I work by myself, and am always a bit scared of spreading myself too thin, so I have not been to active on the old domain buying front.
Having said that, now would probably be a good time to buy old domains. Jim Boykin again mentioned his new love for oldies and Graywolf said
Came to the same conclusion myself, emailed about 150 people picked up 2 domains from 2000 for under $1K.
Think of how cheap those site purchases are. Decent links can cost $50 to $300 or more each, so buying whole sites for $500 is cheap cheap cheap! How cheap is it? Even the most well known link broker is recommending buying a few old domains.
Why now is the perfect time to buy old domains:
It is right before the Christmas shopping season and many people not monetizing their sites might be able to use a bit of spare cash.
Many older domains are doing better than one would expect in Google's search results, which means they may recoup their costs quickly.
As Andy Hagans said, "Some older sites seem to be able to get away with murder in Google's search results."
Link popularity flowed much more naturally to commercial sites in the past than it does now. This means buying something with the a natural link profile may be far cheaper than it would be to try to reproduce similar linkage data.
At different times search algorithms show you different things. Before the Christmas shopping season each of the last few year it seems Google rolled out a new algorithm that wacked many sites which SEO'ed their way to the top (IMHO via link trading and low quality linkage data). Most of the algorithm changes are related to looking at linkage quality, communities, and ways to trust sites. The most recent update seems to have (at least temorarily) dialed up the weighting on TrustRank or a similar technology, which has had the net effect of highly ranking many old/trusted/authoritative sites that may lack some query specific authority. If you shop for sites that fit the current Google criteria well then add some good SEO to it you should be sitting good no matter which way the algorithms slide.
I recommend that everyone spend their full attention coming up to speed on beta.search.msn.com.
It's very rare to get to see a search engine in transition, because that's the best time to see what the different criteria are for ranking.
Now that Google is in a state of flux it might be a good time to perform many searches to look for some underpriced ad inventory. If you know what you are looking for you are more likely to find it in the organic search results than in the AdWords system.
The search vs SEO cat fight:
keyword stuffing documents and cloaking
copy and paste the top ranked site's code, resubmit
any link spam goes (guestbooks, etc.)
targeted anchor text
Florida update, generic directories ranked way too well
We are removing our link to you now. PLEASE return the courtesy and remove your link to us!
Note that Google is updating its results this week and failure to remove these links immediately will likely mean not showing up in Google for AT LEAST the next 4 months!
Thank you for understanding,
The email is bogusly incorrect, and I don't think I traded links with the site mentioned, but that is the exact reason why this email is extra crappy.
If you trade links highly off topic you increase your risk profile, and if it helps you rank:
Whenever there is an update your competitors can send these remove my link reminders out for you.
There are only a limited number of relationships you can have. If you link out to a million sites your links out to junky sites will be a higher percentage than most sites, you will have more dead links than most quality sites, and many of those people will remove their links to you.
Your competitors could pay people from Jakarta $3 a day to go through your link trades and trade the same links.
Quality on topic sites may be less likely to link to you if your site frequently links off to low quality resources.
I think most sites which recently went south in Google probably lacked quality linkage data, not because they had too many links.
Since most people are still thinking "the numbers game" when it comes to obtaining links, most people are buying "numbers" from "monkeys" on crappy link pages.
When will the world wake up that the numbers game has passed the tipping point in Google. Engine are trying to get smarter with how they analyze sites. My overall thought is that they are working to identify, simply, "Links within Content and Linking to Content"
My buddy Dan Thies is doing another one of his SEO training courses. If you do well with audio training & want to learn SEO I highly recommend it.
Dan gave me a coupon code for SeoBook.com readers to save $100 off his course fees. After you create your login the next screen lets you enter the coupon code seobook. If you would like my ebook to go along with the course just ping me after you sign up.
If Google dials up their weighting on large authority sites before Christmas maybe the solution is to buy ad pages on some of them. I bet there are some great underpriced ad links and advertisement pages if people would look hard enough.
Link to Jim Boykin's new tool...still a bad tool name though, IMHO.
I have not put much effort into following most directory type sites that use redirect links (especailly if they are not ranked well in the related search results), but will engines eventually count many weird links as votes if they notice that the users click on a link and like what is on the other end of the series of redirects? Will those links ever count as much or more than static links that never get clicked on?
2005 SEO - Yahoo and MSN, pound with lots of links at once and keep pounding with anything you can get for backlinks with a focused backlink text campaign. With Google, the older the site the better, slow and steady link building with a large variety of backlink text wins (notice itâ€™s the opposite of yahoo and msn).
I think that for most searches, the top 10 will consist mostly of these types of pages. I think Google does this on purpose to show a variety of Types of pages to the user.
If youâ€™re targeting a phrase, you should start by figuring what type of result your site will be, and what itâ€™s role is in the top 10, and who youâ€™re "real" and "direct" competitor is and what it will take to replace them.
Some information gets smarter with more input, and some gets less smart with more input. One of the hard parts about SEO is that everything is debatable. Some additional opinions will poison data, whereas others will make it way better.
Even beyond the debatable is that questioning the right people makes some data seem much more credible and so much easier to spread. If you seek input from the right people in your industry, like Danny Sullivan in search, you can help ensure that an idea spreads far and quick.
I bet that within a month or two that page will be the most well linked document on the SEO Moz site, and it is something just about anyone can do in any industry. Design problems, site usability problems, gardening problems, airplane landing problems, etc etc etc.
The key is to know who to ask for help and to be trusted enough to where they want to help you. Of course you also have to appeal to their ego to where they want to help you. Other than including MM in the data sources I don't think there is much Rand could have done better to make that page more linkable. I love the smiley faces.
Another nice thing about the page is it could be resorted, asking the same questions to self proclaimed search spam gurus. Give DaveN, Greg Bosers, Oilman, Baked Jake, and a few other guys the same set of criteria and see how they answer it. Then those feedbacks can be cross compared.
A Google Zeitgeist of SEO factors that has biggest gainers, biggest losers, and top ten would be amazing link bait that reminded people to visit frequently and link in every month. And then maybe redue the whole ranking factors thing once a year or so.