Backlinks are an essential part of the SEO picture, a prized “vote of confidence” from one site to another, and a ranking factor search engines rate highly. Link building, however, is a notoriously time-consuming game and near impossible to do at scale. Enter the Moving Man Method! It’s a technique you can use to gain multiple high-value backlinks and it works in almost every industry.
The Moving Man Method is totally white hat, very straightforward and, perhaps best of all, your competition probably doesn’t know how to do it yet!
So Why Do We Want Backlinks?
Backlinks are created when one site links to another. They’re a signal to search engines that other websites endorse your content and it’s worth showing on a SERP. Backlinks have a major positive impact on search rankings and page authority, but they also serve to boost referral traffic (as more visitors are directed your way) and make it easier for Google’s bots to crawl your site which means faster indexing (crucial for new sites in particular).
Time to Become a Moving Man
The Moving Man Method was invented by SEO Marketer Extraordinaire Brian Dean as a way to get lots of high quality, contextual backlinks at scale. It’s a three-step process that can massively increase organic traffic to your site, and it works by replacing outdated links with your own.
Step 1: Identify Your Targets
The first step is to find companies in your niche that have either closed down, changed names, moved URLs or are simply no longer updating their sites. These redundant sites will usually have hundreds if not thousands of links pointing to them that are no longer of value and may even be having a negative impact. The genius of the Moving Man Method (and where it differs from straightforward Broken Link Building) is that these links tend not to be “broken” in the traditional sense. They’re usually languishing on antiquated or parked domains so won’t be 404s and won’t be flagged by broken link checkers. Site owners are keen to replace broken links with new and improved ones but are usually unaware of the problem.
So how exactly do you find these sites? Well, there are a few techniques you can use and you’ll be pleased to hear they’re all pretty simple. The first and most obvious resource is your own brain. You probably already know of some companies that have recently gone bust or have rebranded. A couple of big, generic examples would be Borders and SEOmoz. When the book store Borders closed its doors, borders.com had 180,000 backlinks that were no longer functioning and potentially up for grabs. When SEOmoz rebranded as Moz most of its backlinks redirected to its new site, but the content was wrong. These are potential backlink goldmines for a Moving Man!
Another great resource is Google News. Simply type in whatever the keyword is for your niche plus “shut down”, “out of business”, “rebranded” (or something along those lines) and you’ll uncover highly relevant targets. Next, try an ordinary Google search combining your niche keyword (let’s go with bananas) with the following search terms:
- “Bananas service not available”
- “Bananas page no longer exists”
- “Bananas this website is no longer updated”
- “Bananas this page is no longer updated”
- “Bananas no longer available”
- “Bananas website closed”
- “Bananas citation needed”
- “Bananas dead link”
(Please note: Some of these examples don’t work very well with “bananas”!)
Other lesser known but no less valuable places to look are the big domain auction sites like GoDaddy Auctions, Namejet, or Flippa. When an authoritative, higher value domain expires (usually once a company has shut down or rebranded), it’s picked up by one of these guys rather than automatically funneling back into the normal pool. They all have handy directories you can look through to find expired domains of old competitors that you can harvest for backlinks.
Step 2: Fire Up the Tools
Once you’ve identified a relevant domain of value, it’s time to uncover all the sites that link to it. Fortunately, this is the easiest part of the whole process thanks to tools like Ahrefs or Majestic. Simply enter the URL of the now-redundant resource into the tool (you can use the URL of a specific page or just the homepage URL if the whole site’s expired) to see the number of backlinks that are pointing to it. The higher the number, the bigger the opportunity. Finally, open the full list of backlinks to see exactly what you’re working with, and export the output to Excel.
Step 3: It’s a Win-Win Situation
So you’ve identified your relevant sites and exported its list of backlinks, this is where the real manual work kicks in. You need to find the owners of these sites so you can message them, informing them of their broken links and suggest a better alternative—a link to your site! There is no denying that this part of the process is pretty dull and there’s no method of automation. When you start to tire, just remind yourself that what’s now taking you hours, would have previously taken you weeks.
When you make contact, you want to be friendly, brief and informal. This is a suggestion of what you can say:
“Hey there. I’ve found your page about (x) today and noticed that you had a link to (old company). So as you may have heard, (old company) went out of business. You might want to remove that link. Also, I recently published a resource about the same thing at (your link). It might make a nice addition to your page. Either way, love the article, keep up the good work!”
If you have an e-commerce site and you want the owner to replace a broken link with yours, then your message might be even shorter:
“Hey. In your great review about (x), there is a broken link to (old company). The (product) is now sold at (your link). Thanks.”
Most of the time, owners don’t know their links are broken and will be really happy you’ve told them. The goodwill generated, combined with how easy it is now for them to switch the links, will usually lead them to do just that. It’s a real win-win exchange and a no-brainer for site owners. All you need to do is make sure that your content is killer. And you’ve now made a new contact you can reach out to in the future.
There you have it. Three steps of the Moving Man Method you should try today.
You can’t beat a happy ending.
P.S. You can learn more about how Kentico can help you can maximize SEO across your website here.
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