existence – I made this just to share, yo!
What We’re Going To Learn
- The exact step-by-step process I used to find 200+ referring domains
- Is PBN Lab good for you? Pros and Cons
- How to make your life easier with the Keyword Search Builder sheet
- Discover the filters I am using, and why TF sucks ass.
Table of Contents
- 1 What We’re Going To Learn
- 2 What’s An Expired Domain Scraper?
- 3 Pros and Cons
- 4 Let’s Scrape Some Domains!
- 4.1 Step 1: Preparing for the Scrape
- 4.2 Step 2: Follow This Video Tutorial
- 4.3 Step 3: Filter Your Results
- 4.4 Step 4: Check Each Remaining Domain Using Ahrefs
- 4.5 Step 5: Check Using Wayback Machine/Archive.org
- 4.6 Step 6: Check Availability and Record!
- 5 You’re Donezo.
What’s An Expired Domain Scraper?
An expired domain scraper is a software or automated tool that “scrapes” webpages for expired domains, or domains that can be renewed. THe main purpose of expired domain scrapers is to find domains with good backlinks, recreate them and point a backlink to your money site. Some “white hat” SEOs also use scrapers as a tool for broken link building.
You can actually find expired domains manually, but scrapers will finish in a few hours what you can do in a month.
Needless to say, PBN Lab is my go-to scraper because it’s easy to use and provides what I need – high quality domains.
Pros and Cons
Let’s have a quick look at PBN Lab’s pros and cons first.
- Intuitive and easy to use. No need to spend 5 hours learning how to use the software.
- Tutorials are available. The website has 3 lengthy tutorials.
- Keyword Search Builder Sheet. I love this shit. It’s an awesome guide to scraping. No scraping like a headless chicken anymore.
- Good support. The owner IS the support. Just add Scott on your friend list. No spamming though.
- Offers plans for everyone. There’s a pay-as-you-go plan for occasional domain miners, but there are also bigger plans for those who scrape everyday.
- Plenty of filters. I just found out there are actually TLD and available custom filters. This made me happy.
As for the software’s cons, I haven’t used any other scraper so I really can’t make an objective comparison. I do like to have more filters like the following:
- Ahrefs integration
- Sort by “between” i.e. only include domains between 50 and 1,000 backlinks
Let’s Scrape Some Domains!
It’s time for the exciting (although tedious) part of finding awesome domains.
I broke the entire process into 6 steps:
Step 1: Preparing for the Scrape
Before you access PBN Lab, we need to prepare three things first. Make sure to sort these first so the entire scraping process will go smoothly.
A Filled-Out Keyword Search Builder
Keyword search builder
This sheet is very important because it contain all the keywords/search operators you’re going to use later on.
Instructions are already available per tab. Just fill up the cells highlighted in yellow green and the Keyword Search Compilation tab will be filled up automatically.
Note: Don’t forget to fill out what niche you’re in. Refer to the screenshot below:
Don’t forget to fill in the “Niche” cell
The sheet is pretty much like a survey. Coming up with answers do get hard sometimes so here are some tips to help you come up with answers:
- Don’t rush this part. Preparation is a big part of domain scraping. If the keywords you come up aren’t good, you’ll spend more time scraping and filtering for quality domains. Take your time and fill up the sheet properly.
- Be creative in coming up with answers. As they say, think outside the box!
- Use Google. You’ll definitely come across an unfamiliar niche so use big G to search for answers.
- This part is boring so you might want to hire a VA to do this for you.
An Ahrefs Account
To fully utilize PBN Lab, you need an Ahrefs, a Majestic, or a Moz account to check RDs and backlinks. I do recommend Ahrefs though.
If you’re low on budget, find an SEO Group Buy.
Working Knowledge Of PBN Lab
PBN Lab already has several in-depth videos already on their website. Watch the following videos and familiarize yourself with the software.
- Quick Training Guide – Get acquainted with the interface.
- Finding Your First Expired Domains – A quick tutorial on how to find expired domains. The Keyword Search Builder will come in handy here.
- Single Site Crawls tutorial – Sometimes you want to crawl an entire site instead of a search result. This tutorial will come in handy.
Remove “Red Flag” Words With The Built-In Spam Settings
When finding expired domains, we’re mostly looking for websites owned by business that closed down, or lazy bloggers who simply stopped blogging and let their websites expire.
That being said, we don’t want any domain whose sole purpose is to make money online since these might be already spammed.
We also have a list of “red flag” words to avoid. If you find these on domain names, remove them because they are most likely going to be spammed domains.
- For sale
- Brand names (i.e. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Nike, Jordan, Prada, Beats by Dre)
- Drugs (i.e. Prozac)
- Porn sites (teens, incest, hot girls)
- Jobs from home
- Money (if you’re in the finance niche then this isn’t a blacklisted word)
- Any other word that screams SPAM!
Before you start scraping make sure to filter these by going to Your Account > Spam Settings:
Add a new Private Spam Rule by clicking “New Rule” (the next 2 images are c/o Scott)
And then on the Edit Form popup, set your filters:
Step 2: Follow This Video Tutorial
Head over to PBN Lab and follow this article. It’s a step-by-step process of finding expired domains. You’re going to use the Keyword Search Builder on this part so make sure you have that ready as well.
Step 3: Filter Your Results
Now that you know how to find expired domains (remember Step #2?), I’m going to share with you some filters that I’ve found the most success in.
Don’t even bother with metrics. Metrics are often inaccurate representations of a domain’s true quality.
Why bother looking at metrics when you can directly look at the quality of referring domains?
Recent news even suggest that Majestic metrics have gone haywire too. If you’re going to rely on metrics, I would suggest to just go for Ahrefs. Then again, I don’t really rely on any of those things.
Source: Matt Diggity
So what metric do I use to find good expired domains?
Referring domains, baby.
The bottom line is, quantity and quality referring domains (RD) is what determines the value of a domain. Metrics like PA and TF are mere results of those links (among other unknown variables). My best domains – 100+ RDs with 1,000+ monthly traffic – only has a measly TF of 14!
Going back to PBN Lab, here’s how I set my filters on the Crawler Results page:
I have about 7 settings.
Ideally, I want to hit a sweet spot of more than 50 backlinks, but less than 1500.
Why? Domains with <50 backlinks won’t be powerful enough while those with >1500 backlinks has a higher chance of it being spammed. That’s my reason anyway.
Unfortunately, PBN Lab doesn’t have that “in between” feature yet, so I stick with a “Greater than 50” backlinks filter. Alternatively you can go for the “Less than 1,000 backlinks” filter, but that may leave out some good domains in the process.
Step 4: Check Each Remaining Domain Using Ahrefs
Now we have filtered the domain list thrice – first is by using the software’s built-in filters, second is removing the .edu and .gov domains, and thirdly trashing obviously spam domains.
That means you already have a viable list of domains you can potentially use. But let’s not stop filtering here. We need to take a closer look at each domain.
Now you have to go through each domain one by one.
Using The Anchor Cloud
The anchor cloud lets you see the most used anchor text for that particular domain. This is a quick way of verifying if your domains is good or not.
Just scroll down to view the Anchor Cloud.
Ideally, a good anchor text cloud is mixture of anchor texts types. For example:
- dfy amazon sites
- click here for more info
- RankMeister Digital
On the flipside, if you see red flags like the ones I listed above, hit the trash button.
Spam alert! Bad anchor text ratio and spammy anchor texts
Sometimes the anchor cloud isn’t enough to gauge the quality of your domains.
Check the Backlinks section and see if the websites pointing to the domain pack enough punch.
Ideally, you’d like to see backlinks from authority domains like Wikipedia, Tech Crunch, or NYPost, but if the domain isn’t popular enough, contextual links (links within the actual blog post) from blogs and other publications will do just fine.
Excessive links from the following sources should be avoided:
- Backlinks from web 2.0 (blogspot, wordpress, weebly), as in all the backlinks come from web 2.0 sites.
- Blog comment links
- Sidebar and footer links
- Blogroll links
I noticed that these type of links are fairly common in your typical mom and pop blogs and I believe they don’t pack much of a punch. Furthermore, excessive links from these sources simply don’t look good.
Step 5: Check Using Wayback Machine/Archive.org
The final check is looking at the site’s history using Archive.org in order to answer the following questions:
- Has the site been re-purposed into another blog? We don’t want a website that has been re-purposed before expiring again. We want to be the first one to pick up the expired domain.
- Has it been used as a private blog network? Obviously, we don’t want to grab an expired domain used in a private blog network. That’s just opening another can of worms. What if it has been deindexed?
- Is it actually hacked or spammed and we just missed it earlier? Sometimes, backlink profiles aren’t changed at all or Ahrefs haven’t picked up the new spammy backlinks. Either way, checking if the site has been hacked (i.e., the site became a Chinese or Japanese website) is a good final measure.
Here are some additional tips to guide you when checking domains through Wayback:
- Be thorough. If possible, look at the all the screenshots. If there are too many, have a look at least 1 or 2 screenshots per date.
- Long gaps between screenshots could indicate that the domain has been picked up at least once already. I usually treat this as a negative sign.
- I usually nope the fuck out when I see Chinese or Japanese characters. It’s usually a sign of spammed domain. No offense to our Chinese and Japanese peeps out there.
- If you encounter a 301 or 302 notice, wait for it and see where the site redirects to, then judge if the site is worth it. I usually don’t like domains that redirect to another domain unless it’s a rebranding of some sorts. For example, brandnamebooze.com rebranded to brandnamebeersandbooze.com and the owners just let the first domain expire. In this case, it’s okay to take brandnamebooze.com.
Step 6: Check Availability and Record!
All results on PBN Lab have been already checked as available, but there’s no harm done in giving it a second look:
If it’s available record everything on an Excel spreadsheet formatted like the screenshot below.
Nothing to special, just a good old sheet where you can record all available domains for registration.
Let’s recap a bit:
- First you prepared for the scrape and acquainted yourself with the PBN Lab interface.
- Next, you followed a tutorial on how to find expired domains over at PBN Lab
- Step 3: You filtered your results.
- Step 4: You checked the backlinks and anchor text using Ahrefs.
- Step 5. You looked at each domain’s history using Wayback Machine/Archive.org
- Step 6. Record your good domains on a spreadsheet.
And that, my friends, is how I found an awesome 200+ RD domain with freakin’ traffic.
If you have any questions or want something to add to the article, just comment below. 🙂