Using the ‘Moving Man’ Method of Broken Link Building

What On Earth Is the Moving Man?

Using the 'Moving Man' Method of Broken Link BuildingThe Moving Man method is an innovative new technique for building quality backlinks with relevant sites in your field or industry.  It’s a term coined by Brian Dean at Backlinko – who is fast becoming a real expert in the linkbuilding niche.

Essentially we’re talking about broken link building on steroids.  You need to focus on finding the right fit for your links by reaching out to people with similar interests who are currently linking to pages that have moved, stopped offering a service or have shut down.  When done right, the Moving Man method offers a win-win exchange that helps all involved.

A Little Background On Link Building

First thing first, Google tells us that pretty much all links that are manually built are inherently designed to manipulate search engines, so we shouldn’t be doing it.  So that means no advertorials, no links on donation pages, no paid links on social media sites, no deliberate blog comment etc etc.

That’s why the Moving Man method is so clever, because instead of creating brand new content – you are upgrading content that is no longer relevant – and then giving webmasters the option of whether or not to use your upgrade content in place of the current outdated page.

For your own site this means you’re getting relevant, editorial links that are totally undetectable – they don’t come across as a guest post – often they are on pages with a great link profile that are receiving new links all the time.

The Moving Man premise takes into account that quality sites with relevant content to your interests are what Google’s ranking system counts on.  While at first it might seem time-consuming, others spend hundreds of hours trying to replicate the authentic results you can achieve with little success.

How to Implement the Moving Man Method

The basics are simple; through searches for sites that have changed their name and addresses, you can find the original pages that redirect clients to the new domain.

These pages and their antiquated urls still have backlinks directed to them.  By alerting the sites feeding traffic to the page or site that they are no longer relevant, it gives you a new opportunity to give them your site’s info, including a link.

  1. Find a Web Page that is now defunct, or out of date
  2. Create a quality piece of content that is more powerful than the original was – go to town on the design, the refrerences and the detail
  3. Contact all of the sites that linked to the defunct/out of date web page and ask if they would consider changing their link to your new content

Let’s take a look at an example for a new social media agency, to see if we can find them a few free links.

How Do I Find Pages That Need Updating?

There are a number of ways you can go about it.  You might want to start with a few google searches for terms such as:

  • “Rebranded as” + Niche Specific KW
  • “Announcing our new website” + Niche Specific KW
  • “Service no longer available” + Niche Specific KW
  • “This page is no longer being updated” + Niche Specific KW
  • “Citation Needed” + Niche Specific KW
  • “Dead Link” + Niche Specific KW

The goal is to find high quality sites within your niche that have changed significantly without a corresponding update of the page.  You could even use the service to update dead links on Wikipedia – guarantee yourself a Wiki link, then go after all the pages that link to the dead page as well.

For our example, I chose a niche relevant term “Instagram” and used to quickly search for dead links and pages with a lack of citations.

Wiki Grabber

I found the dead link on Wikipedia by checking through the resources list with the Chrome Plugin: DomainHunterPlus.  It found me a fantastic dead link for the topic “The Top 10 Instagram Accounts” in just a few minutes:

Domain Authority Stats

According to OSE, this page that no longer exists has 9 root domains linking to it, giving us a total of 9 new pages to contact (as well as Wikipedia) for our new content.

What Sort of Content Should I Create?

This is the hard part – you want to be creating Killer content – content that will stand the test of time and be referred to as the only source of data for that particular query.  Here’s an example:

Sticking with our example we can see in the screenshot below shows the Wikipedia entry for Instagram.  That’s a DA 99 PA 99 page.

What Sort of Content Should I Create

The page that used to be linked to was removed, so it’s now up to us to create the content and hijack those lost links.

So for killer content, what about a regularly updating list of not the top 10, not the top 20 but the top 100 instagram accounts?  It took our coder around one day to create the page.

This is evergreen, quality content – and is the standard that you need to set.

Killer content

Now that’s killer content.

How Do I Find and Contact the Sites That I Want to Link to Me?

Using any backlink service like Majestic, Opensiteexplorer or AHrefs it’s easy to check pages linking to deleted content and contact the owners with a friendly note stating that their links are no longer updated.  You can normally find their details on the contact, or about page.

So I emailed the 9 sites with the following email:

Hi Guys,

I loved your piece on the top Instagram accounts, but I noticed you’re linking to an out of date resource here: [insert link].

I just thought your users might like to have an updated list, this page [insert link] updates every hour with the most popular accounts so will stay correct forever.

Just a though – keep up the great work!


Then just sit back and wait for the results.

The Difference

What makes the Moving Man method different from other strategies is how you use the information the research provides you with.  By contacting sites directly and giving them helpful information that will improve the quality of their site, you’re giving them an incentive to return the favor.

A quick search while writing this article also turned up a now defunct World Bank page with backlinks from prominent sites, festival pages promoting events from September with thousands of people linking to them and a yo-yo wiki page that has been discontinued but still listed as a resource in the industry.

Other searches yielded education pages with inbound links from and Wikipedia, both of which can add value to your rankings if approached with care.

While no link building campaign is perfect, and Google’s researchers are always ahead of the game trying to weed out the wheat from the chaff, the Moving Man method takes into account the founding principals in the ranking system.  By finding the right sites with an established record in the Google index, creating your own niche on the internet has become a little bit easier while working within the existing parameters of the industry.

John oftentimes takes the lead as the Agile Project Manager and SEO expert on selected projects, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends.