Rank Theory #13

in which we actually discuss some theory (and also, a new course from me)


Another day where I head into the newsletter mines, dust and grime caked beneath my fingernails and building up in my lungs, to chip away at the walls and haul these words up into the bright sunshine above to fucking amaze and delight you.

It’s not much, but it’s honest work.

How are things?

I’m as good as can be expected. Been earning fake internet points with my shitty SEO takes on Twitter. Here’s one:

Do you follow me on Twitter yet?

@seanmarkey ← definitely do, if you do yet not.

Before we get into the newsletter, wanted to give a quick update on a few personal things.

Personal Things


Sorry I single-handedly crashed the entire worldwide crypto markets by buying some coins. It happens every time I try. Now’s a great time for you to get in, though. As soon as my awkwardly clammy paper hands dry a little and I sell these coins for a loss, this shit is going to the MOON (where, I assume, it will build a moonbase and launch an asteroid mining operation to strip out precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium and bring them back to Earth to sell and flood the precious metals market so people will stop stealing catalytic converters).

Thanks Crypto!

Future Issues:

I’m planning on doing a summary in December of all the things I bought/sold this year (well, you won’t get the exact domain name, settle down). I thought this would be an interesting look at what I’m up to. I sure do blather on and on about websites and domains and shit, but what does that look like, is my money where my mouth is?

You’ll find out in a few weeks. Should be a fun, existentially threatening post.


Happy Saturday. I didn’t get the newsletter done on Friday due to so much going on, but here we are on Saturday morning. I’ll bring the Frosted Flakes you bring the milk, let’s meet up 13 inches away from the T.V. to watch cartoons.

In This Newsletter

Expired Domains Course

Spammed-out Website Laundering Theory

The Best Link Building Tactic You’ll Never Be Able to Use, Statistically Speaking

Announcing: The Rank Theory Expired Domains Ultra Course Experience Bonanza

So, I’m launching a course on expired domains.

It’ll mostly be the same shit I’ve talked about here, endlessly, but all in the same place (and SOME stuff I haven’t talked about before).

It’ll be on the basic side of video production. I’ll narrate over a powerpoint deck Glen Allsopp style, instead of standing in front of a camera being super awkward about what-do-i-do-with-my-arms-oh-shit-I-forgot-how-to-stand-normally…


There’ll be a slack room where we can all hang out and talk about expired domains, redirects, acquisitions, and etc., as well as maybe get some private dealflow going… I won’t be available to constantly answer questions, but I’ll definitely be around, and it’ll be moderated.

Here’s a rough outline of what will be included in the course:

  • Why use an expired domain for SEO

  • Where to find expired domains

  • A process for deciding if a domain is worth acquiring

  • A rough guide on how to value an expired domain

  • How to build/rebuild an expired domain

  • How to properly 301 an expired domain to your main site

  • Expired domain with juice + great brand domain w/o juice—how to combine forces

  • Other valuable things you can do with expired domains you acquire (like parasite SEO)

  • Examples of expired SEO domains doing well in the real world SERPs

  • Over-the-shoulder video as I use DomCop and GoDaddy auctions to sort through expired domains so you can see how I work

  • A private slack room where you can hang out with fellow classmates and me

  • All updates to this course, free for life.

The course will be priced at $299, when it’s done.

If you read my newsletter and don’t mind receiving the course piecemeal and being patient as I work out the bugs of the course software and blah blah blah as I put it together, you can sign up now for $199. It’ll never be cheaper than that…

Get In Early

Basically, sign up today as a kind of pre-sale. You’ll get access to the course as I release it, and access this weekend to the slack room where I’ll be around to answer some questions about the course (but not, you know, to hold your hand private-consulting-style through acquisitions and redirects—be reasonable…)

So that’s it, that’s the pitch. If you want to learn about this shit, sign up for $199 and I’ll start releasing some content next week. You’ll get slack room access Sunday.

The $100 discount will only be around for about a week-ish, so get on it…

Click here to register for my expired domain names course.

The Spammed-Out Website Laundering Theory

This came about from someone asking a question on an SEO group I’m a part of. No one really responded to my answer, and I really want to get some more eyes on this to maybe help refine it, or to hear from people that have done this successfully before, so I’m putting it here (and leaving out the name of the asker). But first…

***New Rank Theory Sponsor: Clearscope.io***

That’s right, I sold out. I went and got myself a sponsor.

But I wouldn’t let just any company come in here and get their corporate fingers on my precious email list. You’ll never see a sponsorship for something that I don’t use myself.

You know what SEO tool I DO use, though?


It’s an amazing tool that helps you optimize your content. Y’all know by now I don’t do a lot of link building. Instead, I use 301s/acquisitions + super well optimized content. This is the tool I use for the second part of that.

There’s a content editor that helps you include all the keywords Google’s algo expects to see in well-ranking content. I’ve tried other similar tools, but always come back to Clearscope—and I’ve been subscribed since 2019:

Can’t make it any more clear than that (do you get it?? that’s how it’s done, people), how valuable this tool is for me.

You should check it out here, and support this newsletter by supporting the people that sponsor it.

***End Sponsorship Note and Back to the Show***

Question: If a domain name has been torched due to spam links, can the content be moved to a new domain and the old domain name discarded? Has anyone done this before?

My answer:

It’s tricky, because you want the content to be attributed to the new site, but not the links because they are garbage.

I’ve thought about this before, because I have a few sites like this, where the content I built on them is solid, but the backlinks are three swamp monsters in a trench coat. I haven’t done this yet, it’s purely theory, but here’s what I would do if I were in this situation (which, I am, I’m just lazy/there are other priorities).

I’d try and launder the content through a secondary site.

Like, try and find someone that runs one of those fucking awful DR 68 sites with 400 categories, that only exists as a rebuilt expired-domain to charge $350 per post and I see them post four new blog posts a day to someone’s shitty affiliate site, and god damn I am in the wrong business…

Anyway, find a site like that, someone that will play along, and 301 the posts over to this big authority domain, posting the content THERE. I don’t think this will work for more than a few posts, but again, it’s all theory.

For the ease of explanation:

  • the original, spammy backlink site you want content from is SITE #1

  • the intermediary site with the big authority is SITE #2

  • the final site where you want the content to end up is SITE #3


Wait for the content to—when you select a sentence or two and put it into Google’s search bar in quotes—be indexed and attributed to the URLs on SITE #2. As soon as it is indexed to the new URLs, kill the initial 301 redirects from SITE #1 to SITE #2 (and make sure the content is no longer displayed on SITE #1).

Now, once those URLs are indexed on SITE #2, immediately put that content on SITE #3 and redirect those URLs from #2 to #3.

Keep on testing a snippet of the content quoted in Google. When you see that the URL or Meta Title is coming up in the search for SITE #3 instead of SITE #2, kill the redirects from SITE #2 to SITE #3.

That’s it, that’s the theory.

There are a lot of reasons it may not work, but… if you’re at in this position, you don’t have a lot left to lose.

Each move hinges upon you seeing that the content is indexed and attributed to the updated URL. It may take awhile. The sooner it shows up and the redirects are killed, the better chance you have of extracting the content without the shitty backlinks.

But again, this is just a theory.

The other things I’d consider: doing the same thing, but with a newly registered site. This is a bit riskier, I think, but more in your control. The idea here is that the new site is new enough that your redirects, if temporary, won’t stick. But if you can get the content to be indexed on the middle site, and then again on your final site, and finally you kill the redirects, it could work out well. In theory. :)

In addition to this hinging on the content being indexed, it is equally important to make sure the content that you’ve moved doesn’t live on any site once the redirects are killed. It should only appear on the final site.


So that’s the best solution I can think of for this situation.

What do YOU think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I will say that the least risky and also longest option, if your SITE #3 is your precious baby and you never want a wayward strand of grey thread to drift into the nursery, you could just copy all the content, kill the site and wait for it to be completely deindexed, search for a snippet in Google to confirm, and then put it on your site free and easy.

But who has the time to play it safe these days?

The Best Link Building Tactic You’ll Never Be Able to Use, Statistically Speaking

Step 1, get a baller domain name like Crypto.com

Step 2, raise over $200,000,000

That’s basically it. Then you can own the SERPs for a super short tail head term of moderate value like “crypto.”

And you can buy the naming rights to the Staples Center, write a blog post about it, and get 400+ links on that post alone:

And get over 3.4m monthly visitors from organic search (according to ahrefs):

I feel like this is all pretty straightforward, wtf do you actually spend your day doing?

Get on it. Write great content, buy a huge sports stadium’s naming rights. I shouldn’t have to spell this all out…


That’s it for this week!

Hope you enjoyed this Saturday edition of the Rank Theory newsletter.

Extra special shout out to Clearscope for sponsoring. Go check them out.

Let’s keep this discussion going via email or on Twitter — tell me what you think about my laundering theory.

Until next week (probably),