Buying a domain and setting up your website is one of the major aspects of most businesses. This is because you need to have an online presence to reach your audience. Audiences are now mostly online, so if you don’t have a website or social media presence, then your company may slip through the cracks. After all, they just need to call the Spectrum cable services if they want an affordable internet connection in their home. So, make sure you buy a domain that will get you some internet traction.

However, not all domains are created equally. Often, you’ll have to pick from expired domains to either save costs or get the domain name you want. This strategy can backfire if the domain has been penalized by Google. In such cases, Google will not index your website in its SERPs. Therefore, you should do your due diligence and check if whether a domain is penalized before buying it. Here are a few ways to do so.

Google Index

Google Index is an excellent and extremely easy way to check whether your potential domain is penalized. Basically, you just enter the domain name in the Google search bar as, ‘site:yourdomain’. This will show you whether Google has indexed this domain.

If your domain does not show up in this targeted search, then that means it is expired and penalized. Therefore, it will be of no use to you. Only go for domains that show up here.

Google Shortener

Another very easy way to check the expired domain is by running it through Google Shortener. Go to the page and shorten your chosen URL. While the tool will shorten all sorts of URLs, if you’ve entered a penalized or spammy URL, then the window will display a notification that states that the relevant shortlink has been disabled.

It’s inadvisable to buy such domains, so make sure you check Google Shortener before making your final decision.


Sandbox basically checks whether your shortlisted domain has been flagged and banned by Google AdSense. Go to the AdSense Sandbox home page, and make sure you enter the expired domain’s URL properly. Then, click on the Show Google Ads button on the right.

If your page displays all the text, images, and videos in ads properly, then this means that the domain is not penalized. However, if ads do not show up, this indicates that Google has banned the domain for spam or other reasons. Do not buy this sort of domain, as it won’t bring you any benefits.

Citation Flow & Trust Flow

Check the Citation Flow and Trust Flow on Majestic. These are free tools anyone can use and help you figure out the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the links. Just enter the URL and you’ll get a score between 0 and 100. If the score is on the low side or 0, it means that the expired domain is penalized and is not worth buying at all.

Make sure you run your shortlisted expired domains through these tools so that you don’t waste money on useless domains which won’t bring you any authority.

Incoming Link Ratios

You should check the incoming link to domain ratio to confirm your expired domain’s usefulness. If this number is above 5 to 1, then you should not invest in the expired domain. Penalized domains usually spam 1000s of links, and Google flags them for this behavior, preventing indexing and SERP benefits.

You can easily check this ratio on any tool like Moz, Ahrefs, and Majestic. Enter the domain’s name in these tools, and you’ll get a thorough look at these ratios. Try to keep them under 5 to 1, so that you buy a domain that will reap you all the benefits you need.  

Why Should You Even Buy an Expired Domain?

If an expired domain had high domain authority before, then you can carry this forward once you buy it. You won’t have to go through the trouble of starting a new domain and building up to that authority. This can take months or even years, so why not take this simpler route?

In addition, you can use these domains for backlinking purposes as well. Just make sure you don’t break any transparency regulations while doing this, and stay within ethical limitations. Apart from that, you can even use expired domains to get revenue by selling them. Many people buy high-ranking expired domains and resell them at high rates.

In conclusion, an expired domain can be a good purchase, but only if you undertake the due diligence. If you go in blindly, then there could be drawbacks, so check all the relevant metrics in advance.