It may sometimes seem that domainers, SEO experts, affiliate marketers, and other people of these sorts are the people glued to their computer screens, monitoring auctions, keywords, stats, etc. In reality, however, people dealing with domains come from all walks of life and all kinds of different backgrounds.
Take Stewart Vickers, for example, an art history specialist turned site builder and SEO expert. And, yes, he’s no stranger to aged domains. Odys domains, in particular. You can get familiar with him on his site. And now, let’s move on to his story out below.
How It All Went Down This Way
I’ve always been creative and wanted to be some sort of a Wildean poet, writer, and painter. While studying History of Art at University College London, I just needed some sort of job to keep my head above water and ended up as a blogger for a luxury menswear brand. That’s when I first learned about SEO and how creative writing could fit into marketing. I then joined an online magazine startup and was trained in journalism by a renowned Iraq war correspondent. But like so many of its kind, that magazine struggled to monetize its traffic, so I switched to affiliate marketing.
Now, I struggled to see how we could make a dent in the market for “top 10 leather jackets,” but my own personal interest in more niche communities like goths, vintage, and cosplayers seemed more of a blue ocean. So, I started my own site. This didn’t follow any of the established affiliate frameworks we know today, but rather relied on writing news-style pieces and posting them on Facebook for about 48 hours of traffic. But over time I noticed some pages were generating significant traffic months down the line and driving revenue. That’s when it hit me what SEO really was – not just writing some content and slamming a vague topic into Yoast. But that was too late and I had graduated and ran out of money. The last nail in the coffin came when my flat was burgled while I was out at a supermarket that did free coffee if you bought something (say, their cheapest packet of biscuits), which made a nice place to work for a few hours. I made 12 cents on Adsense that day and knew this was unsustainable.
I joined a small insurance startup, but kept building my own sites on the side. My breakthrough came with a site in the men’s grooming niche that ultimately made $1,500 a month with just 100 pages of content and a redirected expired domain for backlinks. Meanwhile, the insurance startup was spending five figures a month on ads and getting nowhere. I kept pitching them SEO, but they struggled to see how blogging could lead to sales of a serious financial product. Using my own site as a case study, they eventually allowed me to get an Ahrefs trial and write a few pages. Two weeks later the phones started ringing. SEO then became our primary strategy and I scaled the company to quite a respectable revenue figure.
By that point, I was building a portfolio, having discovered Odys and the power of aged domains. I thought if six months of part-time work all by myself on a fresh domain had led to $1,500 a month, imagine what a team on expired domains could do.
I then got headhunted into the corporate world and knew I wasn’t going to stick around long. But given the cash flow machine I was (or at least thought I was) building, I knew that I needed all the cash I could get my hands on. It was here that I saw how terrible SEO agencies are. I was planning to repeat my previous role and build an in-house team and strategy. Instead, we were dependent on two external agencies that were using 10-year-old keyword strategies and delivering a handful of shady $40 backlinks $500 each. I resigned from my position and started turning the team running my website portfolio into a full-fledged link-building agency that focused on quality deliverables rather than vague promises in return for a hefty retainer.
I therefore now run Serpply (which I meant to be a pun on Supply, but only fellow SEOs get it…), SEOForInsurance.com, and the Power Lever Method, which helps coaches build their own Evergreen Empire.
Finding Out about Odys Global
I was listening to a podcast with Richard Patey. I already knew the power of expired domains, but I liked his point that Odys will have a landing page and recreate some pages, so some of them will already be warmed up.
Previous Experience with Aftermarket Domains and Niche Sites
I had already had success with a men’s grooming website, which had 301 redirected an expired domain in the same niche. That was the only link-building method other than a cheap press release distribution.
When I first got into expired domains, I tried to do it all myself. I found a domain on Spamzilla, bid way too much at GoDaddy auctions, and then found it was trademarked. So I redirected it to a fresh domain and lost some of the benefits. Then Ahrefs updated its database and it went from a DR43 to about DR18.
Stacking Up Aged Domains VS Fresh Domains
The two biggest struggles in SEO are linked – getting a new project off the ground (the so-called “sandbox”) and building authority. Everyone is scared of link-building. It’s a difficult process, you get a lot of hate for cold emailing people, the links cost money, and then you get into the rabbit hole of what are the right links to build and what’s going to get you penalized.
I finally cracked the code prior to starting my link-building agency, but before that expired domains offered a lot of value just to have a full link profile already sorted. The other issue is the sandbox. SEOs debate whether this exists, but I think we can all agree that for one reason or another the first six months of a project are the hardest.
Now that I know how to build great links, I can get a website ranking in just a few weeks. But without that, an expired domain is much more responsive to the work you do early on. Just the fact a lot of them have existing direct and referral traffic means you will have a lot more engagement on your site that Google rewards.
The Odys Experience
I like the bigger inventory and lower costs of sources like SEO.domains. However, the quality screening in Odys is much more robust. I know an Odys domain hasn’t been inflated or used as a PBN, whereas every other vendor I use requires a lot of screening. I’ve seen some very high DR domains for a high price where the whole backlink profile is comment spam.
The Appeal of Odys Domains
It’s just totally done for you. When I first got into expired domains, I tried to do it all myself. I found a domain on Spamzilla, bid way too much at GoDaddy, and then found it was trademarked. So I redirected it to a fresh domain and lost some of the benefits. Then Ahrefs updated its database and it went from a DR 43 to about DR18. Plus, I get addicted to looking at that wall of potential brands – even though most of them are technically past failures!
Getting around with the Odys Marketplace
All great. The wait sucks and it seems a shame to splurge on a domain and then have to pay for the transfer. However, Odys are great at pointing the domain at your hosting, so you can have a site up instantly and worry about transfer later. I’ve had domains stay with them for months! Also, the done-for-your logo may seem small but it is great. I steal those colors to use as my branding. Then I recreate pages with links. Then add my own content.
The Change of Perspective
I’ll be honest, I get tired of the expired domain fanatics constantly sharing case studies where you buy a domain, add content, and rank and make money within three months.
While this is totally possible, and I’ve experienced a little bit myself, it is definitely not the norm.
I’ve had expired domains brewing for six months to a year before results showed up – which makes it challenging to establish if the expired domain made any difference.
Now I own a link-building agency and I’m actually more likely to get a good exact-match domain and build it up myself. That way I will get full control of the anchor text and target pages.
Aged Domain Site Growth
Perhaps, my best Odys domain case study took eight months to get off the ground. But then, over six months, it climbed to 5,000 users per month with a value of about $8,000. It was in a medical niche and had been a medical journal before so there was a lot of in-built Expertise, Authority, and Trust that would be very difficult to replicate.
The Earning Potential
It’s certainly made a good few thousand bucks, but I’ve also put a lot into it with 500,000 words of Surfer-optimized content and an additional Odys domain redirected to it. It got hit by the turbulence of Summer 2022 (even one of the Authority Hacker’s case studies had the same), but is now coming back and I expect it could quite easily be a million-dollar site within a few years.
It’s in the Link Juice
As a link-building agency, I can build links with no problem, but I simply can’t get some of these links from medical journals and the like.
Odys Domain Future
I’m going to scale this domain to promote supplements and then develop my own white-label supplement alongside income from other affiliate products. If all else fails, the CPCs on banner ads should be good enough.
The Odys Difference
Choosing an Aged Domain
Keep keywords in mind. It’s so easy to go for a “brandable” domain, but domains with keywords in them definitely still get a bonus in search results. And go for smaller sites. I buy an expired domain and go hard with 100,000 words per month. It would be much better, to do 50 or so posts and see how they rank. If you have the budget, consider testing multiple expired domains. That way you can identify a true “winner” domain and go hard on it. For some reason, the benefits of expired domains are not distributed equally.
Tackling the Diversity of Features
A link exchange marketplace could be interesting since all customers have powerful domains. Along with the Done-for-You content with Niche Website Builders, I would always be up for offering link-building services, so that customers can build up the authority of their new money pages since expired domains typically have all their authority pointing at the homepage and a handful of inner pages, which doesn’t help rank fresh affiliate content that much.
More Aged Domains in the Future? Heck yes.
Yes. With AI content generation taking over I feel that digital real estate is everything. Links are only going to become more valuable and aged domains will reflect that. I intend to turn my portfolio into a whole network of sites so that I can test out new niches fast. New bathroom fad on TikTok? I have a site for that. Groundbreaking new marketing software? I can rank for that in weeks.
Blending It All Together
All in all, Odys domains do provide you with an advantage over fresh domains in terms of ranking up and gaining traffic. However, constant work and adaptation are indispensable, so you’d better treat your website like a business rather than a side hustle. So, should you try and grow your business via an aged domain? The answer is: yes, you definitely should.