Link building

The moving man method for creating broken links (+ 5 ways to use it)


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Growing competition in online marketing makes it difficult to get brand awareness for your content.

Even if you write the most awesome blogs, very few people will naturally link to you. This is why marketers are now experimenting with entirely new methods of attracting attention. While some work, others don’t. Some are skyrocketing the number of links to your content, others are still not working.

Follow the Moving Man Method.

No one wants broken links on their site. They only make a bad user experience. This is exactly what you are trying to benefit from here. And that’s exactly what the Moving Man Method helps you with.

The name isn’t that self-explanatory, so let’s talk about it. A brief description would be Linking About Steroids. You might think we’re kidding, but that’s really what this method is.

It sounds simple enough, and honestly it really is. The whole method is super scalable – you just need a process in place. Here’s everything you need to know about the Moving Man Method, from its background to how you can perform it smoothly for promising results.

The Moving Man Method was first pioneered by Brian Dean of Backlinko. He managed to create several links to high authority sites, which would have been impossible without this method.

Since its success, the Moving Man Method has grown in popularity and is now one of the safest ways to bond. It revolves around building broken links, which you may have already figured out. While the tactic only has three easy steps, it helps to have a comprehensive guide along the way.

Why does the Moving Man method work?

A question that many have asked. The answer is quite intuitive. If you tell people about broken links on their site, chances are they will happily replace them with working links. Roughly now you might be thinking, “The site can just find and replace broken links by itself.” But realistically, no webmaster constantly checks every external link on their website to find and fix broken links.

The method also works because you don’t have to create content from scratch. As we’ll see soon below, you can easily find out what the original content was related to. All you have to do is update or recreate the content and you’re good to go, so you save a lot of time.

6 Ways To Perform The Moving Man Method

Here’s a quick rundown of all the steps involved in the Moving Man Method before diving deeper into each one.

1. Look for broken links

So you know what the whole method is. But how do you even find relevant broken links in the first place? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack at this point. Once you get there, you’ll learn that it’s easier than you might think.

You should look for websites relevant to your industry or business that have:

  • changed their name
  • Moved to a new web address
  • Ceased to offer their services
  • Have extremely outdated content
  • Close

We look for these special cases because they all lead to one thing that interests us: broken links. Another way to find broken links is to start with a few simple Google searches.

Use expressions such as:

  • “Announcement of our new website” + keyword
  • “Rebranding as” + keyword
  • “Citation required” + keyword
  • “Renamed as” + keyword
  • “The page no longer exists” + keyword
  • “The service is no longer available” + keyword

Remember, keywords need to be very niche specific so that your results are fully relevant to your industry. Let’s look at an example.

In 2013, Moz (as we know it today) changed its name from SEOMoz to Moz. It also means that they have moved their website from SEOmoz.org to Moz.com. As a result, all links to SEOMoz have been severed. See where we’re going with this?

If you find something like this, it means you’ve just hit the backlink jackpot. If the site has good domain authority, it means hundreds of people are connecting to the content. Since all of those links are now broken, you can easily jump in and showcase your content.

POINT: You want to focus on high domain authority sites because more people naturally log on to them.

2. What was there before the broken links?

Where there are now broken links, there was once valuable content. But the content is no longer there since the link was broken. So what are you going to recreate and provide people with links to? This step is to answer this question. There are free sites that take you back to show you what the broken page looked like.

The most commonly used tool is the Wayback Machine. Just plug in the URL of the broken page and you will know what was in the past. This is the content that you need to improve, update, and recreate.

3. Find sites pointing to broken links

Now that you know a site that has recently changed its name or a piece of content that is no longer there, the next step is to determine how many sites are linked to it. These are the sites to which you will go.

An easy way to do this is to grab the outdated and broken URL and put it in any backlink checker tool you want. There are many free sites that give you a list of all the sites that link to broken content. This list makes your life a lot easier.

It lists all of your leads for you. You can contact all of these prospects and suggest that they replace the broken link with your new resource. Chances are, if you do this for a whole list of potentials, you’re sure to get a decent amount of links.

4. Recreate content worth linking

Now you have all the information you need. So now is the time to put your head down and start improving outdated content. There are several ways to do this.

Here are some examples :

  • More in-depth content
  • Statistics (or update old ones)
  • Infographics
  • Quote
  • Listicles
  • Videos
  • Screenshot
  • Quiz

Other than all that, stick to the “How To” and “Why” blog posts. These formats are known to generate more links than others according to a study by BuzzSumo. Just because you report the broken link to someone doesn’t mean they’re going to replace it with your link, unless your content is worth it. So don’t think you’ve got the links in the bag already. You should always create content that is worth linking to.

5. It’s time to reach out and get your links

You’ve done all the hard work – it’s time to reap the rewards. The last step is to contact everyone on the list in step three. Don’t ask them for a link up front. It just sounds too arrogant. Start by telling them about the broken link on their site. Then gently mention how you have a relevant article that they could link to instead if they deem it appropriate.

People will be more than happy to link to your content because by emailing them you are already adding value to their site twice. The first time is when you report the broken link which destroys their user experience. The second time is when you share other link-worthy content with them to make their job easier. It is better to have an email template designed for such emails.

POINT: Use an email template generator if you need help crafting the perfect email to send to all of your contacts. But don’t forget: keep that element of personalization intact!

Find the best email template builders, FOR FREE →

Here is an email template you can use when you start the Moving Man Method:

broken link link building template
Don’t forget to personalize this template a bit for each person you send it to. For example, don’t start an email with the credits “Dear Editor”. Instead, do your research to find the real name of the person you’re emailing. It may seem like a small thing. But it’s the little things that really set you apart from all the others who are also fighting for backlinks.

link building

Special delivery – links to come!

Getting quality links AND creating amazing content is tough. The Moving Man Method facilitates both of these things. It reduces your work for you. You no longer create content from scratch and have a baseline that you can build on.

Once you master the method, you can earn more and more links along the way. You will get positive results from the start. This is because you are doing someone a favor by giving them useful information to improve the quality of their site. So there is a good chance that they are more inclined to reciprocate.

So go ahead, it’s time to let those links take hold.

Are you trying to create an expert link building strategy? Study the Skyscraper Technique and see how it, together with the Moving Man Method, can help you get more links and overall site traffic!

Learn more: Skyscraper technique →

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