I am still away for DomainFest, and two of my friends have written guest posts related to topics in which they are experts. On Monday, Jeff Behrendt of INForum.in, wrote about investing in Indian domains. Yesterday, Richard Douglas discussed social media for domainers. Today, Richard discusses investing in dropping domain names. Richard has a diverse background is systems administration, web development and security. You can read more about domain development on his blog or follow him on twitter.
If you scan the drop lists, you’ve probably noticed a lot of good quality drops lately. And I think this trend will continue throughout 2009.
When I look at drops, I’m looking for domains that could be developed into full sites.
In addition to checking keywords, search frequency and advertiser interest, here’s a few tips of how to spot good drops for development.
Domain drop tips
1. Domain age – look for domains that are 8+ years old. The SE’s like old domains, it’s a trust issue. I’ve had great results taking an eight or 10 year old domain that ranks for very little, building out a site of unique content and ranking in the top 10 for one or two word phrases and #1 for long tail phrases. I use a script using the whois command from my linux CLI to check domain age. There are lots of tools out there to do this, of course.
2. Check for back links – in a perfect world, a domain with back links, especially .edu or .gov back links, would jump to the top of my list as a good drop for development. The SE’s give a lot of trust to domains that have .edu and .gov back links because these type of back links are less spammy and harder to acquire. I use yahoo search using the following command formats to check for .edu and .gov back links: “linkdomain:domain.com .edu” and “linkdomain:domain.com .gov”. I use this command to check all back links to the domain, except internal links from the domain itself: “linkdomain:domain.com -site:domain.com”.
3. Verify the back links – if you find that the drop has back links, you need to verify them too. You never know if people played games to get back links, and the SE’s have devalued or ignored the back links. Once you use yahoo search to find those back links, copy the back link URL and search for it in google to see if google lists it. If the page is listed, that means google is giving some weight to the back link. Normally, I just check the .edu and .gov back links in google because they are the most valuable.
Put it to the test
Elliot has added a top drops page to his blog. I recommend that you check it out regularly.
As an example, I have selected a domain from Elliot’s top drops page to illustrate the tips. The domain is: discoverhawaii.com
1. This domain was registered in 2000. Great, keep it on our list.
2. The domain has 83 external back links according to yahoo search. Woohoo!
3. The domain even has four .edu back links, and three of the four are listed in google!
In this example, discoveryhawaii.com is a domain worth chasing on a drop for development.
What do you look for in a good drop?