Sometimes a website isn’t what it appears at first glance.
Dropped domains are domains that have, for some reason or another, been left to expire and re-registered by another party, or been directly sold to a new owner.
The attraction of these domains to their new registrants is the perception that these domains hold some SEO value with search engines due to their existing link profile.
The new registrant will usually do one of two things with their ‘new’ domain,
- Re-populate the domain with its old content (recovered from archive.org)
- Place new content onto the domain. This content may or may not be related to the original topic of the website on the domain.
The dropped domain new registrant usually has two aims in mind when doing this.
- To create a platform from which links can be sold
- To attract search engine traffic from natural search rankings obtained from content on the domain
If a website has been resurrected to sell links in any form, this is in clear breach of the Google Webmaster Guidelines and all links from such sites should be removed.
Example dropped domain
This website used to be a medical website owned by the NHS. It has now been repurposed and new content has been added on which to sell links. This should be flagged for link removal and Disavowed accordingly.
Have a look at the backlink profile of the domain in your favourite link data analysis tool. Dropped domains will typically have lots of links from high quality, real websites.
A handy tool to go back in time and see how the site used to look is the Wayback Machine from Internet Archive.