Odys Spotlight by Sean Markey

Analysis of the cour.at domain by Sean Markey: a creative approach

Hello again!

Time for another  Odys Spotlight by me, Sean Markey

Quick bit about me: I’m a domain-obsessed SEO expert who has made every dumb mistake you could possibly make by buying and building on aged domains (and also a couple of whatever you want to call the opposite of a mistake – I call them HUGE WINS when I sold some of my aged domain affiliate site for six figures each). I live in Vermont and I publish an occasional newsletter called Rank Theory and… that’s a 10/10 intro.

Let’s get to this month’s SPOTLIGHT domain: Cour.at.

We’re gonna talk about:

  • The domain name itself
  • The branding potential
  • The history
  • The backlink profile
  • The ways you could build out this domain


And that’s it. Here we go!

What’s in a name? Cour.at

Did you even know there WAS a .at ccTLD (that’s country code top level domain)?

Well, there is, and it’s from the great country of Austria.

One thing I’m always nervous about when it comes to building on a non-.com name is: will this extension rank in the general SERPs, outside of Austria?

There might be more than one way to answer this, but I’ll show you my favorite way. 

First, go to Ahrefs and in the drop-down menu click on “Ahrefs Rank.”

It looks like this:
Then you put just the extension (in this case: .at) into the search bar and hit search. 

This is how that looks:
It gives you back a look at all the websites in the Ahrefs ranking of the top million or whatever the number is. 

I look through these and look for sites with an English SLD (second level domain, or, the word on the left side of the dot). 

There aren’t a ton here, mostly I see post.at. But also, I know Kriesi.at from previous research, it is an English language site that sells WP themes. 

In general, for this keyword, there aren’t a ton of English sites ranking well. In my opinion, this is less because “.at won’t rank” (which is incorrect), but because mostly people building English language sites aren’t building them on .at – mostly they have no reason to…

But if you’re buying an aged domain with some serious link power, you DO have a reason to…

So let’s look at the countries Kriesi.at is ranking for keywords in:
Cool. 34% of of their organic keywords are in the US SERPs (and 27% of their organic traffic). That’s a good sign. 

So, with THAT sorted, let’s look at:

The Branding Potential

Firstly, wtf is a “cour” – is it anything?

Turns out, yes!

cour.at

[Noun] cour (plural course)

A three-month unit of television broadcasting, corresponding to one of the four seasons.
A portion of a television program aired over the course of one such period, comprising 10 to 14 weekly episodes.

Okay, so the name itself has some relevancy to the entertainment industry. Good to know. 

It also sounds like “CORE” but spelled wrong so… I think there is a small argument to be made you can call your brand CORE but spell it like COUR. That’s an uphill battle, but you can try and build a company that focuses on CORE things like… the core of your body: exercise; the “common core” curriculum, so: exercise; and anything else relating to the idea of the core (essential services, organization, the Earth/eco, etc). 

It is also, BTW, the four-letter stock symbol for Coursera. So… maybe stay away from anything education related, lest their well-paid lawyers come a-knocking. 

I think given that the first page of search results for “cour” are mostly dictionary/stock entries, there is a lot of room here to define the brand to mean whatever you want it to be, which can be a bit of a slog, but better than trying to shoehorn one meaning into another. 

Here, it is wide open. 

The History of Cour.at

So this was a bit hard to find. 

You can see by Googling “site:cour.at” that it used to be:

This is good to know. Connecticut!

Looking in Archive.org does you NO good. 

Basically: every Archive instance I tried to view, barring recent ones where the domain went up for sale, have just said they are redirecting to Courant.com (which is the address of the actual newspaper this was used for).

When we look at the “best by pages” view in Ahrefs the story becomes a bit clearer:

All of the domains that have links going to them are “shortened link,” or Bit.ly style links. 

So this site served as a link shortener for the Courant.com newspaper/online site. 

They would publish articles and generate a shortened URL that connected to that article. 

Surprisingly, big, authoritative sites that linked to them would link to the shortened URL, like this:
This doesn’t appear to have been a site with actual content on it, at any point in time that *I* could find.

The organic traffic graph at Ahrefs confirms this:

Cour.at is in a bit of a unique situation, then. 

It is a site with a huge link profile that doesn’t have a lot of topical content to speak of. I think this could be an advantage to whoever buys this, as there is an absence of pressure to operate within a certain niche–AND ALSO, an opportunity to use this more quickly as a domain to redirect to another domain (I usually advise against doing this quickly)… however, this name has spent most of its life redirected, so I think that is a valid use. 

The Backlink Profile

Wow. 

This backlink profile is STRONG. 

As the link shortener for a news site, the site has A LOT of backlinks from news organizations. There are a few and various topical-related referring domains, like a manufacturing (news) site, or a theater (news) site. 
The anchor text is pretty diverse as well, which is great for rebranding this into what you want. 

I’ve worked with domains where the top few anchor text in that list number in the hundreds, and are very niche specific or very optimized… no good if you’re looking to change the relevancy or really apply something fresh to a brand. 

In this case, you don’t need to build THAT many links to make an impact on the anchor text–a great thing for future link-building efforts. 

How You Could Build Out This Domain

This is a bit hard to know where to start. 

You could almost build anything you wanted. 

The single thing I’d advise you NOT to build is a news site. I think that’d be too close to what this site used to do, and could potentially create a problem with the actual Connecticut newspaper.

So… what can you do with this name?

TV/Movies

Like I said at the top of this post, I think the best use case is to embrace the meaning of the word “cour.” Do something relating to entertainment–specifically relating to television or movies. 

I would build a comprehensive library of posts that answer a million questions like:

  • Who played Elaine on Seinfield?
  • Where was Beetlejuice filmed?
  • Is Titanic a true story?
  • Etc.

This domain has the authoritative strength to rank for a lot of super long tailed keywords like this that probably show up as zero search keywords, but are absolutely searched. Just let Google fill in a bunch of searches for you and then go from there. 

Going down this path would obviously lead to an ads play. I think with a few hundred posts you could get enough visits to qualify for some of the better ad networks. 

When it comes to ads, unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of direct experience, so I can’t say you’ll get X or Y RPMs, but I *do* think you’d have nearly unlimited things to write about. 

You can branch out into those posts that spike every month:

  • What shows are leaving Netflix in (Month/Year)
  • Where can I watch (show)

I know I’ve searched that last one myself a hundred times. You can even expand into sports and sell VPN or whatever premium subscriptions, like

  • Where can I watch the Cowboys this Sunday

And so on. 

Anime

When searching google about “cour” there were several results involving anime. When you search “cour anime” there are a whole bunch of results. 

I know even less about anime than I do RPMs, but I did Google this:

The global anime market size was valued at USD 24.80 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 26.89 billion in 2022.

Damn. You could probably build an anime site that can capture some of that value with this domain name, I bet–especially if this was an area of interest for you, or you had another site within this niche. 

Niche Sites

Whether it’s golf clubs, metal detectors, snowboards–whatever you’re into, you could build a pretty solid niche site from this name. 

With the amount of generic-authority links coming to this site, and the fact that it was just the link shortener for a state’s newspaper, the possibilities are super wide-open. 

The key to making this work will be (huge shock):

Building some topically relevant links to the niche you’re pushing it toward
Dropping a lot of relevant, authoritative info content on the niche.

Don’t get greedy! Don’t slap it with money content right away–you won’t have any traffic to convert anyway. Take it slow.

I think this could best be used for a niche that doesn’t have a lot of aged domain inventory. 

  • Business?
  • Health?
  • Tech?
  • A dime a dozen.

If you’re in a niche that doesn’t see a lot of inventory come through, this could be a nice generic thing to decorate however you want.

That’s the way to do it. 

Connecticut

While this one is fairly limiting, it IS the place where the domain has the most actual topical relevancy (outside of just the news space). 

You might build a Connecticut travel site, or a virtual welcome center. 

A few years ago selling state-themed boxes was all the rage. I don’t know what Connecticut is famous for, but I assume… fish and… ties? IDK. You can talk to a bunch of local shops that sell only things people born and raised there might love, stuff they’d definitely miss. Connecticut in a Box – you could try and rank for that, I’d assume you have the firepower with this site’s backlink portfolio. 

A word of caution tho: as with building something in the news space, this might get a little dicey with what the name used to be, so you might just really be super sure of this before buying this and going this direction with it. 

Wrapping Things Up

Cour.at is a blank canvas you can paint whatever you want onto, in my opinion. It is a unique aged domain in that it has not been used in any particular way that you’d have to fight against when rebuilding, but it still has a TON of valuable links from being used as a redirected URL. 

I know it’s expensive, but I think the possibilities are wide open.

For what it’s worth, if this was MY name, I’d build the entertainment site that answered a million questions about movies and tv shows and try to bank some big ad revenue (and possibly some TV-show-related affiliate revenue.

As with my first Odys Spotlight feature: if you end up buying this name, I’ll hop on a call with you and talk things out, answer your questions, and give you some good advice. 

Thanks for reading! 

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