How to check an expired domain for a Google Penalty

How do I know if an expired domain was hit by a penalty from Google?

It is totally possible that an expired domain got a Google penalty. In fact that might be the reason why it expired in the first place.

Run Link Detox.

Be aware that you WILL find toxic links.

That’s OK, because with help of Link Detox you can disavow those, and also those of redirecting domains.

Look for

  • Links with high LRT Power*Trust and low Link Detox Risk.
  • Links with high LRT Trust but low LRT Power (you can improve those later).
  • Links from well known sites, even if they are weak.
  • Redirects coming in. Those redirects may pass a penalty and you may need to run a Link Detox on those later.

If above gives you a satisfying feeling, then go for the domain.

After you acquired an expired domain

  • Setup Google Search Console for it
    • we recommend the DNS mode
    • authorize all properties you know of - e.g.,,, etc
    • Warning: the disavow tool only works if you use the above property method, not the fairly new “Site wide authorization”
  • Run Link Detox in “complete mode” - this time we go for all the details.
  • Perform the following steps
    1. Connect Google Search Console and any other link data APIs like Ahrefs, SEMrush or Majestic
    2. Follow all steps through to a thorough Link Detox setup
    3. Process the Link Issues and make sure your risk goes below a 1000.
    4. create your disavow file
    5. import it to Google Search Console
    6. run Link Detox Boost to make the disavows work in

Review the “Target Pages view” to find out which are the most heavily linked to pages

  • Look at pages in to understand how those links where earned
  • Write new pages that match or outdo the previous ones so the links can actually hit real and relevant content.
  • If necessary redirect some links to other internal pages, but do NOT redirect to the homepage.
  • Use the built-in “redirect manager” to find relevant pages.
    • Find URLs that have links but no pages (1)
    • Decide which type (2) of redirect
    • Decide where to redirect to, based on suggestions (3) preserve link juice by redirecting URLs with links that are broken to relevant pages
    • or use the Link Recovery Tools (LJR) to find links to redirect
  • export the redirects into a .htaccess file and apply to your webserver

All this could have been done before purchasing the domain already, but why spend the time if you don’t manage to acquire it?

Then sit back and watch the traffic come in…

get all rankings back after disavow done and the penalty removed

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