Google’s John Mueller weighs in on expired domain backlinks

This year I’m hearing more people than ever talk about buying expired domains with backlinks and leveraging this to either kickstart a new website or send link juice to an existing one.

I’ll be honest, whenever I’ve heard about this in the past I’ve thought, “it just sounds too good to be true,” and I’ve assumed that Google must just kill off the value of backlinks once the domain expired. However over the course of this year as more data has come in, I’ve changed my tune and now I think there’s pretty solid evidence from Google themselves that yes, these backlinks can and do live on in many cases.

John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trend Analyst extraordinaire sat down with Search Engine Journal to chat about expired domains this week, and here’s a section that caught my eye:

Search Engine Journal
So, finding those situations where essentially people are trying to abuse the system by picking up expired domains that are totally unrelated to what they’ve been working on and hoping to get them to rank well in search… uh… that’s something that’s sometimes a bit tricky.

We have a lot of practice with that. I don’t think we always get it right but at least the many cases I’ve looked into there, seems to be working out okay.

But, anyway, this has been around… I think will continue to be around as long as people can change ownership and kind of reuse existing domain names.

It’s kind of a part of the web.(Source – Search Engine Journal)

I don’t know how you read this but to me it sounds like Google really has to give expired domains the benefit of the doubt and can’t really police them very much. The approach here seems to be, this is just a thing that happens, domains with backlinks expire, people pick them up and use them, and the world continues to spin 🤷‍♂️

Thanks to Search Engine Journal for featuring this topic and to John who is awesome for sharing so many insights with the community. If you haven’t read the full article yet I’d hop over there and read it, lots of good nuggets 👌

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton