In this article, I’ll be sharing tips on how to improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your website.
How to build quality backlinks with the Moving Man Method
Namely, how to increase the page authority and web traffic by increasing the number of backlinks through The Moving Man Method.
First of all, let’s dive into the concept of link building (backlinks).
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one website to another. Backlinks happen when a website links to your own website.
Importance of backlinks
It is important to have backlinks from quality sites, and those backlinks should be contextual.
If for example, you have a site about fish, and you are creating links from other niche sites about monkeys, these links will be of no use.
Your goal should be to get links from authoritative and relevant websites.
Why are backlinks important? Here are the top 3 reasons:
1. Improves organic ranking
Backlinks help improve search engine rankings of your website. If any of your individual posts gets backlinks and traffic from other websites, that post would start ranking higher automatically in search engines.
2. Referral traffic
One of the major benefits of backlinks is that they help get referral traffic.
If the backlinks are coming from top notch websites, chances are you’ll be receiving thousands of visitors via the link.
3. Faster indexing
Backlinks help search engine bots discover links to your site and crawl your site effectively.
Especially for a new website, it is important to get backlinks to get your website indexed faster.
Now we’ve talked about backlinks, I’m going to show you how to get quality backlinks from other websites.
What is The Moving Man method?
The Moving Man method is a technique for building quality backlinks from relevant sites in your field or industry. It’s a term coined by Brian Dean at Backlinko, the expert in link-building.
Below is a quick video by Brian Dean as he explains the concept of the Moving Man Method.
As you’ve just seen in the video above, there are three main steps to the Moving Man Method.
Step 1: Find sites or resources that have changed names, shut down, or moved.
Step 2: Find sites linking to the old page.
Step 3: Give them a heads up about their outdated link.
And you’re set.
Now it’s time to break down each step in more detail.
Step 1: Find outdated resources
Your first step is to find sites in your industry that have:
- Changed names
- Moved to a new URL
- Stopped offering a service
- Stopped updating a resource
- Shut down
How about an example?
A while back SEOMoz changed their name to Moz (and moved their site from SEOmoz.org to Moz.com):
After I heard the news, I realized that this was a PERFECT opportunity to reach out to the hundreds of people still linking to the old SEOMoz.org URLs.
“Wait, How Is This Different Than Broken Link Building?”
For one, the links aren’t actually broken.
For example, if you run a broken link checking program like Check My Links on an old SEOMoz.org link, it shows up as working:
Sure, that SEOMoz.org link IS technically working (because it redirects to Moz.com).
BUT the link points to the old URL. Also, the anchor text has the site’s old name.
Which means it’s out of date.
I also executed this same strategy with Blue Glass, an SEO agency that shut their doors last year.
Even though their site doesn’t have any content (except a “for sale” page):
Check My Links and other broken link checkers don’t mark links pointing to Blue Glass as broken (broken links are in red):
While the essence of the strategy might be similar to broken link building, this twist allows you to find HUNDREDS of link building opportunities that the tools miss.
How to find the Moving Man opportunities
There are 3 simple strategies to find outdated resources that you can tap into.
1. Keep an eye out for sites in your industry that rebrand or change names.
As you probably know, Moz wasn’t the first company in the history of business to rebrand, and they won’t be the last.
In fact, dozens of businesses change their name or move to a new domain every single day.
For example, I just did a quick search for “health rebrand” in the press release portal, PRWeb (many businesses announce their name change using a press release):
And found this press release:
Sure enough, that health center’s old URL has a nice dofollow link from Idaho.gov:
You can also use the same process in Google News.
For example, I just did a quick search for “rebrands as” in Google News:
And found dozens of businesses that recently rebranded with a new name or moved to a new URL.
Including sites in the insurance and finance space:
The tech and mobile industry:
And the marketing niche:
As you can see, this strategy works no matter what industry you happen to be in (even a “boring” one).
2. Use search strings to find site features that no longer exist.
Sometimes — for one reason or another — a business shuts down a feature on their site (like Google recently did with Google Reader).
And some of these features used to be REALLY popular back in their heyday, which means they accumulated a lot of backlinks from authority sites.
But instead of deleting the page that hosted the services, businesses tend to set up a “service no longer available” page like this:
Which means you can search for them.
Here are some search strings that you can use:
- “service not available”
- “page no longer exists”
- “this website is no longer updated”
- “this page is no longer updated”
- “no longer available”
- “website closed”
- “service no longer available”
To show you how easy and powerful this technique is, I just did a 2-minute Google search for “this page no longer exists”:
And found this PA47 page from Michigan State University:
This page — and the other pages that used to be on this subdomain — have authority backlinks from:
- And a handful of authoritative .edu and .gov sites.
Again, when you use a broken link checker on links to that page, they show up as working…
…even though, as you saw, the resource is long gone.
How can you squeeze the most SEO value from these outdated resources?
Step 2: Find sites linking to the old resource
This step is important:
Now that you’ve found a site that recently re-branded or a site feature that’s no longer there, it’s time to find the links pointing to that page.
Just grab the URL of the outdated resource and put it into your backlink checking tool of choice (I’m using “ahrefs” in this example):
And export all of the backlinks pointing to that page or site to an Excel spreadsheet or Google Doc:
When you do this, you’ll have a spreadsheet with fistfuls of link opportunities:
Once you have your link opportunities in hand, it’s time to be a Moving Man.
Step 3: Reach out and get your links
Your last step is to reach out to all of the people that still link to the outdated resource.
You want to give them a quick heads up about their outdated link, and gently suggest that they add your link to their site.
I tested a few different outreach email scripts for my Moz/BlueGlass campaign. Here’s the one that worked best:
And because I added value to their site twice — once from the heads up about their outdated link and again by showing them my valuable resource — people were more than happy to add my link to their page:
That’s all there is to the Moving Man method.
What do you think? Have you tried this strategy with your projects?
Let me know what you think by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.