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Your Expired Domain’s History

Google keeps a record of the crawl data for every domain it has ever indexed.

It understands where the links came from and their anchor text meaning, the topic of the website, the connected authors and organizations, and the outbound link profile of that domain.

This is one of the main reasons why re-purposing a website doesn’t work as effectively, and will lose effectiveness moving forward through 2016 and beyond.

Therefore we must keep the original website topic, and rebuild the site to how it used to be, to the best of our ability.

Restoring Pages with Link Equity

To save yourself time, you should prioritise restoring pages that have links pointing to them.

Simply use your favourite backlink checking tool (I use Ahrefs), to export the top pages from your expired domain, and work your way down the list.

You can restore the content from the Wayback Machine, simply enter your page url there and pick a date which contains useful content, then copy that content into your chosen CMS, I personally use WordPress.

Redirecting Urls

In order to preserve the power of the links, and to make Google think the site has the same structure, we want to redirect the old urls to their new locations in our CMS.

In WordPress there are several plugins to help you implement redirects, such as Redirection. Alternatively you can edit the htaccess file manually, or through a plugin.

The Problem with 404 Redirects

Many people advise using plugins like Link Juice Keeper to simply redirect all old pages to the homepage.

The problem with this is that Google has changed the way it passes link equity through redirects. If a page is redirected to an irrelevant page it can be seen as a soft 404 error, and therefore not pass any of the link equity to your domain.

Therefore we need to map the old pages to their exact equivalent, or at least to a page that’s very similar in topic.

Matching The Website Layout & Internal Links

Google can understand major changes in a websites layout, so trying to mirror the original site as best as you can is advised.

Simply pick a theme in your CMS that matches the layout of the site in the Wayback Machine.

Then you want to copy old banners, logos, and colours from the old site to customise your site in the same way.

Next you want to create a top level menu structure identical to the original site.

This should leave you with a website that not only looks similar to the old one, but is crawled very similar as well, making Google think the old site has been re-established.

Clear Website Ownership – Attaching Personas

Authorship may no longer display in the SERP’s, but Author rank and ownership information is still a powerful and necessary ranking factor.

It helps separate the random PBN link farms from the websites that look legitimate, setup by someone for a purpose and worthy of link credit.

Author Rank for SEO Value

From an SEO perspective, articles that have a clear author rank higher than those that do not. In the leaked Google patent in 2015, there was a clear emphasis on authoritativeness, aka are you an expert on the topic, discussed well on SEO by the Sea.

Authors for Passing Manual Review

One of the first things that a manual reviewer is instructed to do is to look for a face, and ownership details of a website. Anything to suggest it’s owned and managed by a real person.

If they see this, 99% of the time they will move onto their next case, and your site will be clean and dry.

So attaching an author to your site, and making it obvious in the sidebar or onto every page, can help you pass manual reviews if your site gets flagged.

Creating Your Author

Your author is the entity that connects everything together, and the information you attach to their profiles and bio can help legitimise your links when you post to your money site.

What you want is to connect the theme of the expired domain, with the theme of your money site, and create an author bio that shows that this author is an expert on both topics.

For example, if our expired domain was about fishing, and our money site was about interior design, then our “backstory” could be:

Steve has been a professional interior designer for over 13 years. He started in the profession after graduating from the University of Cambridge in 1998 with a 1st Class Degree in Interior Design Studies. He enjoys fishing in his spare time, and owns the fishing hobby site

This may seem like a lot of work, but your authors are actually going to become more powerful than your domains as we move past 2016, and as a bonus they can be re-used on similar themed domains to help boost their overall power.

The easiest way of explaining it is “connecting the dots”, and it has it’s origins in linked data analysis, but that is beyond the scope of this training.

Social Profiles for Authors

You don’t need many profiles to legitimise your author, a Google Plus and Twitter account will be more than enough. You can setup autoposting from the site to those profiles to keep them fresh.

For profile images, you want them to look unique to Google, and so they have to pass the Google reverse image search.

The best way to do this is to use photoshop. You want to flip the image, and then apply a colour filter with a low opacity to make it slightly see-through. I have found that this passes the test every time.

You will also want to follow pages and groups around the same topics as your bio, in our example Steve should follow his old University, join fishing hobby groups, and follow popular interior designers.

Make the bio say the same things on each, but slightly reworded to make it unique.

Then attach the author to your site, by giving is a username, and use an author plugin that allows you to add social media accounts, images and an author bio to the snippet to be included on every page and post.

How to Re-Theme your PBN Domain

This is a delicate process, and must be done over time, using some specific techniques to gradually turn the site into a multi-topic domain. At which point you can add your money site linking article, and gain the full benefits of the link.

Topical Content and Links

You want to add website content that is relevant to the new theme of your website. It should contain outbound links to authority pages on the topic, and it should gain inbound links and social shares from other sources.

So over the period of a month, you want to publish 3 – 5 articles targeting long tail keyword phrases around your topic. You want to include relevant reference links, that are not directly connected to a competitors website.

For each article, wait for it to be indexed, then purchase or build social shares and some basic niche relevant web 2.0 links. This gives the site a base of niche level content that gained some traction, after which you can move forward to the next step.

Hijacking Topical Authors (optional)

This is an experimental next step, and relates to the author rank mentioned in the previous paragraphs.

You can give your niche relevant articles industry expert authors, to appear as if they are guest posting on your website.

So basically repeat the steps for adding an author profile to your site, but make it someone Google will already recognise as an authority on the topic, for example a famous author on the subject.

This will associate your articles with those industry experts, and raise the authoritativeness of your domains on the topic.

Testing The Power Of Your Domain

Before you link out to one of your own sites, you want to make sure that the links are going to be worthwhile. To do this, pick a non-competing website in a similar topic that is sitting on page 3 of Google for a query.

Send an exact match anchor text link from an article to that page, and see if it goes up in the rankings. If it does, this PBN is safe and powerful in your niche, and can be used to point to your money site.

Now your PBN site is fully built out and themed towards your intended topic, it’s time to start posting links to your site.

How to link from your PBN websites
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