254% More Organic Traffic With “The Merger Technique”

“The Merger Technique” is a sneaky tactic to help you grow your organic search traffic.

In this guide, I’ll show how you can use it yourself and how we used it to grow a client’s organic search traffic by 254%.

Exclusive: Download the expired domain vetting checklist to avoid spending money on bad domains and to find the diamonds in the rough.


What is a Merger?

Before I jump into this strategy, you first must understand what a “merger” actually is. Investopedia defines a “merger” as:

“The combining of two or more companies, generally by offering the stockholders of one company securities in the acquiring company in exchange for the surrender of their stock.”

When a merger occurs, the old brand’s website will get 301 redirected to the buying company.

What is The Merger Technique?

It is the process of 301 redirecting a relevant expired domain to your site.

The objective is to increase your site’s authority.

More site authority = easier ranking ability and more organic traffic

This strategy is no different than a big brand acquiring another business.

The Merger Technique imitates this process.

Why The Merger Technique Isn’t Just a “Buzz” Phrase

I came up with the name of this technique because my SEO agency has used it with the big brands I work with.

For example, one of our client’s acquires data centers across the United States.

So, every time they acquire a new data center, they redirect the acquired brand’s site to theirs.

Here’s what has happened:
254% more organic search traffic

Although these results were awesome, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t an isolated event.

That’s why I implemented the same strategy on Gotch SEO and several other client sites.

For my site, I took an old marketing website and 301 redirected it to a landing page on my site.

This is what happened:

Merger 2-min

I then did the same exact thing for local website:

425-growth

Okay, you get it.

301 redirects work.

But, wait a second…

Not ALL 301 redirects work.

That’s why I didn’t want to call this a “301 redirect strategy”.

What 301s Do And Why They Work

It’s important for you to understand what a 301 redirect actually does and why it even works.

In Google’s eyes, a 301 redirect is permanent.

By 301 redirecting you are telling the search engines that the site has moved.

That means the new website will inherit all the links, anchor text, and even penalties that the previous site had.

This is important for you to know because it is the reason why the old 301 redirect strategies don’t work as well.

The Old 301 Redirect Approach

Using 301 redirects for link building purposes is not a new technique.

But, the old way of leveraging 301s is not only dangerous but will likely be ineffective.

The old approach is to take ANY domain with high metrics and 301 it to your site.

There are several reasons why this is a dangerous strategy:

1. The Links Aren’t Relevant:

Google’s Penguin algorithm nails websites with irrelevant, spammy link profiles. By 301 redirecting an irrelevant domain, you are asking Penguin to slap your site.

2. The Anchor Text Isn’t Relevant:

301 redirecting an irrelevant domain will destroy your anchor text profile with irrelevant anchors.

3. You Are Confusing Google:

Let’s say you are trying to rank a page for “link building”. You then go out and find an expired domain about “kitten training” with amazing metrics.

You then redirect this domain to your site because of its metrics alone.

Now you have introduced irrelevant links and anchor text about “kitten training”.

This creates the perfect recipe for confusing Google. It doesn’t know if your page is about training kittens or link building.

A confused Google = an invisible website in the search engine

The New “Merger” Redirect Approach

Now that you know why the old 301 redirect approach isn’t effective, let me show you why the new approach works.

You Are Getting Link Relevancy: Relevant links are king. Plain and simple.

With The Merger Technique, you will only be using expired domains that have similar Topical Trust Flow topic to your site.

The reason why you want to use Topical Trust Flow topics is because it’s based on link relevancy.

For example, if you were in the “health” niche, you need a domain that has “Health” as it’s TTF Topic.

Unoptimized Anchor Text:

There is a strict criterion for anchor text distribution. More on this in a second.

Why It Works

It works because you are focusing on relevant expired domains.

Relevance is the single most important factor when it comes to effective link building.

Google can detect traditional 301 redirect tactics because the content and links are irrelevant.

The Merger Technique is nothing more than you “acquiring” another business in your industry.

How to Find Domains for Your Merger

Now you understand the difference between the traditional 301 redirect and The Merger Technique. It’s time for me to show you how to find the perfect domains for the strategy.

Before we get in, let explain some important mindset steps you need to take.

First, be patient!

You aren’t trying to build a network of websites. Take your time and don’t jump on the first opportunity you see.

Second, follow this criterion when looking for a domain to “merge” with your business:

  • 1) the site should have a Topical Trust Flow topic similar to yours
  • 2) the site should have a Trust Flow above 15
  • 3) the site should only have quality links (editorial, earned links)
  • 4) the site should have at least 20 referring domains (more is better)
  • 5) the site should have unoptimized anchor text and a high percentage of branded anchors
  • 6) the site should be indexed in Google
  • 7) the site should not have been used for spam in the past

Domcop

Using the criteria above, you will now go into DomCop and try to find a domain for your Merger. For the demonstration below, I will show how I would look for a Merger site if it were for Gotch SEO.

Step 1: Go into DomCop

Scroll through the list and look for sites with a similar Topical Trust Flow topic to yours. Within seconds, I found one that is relevant to Gotch SEO:

Domcop - Research-min

Step 2: Fact check with Majestic

If you click the Trust Flow metric below the domain it will take you to Majestic. Run the prospective Merger site through Majestic to make sure the Topical Trust Flow topic is relevnt, the Trust Flow is above 15, and there are at least 20 Referring Domains:

Majestic Check-min

Step 3: Check the anchor text distribution

You will see the sample below that 18% of this domains anchor text is for “FLV player”. This is a red flag. Compare this to its branded anchor text which only comprised 3.47% of its anchor profile.

Personally, I would have eliminated this domain after seeing the anchor text distribution.

I will continue on through the other steps to show you what domains you should NOT get.

Anchor Text-min

Step 4: Check the link quality

The steps above will take you no more than a few seconds. Now you have to actually analyze the domains link profile. Click the “Backlinks” tabs and check out the links:

Domcop - Link Quality-min

This is a critical step in the process for you to see.

Remember when I said I would have discredited this domain because of the anchor text?

Well, that would have been a big mistake because the “FLV player” anchor text was natural and coming from quality pages like this one:
Domcop - Sample Links-min

With this discovery, this domain would be back on my “good” list.

Then I scroll down and see a foreign anchor text…:

Chinese-min

Any type of foreign anchor should raise red flags. But, you shouldn’t immediately classify it as spam.

Popular websites get foreign anchors all the time because they have global recognition.

With that said, you need to investigate the foreign anchor text to make sure it isn’t spam.

Go to the site and use Google Chrome to translate the page:

Translate-min

If you have the Moz bar installed, use it to highlight external links:

Link Found-min

After translating this site, I can conclude that it isn’t spam and there is no reason to worry about the link.

There is a big misconception in the PBN space that a foreign anchor equals low quality. That’t not always the case and that’s well demonstrated in this example.

Step 5: Make sure the site is indexed

Grab the URL and toss it into Google:

Domcop -Deindexed-min

Uh oh… everything was going so well up until this point. The site isn’t indexed.

You should run this check BEFORE doing all the steps above. I just wanted to give you a complete demonstration. It’s hard to say why this domain isn’t indexed, but there is no point in stressing over it.

Just move on to the next opportunity.

Step 6 (if the domain is indexed): Check the domains history

If the domain in this example was indexed, we would want to check its history.

Go to Archive.org:

Archive-min

In an ironic turn of events, this site has been used for redirects on many occasions.

This domain is disqualified because A) it isn’t indexed and B) it’s already been used for the purposes we want.

Showing you what domains NOT to buy is the best way to show you what you SHOULD buy. I won’t go through another example, but just make sure you follow the steps above.

The domains need to qualify based on every single step above if you want this strategy to work.

Here is a custom checklist for The Merger Technique that you can use when looking for domains.

In addition to using DomCop, you can also look for domains using FreshDrop.

Use Flippa

Flippa takes The Merger Technique to a new level. That’s because you can get a relevant domain AND qualified traffic to your site. This is the perfect equation for growing the authority of your site.

You will need capital to use this strategy, but it is by far the most effective. The only problem with using Flippa is that it’s challenging to find a domain relevant to your niche (and that follows the Topical Trust Flow topic rule).

The first thing you want to do is go to Flippa. In the search bar, search for your main keyword. Flippa will show you all the domains with your keyword in the URL. For this reason, you need to make sure you search multiple variations.

In the example below, you will see that I searched both “SEO” and “marketing”.

Search Keyword

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 7.21.41 AM

Follow the same exact process you did when looking for expired domains. The only difference here is that you want to verify traffic.

There are a lot of scammers on this site, so make sure you ask to see the traffic and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.

The most important part is to make sure you are buying a domain that has qualified, relevant traffic.

Registrar vs cPanel 301 Redirect

There is a lot of debate in the SEO community about the effectiveness of a cPanel redirect vs a registrar redirect. I have used both and there is no difference (as far as results).

There are a few differences you have to consider. With a cPanel redirect you will have to continue paying for hosting. While with a registrar (GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc) redirect you don’t.

The other difference is from a technical standpoint. A cPanel or .htaccess 301 redirect will redirect all pages from the site to yours.

This isn’t always a good practice. That’s because you only want the pages that have link equity redirecting to your site.

In most cases, the homepage will hold the majority of a site’s link authority.

With that said, you just need to do your research on the domain.

To see what pages are strongest on a domain, go to Ahrefs and enter a domain:

Moz

As you see in the example, it would be a HUGE mistake if you only redirected the homepage in this example.

You won’t be buying domains like Moz, but it’s still an important reminder. Always check the link equity across the entire site and act accordingly.

Plus, if you invest in a strong domain, then you might as well spend the $12 to put it on hosting. That way you know you are getting the most bang for your buck.

Here is how you can perform a 301 redirect through your cPanel:

How to Get the Most Out of The Merger Technique

The point of using The Merger Technique is to grow your site’s authority. When your site is more authoritative, it is easier to rank for your most important keywords.

When you do this strategy, you must make sure that your on-site optimization is strong.

Make sure you have a nice base of keyword-targeted content and your site is well-optimized for your target keywords. Using this strategy without an optimized site won’t be as effective.

Another important point is to avoid going crazy with this technique. Don’t abuse it because it will likely land you a penalty. If you focus on getting the best domain(s) for your merger, you won’t need to use many redirects.

Conclusion

The Merger Technique is the single best way to skyrocket your site’s authority. Remember that this technique by itself won’t be enough to grow your organic visibility.

Yes, it’s one of the strongest techniques you can use, but your on-site optimization needs to be strong, you need to have keyword-targeted pages, and you need to continue acquiring other niche relevant links.

You should always look at the big picture when doing SEO.

Do you have some questions about The Merger Technique? Please leave them below and thanks for reading!

P.S. download the Merger Technique checklist to start taking action on this tactic today.

Comments

  1. Great reminder that sometimes the old techniques still work (when done right).

    In most cases, people are looking for a quick and easy way to “skyrocket” their rankings. This is where they get in trouble as there is NOT an “easy” way to do SEO.

    Even with your repeated warnings – I’m sure people will snag bad domains and do this. I fully expect your email to fill up with “I did what you said and it didn’t work” type of emails. 🙂

    What do you think about rebuilding a site with a good banklink profile (instead of just doing a 301?). Kind of a 1 site PBN…. I imagine the opportunities would be few and far between – but if you found a “gem” would it be worth it?

    Thanks for the write up.

    Chad Musgrove – Pro AD Insight

    1. Hi Chad,

      Yes, they certainly do! Lol, yes.. that’s possible, but that’s why I tried to be as explicit as possible about choosing RELEVANT domains and being patient! Hopefully most will listen 🙂

      As far as the traditional approach of rebuilding it, there are pros and cons. The pro is that you can dictate anchor text, while with a 301 you cannot. The con is that the footprint is bigger and that you aren’t getting the complete authority transfer (like you would with a 301)

  2. Hi There, thanks a lot for the article. In regards to anchor text, if I were to find a domain that is niche relevant and had all the good metrics, with an anchor text profile as domain name, naked URL (domain), etc. In this case if I 301 the expired domain with a branded anchor text profile to the money site then the money site would end up have an anchor profile containing brand name of the expired domain. In this case would it not look fishy or would it be okay to do.

    1. Hi Manish,

      As long as the link profile is relevant to your site and the anchor text isn’t keyword-rich, it’s not a problem. Think of it as merging businesses together and you will see why branded anchor text isn’t an issue. Hope that makes sense

  3. Let’s assume that you’ve redirected a completely clean finance domain to a marketing site and it destroyed your anchor text profile with financial terms.

    Is removing the redirect enough to rank again for easy KWs?
    🙂

    1. Bill,

      Thanks for the comment. I have seen no difference between cPanel (hosting) redirects vs registrar redirects as far as “link juice”. A 301 is 301. It doesn’t matter how it’s done. As far as the indexing, domains that expire are usually still indexed (as long as they aren’t spammed). For dropped domains, it’s a different story. You will have to get the site reindexed before doing the redirect. This can be dangerous from a financial standpoint because you don’t know if the site will ever index again. Making sure the site is indexed is a quality measure more than anything.

  4. I don’t know what to say, this post has solved all my issues, few days back i also left this question on what is the difference between registrar 301 and cpanel 301 in your (ask question via form), and today you explained it very well. The Best ever post i read this month. Thanks Nathan Gotch.

  5. Hey there Nate, another great post buddy!
    This article made me clear about the difference between a PBN and a 301 redirect. Basically PBN just transfers the link juice of the expired domain whereas a 301 redirect transfers the whole link profile itself. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  6. This site scrolls unnaturally. I’m not sure why. I would have left the third time I had to scroll back up because I had scrolled too far but I am researching 301 redirects and wanted to finish the article.

  7. Hi Nathan, Why not go for expired domains that are not indexed and redirect them only when they are reindexed. Would this method still work then?

  8. It seems like the 1st step of building PBN, you can use such a great domain to make a PBN site or 301, all good choice.
    A question if you don’t mind, Nathan. What kind of domain is your perfer to while building PBN or 301, auction a aged PR domain or buy a high CF/TF but n/a PR domain? You know, we can scrape internet to search high CF/TF expired domain, which usually expired for few years. I assume Google delay a brand new domain to transfer link juice to MS, both 301.

    1. Hi Vincent,

      Thank you for the comment!

      Well first thing, PR is dead. Google doesn’t update it anymore, so it isn’t reliable. I have bought hundreds of domains using every possible metric available to us. I have seen the best results when relying on Majestic’s Topical Trust Flow topics because it ensure that you are getting relevant links.

      1. Thanks Nathan.

        What do you think about the age of these high CF/TF domains. I mean, there are 2 domains for instant, both of them has high CF/TF, great link profile and the same topics as your money site.
        Domain A: on domain auction market, created on 2005. It’s a historied trusted 10-years domain.
        Domain B: expired for few years, you can register it at any time. Whois lookup will show it created on today if you register it right now. It’ll be a brand new domain in Google’s eyes.

        Which one will you select? Do you think the Domain B will be delaied by google to transfer link juice from its old links, as it’s a new created domain?

        1. Hi Vincent,

          Thank you for the comment!

          We have tested both of those situations and there doesn’t seem to be any difference as far as “link juice”. If they are both indexed (I would pick the one that is, if both aren’t), then I would go with the one that has more referring domains and more quality links.

  9. Great points, Gotch. Thanks for the clarification on the “right” and “wrong” ways of doing it. I performed a 301 redirect as part of a transition from an offsite blog to an onsite one. It worked like gangbusters!

    However, I was nervous to buy expired domains and redirect them as part of my off-page strategy because it seemed a little risky. With your merger analogy it makes perfect sense now and I will be doing some testing with this!

  10. Great post Nathan.
    When I clicked on the email that led me here I knew I was in for a good treat.
    Well, I was not wrong! 🙂

    As you succinctly put it, the relevancy of a backlink is crucial. That would be the best in my opinion towards raising ones Search Engine rankings.

    On another matter but highly related and though I share here: Sometimes, I would buy an expired domain for this purpose as well even if I find that it is not indexed on search engines. I have over the years experimented with the non-indexed domains and found that once a domain has been expired for a considerable time (perhaps several weeks) then I would take a chance with that domain. New registration and new owner details sometimes sends a positive signal to Search Engines.

    Well, the SEO world is about taking chances, so I invest low in situations where risks are a little higher.
    Cheers,
    Ozjon

    1. Hi Ozjon,

      Thank you for the comment! Yes, relevancy is king when it comes to effective link building.

      You are right, many sites will reindex once content or activity is introduced. The only problem is that sometimes they don’t reindex :/ – if that happens too many times you will start to burn through cash.

  11. Hi,

    Quick question – How long in your experience does it take for you to see movement in the serps after you do a 301?

    Thank you.

  12. And one think, whats your angle on transfering penalties through 301 ? Ive red about many cases that any major penalt often remains on the “old site” and it just moving authority. Many sites were recovered that way. Thanks !

  13. Hello Nathan
    I commented a few times here and it was not allowed and I cant see my comments.
    Why do you guys not care about my questions?

  14. Hey Gotch,

    I started looking at some expired domains (first time using this technique) through PRPowershot, and found a good one. It had a few thousand links pointing to it, but the TF/CF was roughly around 20~. Anyway, once I looked into the backlink profile, I realized that it was because it had links from blogrolls. In this particular niche, having blogroll links to friends are very common. That’s why extrapolated over hundreds of pages from each site, adds up to over 5000+ links. I don’t think Google considers these spammy, especially considering that they are very high authority websites linking back, and also branded links.

    My questions is this: My website is “somewhat” related, for example if I have a site about apples, and the potential site I want is about bananas, then they are still related in the sense that they are both fruits. Is this method still going to work well, or would it be better to use it as a PBN?

    Cheers!

  15. We once picked up a high-authority domain name from an multi-national brand that for whatever reason did not renew their Australian domain name…

    We thought it was a score and used the domain to redirect to our similar services. But what we didn’t count on the customers of the previous company having problems with their service, then coming to our site after being redirected from the branded domain, thinking that we somehow bought out the previous company so expecting us to fix their issues. Even had one customer threatened to take action against us even though I tried to explain that a domain is just an web address, it doesn’t mean we have anything to do with that other company.

    We received enough angry phone calls that we decided not renew the domain after the registration period expired. But in hindsight, I wish we kept the domain and maybe used it as a info site (to maintain the Google indexing and high-authority backlinks it had) until the customers of that company lost interest in the domain.

  16. Hi Nathan,

    I was found a expired domain from a real brand that have 100% relevant to my website, it still have ranks and traffic before dropped(2 months ago) and I found your merger technique article, it’s great, im going to to this! But should i add that expired domain to my Google Search Console and do a “Change address” action? Or i can just 301 the expired domain to my website?

    Thank you!

  17. Nathan, another good one.

    One question, though: redirecting an English old domain to a French one let’s say is bad or not? I can’t seem to find the answer for that.

  18. Hi Nathan,

    Thank you for a great post. I have 2 questions: If I have a new site, with DA1 and trust flow is only 11 with citation 20, wouldn’t I want to buy an old domain with a higher TF? like would it be bad to buy a domain with a TF 20 or 30 ?

    Also, how many 301 redirects can you do safely?

    And the most important thing, do you use some sort of plugin that redirects all the 404 links to your homepage, in order to keep the juice from the newly purchased domain?

    1. Vlad,

      Thank you for the comment. Higher TF is never a problem, but you need to be careful with how many 301s you use. After two or three it can get suspicious. As far as the 404 pages, go to Ahrefs >> Top Pages and only 301 redirect the pages that actually have link equity.

  19. Can I use the merger technique with niche relevant PBNs I currently own. i.e. change it from being a PBN to being a merged domain?

    Is it vital that the domain I use is still indexed in google?

  20. Hi Gotch,
    great post!

    One question: If I find a domain with partially wrong and spammy links, but the rest is good and would fit without the wrong anchor-text to the target page, then I wonder whether it is ok to remove the spammy and not relevant links with the google disavow tool?

    That would clean the backlink profile and should be enough? What are you thinking about that?

  21. Hi Nathan.

    I’m a long-term reader of your blog and just wanted to say thank you for producing the outstanding content you’ve been putting out until now. This is my first comment on your blog!

    I’m looking to implement the merger technique to my digital marketing blog but I have two little things i’m unsure about….

    If a website has been 302 redirected does this mean it cant be used? A 302 is just a temporary redirect and the site still retains all the link juice so surely this isn’t a problem?

    You also mentioned in one of the other comment about performing more than one redirect looking suspicious… does this count even if i’m redirecting more than one page on the same domain? (Say if 3 pages have really good metrics that I want to redirect to different pages on my site)

    1. Hi Ahmad,

      Thank you for being a reader and for commenting!

      Yeah, that doesn’t matter as long as you switch it to a 301.

      The multiple redirect rule applies to domains, so that’s not an issue.

  22. thanks for this great post
    but how many 301s redirects can i do to my main domain? in order to avoid google penalties
    and is there are way to buy more than 1 expired domain to my main domain??
    thanks.

  23. hello thanks for this info
    i have a niche competition 64% and iam confuesd between expired domain
    1st : DA 16 PA 30
    2nd: Da 26 PA 39
    which one is better and should i wait or i can buy both?????????
    thnk u very much

  24. very gooooooooooooooooood i like you man
    how many PA will i get if i buy 3 expired domains and pa for them :22 32 31
    will i get 22+32+31? or what 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment Tamer.

      Wish I could help you, but I can’t predict what your PA will be because there are too many factors that come into play. The question is: why does it matter? More PA doesn’t equal more organic traffic.

      1. i cant get this part
        The question is: why does it matter? More PA doesn’t equal more organic traffic.
        thanks

        1. Dont concentrate on PA and DA so much.

          These metrics can be manipulated so easily with just building spam links. TF is the much better number to look at.

  25. Hey mate great post, considering doing this, but have you tried yourself to redirect more than 1 page to a domain and see if it gives the extra boost? I want to start a new website, but came up this 301 method so I would want to buy 2 really high quality expired domains and redirect to my new site. Was just wondering if anyone has actually tested if they got more link juice by redirecting more than 1 good expired domain.
    Thanks.

    1. Tom,

      Thank you for the comment! It would obviously be ideal if you redirected ONE very strong domain as opposed to two. However, redirecting two isn’t a problem. Just don’t overdo it. As far as how well it will work, you have to test. In theory, using two redirects should accelerate your site’s authority because there is more link equity. In practice, it doesn’t always work that way because Google tosses new websites into an unpredictable sandbox.

  26. Hi dude,

    really nice post!

    One question:

    If I want to use this technique for local seo is it enough to just find an expired domain within the broad niche of that website I want to rank?
    So if my keyword is “seo new york” can I get a domain about marketing?

    Another question:
    What if my site is a foreign non english site? Could I still get a niche related domain with former english content and/or anchors?

    Thanks very much in advance!

    1. Jophan,

      Thanks for the comment!

      Good question. It doesn’t have to have exact relevancy. SEO is a subcategory of marketing, so that works. As long as it’s somewhat relevant, it should be fine.

      1. Thanks for your answer!

        And any clue what english domains could do to foreign websites?
        In the past english articles with foreign keywords worked well but not any more. I guess doing this with the merger strategy could also result in ranking losses. What do you think?

        1. It’s hard to say. I do know you should avoid using foreign anchor text in English articles because it’s a big spam footprint. We have a client in Mexico and we are building links on English websites. We are simply using the English version of their Spanish anchor text and it’s working well.

          1. Wow, never thought that this would be an alternative 🙂 so you simply use variations of their desired keyword in english and the site ranks for those keywords but in spanish so for their Initial intended keywords?
            Do you simply include the keywords within articles?
            What about using their brand/url?

  27. Hi Nathan,

    First of all great post.
    Is the 301 only relevant as long as the domain is being hosted and pointed. What if you drop the domain after a year, does that mean you now lose the juice?

    Second if a domain was used previously as a 301 and you bought it to use as a PBN or a 301 what are the consequences, because as I see it the links are still on the domain and surely that will pass power?

    Regards
    Adiel

    1. Thank you for the comment Adiel!

      I would avoid letting the domain drop because your site would likely suffer authority loss. As long as the site isn’t penalized or wasn’t used for spam, then it’s okay. I don’t recommend using domains that have already served as PBNs.

  28. Hi Nathan

    Big fan!

    I’ve got a question regarding this technique: how long should you continue to own the 301 domain that you bought? For example, should you buy it on a 5 year plan or can you just buy it for 1 year and then after a year most of the juice is already gone (since you are not building new links to the site), so you retire it…?

    Just wondering as this would impact the cost of this decision significantly! Buying a domain for 1 year is only a $10 commitment but if this is a lifetime ownership deal then the costs multiply rapidly!

    1. Hi Mich,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s hard to say. If it’s a good domain, then you need to treat it like an asset for your business. There is no reason to let it expire if it’s helping you.

  29. Thank you for this great post Nathan. I have a question for the anchor text. Let’s say I’m aiming for dog traning lessions online keyword. And the domain I found has an excellent topical trust flow with my niche, no spam, and high metrics. But the anchor text is mostly branded (which you said it’s ok), and also the anchor consists mostly from the word “dog planet”. In your opinion would this be a problematic anchor profile?
    It means a lot for any help. Thank You

  30. Hey Gotch – great post. with googles recent announcement that 301 had 100% link juice this is even more important to understand.

    How do you feel about 301 tohrough bit.ly links? Not sure if the 93 DA helps, but I’m more concerned with privacy. A .us domain wound up with my real info but it’s highly relevant. I was going to 301 to another relevant PBN through bitly to hide my info. Does it matter?

  31. Hi Gotch,

    Very informative and actionable article. Thanks!

    Now I am not clear on the indexing part. So say I find expired unindexed domain would it have a good likelihood to be reindexed without adding any content (just redirecting it)? Or you absolutely recommend to stay away from unindexed domains for redirection purposes?

    Thanks.

    Vaso

    1. Also can you elaborate on the method that you use at DomCop to find worthy domains. I spent a couple of hours but could not find any with paid package. Either high TF domains are spam or unavailable.. Your help is appreciated 🙂

          1. Do we use the same hosting as for our money site if we find an expired domain that is not indexed, and first we index it and then redirect it to our money site? Thanks

  32. Great article Nathan!
    I’m building out around my niche and it is always worthwhile to get opinions like yours – and some insights into how toi make best use of Majestic.
    Very grateful,
    Thanks
    Bren

  33. Hi Nathan,
    I have a question. I have purchased a domain at Godaddy auction at a good price. It is perfectly related to my niche and has excellent TF, CF, DA, and PA (around 30 each, remember it is for www version). The home page is indexed in google and around 10 years old site. Moreover, it has over 110 RD.

    The thing that got my attention after purchase this domain is its spam score of 5 and has good number of backlinks coming from duplicate content. This comes to my knowledge after my purchase.

    As i have paid a good amount to get this, i don’t want to throw this domain away. At the same time i don’t want to risk my money site. Do i use a middle domain to first 301 redirect to my money site and then 301 redirect to that middle domain;

    Domain (i have bought) (301 red) ==> New domain (301 redirect) ==> Money site
    or
    do i use bit.ly for masking my already bought domain and then redirect to new domain and to my money site;
    Domain (already bought) (masked with bit.ly) (301) ==> New domain (301 redirect) ==> Money site

    In your view which is better option and if you have any other suggestions then please share. I shall be really pleased. Thanks

    1. Yas,

      Thanks for the comment. Those are all decent options or you can redirect it to a web 2.0 that links to your money site

      1. Thanks Nathan,
        If i choose one of the option that i have mentioned above then whether anchor text of that domain will transfer to my money site or not because i have used a middle domain that is new?

        One more thing, as you have mentioned about web 2.0 link strategy but i have another option. I am a member of a platform where i started a free web 2.0 site but later on i bought my own domain and admin redirected (plz remember it is redirect not link) that free web 2.0 to my new domain. Would i redirect that bought domain from Godaddy auction to that web 2.0?

        Domain (i bought) Redirect 301 ==> web 2.0 Redirect 301==> Money site

  34. If I were to put the 301 domain on hosting for cPanel redirect, is it better to put it on the same hosting account as the target site, or on an entirely different hosting account? As we are talking about a “merger” it would seem natural to place the 301 on the same account, but the opposite is true (for passing juice) when that domain is used as a PBN. Thoughts?

        1. No, you won’t be able to. There’s no reason to block bots in this scenario because you “acquired” the business.

  35. Nathan,
    It was so amusing to read…On Every page i always get new things to learn..Thanks alot. However i have a ques to ask. That is ” If i did all the process above successfully , do i need to keep the Acquired domain renew every year or i can discard it after a year at the time of renewal? ”
    Thanks Gotch
    [You can remove my website Link]

  36. Hi Nathan

    Just wanted to thank you for this…within a couple of hours of hunting I managed to find a domain that is perfect for my niche, including an important keyword in the domain name and an awesome backlink profile. Amazing!

  37. Great article ! How many expired domains can you redirect to your money site ? Would you recommend scheduling them (like 1 per month)?

    1. Hey Martin,

      Thank you for the comment. Unfortunately, I can’t make that judgement based on the information you have given. General Trust Flow numbers aren’t enough because there are many other vetting measures you need to take before selecting a domain

  38. Thanks Nathan for great post.
    I bought a domain in Godaddy auction and 301 redirect to my money site. The domain has more than 200 referring domains links pointing to it. After waiting more than 3 months i couldn’t see any improvement in my SERP results to my money site and even couldn’t improve my money site DA and PA.
    I then check Redirect path using redirectdetective.com site of that domain and found the following route;

    http://xxxxxxx.com/ temporary 302 redirect to http://xxxxxxx.com/ (same previous site) and then 301 permanent redirect to my money site. My question is whether my money site is not getting SEO benefits due to that initial 302 redirect to same site or it could be any other reason.

    Please also guide me how to remove initial 302 temporary redirect. Thanks

  39. Hey Nathan,

    I’m a big fan of your blog! Your link building blog post is hands down the best one out there. I tried all the methods except this one.
    So, my question regarding the merger technique is:
    There is this domain that is VERY relevant to my site and it has links from HuffPo, Dailymail, etc authority sites. If I 301 it to my site, how much of the link juice would transfer? Would it count the same as if my original site had obtained these high authority links? Is it even worth it to buy these links from the authority sites for hundreds of dollars?
    I’m hesitating on buying it though it’s not too expensive, but I’m on a budget.

    Thanks for your answer in advance, keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you Andrew!

      It’s hard to give raw numbers, but the link equity transfer will definitely be less than a straight link. That’s because it has to transfer through a 301. It’s cheaper to redirect a domain with strong links, then it is to buy them outright. If you take the 301 redirect route, then you should consider building tier two links to the quality tier one links. This will force Google to recrawl those links

  40. Wonderful and insightful article. I do have one follow up question that I would love your input for:

    Everything checks out on an expired domain but when I do the site:domain.com nothing…
    Ordinarily I would run now, but when I look at WayBack the content was there up until late 2015. At that point the hosting was dropped but the domain name did not expire until late 2016 (A place holder for Parallels (the hosting platform) replaced the site). I am suspecting google may have dropped it from its index sometime after the hosting expired.
    The domain is an aged one, has remained with original owner from the start, the same host, every link has been manually checked, is niche relevant and the anchor text is great… The certainly appears to be no spam. Would you consider it on simply move on?

    1. Hey Rontondo,

      It sounds worth it, but there is obviously the risk of the domain not reindexing. You should setup hosting on the domain and install WordPress just to get indexed. Once it’s indexed, then 301 it

  41. What about redirecting to a web page (vs homepage)? Is TF as necessary? And is a low TF site a warning to not redirect even if there are some high TF pages on there?

    Thanks

  42. Great post Nathan. Had a few questions. I have acquired a powerful, relevant .ca domain and was thinking to redirect it to a .com. In truth, we actually acquired the failing company and it’s very few assets.

    The site has quite a few branded anchors since it was essentially a web design company that put links in the footers of sites that they took part in. According to Majestic over 65% of the links are these types of branded anchors.

    So my questions are these:
    1) Any reason to avoid this merger method since it would be from a .ca to a .com? I originally got it as sort of a super PBN, but I’m tired of maintaining both sites and both sites are quality, non-spammed sites.

    2) The domain is significantly more powerful than the domain I would be redirecting it to – DA 60, PA 67 vs DA 31, PA 41. Does that make any difference?

    3) In this case, since I own both sites, I would plan on copying all of the content from the one to the other since it’s all relevant. Any issues or “gotchas” here?

    Thanks in advance! And thanks for putting out these kind of awesome helpful posts.

    1. Hey Matt,

      Thanks for the comment!

      1. The TLD alone isn’t a disqualifier unless it’s something really off the wall.

      2. This isn’t an issue.

      3. No problems with this since you technically “own” the content.

      The only issue I perceive is the relevancy of the footer links (since the web design company probably worked in a diverse set of niches). The other challenge is using site-wide links in general, which can be a dangerous footprint (because of their history of abuse).

  43. Hey Nathan, great article!

    I just found it today because I heard about it this weekend. Thanks for sharing this technique with us.
    Let me ask you something: My site is in portuguese (Brazilian). If I buy some English gaming site, may I have problems?
    When I bought my brand new domain, I did it (with an English website) and I got good results and faster growing (11 months ago). Can I do it again? Can I have problems doing this one or maybe two more times?

    Thank you!
    Rafael Querido

    1. Hey Rafael,

      Thanks for the comment. Just make sure the domain is relevant on the topical level and don’t go overboard with this strategy

  44. Hi Nathan,
    Thanks for the great article. We are a digital marketing startup and we are looking at trying out this technique. We will be sharing this blog on our social media feeds.
    Thanks
    Michel

  45. Hi Nathan,
    Thanks for the great article. Since you said that the merger technique worked for clients you had that acquired/merged with other companies, I assume this means the SEO Merger Technique works with domains that are not expired as well?

    My question/concern is, won’t it look suspicious to Google if only some of the website pages are 301 redirected to another site? Wouldn’t that be a signal to Google that someone has cherry-picked the stronger pages of a website for the purpose of manipulating the search ranking of the “receiving” site?

    I have recently acquired a domain and website (not expired and still online) that passes all the tests. Among other things, the site is highly relevant, had a single owner (whom I know) and has never had any SEO or marketing done on it/with it.

    Let’s say there are 30 pages in the site. If I 301 redirect only the pages with the strongest Trust Flow to the highly relevant pages on another site of mine (a new domain/site) won’t that seem suspicious to Google? If the older site were truly just linking to good content on another site (as Google looks for,) why wouldn’t they just put links in their content instead of doing 301 redirects to some of the pages on the new/other site?

    Does it make more sense to put content links in the old/acquired site than it does to redirect a handful of pages? Or is a 301 redirect “stronger” than a content link from a highly relevant website?

    Does your Merger Technique recommend “closing down” the old/acquired site after setting up 301 redirects from individual pages on the old site to individual pages on the newer site by having just an .htaccess file with a series of redirect urls in the hosting account instead of a full website with only a portion of the web pages being redirected?

    1. Hey Alex,

      Yes, of course! It can work with any domain that is relevant and has authority. What you’re describing can seem more “suspicious” but it probably won’t have negative effects on a small scale

  46. Nice article Nathan. I loved the details you give.

    I wanted to ask 2 things.

    1) Redirecting an expired domain is PBN + Black Hat SEO?

    2) The anchor text phase blacked out my mind when it was stated

    “Now you have introduced irrelevant links and anchor text about “kitten training”.

    AND by Manish “Hi There, thanks a lot for the article. In regards to anchor text, if I were to find a domain that is niche relevant and had all the good metrics, with an anchor text profile as domain name, naked URL (domain), etc. In this case if I 301 the expired domain with a branded anchor text profile to the money site then the money site would end up have an anchor profile containing brand name of the expired domain. In this case would it not look fishy or would it be okay to do.”

    I am really sorry why I am blacked out here 🙁

    1. Thanks for the comment Adeel!

      1. No, it’s not. A PBN is a private blog network, which means you create a website with the sole purpose of hosting a backlinks. Redirect happen all the time, naturally.

      2. I’m just saying that you should avoid expired domains that aren’t relevant to yours.

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