The second option requires a bit more time and effort than a 301 redirect. You could do a mini overhaul of the site and turn it into a microsite for your main domain. This option is good for exact-match domains for your targeted keyword, and there are other reasons for going the microsite route that Rand's highlighted in his post about root domains, subdomains, subfolders and microsites. This strategy also works better if the old domain has decent rankings for the keywords you're targeting.

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I am a rather gray-hat affiliate marketer by trade, but I"m looking more into going into local SEO and blogging ventures that I feel will be most sustainable. I am having serious moral issues with using any of my link building strategies, but the one I'm struggling morally and long-term strategy-wise is the use of a manufactured link-juice-flowing-thick private blog network. I believe the majority of these will ultimately fall by the wayside in the future when their social value and content are proven to lack substance by machine reading and advanced social metrics. 
Ultimately, I was left with a semi-automated process of scraping sites and running an intricate series of processes to come up with a list of expired domains that I then had to evaluate by hand. This meant I had Majestic and Moz open to check the backlink anchor text and Archive.org to check for obvious spam for every single possible domain. The process was excruciatingly slow and tedious, but absolutely necessary to find domains that would be suitable for building out.
Let's face it, if you want to make money off the internet, you have to wrap your mind around one central rule: no traffic means no money. Making money online is all about being able to generate traffic from social media sites, search engines, and all other sources of online traffic. It's impossible to make money as an affiliate if you don't have traffic to convert into cold hard dollars. There are, of course, many ways to generate traffic. You can write content and organically attract search engine traffic. You can post a unique blog post on willing third party blogs and enjoy direct traffic along with SEO benefits. You can also promote affiliate links on social media platforms and get traffic that way. In fact, if you really think about it hard enough, generating traffic is really not that difficult.
I wish I could tell you that expired domains are some sort of magic bullet solution to all your traffic problems and headaches. Unfortunately, if I were to say that to you, I would be lying. There are drawbacks. Just like with anything else in life, there are advantages and disadvantages. The problems with expired domains is that they are often hard to find on your own. You can take wild guesses and waste a lot of time, effort and energy, and end up with nothing. Also, if you were to try to scope out drop domains by trying to find them in the most common way, which is to use a drop domain exchange, expect to pay a lot of money. Why? Because of heavy competition. Keep in mind that you’re not the only person who knows that dropped domains can bring a lot of traffic to the table. There are many other online marketers out there that realize drop domains' traffic value.
Backlinks – These are basically anchor links present on external websites that take the visitor back to a domain. The higher the number and authority of backlinks, the higher the authority of a domain. For example, if a domain has a backlink from Forbes, TechCrunch or BBC, it’ll gain a lot of authority in the eyes of Google and other search engines. It’s like attaching a reference letter from Bill Gates to your CV.
Backlinks – These are basically anchor links present on external websites that take the visitor back to a domain. The higher the number and authority of backlinks, the higher the authority of a domain. For example, if a domain has a backlink from Forbes, TechCrunch or BBC, it’ll gain a lot of authority in the eyes of Google and other search engines. It’s like attaching a reference letter from Bill Gates to your CV.

If you buy a dropped domain from Snap or Namejet, the backlinks seem to be worthless for SEO.  They are valuable for traffic if it's targeted to your site.  Go ahead and 301 redirect into your site because it's the traffic from the back links that is worth something.  I use the Google URL builder to redirect these names so you can see the domain the traffic is coming from.
If you opt for a new domain, you have to spend your time, money, energy, and efforts for building up an authority site. On the other hand, if you choose such a good domain from an expired domain drop, you can be certain that it will already have an authoritative position in your niche. So, it will be possible for you to build an authority site. Achieving the first page ranking on the search engines will also be easier.
Once a domain expires, the registrar will allow around 30 days for the original owner to renew it. This period depends on the registrar and can range from 2 weeks to a whole year. Once this period is over, the domain enters the "Pending Delete" status, during which it cannot be renewed, purchased or modified in any way. Once the Pending delete status is over, the domain is dropped back into the available pool, and can now be purchased by anyone.
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