Having only sold the odd website (and not bought any) this session was of some interest. The increased time and cost in manual link building for new websites has made buying existing websites an obvious choice for some and we were to find out the best ways to buy.
Richard Kershaw – Quality Nonsense – www.qualitynonsense.com
First up was Richard Kershaw, a UK super affiliate. He made it clear from the off that buying websites can help solve some of the problems SEOs face. With the current economic downturn now might be a particularly good time to buy too. Richard then proceeded to attendees through the website buying process step by step.
Get real - The reality is like many things in business – it’s hard to find good sites to buy. Firstly physically finding a website that looks like it has the right commercial potential and then there is the battle with owners who can over value them.
Avoid the pitfalls of website buying
Don’t just buy cheap – Richard stressed ‘Don’t buy cheap websites – buy undervalued websites’. So to buy an undervalued website its essential to get a clear idea of the value of the customer. He went on to show us a hosting reviews website he had recently purchased http://www.whoishostingthis.com and how through promotion and enhancement of the features of the website, he had made some real gains in terms of both traffic and monthly income from the site.
Finding websites – You need to get off the obvious track of public forums for website sales and find them yourself. Its possible to use Google to find websites that have not been updated for a long time, DMOZ directory or niche directories cab be useful as well as mining competitor backlinks in order to find good websites to purchase.
In addition Richard mentioned bankruptcy papers can be useful for ideas for websites as well as paid tools such as Syntrx, Majestic SEO and Linkscape.
How to approach websites – Initially make contact via email or simply call and establish a dialogue. At this stage the conversation should not be about money. The aim is to build trust and show you’re a legitimate entity. If you’re a registered business use company number sand VAT codes to show your a credible.
How to negotiate a sale - Find out who is the owner and know whom your dealing with. Then find out traffic, earnings and costs. When negotiating give deadlines and make firm offers. Finally make it easy – show the seller it can be quick and easy for them.
How not to get scammed - Richard suggested using escrow.com and to use a trusted domain registrar and use a non –disclosure agreement and move quickly so people do not have a chance to play games.
Kristjan Mar Hauksson – Nordic eMarketing – www.nordicemarketing.com
Why buy websites? Asked Kristjan. For age, a great URL, maybe for the links too. Kristjan talked through some examples of some domains his company had helped facilitate the purchase of in Iceland.
He recommended finding expired domains but to tread carefully as there is a chance the URL may have been banned, have negative link popularity or a negative public image.
Kristjan stressed it was important to take time out and get as much background on a domain as possible. Find out about its online history, what was the website before and what had the owners been doing with it. Checking archive.org, mining backlinks and making intelligent search queries on Google was recommended.
David Naylor – Search Marketing – www.davidnaylor.co.uk
Having seen DaveN speak at a number of events in the UK and US he always manages to balance good insight with humour and today was no different.
For Dave traffic and theme is more important than page rank or links. He then advised that once a site is purchased not to change everything at once. This could include the whois data, the hosting and/or the content and design.
He tipped the audience that Google can simply do a refresh/ reset on websites if they feel it is under new ownership. So to avoid triggering a refresh changes should happen very slowly – especially if the website has been purchased for its traffic. (If a site is refreshed values can come back again).
He recommended looking out for websites that are built purely to sell on. Again people need to ask ‘Is the page rank – real or fake?’ Also owners should not leave footprints when buying websites.
Dave gave an example of his own, when CSS code that was given usnual file names on many websites that were purchased, left an obvious footprint to Google. A simple tip was to actually use obvious file names so that the site does not stand out. Also he suggested people get UK domains (if your UK based).
If lots of domains need to be bought then there is merit in the automation of purchases of expired domains.
SMX London 2008 was another great conference, with some excellent speakers and interesting topics. The variety of the sessions meant there was content for the beginner as well as enough advanced talks to appeal to the seasoned pros. The location of the event in Covent Garden meant that everything was on your door step if you could pick up a decent hotel nearby! All the folks I spoke to seemed to have picked up a few valuable tips from the sessions as well as enjoying themselves on the social side too. Roll on 2009!
SMX London reports by Gareth Davies, GSINC Ltd