Sean Markey on gaining 1 million visitors in a week, aged domain best practices, & domain investing

Last updated: Jun 21, 2023

The video is a podcast interview with Sean Markey discussing best practices for age domains, AI content and SERPs, and domain investing.

The video is a podcast interview with Sean Markey, who discusses various topics related to website building and domain investing. He talks about best practices for age domains, AI content and SERPs, and the less talked about topic of domain investing. Markey shares his experiences and insights on how to make money with domain investing and diversify income sources. The interview also covers topics such as newsletter sponsorships, building a community, and the challenges of ranking in competitive niches like CBD. Markey emphasizes the importance of using age domains and shares his success story of building and selling a niche site in the CBD space.

  • The podcast features an interview with Sean Markey on age domains, AI content, SERPs, and domain investing.
  • Topics covered include building sites, newsletter sponsorships, and community building.
  • Sean Markey has a background in SEO and has built and sold several sites, including a CBD site on an age domain.
  • Domain investing involves buying and reselling domain names, and Sean Markey shares best practices for finding and choosing age domains.
  • Rebuilding the site with content and redirecting it after it starts to rank is advised.
  • Sean Markey has had success with age domains, including a cannabis site that made high four or low five figures of Amazon affiliate income.
  • He moved away from building sites in the cannabis niche due to Google's preference for big media publications.
  • Best practices for domain investing include analyzing domains with tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush and looking for domains with a history of being used for the same or similar niche.
  • Patience is key in waiting for the right domain to come along.

Sean Markey on gaining 1 million visitors in a week, aged domain best practices, & domain investing - YouTube

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Introduction

  • The podcast is an interview with Sean Markey discussing best practices for age domains, AI content and SERPs, and domain investing.
  • They cover a range of topics including building sites, newsletter sponsorships, and community building.
  • They also discuss diversifying income and traffic sources with different strategies.
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Sean Markey's Background

  • Sean Markey started SEO in 2011 and has worked for a couple of agencies.
  • In 2019, he built a niche site in the CBD space and sold it for a huge amount of money.
  • He is obsessed with domain names, especially expiring and age domains.
  • He has built several sites, sold them, and now writes and teaches about building sites.
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The CBD Niche

  • The CBD niche is highly competitive and lucrative.
  • It is difficult to rank unless you are a Dr 90 Forbes or Healthline.
  • When Sean was ranking first for the term a couple of years ago, he made between one and three thousand dollars a day on affiliate income.
  • It has become more popular in the last couple of years.
  • Sean built his CBD site on an age domain.
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Sean Markey on gaining 1 million visitors in a week, aged domain best practices, & domain investing - YouTube

Domain Investing

  • Domain investing is the idea of buying domain names to resell.
  • Sean dives into some of the best practices for domain investing.
  • He explains how he's able to make a fair bit of money with domain investing.
  • Domain investing can be a valuable way to diversify income.
  • Sean has been posting on Twitter recently about all the domains he's been selling and what he's doing with them.
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Finding Age Domains

  • Uses a tool called DomCop.com to find age domains.
  • Other tools include Spamzilla and Expiredomains.net.
  • Domains with juice are typically found on GoDaddy.
  • Looks for Niche relevant linking domains.
  • Presence of ranking keywords is important.
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Factors in Choosing Age Domains

  • Links going to the site should be Niche relevant.
  • Presence of ranking keywords is important.
  • Avoids domains that are not indexed or ranking for anything.
  • Big PR links are a plus but not necessary.
  • History should be clean.
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Rebuilding the Site

  • Putting content up right away is important.
  • AI can be used to generate articles.
  • Take advantage of pages that had links going to them in the past.
  • Redirect pages to the blog or similar pages.
  • Reviving the site through archive.org is not strictly legal and not recommended.
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Leaving Old Content

  • It's fine to look at the structure of the site and recreate it.
  • Ahrefs' Best Buy links tab is a great way to see what's got links going to it.
  • Reviving the site through archive.org is not strictly legal and not recommended.
  • Skipping archive.org has been successful for the speaker.
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Best Practices for Redirecting Aged Domains

  • Redirecting an aged domain right away is not very powerful and can be a spammy signal.
  • Building the site out and getting it to rank in Google for long tail keywords is advised.
  • Once the site starts to rank and Google learns to trust it, redirect it in 2-3 months.
  • Patience is key in waiting for the site to index before redirecting.
  • Links hitting the site straight away is ideal, but waiting for indexing is necessary.
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Sean Markey's Success with Age Domains

  • Sean Markey built a how-to-grow-cannabis site on a premium domain that made high four or low five figures of Amazon affiliate income for most of 2020.
  • He acquired an age expiring domain at GoDaddy for just under $7,000 in May 2020 and built out the site with fresh content.
  • He acquired another site that someone else had built on an age domain in the same industry and brought it in.
  • The site was targeting cannabis seeds and was doing five figures in affiliate income within four months.
  • He sold the site toward the end of 2020 for six figures.
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Why Sean Markey Moved Away from Building Sites in the Cannabis Niche

  • Google started almost exclusively ranking big media publications in late 2020.
  • Content like "the 20 best seed banks for the US" pushed everything else down.
  • Some people pivoted and started doing sponsored posts for $2,000 and putting affiliate links in.
  • Building out his own site didn't seem satisfying.
  • He did a post on the Observer for a cannabis seed post that cost him $1,500 at the time.
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Best Practices for Domain Investing

  • Sean Markey advises investing in aged domains with backlinks and traffic.
  • He recommends using tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to analyze domains.
  • He suggests looking for domains with a history of being used for the same or similar niche.
  • He advises against buying domains with a history of spammy backlinks or being used for a completely different niche.
  • He recommends being patient and waiting for the right domain to come along.
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SEO Strategies for Parasite Pages

  • Marketing company Nor Cal Marketing uses parasite pages to rank for big supplement keywords.
  • Each article costs at least $500 to $1000 to produce.
  • Google's updates on helpful content and spam have not affected the ranking of parasite pages.
  • Generative AI and SERP features may change the game in the future.
  • Getting mentioned on as many places as possible may be the key to ranking in the new SERP feature.
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Affiliate Post Best Practices

  • Keyword in the H1 and at the beginning of the post.
  • Follow rank math's best practices for content.
  • Copy what's already there and add optimization.
  • Include original images and images from the site.
  • Get companies to submit their products for images.
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Domain Investing and Selling

  • Sean Markey has been doing a lot of domain investing and selling.
  • He believes that aged domains are still valuable.
  • He recommends buying domains with backlinks and traffic.
  • He suggests using tools like Wayback Machine and Ahrefs to research domains.
  • He advises against buying domains with spammy backlinks.
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The Future of SEO

  • AI is on the front of everyone's mind in SEO.
  • Generative AI and SERP features may change the game in the future.
  • Google is pulling mentions of newsletters into their own best X SERP feature.
  • Links are still important in SEO.
  • Google's updates on helpful content and spam have not affected the ranking of parasite pages.
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AI and Aged Domains

  • AI content on aged domains can rank quickly.
  • Sean Markey has seen encouraging results with AI content on aged domains.
  • He acquired a site that had been down for a while and generated a 4,000-word piece of content that ranked on day two.
  • He has a psychedelic site built on an aged domain that uses a mix of AI and human-written content.
  • He edits the AI content himself, especially the intros and section endings, to make it more readable.
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Monetizing a Psychedelics Website

  • There are a few players in the space, such as Mind Bloom, that are spending a lot of money to get their brand out there.
  • Monetization options include selling links to sites in the space, building a directory, or selling the site to a VC-backed psychedelic startup.
  • It can be challenging to monetize niches like cannabis and psychedelics.
  • Link building for a cannabis company has limited options compared to a site on sports, for example.
  • Building a site that gets 50,000 to 100,000 organic traffic and selling it can be a no-brainer purchase for a VC-backed startup, even if it doesn't make any money.
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Competition with Health Sites

  • Sean Markey is not currently competing with Healthline and WebMD for psychedelics keywords.
  • He is not interested in taking on that fight.
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AI and SERPs

  • Sean Markey is waiting to see how Google's rollout of AI in SERPs will affect his process.
  • He is unsure if it will have positive or negative effects.
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Impact of AI on SEO

  • AI will make doing SEO much harder.
  • It will be less competitive for a couple of years until everyone figures out how to manipulate it.
  • People who are casually doing SEO will nope out of it because of the big learning curve.
  • It will require paying attention to what's going on and coming up with new techniques to get content to rank.
  • It will be a whole different game.
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Diversifying Traffic

  • Building an audience and having a unique voice will matter a lot more.
  • It's a hard thing to do, but it's going to matter a lot more from how everything's looking.
  • Building an audience is the play.
  • Trying to keep writing about things and stay off video is the plan.
  • Building an audience on YouTube or social media is the way to diversify traffic.
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Monetizing a Newsletter

  • The Rank Theory newsletter is not currently monetized.
  • Sean is building a community that he will monetize with a yearly price.
  • People can come and hang out with other people building sites.
  • There will be a couple of cool things for people in that community.
  • Sean is hoping to launch the community next month.
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Building a Community

  • Sean has an idea of how communities work and what to expect.
  • He has a couple of people he works with who will help him with moderation.
  • He is inviting in a couple of his friends who are SEOs.
  • Sean is giving Circle a try for hosting the community.
  • He has tried Mighty Networks before, but it's hard to get people to log into another app.
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Monetizing Websites through Sponsorship and Ads

  • Sponsorship is an interesting way to monetize websites outside of typical display ads.
  • Reciprocals are mostly going down.
  • It is important to know how much to price your ad for.
  • Reaching out to people and asking for help is a good way to figure out how much to charge for ads.
  • Sean Markey charges $1500 a month for his daily newsletter ad, which includes an ad every single newsletter.
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Creating Newsletter Content through Article Summaries and Personal Opinions

  • Summarizing an article and adding personal thoughts is the easiest way to create newsletter content multiple times per week.
  • It is important to have an opinion on the topic you are writing about.
  • Writing every newsletter every day is tough, but it helps Sean Markey stay in touch with what's going on in the SEO industry.
  • Sean Markey's newsletter is an SEO newsletter, and he learns a lot from having to summarize and have an opinion on the articles.
  • Sean Markey's newsletter can be found at sem.substack.com.
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The Challenges of Community Building

  • There is no platform that just does everything for you when it comes to community building.
  • Each platform does different things, which can be a pain to manage.
  • Sean Markey moved to Discord and runs everything through something else because it was easier.
  • It is important to have a sales funnel in your community.
  • Sean Markey plans to talk about community building or failing in a year.
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Learning from Experts in Domain Investing

  • Sean Markey discusses best practices for age domains, AI content and SERPs, and domain investing.
  • Sean Markey has learned a lot from experts like Richard Petty and Nick Eubanks.
  • Sean Markey charges $1500 a month for his daily newsletter ad, which includes an ad every single newsletter.
  • Sean Markey's newsletter can be found at sem.substack.com.
  • Sean Markey plans to talk about community building or failing in a year.
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End Goal of Newsletters

  • Sean's newsletters are unique and personal, not just another SEO newsletter.
  • He aims to build a community of people who are interested in building sites like him.
  • He enjoys teaching and has no plans to do anything else.
  • He doesn't think his newsletters would be a good acquisition for somebody unless they're trained chat GPT on them.
  • He doesn't plan to sell his newsletters.
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Domain Investing

  • Sean has studied domain investing and knows all the best practices.
  • He hasn't really done them, so he doesn't think he's the best person to give advice.
  • He has bought good domains and sold them for high five-figure to low six-figure amounts.
  • He got lucky and didn't do any of the recommended sales techniques.
  • A good domain name comes down to what makes a good brand name.
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Buying and Selling Domains

  • Sean has bought good domains and done nothing to them.
  • Someone wanted them enough that they hired a broker to reach out to him.
  • He negotiated the sale of 13 domains for a high five-figure to low six-figure amount.
  • He didn't use any recommended sales techniques.
  • A good domain name is one that would make a good brand name.
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Challenges of Domain Investing

  • It's hard to get ahead of a new trend.
  • There's a lot of competition for good domain names.
  • Some people sit on domain names that no one wants and don't make any money.
  • It's important to have a good brand name, not just a trendy one.
  • It's possible to get lucky and sell domains without using recommended sales techniques.
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Choosing Domain Names

  • Choose a name that is brandable and easy to remember.
  • Avoid cramming keywords into the domain name.
  • Consider the niche and what people are searching for.
  • Ask yourself if you would build a brand on the domain name.
  • Psychedelic and cannabis-related names are popular because of the keywords people use.
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Domain Investing

  • Most good domain names are already taken.
  • Look for expiring domains or underpriced domains.
  • Acquire the domain for a low price and sell it for a higher price.
  • Money stays tied up for a long time.
  • Not for everyone.
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Flatten the Curve Story

  • Flatten the Curve was registered in early 2020.
  • It got a million views in two weeks.
  • People were searching for it because it was a big topic.
  • Julie McMurray, a public health expert, wrote a Google doc about flattening the curve.
  • The content was put on flattenthecurve.com and people started sharing it.
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Buying and Selling Domains

  • Buying and selling domains is like buying and selling real estate.
  • Domains can be sold for a lot of money.
  • Domains can be used for affiliate marketing or lead generation.
  • Domains can be used for building a brand or for SEO purposes.
  • Domains can be bought and sold on marketplaces like Sedo or GoDaddy Auctions.
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Gaining 1 Million Visitors in a Week

  • The number of visitors on the site at once was over a thousand for most of the day.
  • The site gained over a million visitors in two weeks.
  • The traffic slowly died down as people started getting guidance on what to do.
  • The site was left up for a while and then 301 redirected to the CDC's recommendations.
  • The domain was eventually sold for a profit.
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Best Practices for Age Domains

  • One-word domains are the best possible version of a brand but are expensive to acquire.
  • Two-word brandable domains make fine brands and are more affordable.
  • Three-word domains are very specific and have a smaller pool of buyers.
  • The longer the domain, the less desirable it is.
  • Flatten the Curves is an example of a valuable three-word domain.
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Domain Investing

  • Two-word domains still make great brands.
  • Three-word domains have a smaller pool of buyers and are less valuable.
  • Longer domains are less desirable.
  • It's easy to win at crypto if you got in early.
  • It's important to research and make informed decisions when investing in domains.
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Unknown Use of the Domain

  • The domain that gained a million visitors was eventually sold.
  • The current use of the domain is unknown.
  • It's possible to jump ahead of a trend in domain investing, but it's not easy.
  • It's important to be strategic and make informed decisions when investing in domains.
  • Domain investing can be profitable if done correctly.
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Advice for Domain Investing

  • GoDaddy has a course called Domain Academy that teaches about domain name value and best practices for domain investing.
  • The course covers topics such as not registering a trademark and where to list your domain.
  • The course also gives an idea of what a domain is worth based on searches per month and number of words in the domain.
  • Start by buying a few domains and learn from experience.
  • Ranktheory.com is Sean Markey's long-form SEO newsletter that covers interesting topics such as Canva's success with content.
  • Sem.substack.com is Sean Markey's daily newsletter that covers one tip or trick or piece of news or article summary every day.
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Staying Away from One-Word Domains and Emoji Domains

  • Sean Markey did not invest in one-word domains or emoji domains because he did not understand their practical utility.
  • He saw people buying and selling these types of domains, but it was not a space he felt comfortable in.
  • He believes the best use for these domains is to leave them in your wallet.
  • Building a site on these domains is possible but not very easy.
  • Sean Markey stuck to regular domains and did not invest a lot of time in one-word or emoji domains.

Watch the video on YouTube:
Sean Markey on gaining 1 million visitors in a week, aged domain best practices, & domain investing - YouTube

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