How To Spam Check Expired Domains
When finding and registering expired domains, you’ll get several heart attacks because you think you found the greatest domain of all time, just to find out it’s actually been penalized by Google.
An expired domain that has been spammed is likely to be have been banned by Google as well. Just think about it, if the domain had any authority, would the owner really drop it? Even if it hasn’t been banned yet, don’t take the risk and register it. Why make things more risky than they’re already are?
Obviously I don’t need to explain why spam is bad for you, so just stay away from it.
The most important step: Going back in time
This is what I consider to be the most important step. Plenty of times you’ll find domains that have amazing metrics with clean backlinks and anchors, in other words they look like normal domains. Don’t register one just yet though, we need to find out if the website has been a PBN in the past or not.
Oh boy, just look at those metrics, this domain has to be crazy good! Plenty of EDU and GOV domains, it’s ranked at 22,086 in Majestic. 😮 This is what a super domain would look like, a lot of GOV and EDU domains look like this. But let’s face reality, unless you’re extremely lucky you won’t find anything like this.
Before we check the anchors, backlinks and referring domains (how to check these is covered below) it’s time to go back in time. I use two websites for this:
This site offers screenshots of different websites, it’s not as good as Archive.org, but in some cases it will show you screens which Archive missed.
This site actually saves the whole website, meaning you can navigate through it as if it were live. This means you can see if there are hidden or cloaked links anywhere.
Sometimes it’s not very obvious if it has been used as a PBN or not. That’s why you shouldn’t rely on just one screenshot/capture. The best way to do it is to check the latest screengrab, the very first one and one somewhere in the middle. I found this to be a good way to see if a website has been used for spam or not.
How do I know it’s a PBN?
- Standard WordPress blog template
- No information about the author
- Stuffed with keywords
- Completely incoherent articles
- It links back to money sites
If you don’t find anything suspicious on both Archive.org or Screenshots.com you can continue to the next step.
Step 2: Checking Anchors
Anchors is another great way to tell if a domain has been used for spam or not. When checking anchor text I personally prefer Ahrefs as it tends to find more of them compared to Majestic. However Majestic has a handy “anchor cloud” feature, which makes it really easy to see the most popular anchors and how much they’ve been used.
The key here is to know what the domain was used to before, most of the time you can find out by checking Archive or just by reading the domain name.
What about foreign anchors?
It’s pretty common to find anchors in foreign languages, you don’t need to panic just because you found a Chinese anchor. Remember, there are other countries than the USA, you racist! To find out what the anchor says, just copy & paste it into Google Translate. If it’s general or similar to the domain name you should be OK.
By this point I already know if the domain has been spam/PBN or not. If you’re still unsure you can go to the last step.
Step 3: Checking the referring domains
This is the last step in my process, if I haven’t found anything in the previous steps I usually never find anything here either, but there are exceptions. I prefer Ahrefs for this.
E. g. the referring domains for a French shoe e-commerce store. Since it’s an e-commerce AND in French, it would be kinda odd if people from different countries linked to it, right? I wouldn’t recommend a French shoe store to my Indian friend, would you?
Before you make up your mind whether the referring domain is relevant or not, give it a visit to see what it’s about. Sometimes it can be a news site covering something, other times it could be a French guy living in China or some shit like that.
In this case, 90% of the foreign domains come from blog comments. Comments themselves aren’t that bad, but when you find thousands of comments on non-related blogs, it’s a good sign of spam or just poor SEO skills.
Just because a domain has thousands of backlinks doesn’t make it good. It’s important to look at the ratio between the amount of referring domains and the amount of backlinks. Having 5 referring domains and 1,000 backlinks is not normal and will most likely be spam.
There’s no sure way to find out if a domain has been penalized or not. What we’re doing here is analyzing and doing an educated guess.
Don’t let the metrics fool you. A spammed and penalized domain can look like a true authority on sites like Majestic. You can however sometimes figure out if there are low quality links pointing to a domain through Majestic metrics, a low trust flow but a high citation flow is a good indication (but that’s what it is, only an indication) that a domain has been spammed with low quality links.
And that’s how I check for spam on expired domains, it has worked wonders so far and I’m yet to register a penalized domain this way.
I highly recommend you do all three steps just to be extra sure, it’s easy to get lazy and miss a step and accidentally register a spammed domain. Take your time, check everything carefully and see if you can find any clues.