Warning!!! This will be a very valuable article for many people! Grab a drink, sit back and enjoy!
Here are some tactics that I use to get a good idea if a domain name gets traffic or not and what these visitors are likely looking for!
Sadly, many sites offer old data, incorrect data and so on. So that is one important thing to understand right away. A lot of it is about 30 days old. Secondly, when a domain name expires, a lot of “bot” traffic starts hitting the domain, so that is another thing to understand. With that being said….
Understanding “where” traffic comes from! There are really only two sources of traffic to a website: Direct Navigation and Links. Either people visit the domain name directly by typing it into a browser or they visit by clicking a link in a search engine, bookmark, link from another site etc.
Here is an example of a current expired domain and I will show you the steps I use to gauge traffic.
Expired domain name currently on auction at GoDaddy. GoDaddy is stating “estimated” traffic at 43,459per month. Nice right? Well, keep in mind that the traffic estimate is well, an estimate. How old do you think that estimate is? Likely 30 days old! What “kind” of traffic is it getting? Those are questions I will answer in this article.
Current bid on the domain for $1,805 USD IMO is because of the traffic estimate and the bidders likely didn’t look any further than that.
So what do I do to “verify” that traffic estimate? Get some current data!
Do a whois search on the domain name and click the Site Profile tab. You will see the most recent Alexa Trend for the past three months. The lower the number, the more the traffic. This data is not solely reliable but is an indicator. Compete Rank is also displayed and Quantcast is also provided if data is available.
So in the above case, the Alexa rank of 651,755 is some what in line that the domain is getting some traffic. XX,XXX would be a better number to see to fit in line with 43,000 though! The Compete rank clearly is NOT agreeing with GoDaddy, only showing 1,818 monthly unique visitors. A huge difference than the GoDaddy traffic estimate really.
So where is the traffic coming from? What are people looking for? Lets find out!
Simply enter in the domain name in the search box and see what KeywordSpy displays. There are several columns you want to pay attention to!
Organic Keywords is the most important to look at, so you should be under that tab.
Keyword, Position, Volume, Traffic %
The keyword is the keyword or phrase that ranks in the search engine. Volume is the amount of exact searches done monthly for the term. Position is where it ranks on Google, Yahoo and or Bing (if the term is repeated). Traffic % is what is bringing in the largest % of traffic.
Keep in mind that this data could be “aged” as well but it’s a good thing to look at! Most data is normally pretty recent. Keyword Spy not only can give you a good idea into search engine traffic, it can help you with what kind of traffic it’s getting, by organic keywords. In the MyBloop case, it is likely Music Storage Traffic based on the #10 keyword but a quick Google search shows it was a free file storage site.
Verify the above data from Keyword Spy by doing a couple quick searches! Google the top keywords to make sure it “still” ranks in that position! My bloop still ranks #1. MyBloop still ranks #1
Use Google Shortcuts
Using several Google search shortcuts can provide you with a wealth of data
site:mybloop.com ~ this will show you how many indexed pages for the domain name. Higher the better! In this case, it has 726 indexed pages at Google. Not a ton, but pretty solid. Yahoo shows 1,480. Without any indexed pages, you will not be seeing “search” traffic. Knowing the organic keywords the domain ranks for is KEY, so that is where Keyword Spy and SEM Rush are key!
link:mybloop.com ~ this will show you the amount of links to the domain name. In this case, 31. Not that great. Yahoo shows 287. There are several other tools you can use to find backlinks to a domain. BacklinkCheck.com is one, which shows some 15K backlinks for MyBloop.com.
You can clearly dig deeper (backlinkcheck.com does this for you but isn’t the fastes) and see where these links are coming from (what sites), the estimated traffic they have etc.
My Assumption on traffic
Using all the data above, I really like to look at the Compete number provided in the whois site profile! Based on things that I see with DotWeekly and the traffic it gets, Compete can be LOW on traffic estimates by about 2-3 times. So I would estimate that MyBloop.com is getting about 3,000 ish monthly visits. This traffic is coming from keyword searches for MyBloop and some link traffic. The best thing to put on the domain to monetize the traffic would be “file sharing”. Keeping in mind that the site does rank well for the domain, links and indexed pages… this domain name will get traffic, but how much? Not likely the 43,459 GoDaddy is estimating but it could be higher or even a bit lower than my estimate. Now if KeywordSpy showed me that MyBloop.com ranked very well for the keyword term Free File Storage, I would think GoDaddy’s estimate was pretty close.
I hope this helps you in some way. It is the process that I use to guide me if a domain name is getting some traffic or not and why or what they are looking for. The SERP’s data is VERY IMPORTANT and is great data to analyze even domain names you already own but are unsure where or what visitors are looking for. The one unknown is Bot Traffic, which is useless and harder to detect. I personally do not buy domain names “just because of traffic” because the SERP’s could go away at any time, just like the links on the different sites. If those are gone, so is the traffic.
Buying a domain with a great SERP for a highly searched keyword can be a key to getting you moving in the right direction, so pay attention to that part of the tool.