Ecommerce SEO Case Study: White Hat Link Building Without Any Content

ecommerce SEO case studyMost people tell you that the secret to Ecommerce SEO is to “create a blog and publish great content”.

Are they right?

Well, to be honest with you….no.

Here’s the deal:

I’ll be the first to tell you that rocking content makes a HUGE difference.

(In fact, I can draw a direct line between the effort I put into my content and tens of thousands of unique visitors)

The thing is, content is just ONE piece of the SEO puzzle.

And today’s guide I’m going to pull back the curtain and reveal the OTHER pieces that you might be missing.

Specifically, I’m going to show you a case study of a Backlinko reader that built 7 contextual links…

…without publishing a single word of content.

Free Bonus: Download a step-by-step checklist that will show you how to use this strategy for your Ecommerce site. The checklist includes two bonus Ecommerce marketing techniques that I didn’t include in this blog post.

How Chris Built 7 Contextual Backlinks to a Brand New Site…Without Any Content

A few months ago, Backlinko reader Chris Laursen had a problem…

His new client recently launched an ecommerce website in Denmark called JustBuyIt.com:

JustBuyIt

Like most ecommerce sites in the consumer electronics space, JustBuyIt was about to stand toe-to-toe with heavyweights like Amazon, Best Buy and Ebay.

I don’t need to tell you that ranking above multimillion dollar brands like Amazon is NO joke.

I mean, just look at the SERPs for just ONE of the products that JustByIt sells, the C-Pen for Android:

GoogleDK_SERP

The average Domain Authority of the first page is…57. Yikes.

As Chris told me:

Because JustBuyIt is starting from scratch, the focus has been on driving referral traffic from sites that review the products that they sell. The challenge has also been that it’s currently only an ecommerce site. There is no content yet, which makes it extra tough to build links.

Chris Laursen

No content you say?

How could Chris possibly build white hat links without any content?

Keep reading.

Here’s What Happened Next:

Fortunately, around the same time Chris started working with JustBuyIt, he read a post on Backlinko called “How to Get High Quality Backlinks (Without Guest Posting)“:

Backlinko Blog Post

In that post I outlined a scalable and effective white hat link building technique called The Moving Man Method.

New to The Moving Man Method? No worries.

I shot a video the other day that explains the entire process step-by-step:

Now that you’ve watched the video, you can see why Chris was PUMPED to use this SEO strategy for his ecommerce SEO client.

And it’s time to share his results with you…

So Chris Applied The Moving Man Method For His Ecommerce SEO Campaign…

After spending about an hour on email outreach, the number of links pointing to his client’s rose dramatically:

Referring domains

Sure, it was great that Chris built so many backlinks…

But the TYPES of links that he was able to develop — contextual links from highly-relevant sites in the consumer electronics industry — is the real story here.

He got links from…

A DA68 consumer electronics product site:

JustBuyIt_backlink

A popular Danish Mac news site:

Editorial Backlink

 

And an editorial link from an online electronics magazine:

Editorial Backlink 2

Even better, several of these links point directly to product and category pages, like this one from the trusted and authoritative (DA66) MacNews.com:

Product Page Link

If you run an ecommerce site you KNOW how hard it is to build links to product and category pages.

Well, now you have your answer :-)

This Might Be Even Better…

As you can see, Chris focused on links from sites where his target audience hangs out (like tech blogs).

When you throw metrics like PageRank and TrustRank out of the window — and focus on building links from relevant sites — you get a nice side bonus from link building: targeted referral traffic.

I’ve been saying this for years:

“The best backlink is one that sends you traffic.

And JustBuyIt’s boost in referral traffic shows you exactly why that maxim rings true today:

Referral Stats 1 Referral Stat Increases

Now let me walk you through the EXACT step-by-step strategy that he used…

…and show you how you can use The Moving Man Method to get more links and traffic.

Step #1: Find Outdated, Moved or Expired Resources

This is important:

Unless you have something that adds value to another person’s site, you might as well give up on link building right now.

Because the only way you’re going to convince someone to link to you is by making their site better.

But…HOW?

Well, you can straight up ask them to link to a resource on your site.

And because they’re linking to something that provides value to their audience, your link does improve their site.

Sure, that approach can land you some great links. But sometimes you need a bit of arm twisting to get the job done.

And that’s where step #1 comes in…

Step #1 is finding resources that are out-of-date, expired or not working.

Here are a few examples from the real world to show you what I mean…

A Few Real Life Examples

Because Chris was working with an ecommerce site, he zeroed in on companies that had recently gone out of business.

But no matter what you sell, there are businesses in your industry that have gone under…and have THOUSANDS of links pointing to their old site.

In many cases, the domain name actually expires. When that happens the entire site gets replaced with parked pages, like this:

Parked Page 2

Because pages on out of business websites are still technically working (they’re not 404s), broken link checkers can’t find them.

Although parked domains are harder to find than broken links, the advantage of using them is this:

They hook you up with link building opportunities that your competition doesn’t know about.

For example…

Blockbuster.com (175,000 followed links)

Blockbuster Announcement

 

You probably heard that movie rental giant Blockbuster closed its doors late last year.

Because Blockbuster Video is a household name, their site — Blockbuster.com —  generated A LOT of quality backlinks over the years…

…like this PR5 page from The University of California, Irvine:

 

Blockbuster Link

 

That’s just one of several thousand authoritative links still pointing to Blockbuster.com.

If you’re in the entertainment niche, Blockbuster.com is an absolute gold mine of link building opportunities.

Borders.com (800,000 followed links) Borders Bankrupt

 

Or how about the defunct book store chain, Borders?

Like Blockbuster, Borders has tens of thousands of authoritative links that point to a business that no longer exists.

(Most pages on Borders.com redirect to former rival Barnes & Noble…but some of the best one’s don’t)

For example, here’s a link from rowancountync.gov (DA56) pointing to a resource on Borders.com about children’s books

Borders Link

Today, that link redirects to a “This webpage is not available” page:

Dead Borders Page

But (and this is important), the link to Borders.com doesn’t show up as a dead link when you run a broken link checking tool:

Old Link

Let’s say that you run a site that sells books, ereaders, bookmarks, bookshelves or anything book related.

You could easily get a link from this page by creating a similar list of children’s books on your site.

Then you’d just need to let the person who runs that page know about the outdated link…and your similar resource.

But I’m getting ahead of myself :-)

First I need to answer the question that’s probably burning on your mind:

“HOW do I find resources in my niche that are gone?”

That’s what I’m going to cover next…

Strategy #1: Domain Aftermarket Sites

When an authoritative domain expires it’s usually picked up by a big domain auction site like GoDaddy Auctions, NameJet or even Flippa domain search.

GD Auctions

Domain auction sites have done a lot of the hard work of finding outdated resources for you.

They’ve found domains that had something going for them (either traffic, backlinks or both)…and they organize them in one place to make them easy to sift through.

Sure, you can find gems on the auction sites themselves. But I prefer to use ExpiredDomains.net.

This awesome (and free) site aggregates auctioned domains from several different places.

ExpiredDomains.net also gives you important SEO info, like PageRank, DMOZ listing and the number of referring domains:

Expired Domains

For example, let’s say that you run a coffee blog.

You’d head over to ExpiredDomains.net and enter the keyword “coffee” into the search field:

Expired Search

Then sort by “DP”. DP stands for “Domain Popularity”, which is the number of domains linking to the site.

Sorting by Domain Popularity

A PR4 domain with 244 referring domains jumps out at me:

PR4 Domain

Sure enough, soycoffee.com has a stunning link profile, including a PR3 page link from The Huff Post:

HuffPost Link

Not bad for a 2-minute search, eh?

Strategy #2: News About Business Closings, Rebrands and Mergers

Google News is a treasure trove of information about companies that close, rebrand or change domain names.

Just head over to Google News and use one of these search strings:

  • “Chapter 7” (Chapter 7 means the company dissolved. Chapter 11 means the company is restructuring)
  • “Business closes”
  • “Has closed”
  • “Out of business”
  • “Rebrands as”
  • “Bankruptcy”
Google News Search

Do you run a local business? Add cities and states to your searches to uncover local businesses that have recently closed their doors:

Bankruptcy Search

Strategy #3: Mine Yelp For Lists of Local Businesses That Have Shut Down Near You

When a business shuts down, Yelp keeps the page up. But they add “Yelpers report this location has closed” to the page.

Yelp Closed Page

And if the closed business had a website, Yelp lists the URL here:

Old Website

Just use this simple search string to find them:

site:yelp.com intitle:closed city + business type

For example, if you wanted to find closed book stores in Philly, you’d search for:

Yelp Search

Strategy #4: Find Parked Pages

As I mentioned earlier, parked pages are PERFECT for The Moving Man Method.

Here’s how to find them:

“This page is parked FREE, courtesy of GoDaddy.com” +”domain is for sale”

This brings up parked GoDaddy sites that are for sale.

Google Search String

You also can find niche-specific opportunities with the search string: “domain is for sale” + inurl:keyword.

Most of the results will be sites that are for sale, like this one:

For Sale Website

You’ll also come across press releases and announcements about sites that are for sale or have recently changed hands:

Domain Sale News

Strategy #5: Screaming Frog + Screenshot Tool Combo

I probably don’t need to tell you how awesome the versatile Screaming Frog SEO Spider is…

…or how many uses it has for boosting on and off site SEO.

For those of you that don’t know, Screaming Frog is a web crawler that scans your website just like a search engine spider.

It spots problems with your site like duplicate title tags, broken links — and as you’ll see in a minute — out of date pages.

Here’s what to do:

First, find a website in your niche that you’d like a link from.

Let’s say you run a baking blog and wanted a link from the PR3 EdibleCraftsOnline.com.

Next, put the homepage URL of that site into Screaming Frog and hit “start”:

Screaming Frog

Click the “external” tab, which will show you the outbound links on that domain:

External Tab

Export the list of external links to Excel:

Export Links

Grab those links and put them into the external link screenshot tool. Hit “Check Links”.

External Links Checker

This nifty tool will show you screenshots of the URLs you just gave it.

In our baking blog example, I found a number of links that weren’t quite right:

Screenshots

It may take a bit of digging…

…but if you look at enough screenshots you’ll find at least one link that you can use for The Moving Man Method.

Back to Chris

Chris actually used the Screaming Frog + Screenshot Tool Combo on JustBuyIt.

This is yet another way to tap into this technique: not only do you find outdated links on product pages and category pages, but you unearth Moving Man Method link building opportunities.

When he did, he noticed that they were linking to a parked domain, edge-design.com:

Parked Page

Edge Design used to sell customized iPhone cases…before closing for unknown reasons.

And it’s a product that JustBuyIt sells.

In fact, these iPhone cases are so popular that they still influence Google Suggest results:

Google Suggest

Chris thought to himself:

“If we’re linking to Edge Design’s website, I bet other sites are too.”

And he was right.

Which brings us to step #2…

Step #2: Grab a List of Pages Pointing to the Outdated Resource

Once you’ve identified a popular-but-outdated resource, it’s time to find sites that link to it.

Tools like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer make this process a breeze (I’m going to use Ahrefs in this example).

First, grab the URL of the dead resource.

If it’s an individual page on a site (for example, a tool that’s not working anymore or a service that a company no longer offers), enter the URL of that specific page.

If the entire site is down, use the homepage URL:

Ahrefs Link Check

Glance at the number of referring domains (OSE calls them root domains). The more referring domains, the more link opportunities there are for you.

Referring DomainsPro Tip: Hit the “Top Pages” button before digging into their link profile.

Top Pages

This will show you the most authoritative pages on that site.

Top Pages Results

If you find a page with a lot of referring domains, head over to Archive.org and see what used to be on that page.

Then recreate that resource on your site.  Because you have a one-for-one replacement for the outdated page, the email outreach you do in step #3 will be crazy effective.

Next, export the list of external links:

ahrefs_export

And you have yourself a list of pages linking to the outdated resource that you found:

listoflinks

And this leads us to the last step.

But first, I want to show you something cool…

How to Find Even More Link Building Opportunities

If your outdated resource is a brand name (like “Edge Design” or “Borders Bookstore”), you can uncover even more link building opportunities with a simple Google search.

You see, when people mention brands online, they don’t always link to the brand’s website (this is called an “unlinked mention”). And because the mention isn’t a link, tools like Ahrefs can’t find them.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Unlinked Mention

Fortunately, you can find these unlinked mentions really easily.

How?

Just search for the brand.

For example, Chris searched for “Edge Design” and “Edge Design Alfa” (a popular Edge Design iPhone case).

He found a bunch of unlinked mentions like this:

Unlinked Mention

Boom. Even more places to reach out to.

Speaking of outreach…

Step #3: Send Emails, Get Links

You’re almost done.

Now it’s time to let people know about their outdated link.

The best way to do that? Email outreach.

Here’s a word-for-word script you can use (this is an actual outreach email that Chris sent out):

Outreach Email

As you can see, Chris didn’t just tap the person on the shoulder and let them know about the outdated link…

…he also gave them a replacement link.

It just so happens that the replacement is a page on his site :-)

When you send out brief outreach emails (Chris’s was only 21-words) — and improve other people’s sites — email outreach tends to convert REALLY well:

Response Email

What’s Next?

I’m sure you can see the potential of The Moving Man Method for your ecommerce SEO efforts.

If you’re wondering: “How can I use this technique for my site?”, then I’ve got just the thing for you…

A free step-by-step checklist that will show you EXACTLY how to use this strategy for your site.

Click the link below to get instant access to the free checklist:

Ecommerce Checklist

 

371 Comments

Matthew Anton

:) You must have been great at solving puzzles and systems when you were growing up, as this is a beautiful combination of creativity / real world application BUT it does vaguely border on e-begging for links. I received an “outreach” type email where someone wanted a link because we linked out to moz and they were an SEO company. I think money talks at the end of the day which is why sometimes offering to pay for advertising or something else (so it’s not as direct/offensive) helps the transaction run smoother.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Matthew.
You raise a good point: there’s a fine line between begging and outreach. That’s actually why I love this strategy to much: you’re actually providing value to the person’s site…not just bugging them for a link.

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Spencer Padway

I agree with Brian here. I look at this technique as an excellent evolution of broken link building. Any technique can be done in a spammy way or a positive way, hence the devaluation of guest posting.
This is a great way to replace content, open up a conversation and provide value that most SEOs aren’t using (yet).

With posts like these there will be no stone unturned soon!

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Brian Dean

Thanks Spencer. Appreciate it. Like you said you actually don’t even need to use this for link building. It’s a great way to start a conversation with another site owners. Ain’t nothing wrong with that :-)

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Thuong Le

Hi Brian,
Another great post from you.
Just want to say thank you very much.
Best Regards!

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Brian Dean

Hey Thuong. Glad you liked it :-)

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Martin Bozzuto

Hi Brian,
First of all, thank you for this awesome post. I’d be a fool if I don’t take action after reading this gem.
Just wanted you to know that the link to expireddomains.net you added in the post is missing a character ‘d’, which makes it redirects to GoDaddy (well done GoDaddy).
Thanks again!

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Brian Dean

Definitely give it a try, Martin. I think you’ll be happy with the results. Thanks for the heads up about the link. Fixed :-)

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Brian Dean

Thanks Felix. Put a lot of work into this one so I appreciate the comment :-)

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Nick

I’d like to comment first and then read this post. Thanks Brian.

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Brian Dean

Whatever floats your boat, Nick :-)

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Adiel

Brian this is a fantastic post, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. Best always.

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Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Adiel. Glad you enjoyed it :-)

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Dana

Wow really good info here Brian! I’ve read other posts on contextual backlikning but yours was way more in-depth and on-point. I’m more than happy to sahre this post. Thanks Brian!

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Brian Dean

Thank for your comment (and for sharing) Dana. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Michael Bely

Hey Brian,

Good post with great tips and insights.

A couple of more tools-related suggestions to empower this strategy of link building for your readers with no or little cost:

– There is a free tool SEOSpyGlass that allows to find up to 1000 backlinks for a website, check their Google Pagerank, Alexa and many other metrics. Free version’s main restriction is that it does not allow export the results, so you need to sort the results and open found links manually.

– Scrapebox is another super great tool to do a lot of stuff including finding backlinks and dropped domains. It is paid (it is one-time payment of i think $57), but it’s totally worth the investment if you are serious about link building and domain lurking.

– Also, pay attention to Xenu Sleuth that is free and allows to crawl website(s) and check their links, including outbound. If a link is a broken with “no such host exist” error, it is possible that the linked domain has expired and available.

Being creative with any tools links can be build relatively easily without any content if following advice in Brian’s post.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Michael. AWESOME tool suggestions. I actually forgot about Xenu (I use it for BLB…but not so much for this). Thanks for taking the time to leave such an awesome comment.

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Salman Baig

Really cool strategy! Backlinko readers are also genius like you Brian. Thumbs up.

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Brian Dean

Glad you liked it, Salman. That’s true: Backlinko readers ROCK!

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Brandon Pindulic

Brian,
as usual great post. I shared it on Growthhackers.com :)

As for the outreach, does it matter what email address you send from? More specifically, is it better to send from a personal gmail or from your company’s address?

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks for the GH love, Brandon :-)

Really good question. I prefer to send from my company’s email.

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Christian

Great stuff as usual Brian!
Was considering making websites completely based on this method. When a website goes down offer almost the exact same thing and this’ll give you a niiice boost to start.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Christian. Wow, I never thought it that. Killer idea :-)

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TinyTiger

I really enjoyed the article and was quite amazed by the idea. So many unused opportunities to exploit with no content what-so-ever. Definitely something for me, coz i’m generally lazy -_- i don’t like making content. Prefer design and graphics… but graphics don’t make much content -_- pfff….
i’m not really selling anything yet either but looking forward to using this technique in the future!

TinyTiger@LikiTikiVillage

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Brian Dean

Thanks! You may want to consider making infographics. They’re the best of both worlds :-)

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Mahender

Always cool stuff here. Improvising the existing techniques (moving man) to find more relevant sources to get a link from and then doing out reach. Great work. Thanks to you n Chris from Bizzbuzz.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Mahender. Chris rocked the house with his improvements to the moving man method.

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Mike Bonds

Great post as always Brian…top notch content here!

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Brian Dean

Appreciate it, Mike. Let me know if you have any questions :-)

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Evan

Never thought of using Go Daddy to find sites for BLB, great tip Brian.

I really like doing outreach with broken links as people are always so grateful and often add your link with just a single short email (unlike most outreach).

I’m actually testing a new spin on this where you go directly after your competitors best links by suggesting your pages as a better link than theirs. Not as big a hit rate but when it works its so sweet.

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Brian Dean

Glad you liked that one, Evan.
Going after you competitor’s links is called a 4-point play (no idea where I read that…but it stuck with me). It’s called that because in basketball when you get a steal and a quick bucket, it’s called a 4-point play. Similar concept with link building.

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Scott Taft

Thanks for post Brian (and for the proof of concept, Chris).
I love how actionable all your posts are. Halfway through reading this one I had to start trying the strategy out for some of my clients and am already seeing the advantages. You have single handedly improved my SEO work. Thanks!

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Brian Dean

Wow, what an awesome comment, Scott. My goal is for people to actually use the stuff I write about. Glad yo hear you didn’t waste any time :-)

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Ryne Landers

Hey Brian, another great guide. I’ve provided the link to this one and the one to the original Moving Man guide, to a staff member internally to build out a strategy for a few of our clients based on this. I think it will be a great exercise for them to explore search strings, dead domains, backlink exercises, etc. and really get into that deep SEO mindset. And hey, hopefully we’ll get our clients a few links out of it as well.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Ryne. That’s a good point: this is an awesome strategy to get them thinking like a link builder. And I think you’ll get at least a few quality links out of it too :-)

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Hudson

Hey Brian,
As usual, stunning post. You should start a school. .edu link galore!

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Brian Dean

Thanks Hudson. Hmmm. Actually, why not just create Backlinko.edu? It has a nice ring to it :-)

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Ajay R Yadav

After Your one of The Methods i.e. Skyscraper Technique , Moving Man is the another Favorite of Mine. :-) it makes me feel surprised to see that we can actually create links from authoritative sites by helping and providing value to their Stuffs. You don’t need to even beg and You get yourself in their eyes with a positive image. That’s Cool .

One more thing to say Brian , I love it when you actually show your strategies working for other Backlinko Readers , That definitely Gives us a boost to tap our hands on this strategy :-)

Thanks a lot Brian

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Brian Dean

Thank you Ajay. I’m also love to write about Backlinko reader’s getting results. Especially if they’re in a competitive niche like consumer electronics.

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Akash

When u send the email,do you tell them the new link is on a website that you own? Or would u leave that info out?

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Brian Dean

I like to be honest and tell them it’s from my site…but that’s up to you Akash :-)

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Ed Harris

Why? Why? Why did you do that? Why did you publish such a comprehensive guide that will undoubtedly help me, when it’s 70 degrees outside here in the Midwest?

Now I’m glued to my computer thanks to all the great tips I want to try out!

Anyhow…I’m not sure how this can apply to the insurance business (I have been a broker for 33 years), but I’ll try! Insurers just don’t go out of business.

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Brian Dean

LOL. I’m a tough cookie, that’s why :-)

Good question. I’d maybe look at personal finance resources or sites that wrote about insurance-related content.

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Faisal Faisal

Yo Brian – We’ll be waiting patiently:

“PS: I’m re-opening registration for my premium training course, SEO That Works, next week. If you wanted to enroll, but couldn’t because it was closed, now’s your chance. ”

Please do give us a heads-up.. Me, I’m super keen..!!

And SUPER-Awesome blog post you just shared with us bro.. VERY MUCH appreciated.

Cheers,

Faisal

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Brian Dean

Thanks Faisal. I’ll have more info for you next week. No worries there :-)

And glad to hear that you enjoyed the post!

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Dan

Hey Brian, wauw i was stunned when i read this. amazing work. I really appreciate this kind of SEO as it is a win-win for both partners. In the end that is what Google loves.

i am trying to create an affiliate site that offers deals/coupons for traveling. do you have a suggestion on how i could employ this method keeping my “Niche” in mind?

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Brian Dean

Thanks Dan. That’s a good point: not only is this effective, but it’s not the type of shady stuff that Google’s cracking down on.

Hmmm. The travel space is absolutely huge. Tons of opportunities with travel blogs, airlines, hotels, cruises etc. that go out of business.

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Scott

“Without Any Content,” really? 400+ pages is hardly no content. How about this as your next post: “How to Increase Email CTRs while Sacrificing Your Audience’s Trust with Bait-and-Switch Tactics.” You usually have great stuff, but this wasn’t worth the read.

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Brian Dean

I guess it depends on your definition of “content”, Scott. Yes, there are a lot of pages. But they’re ecommerce pages that have images of products, a brief description and a buy button. Not what I’d call “content”.

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Ryne Landers

Having worked pretty extensively within the eCommerce sphere, I can tell you, many eCom sites have little-to-no real content to speak of. Very, very few have any CMS pages; category pages are usually devoid of content; in many business-grade product industries the only “content” is PDF spec sheets and that doesn’t count; and those sites that *do* have content are often regurgitating manufacturer or supplier-produced copy, which is sent to and utilized by literally thousands or tens of thousands of other sites, making the net sum amount of copy “0”, due to duplicate content issues.

I don’t see any discrepancies in the claims here.

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P. Dominic

Inspirational blog post yet again.Really have to stop procrastinating and put this into action (my wife’s fancy dress site), it is a no brainer!
Love it Brian. You are the man in the SEO world

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Brian Dean

Definitely give it a go! Sounds like yours wife’s site would be a perfect match.

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Tim Janson

I dont understand why Chris dosen’t start with on-Page SEO on the page. Backlinks ain’t the right way to start on the page.

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Brian Dean

Good question, Tim. For an eccomerce site, he actually did pretty much all the on-page SEO you can for a product page (technically you can go crazy with adding 1k words, but he had the basics down). They’re not easy :-(

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Brian Dean

Cheers Mark. Glad you see the effort that goes into posts like this :-)

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James Parker

As I notice you just talk about brand sites, how did I rank my site in a small niche ?
Thank you for this valuable topics, wish you the best :)

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Brian Dean

Hmmm. To do well with SEO today you need to build a brand, James. You don’t need to be the next Amazon…but just be the best site in your small niche :-)

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Mohammed

Hi Brian
Sure post is so great and unique of kind and have a lot pf ideas but i ask about the budget that Chris work with for domains for sell or parked domains and there is a lot of domains you can check but you will find that they ask for thousand of dollars. I face it before for domain i just like it and when i emailed webmaster he ask about $4500 and sure i cancel it.

Something important for me, Google mentioned that they prefer to see nodofollow links in posts and as i can see your external link dofollow and i will focus on affiliate links “is that what Google mean” not the main URLs.
ex, url.ocm / affi.url.com/id=000

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Brian Dean

Thanks Mohammed. If you read the post you’ll notice that we’re not actually buying any domains…just using them to find outdated resources.

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Mohammed

AHA, i see Brain, good idea too. God bless your work.

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Aamir

Awesome post, Thank You:)

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Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Aamir :-)

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Mark

Hi Brian
Great post – enjoyed this one and several others.
In your method it focuses on reaching to webmasters for replacing the link – what about just creating the same tool / content as one the expired domain and make an 301 redirect to the content on your site?

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Brian Dean

Hey Mark. Glad you liked it. That’s a great thought…and it might work really well. My only reluctance is that a lot of people are 301ing expired
domains to their sites. Even though this would be more legit, Google’s been known to to throw the baby out with the bathwater…

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Mark

Hi again
I can see your point – in danish law it’s illegal to send mails to recipients without their permission so i guees Chris called the webmasters before sending the mail. Hence my question with 301 redirects to save time:)

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Brian Dean

Oh I see what you mean, Mark. I didn’t know about that law. Another tip for you: you don’t need to reach out only to Danish sites. Chris emailed a lot of US site owners as well :-)

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Philip

Fantastic strategy Brian! I thought about how to link build for ecommerce sites this week and here it comes :-) Thanks!

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Brian Dean

You ask and I deliver, Philip. Let me know how it goes.

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Lenny Robbins

Great post Brian. I’m not a techie and therefore require really specific instructions on how to do stuff as you have done here. Looking forward to info on your course next week!
Thanks.

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Brian Dean

Thank you Lenny. I’m also not the best when it comes to tech stuff. That’s why things like the screenshot tool work well for me :-)
And Look forward to sending you more into about SEO That Works (and hanging out with you in the member’s area).

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Ivan C

Insane guide Brian! This is as good as money in the bank. Me and my family certainly thank you for it. (^_^)

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Brian Dean

Cha-ching! Thanks Ivan :-)

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Ivan C

Forgot to ask Brian: Do you know if Xenu Link Sleuth will do the same as screaming frog’s spider?

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Brian Dean

Actually (as far as I know) you can’t get a nice list of external links across an entire domain with Xenu…but I could be wrong.

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Sachin Bisaani

Awesome post Brain, I personally like to add one point, When sending emails i noticed that email with more than one link and non personized data hits in promotion tab of Google so i split tested and found that your first email should be free of links with recipient name and when they reply you can send email with links bcz ur in conversation n never labeled as promotion.

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Brian Dean

Thank you, Sachin. I’ve noticed that can happen to (sometimes the message gets caught in the spam folder too). Good tip.

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Jeff

So, I assume that the reasoning for not just buying the expired domains is
1. that we are trying to be more white hat
2. we get more juice out of each link if they go straight to our site

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Brian Dean

Those are definitely two good reasons, Jeff. But I’m really predicting that Google will someday hit the “refresh” button on links pointing to expired domains because they’re used for 301ing to irrelevant sites and PBNs. Whether this is practically possible is another story…

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Jeff

Also, the domain doesn’t have to be available for this to work :) Lot’s of times people will buy them and sit on them. This lets you snipe their links w/o needing to buy the domain

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julia

Hi Brian,
Surely this is another high quality post from you.

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Brian Dean

Cheers Julia. Glad you enjoyed it :-)

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Todd Pettee

Brian,
Your ingenuity never ceases to amaze me!
Yet another great strategy to add to the large arsenal that you’ve given me.
Thanks so much!
Todd

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Brian Dean

Todd, I aim to please. I appreciate your support since way back :-)

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Jeff

Also, if you add intitle:closed instead when using that Yelp technique, then it works better :) closed businesses always have “closed” in the title

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Brian Dean

Good call, Jeff. Done :-)

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Chris Young

Brian,
Another great post..
I’ve a quick question. What’s your hit rate for this? What would you regard as a good percentage of emails out that result in links?
The strategy is great but obviously quite a bit of work (not complaining – nothing of value is easy). I presume also that it works better if the outreach email is tailored to each link prospect (which increases hit rate but also work).
Just want to assess what the effort to benefit would be…
Chris

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Brian Dean

Thanks Chris. That’s a good question. It’s tough to answer because there are 1001 variables involved, like:
-Your content’s design
-How close your content is to the outdated resource
-How much you personalize each email
-Whether you’ve warmed them up with a tweet, blog comment etc.

That being said, you’re looking at a 5-10% conversion rate on average. If you have a 1:1 replacement for the outdated resource, that goes up a lot.

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Brett T. Smith

Hey Brian,
Great content as always! One thing I would like to contribute is a quick tip to speed things up a bit with a little automation. A pretty neat tool that I personally use is Garrett French’s “Broken Link Finder”. It’s a paid tool so may not be a good fit for everyone but for anyone who has done this type of link-getting by hand, will appreciate just how much time you can save to find these types of opportunities.

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Brian Dean

Hey Brett, glad you enjoyed the post. I’m also a big fan of that tool (and Garret in general. He’s the man). The only thing is, the Broken Link Finder can’t find parked pages or businesses that went under. For that you’d need to use one of the strategies in this post :-)

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iliass

Great post as usual Brian! thanks

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Brian Dean

You’re welcome Iliass.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Robert. Take your time…the post isn’t going anywhere :-)

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Candace Chira

Absolutely brilliant! I don’t recall how I found your site but your articles and tips are just phenomenal. I believe you are a genius!

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Brian Dean

Thanks Candace. I really appreciate that. Send me an email if you have any questions :-)

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Matt

Wow Brian, you’ve created THE go-to broken link building manual here. A low effort high value link building approach, a “wing man” method perhaps, is to leverage your existing relationships. This only really works if you’re a “real” business. You basically ask/beg any partner you are already “friends with” and doing business with for a link. Leverage commercial partners; ie suppliers and non-commercial partners; ie charities, sponsors. Badabing, badaboom! Works all the time.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Matt! GREAT insight (and another way to build links without needing content). Reaching out to partners is one of the first things I do when I consult for ecommerce clients.

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Abhisek Padhi

Hi Brian,
Awesome case study. I had read your moving man method but i was pulled back in my efforts of building backlinks by the fact that my blog is a tech, science & business blog and i was focussing on creating some solid contents prior to starting link building and marketing, as you know I won’t stand a chance in front of giants like Mashable, TheNextWeb, Arstechnica, Theverge to name a few. As easy it seems to start a new tech blog with wordpress, that much difficult it gets to find niche keywords and backlinks and traffic. Again, thank you for putting up such nice and insightful article, You inspire and teach us.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Abhisek. It’s not easy to beat giant sites like Mashable. But with some creativity and lots of hustle, it can be done.

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Tharun

Hi Brain Sir,
Another superb post is here. I really love to enjoy reading your posts because they actually work for backlinks and traffic. The content you produce here is really great and worth read it even 10 times. Thanks a lot for this awesome guide. We surely expect more from you. I would like you if you could write a post on “keyword research” and how to implement in blog posts for SERP. Thanks

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ravi

Google lock down the old backlink method’s, How you invents this new idea’s. I love the methods you share.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Ravi. I’ll keep sharing as long as you keep reading :-)

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Paul Back

Masterful :)

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Brian Dean

Cheers Paul. I appreciate it 😀

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Ankit Gupta

thanks brian,
you again gave an awesome trick to get quality backlinks
but I wanna ask one thing,
you have told above to write a similar post on our website to get the link from a authoritative site.
but if we have an ecommerce site then why should we write post on our website? ?

and can we use tiered link building for such type of ecommerce site without any content? ???

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Brian Dean

Thanks Ankit. Well if the ecommerce site has a blog…that’s where you can use that content. Otherwise you can link to product and category pages.

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Mikk

Brain, again.. Great stuff.
I’m going to try something huge. In the next 6 months, I’m going to try to get at least 500-600 (legit links) with the help of your blog posts and STW. Let’s see how it turns out :)

Cheers

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Brian Dean

Thanks Mikk. That’s a VERY ambitious project. But I think you can handle it :-)

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Christopher Laursen

Hey Brian,
thanks for featuring our link building case here. as always you break it down in a way that anyone can get results with your methods.
Great content is the way forward for sure when doing link building. However this strategy does solve the problem of getting links to generic product pages AND help out webmasters improving the user experience fixing bad links.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Christopher. You’re 100% right that content is important. I just wanted to really emphasize that it’s possible to get results without it by showing people how you did it.

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Sylvain Laneyrie

Great ressources. You did a very good job gathering and spreading all that info in one post. Good tip by Sachin Bisaani as well. Thanks.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Sylvain! Yup, Sachin knows his stuff.

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Gary Gaspar

Hey Brian,

I’ll tell you why I think it’s a great post. A similar product to mine stopped providing support 2 years ago so I think it could work for me 😉 I’m on it today! I’ll tell you about the results if you care to know.

Btw, it reminds of a famous technique called the “drafting technique”. Drafting behind someone who has already done the hard work of getting links. Same idea, different context. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that technique? 😀

Anyway, great post man!
Cheers,
Gary

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Brian Dean

Hey Gary. Definitely let me know how it works out for you. I’ll keep an eye out for your update.

Yes, I’m very familiar with Derek’s technique. He’s the best :-)

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Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Abdul.

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Andrei Constantin C

Brian,
I’m presently working for an e-commerce client and your article came spot-on! Building links to online shops was always a pain in the back side.

Nevertheless, looking forward for more great tips to building links to e-commerce/product pages.

Cheers,
Andrei

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Brian Dean

Andrei, Good timing, right? Let me know how the moving man method works out for your e-commerce client :-)

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Mike Schwarz

Brian, i think you must be never sleeping or eat some mind blowing red or blue pills. How else you could write such great stuff all the time?? Pitty im in the german speaking part of Europe and most of your tipps won’t work as there are no similar services here… and i can’t place only links from english spoken pages to german ressouces… or i never tested it out actually. But replacing links as described here might work as well for german websites. Have to test this once. Greetings from switzerland, Mike

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Brian Dean

Actually, I sleep A LOT. It must be helping :-)

Fortunately, while some of the tools may not work in German, the search strings (when translated) definitely do. Let me know how it goes,
Mike.

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Fernando

Great tips Brian. Thanks for sharing the detailed article.

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Brian Dean

My pleasure, Fernando.

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Jonathan Ondomat

Hi Brian,

Since I 1st visited your site I’ve learned so much about backlinks and I feel like an expert now. Even if I am far from it.

Now I need to find a profitable niche (which I find very difficult) where I can implement all I’ve learned.

Thanks for this masterpiece Brian.

Cheers,
Jonathan

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Lynn

Great Post! I use many of the methods you describe above and find hundreds of quality expired domains each week. Now my crawler should find even more as I now have some additional ideas like leveraging Google News. I also find a lot of great seeds for crawling when I do spam-checking of domains. I know this is the part everyone hates but when I find quality expired domains, I look at the links pointing to them and add them to my crawler.

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Brian Dean

Lynn, you’re a ninja. I never thought to find expired domains with a spam checker. Great tip.

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Roy

Wow, this method is so ninja ! It combines creativity on so many levels. One question on my mind is, how many percent out of the outreach emails actually resulted in a link replacement? hmmmm

And I see you are avoiding the use of japanese terms like ‘kimono’ now :-)
>And today I’m going to pull back the curtain

Roy( the SEO Padawan )

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Brian Dean

Thanks Roy…I think I’ll leave Japanese terms alone for a while :-)

I actually answer that question above in a reply to Chris Young.

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David McSweeney

Excellent follow along Brian and definitely one of the best ways to acquire strong, authority building links.

Like a couple of the commenters above I’m a big fan of xenu for a quick scan of a site/page for broken links. Found many high quality linking opportunities in the past.

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Brian Dean

Thanks for commenting, David. Yeah, Xenu is an amazing tool. Doesn’t get a lot of love because it’s old and ugly. But it works like a charm :-)

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Sean Lade

Hi Brian. Your video was really well produced. Enjoyed it a lot. Great strategy. Think this will work really well for me. Thanks :)

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Brian Dean

Thanks Sean (I also liked how the video turned out). Cheers :-)

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Arun Kallarackal

Hi Brian,

Honestly, it was the title that attracted me towards this article. I was like- ‘building links without having any content? I sure must give it a read’. And what an excellent, detailed post it turned out to be! It was really informative and you described it inside out, suggesting some cool tools to get the task done!

I can see that you’ve put in loads of efforts towards creating this article. That is evident from the images, the detailed article etc.

Further, you’ve also described very well the tools that’ll come handy during each stage, like one for finding about expired domains, one to analyze the link stats of the domain etc.

Glad that I found link to this site on Kingged. I’ll definitely King this content there! :)

Thanks for this useful, detailed article!

Arun

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Brian Dean

They Arun. You’re right: I put A LOT of work into this post. Glad to hear that you got so much value out of it :-)

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Wessel Muller

Hey Brian

Again another awesome piece! Just a question regarding expireddomains.net, what does the BL stands for? You said the page rank and DP are important, what about the other icons, arent they important to take in consideration?

Wessel

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Brian Dean

Thanks Wessel. BL stands for “backlinks”. I don’t pay much attention to that because it’s not as important as DP and PR…those are the only two I really pay attention to.

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David Coleman

Excellent post as usual Brian. I was planning on including hunting around for and using expired domains on my own blog but you beat me to it! I particularly like how you picked up on the idea of looking for major retailers/stores etc going bust to get the relly high-value links that being a big brand entails. My own angle was going to be substantially more basic, just combining advanced operators with the usual “this domain is for sale” etc text that you tend to get on those parked pages and then scaling that as appropriate.

Cheers! David

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Brian Dean

Happy to help, David. Let me know how things go for you :-)

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Ryan

Hey Brian,
Awesome stuff, like always =) I particularly like the “unlinked mention” strategy. That’s something I hadn’t thought of and it became and ‘AH-HA’ moment for me. I also wanted to add on the tools part, Screaming From is a great and FREE crawler. I’ve used it for a while (mainly because I’m a Linux user and Xenu isn’t available without a virtual box setup) and have been quite satisfied.
Keep up the great work Mr. Dean!

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Brian Dean

Thanks Ryan. Honestly, I have to give Chris credit for the unlinked mention search. There are so many applications for mention searches that I may have to write a post just on that. Also, I’m definitely with you: Screaming Frog is the best.

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Asif Ahmed

Awesome post Brian,
Though I have had some success in blogging, I never really took the pain to build links.
mainly because I was clueless and most of the ways of link building are really boring.
But this one seems interesting as it can give really great results.
I am looking forward to try it for one of my blogs that has not been getting any traffic at all.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Asif. The other nice thing about this strategy is that you can use it to build relationships with other bloggers in your niche :-)

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Ian Ainslie

SEO + Thinking Waaaay Outside The Box = Results

Great stuff and thanks for sharing!
Ian Ainslie

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Brian Dean

Can’t disagree with that formula, Ian :-)

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Paul

Regarding the broken link building, I think this will get better as time goes on. I think there’s so much ‘seo content’ on the web from pre-2012!

Also I’d love to see more on (semi) automating outreach (i.e. via mail merge). I find this is perhaps a piece of the puzzle that’s omitted.

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Brian Dean

Yes, that’s another massively untapped strategy Paul: finding outdated content and offering to freshen it up in exchange for a link. I actually wanted to include a tutorial on mail merge (because that’s what Chris used for outreach), but the post was getting a bit long and I didn’t want to overwhelm people with too much info :-)

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Christopher Laursen

Maybe something for your next blog post, Brian 😉
As Paul state it has to be SEMI automatic outreach. In my experience I get the same success rate (10-15%) as with manual outreach. And it saves me plenty of hours to spend on being creative instead.

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Showrav

Nice job. Previously I learned this as broken link building from quicksprout university. You were the guy Brian Dean made the video :p . However this post sharped my knowledge to build contextual link. Specially the tricks with flippa. Will apply soon!
Cheers.

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Brian Dean

Yes, that was me :-)
Let me know how the Flippa trick works out for you, Showrav.

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Afiq

Thank you Brian. But it seem a little bit difficult for blog that used different languange such as Malay.

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Brian Dean

Cheers, Afiq. There won’t be as many opportunities in other languages, but trust me, they’re out there :-)

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Elmarie Porthouse

Brian, does the PR of the page linking to you really not matter or should one still keep an eye on that and mainly go for links with PR higher than your own page?

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Brian Dean

Hey Elmarie. Good question. The PR of the page definitely matters. That being said, if you can score a link from an authoritative site that’s also relevant, go for it. Right now I’m finding that relevancy matters more than PR.

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Jens Mikkelsen

Its very impressive and a very nice and deep going article.
I hope I can do the same for my client who wish to have a good position with the name Body-SDS and Osteopati.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Jens. I hope so too. Let me know how it goes :-)

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Sunday

The use of expired domains for building contextual links is an effective method. It seems to bring out immediate results. Publishing a good content is one part of the over all puzzle and its good to have knowledge of the practicality of other methods as shared in this post.
The link builders needs to take time and apply these tips!
This comment was shared in kingged.com – the social bookmarking website for Internet marketers where this post was found.
Sunday – kingged.com contributor
http://kingged.com/build-7-contextual-links-hourwithout-content/

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Brian Dean

Thanks Sunday!

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Joe Robison

Do you still snatch up expired domains, fix them up, and use them for link building? I know it’s more of a gray hat technique, but if you’re coming across so many great expired domains, how do you resist just outright purchasing them?

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Brian Dean

Good question, Joe. That’s something a few other people raised in the comments. My take: it’s worth considering. It’s just a bit risky because so many people are building PBNs with expired domains and Google might “reset” the links pointing to expired domains.

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Richard Marriott

Wow Brian, this post is pure gold! I have already started using ExpiredDomains.net and the Screaming Frog + Links Checker combo and getting hundreds of new leads! Email blasting begins tomorrow! I gotta say the frog and links checker combo is my favourite. Might even be cheeky enough to use this combo on infographic directories 😉 That way it’d be easy to see which sites that submitted infographics with their original source link have gone bust and then find all the other sites pointing to that infographic and replace them!

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Brian Dean

Thanks Richard. I’m pumped (although not surprised) that you’re already putting this into action :-)
Dude, I think you’re only something potentially HUGE there. Really creative idea.

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Brian Dean

That’s a great thought, Eric. And it might work really well. My only reluctance is that a lot of people are 301ing expired
domains to their sites. Even though this would be more legit, Google’s been known to to throw the baby out with the bathwater…

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Rob

This is a great post. The bit i am struggling with it how to accurately find websites around a specific niche, which used to exist but don’t anymore. I think the concept of reverse engineering those links, finding sources and outreach are fantastic. How would you go about finding old / broken urls in say the “solar power” niche for example?

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Brian Dean

Thanks Rob. I’d look for solar power companies that went out of business, solar power related sites that expired etc. There are a few other strategies you may want to check out here: http://backlinko.com/high-quality-backlinks

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brian

You’re a champ Brian! Incredible quality post :). Will definitely take advantage of this strategy

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Brian Dean

Thanks Brian. Let me know how it goes :-)

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Charlene

Hi Brian,
This is cool.
I’ve subscribed to your newsletter and this is the first email I’ve received. Nice technique!
Waiting for more newsletter from you. :)

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Brian Dean

Hey Charlene. Thanks! I always deliver the goods to my newsletter subscribers :-)

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Lars Skjoldby

Hi Brian
Thanks again for giving all the details in a specific linkbuilding strategy. I’ve begun using simular strategies when I’m linkbuilding.
I often bumb into high authority pages who’s linking to outdated sources. How ever it’s my experience that most of these pages (or articles) are based on exact that source which is outdated. Just like your example with The Huff Post.

Can you actually get these pages to change their link to your or your clients pages?

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Brian Dean

You’re welcome Lars. That’s a good point. If the entire page revolves around that one outdated resource, it can be a bit harder to get them to change it. That being said, if you have a 1:1 replacement (like Chris did), that can bump your conversion rate up quite a bit.

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tabi

this is a master piece, link juice is always helpful. however content is king but kings always need a queen. and backlink always do this.

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Brian Dean

Well said, Tabi :-)

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katiejenner2014

Really found this post useful. I am always looking to either create relevant and/or useful content, but am maybe not finding link opportunities outside of the content machine! I will definitely try this with some of my drier B2B clients. I also write a fairly new blog, so I might try and adapt this method for blogging and raising my own metrics. Really useful – thank you!

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Brian Dean

Thanks Katie. This should definitely help you get better SEO results from the content you put out there. Keep me posted :-)

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Deevan Hatake

Oh my God. I never thought something like expired domains could ever help SE Optimizers. You’re also a great teacher (as I watch your vids myself). Thanks Brian! You’re really a brilliant SEO.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Deevan. Appreciate the love :-)

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Janet

This is a monster blog
Great work Brian :)

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Brian Dean

Cheers Janet. Glad you liked it :-)

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Brian Dean

:-) True dat, Danny. Can’t forget on-page!

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Brian Dean

Thanks Soumen :-)

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Philip

This is one of the best tutorials I have read in a long a time. You are just handing out value left and right. I cannot wait to get home and start figuring out how to implement this stuff on my side projects.

I work for a bankruptcy lawyer and am mad that I never though of using bankruptcy searches to identify potential linking opportunities lol

Thanks a ton for all of this, definitely signing up for the email list

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Brian Dean

Thanks Philip. Wow, you’re in the PERFECT niche for this strategy. Let me know how things go for you or if you have a question.

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Solmadrid Vazquez

While searching for links via expired domains, I’m finding tons of links listed on directories. I’m also finding a lot which are listed on websites that have a “favorites” page. The “favorites” pages lists a bunch of links (like a mini-directory) including the broken ones I’ve found.

Am I correct in assuming we don’t want to link with any of those sites? Is it harmful to our seo to do so? I’ve heard many times that adding your site to a directory is harmful.

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Brian Dean

Hey Solmadrid, you’re definitely going to get a mix of links: some bad, some good, some great. You’re right that you want to avoid most directory links though.

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Ann07

This is an intriguing article, I must say. The title caught my attention, so I read the rest of the post to satisfy my curiosity.

There’s one word that suddenly came across my mind when I open the content, “Really?”

It’s just that, I thought you need to create more great contents to receive more backlinks, but as what I have read, I’ve proved myself wrong.

Well, thanks to Brian for writing this article. He shared detailed tips on how to build contextual links without any content, and he also suggested some tools to use.

Best,
Ann07

By the way, I found this post shared on kingged.com

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Brian Dean

Thanks Ann. Appreciate it.

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LarimarMedia

A lot of useful data, starting the white link building now 😉 Thanks a lot! Expired domains, are trully a gold mine for SEO, i’ve tested it a couple of time, as You said 2-3 year old domain is valuable for any SEO project.

Best regards
LM

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Brian Dean

Nice. Keep me posted on how things go for you :-)

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Mike Stevens

This reminds me of a similar system I encourage my service business clients to use with phone numbers. When a company goes out of business, try to acquire or purchase their old phone numbers. The longer they have been in business, the more popular their number is. In phone books, stickers, the internet, everywhere. Anyway, I never applied it to SEO. Thanks for connecting the dots.

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Brian Dean

Mind=blown. You know, Mike, I’ve been searching high and low for an analogy that I can use to quickly explain The Moving Man Method. Now I have it. Thanks!

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Sharanyan Sharma

Excellent case study Brian :)
Especially The broken link analysis, Expired domain domain hunting tips really awesome.

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Brian Dean

Thanks Sharanyan :-)

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Riaan

As always, an insightful and inspiring read – makes you wanna drop everything and go get them links :)
Thanks Brian.

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Brian Dean

Well said, Riaan :-)

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Craig

Hi Brian,
I watched your video on the moving man method and it will be a great tactic to use for all the different gift experiences that I will be offering throughout South Africa.
Thanks for insight!

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Brian Dean

Happy to help, Craig :-)

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Dave Simpson

Great write up – very creative. I guess the e-mail process could be further streamlined using SEO Powersuite. I just have to try this :)

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Brian Dean

Thanks Dave. That’s true, a tool could like SEO Powersuite could help this process go more smoothly :-)

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Candice

Hi Brian,
The tools you listed such as Ahrefs.com for exporting backlinks in the moving man method… are there any free ways to get that info? Ahrefs tells me there are 80 backlinks for a site I checked out, but I can’t export them unless I pay for a subscription?

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Brian Dean

Candice, Actually, the only tools that work well are paid tools.

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Ryne Landers

Yahoo Site Explorer used to be the only free source on the Internet to get this info, and it was high quality data, at that. Unfortunately it closed down several years ago at the conclusion of Bing’s acquisition of Yahoo’s search service. In addition to Ahrefs, you can also use MajesticSEO, which is another fantastic tool. It has a database of backlinks of similar size to Majestic, and each of them are magnitudes of size larger than Moz’s Site Explorer database.

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Brian Dean

Good point, Ryne. Majestic is my other go-to tool for link analysis. The fact is, as Yahoo! learned, maintaining a link finder/analysis tool is super-expensive. That’s why pretty much everyone charges for the information. They have no choice.

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Solmadrid Vazquez

Is there any software that can do what AHRefs and OpenSiteExplorer do? I’ve heard Screamingfrog, SEO Spyglass, etc mentioned on these boards. Still new to building backlinks so I don’t know what the difference is between the subscription services and Screaming Frog, Spyglass, etc.

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Brian Dean

Great questions, Solmadrid. Spyglass, ahrefs, OSE, and Majestic SEO all do the same thing: check links. Screaming Frog actually scans a site like a search engine spider. Of the link checking tools I prefer ahrefs…with Majestic as a close second.

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Stephen Alberts

Wow this is such a great idea:

“he zeroed in on companies that had recently gone out of business.”

Genius! Thanks for this post and I’m going to put it in action for my clients. :)

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Brian Dean

Thanks Stephen. Let me know how The Moving Man Method works out for your clients :-)

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Gabby Gabriel

Hey Brian,
Thanks so much for this great post. I am new to SEO, and your post is so inspiring!

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Brian Dean

Happy to help get you started in the right direction, Gabby :-)

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Harinder

Hey Brian. I have been reading all these articles and following you everywhere. you are a superstar in SEO. I follow your techniques and tells dozen of my friend about it. your are more famous than chuck norris amongst my friends.. If you ever come over to India. Drop me a Mail. may be i can buy you a beer . that is the least i can do. :-) . I am on verge of setting up my own SEo firm, and your ideas have big role to play in it.. Thank you

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Brian Dean

Thanks Harinder. I might take you up on that :-)

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CitationLab

Wohh Brian this is a good post :) This is what we called Broken Link Building. I heard this before but i havent use it this tactic. It’s kinda tedious finding broken links. But now you gave me some input on how to find broken links to a specific niche its a big HELP!! :) thanks brother :)

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Brian Dean

Thanks! Actually, this is a little different than broken link building. In many cases, with the Moving Man Method, the links aren’t actually broken.

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Sebas

Hi, really great stuff.
Just one doubt. What do you actually mean with “replicate content” the after finding the fallen website in archive.Org
Keep up the great work

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Brian Dean

Thanks Sebas. I just mean create a similar resource on your own site :-)

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Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Avanendra.

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Albert

Really nice link building method. Great! Thank you 😀

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Brian Dean

Thanks Albert. Glad you like it :-)

Reply
Sebastian

Hi Brian, can you please explain further what do you mean by “recreating” content of a resource that went down and you find in archive.org?

Copy pasting, slightly modifing, re write? what level of effort should you inpunt on this?

Reply
Brian Dean

You should definitely re-write it, Sebastian. Just take what made the article perform well and create something similar.

Reply
Dennis Miedema

Hey Brian,

Love this blog post! This is actually one of the first SEO posts in a long time that shares some new ideas for me to play around with.

This statement is worth repeating btw: “The best backlink sends you traffic”.

And last but not least: your post got me excited so I can’t resist to geekify your technique lol. The outreach step of your technique can potentially be improved using some simple conversion optimization! I highly recommend people go ahead and do an A/B test with the actual outreach email they’re sending. Simply send template A to X people and template B to the same amount of people and see which template converts more outreach prospects into outreach “buyers”. People can use an A/B split test calculator (just Google it, plenty of them out there you can use for free) to then calculate with a 95+% level of confidence (= statistically significant) whether template A or B converts more contacted people into linkers. If test B wins from A, then B becomes the control to beat. If the test doesn’t win from A (the standard template), then people can try coming up with another template to test against A.

Point being: by doing A/B split tests with the outreach emails you’re sending and tracking the results of the tests, you can get to the point where outreach emails will become more and more effective over time, which means this technique itself will become more and more effective over time. Not that this isn’t already awesome. Just wanted to make it super duper awesome haha.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks, Dennis. GREAT comment.

To be honest, I do a lot of informal A/B testing with my outreach emails (not good!). I know that I’d get MUCH better results if I hunckered down, but I’ve been too lazy to do it. Not anymore. Thanks for the kick in the pants that I needed :-)

Reply
Dennis Miedema

You’re more than welcome :) keep up the good (innovative) work! And feel free to return the favor with one of my blog posts (finishing up a new one soon)

Reply
jide

Nice writeup. Will soon become a blogger, I would find this kind of resource useful. Thanks for this gold mine. Would be greatful,if you can help me with low competition keywords.

Reply
Shalu Sharma

This method of finding broken links and replacing them with yours is a great idea and I can see the potential. I was wondering if you did send emails out, how many of these people actually respond and take the time to replace the links? Another question was, on the YouTube video, how did you manage to remove the outgoing links?
Thanks for this outstanding tutorial.

Reply
Candice

Hey Brian, Curious what your opinion is of the Market Samurai software? It has the same capability as things like ahrefs doesn’t it?

Reply
Brian Dean

Hey Candice. It’s actually really different than ahrefs. Market Samurai is more for keyword research.

Reply
Jide

Any chance of using this “moving man” method with free tools. If there are any free tool as such,which do you suggest.

Reply
Brian Dean

The thing is, to get accurate link data, you need to pay for a subscription to Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs etc. It’s the only way to do it Jide :-)

Reply
Jide

Thanks for the quick reply. Looking forward to subscribe to these tools and implementing the moving and skyscraper method.
Kind Regards.

Reply
Chris Jankulovski

Hi Brian,
Just a quick question:
The fact that a “dead content” was published in the internet, would that be considered duplicate content if recreated?

Reply
Brian Dean

Good question, Chris. It depends. Sometimes dead content goes away completely…and doesn’t appear in Google index anymore (you can easily check this with Copyscape). But in general, I prefer to recreate the content and add enough original stuff to it so that it’s truly original.

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re too kind, Collin :-)

Reply
Sudarto

First I will learn what you wrote here to get ton backlink. After that, I will practice what you teach. Thank you.

Reply
Brian Dean

Sounds like a plan :-)

Reply
Amina

I tried Step 3 but to find broken links, contact their owners, but no response, so like i help them without any benefice for me

Reply
Brian Dean

I’d work on your outreach script, Amina. That’s REALLY important.

Reply
Prakash

Hi Brian…
Awesome tips for link building thanks for sharing…
where from you take these useful tips really you are great… your name should be “Brain” not “Brian”
again thanks

Reply
Brian Dean

Hey Prakash. Actually a lot of people spell it like that…but it’s by mistake :-)

Reply
Parth salwan

Really smart strategy. Liked the way you teach, mentioned everything and cleared my questions… thanks Brian Dean.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Parth!

Reply
Ivan

Hi Brian :)
This info is really great, for me this info is completely new stuff.
But I have a question related to SEO.. I see that many visitors here takes a opportunity to comment to get a backlink from you. Please can you tell me how good are backlinks from comments form authority sites like yours ? Can they harm my site maybe ? And if i do that from time to time should i use my real name to comment ?

Thank you

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Ivan :-)

Good question. Blog comments — as long as they don’t have keyword anchor text — are neutral for SEO. But when commenting you definitely want to use your name.

Reply
Ivan

Hi :)
Great :) So when i use my real name or name, they are neutral for SEO but it can boost a little my site ?
Thank you

Reply
Brian Dean

It’s neutral…so it doesn’t have a positive or negative affect.

Reply
Brodey Sheppard

Well done. Clap Clap Clap, Great article again Brian. When is your next blog coming out?

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Brodey. Funny you should ask: I have a new post coming out today :-)

Reply
Felipe

I can see the power of this strategy but it’s a lot of work!! Really, that is the reason why I lot of people don’t see any results from SEO, because they are lazy.
It’s a great tactic, I will try to adapt this ecommerce thing to my own scenario!
Thanks brian!

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Felipe. That’s a good point: you can’t be lazy with SEO these days. It’s a ton of work!

Reply
Brian Dean

I’m not sure I understand, Krisjian…

Reply
Simon

I have to say there is some great information on here. Brilliantly detailed with fantastic examples. I use outreach e-mails a lot to get links, but it’s not a begging thing, it’s only to people who are in a similar niche market who have shown interest in my site. And if they don’t want to link to me, I don’t bug them about it, I just move on.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Simon. Same here: I don’t bug people if they link the first time around. As you’ve seen firsthand, you can build plenty of links without needing to do that :-)

Reply
Frank

Please don’t hide the controls on your YouTube video, that’s really freaking annoying and that’s what the scummy internet marketers do.

Reply
Brian Dean

I’ve debated about the best approach on that, Frank. I’m not doing anything scummy (you can always click the YouTube link and view/control the video on YouTube). The reason I hide the controls is just because it looks 100x better on the page. That being said, maybe it is best to have the controls on there.

Reply
puli

Thanks a lot Brian, I was demotivated with someone who deals with guest blogging
and he always argue with me saying that back linking/SEO process is dead and google is not more with SEO process. It is looking for only good content thru guest blogging and in coming days also guest blogging / content writing will be live to get better result for all websites.

After reading your article I got confidence that there is hope n still can be continue seo
practices with white hat methods.

Thanks alot once again for keeping my confidence n trust on SEO.
looking forward to see more posts.

Reply
Brian Dean

There are fortunately a lot of awesome link building strategies left, Puli.

Reply
Ayman Saa'd

Thanks a lot Brain, I find it very useful, I also would like to suggest a tool that can help us find popular content on the web and probably authoritative websites that we can use to add on Screamingfrog and see their external links using the tool you suggested for any broken or outdated resources,

here’s the tool : http://buzzsumo.com/

BTW, this tool can help us with skyscraper technique too 😉

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Ayman. I’ve been using that tool a lot lately. It’s awesome :-)

Reply
sourabh rana

Hello Brian,

this article & blog comments on your every blog posts shows that how worthful articles you generally wrotes. You broke the myth in SEO to create links without doing spamming.

Do you think IF google’s team also reading these methods so they can banned these techniques in near future updates also because we are creating links & against of google guidelines ( I don’t want this at any cost but #justasking)

Best regards
twitter id @kmadhav

Reply
Brian Dean

I wouldn’t worry about, Sourabh. These are strategies that make the web a better place and are placed editorially.

Reply
Adam

Hey Brian, I love your guides to building baclinks and would love to try them myself, my only issue is that I am incredibly time poor.

Is there anyone else you would reccomend other than bizzbuzz.dk who currently don’t have time to offer back link services?

I don’t really trust a google search to give a reputable company to perform a back link building service and I have heard some horror stories.

I really appreciate it and look forward to reading your other articles.

Reply
Brian Dean

Hey Adam. I actually don’t have any other providers to recommend. I’d try hiring a freelancer and giving them VERY specific instructions on what to do (ie. send them a link to this blog post).

Reply
Prateek

Hey Brian, so apart from the Moving Man method, backlinks made by guest posting or social bookmarking do stick for a long time?

Reply
Brian Dean

Guest posts yes…social bookmarks not so much.

Reply
David

GOLDMINE!!!

Thx for sharing!
David

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re welcome, David. Let me know how it goes :-)

Reply
Alan

Hey Brian, awesome blog

In regards to looking for links with companies that have rebranded, I’m not too sure this works?

For example, in one of your other pages, you used seomoz as an example. The site owners who have failed to update their link from seomoz to moz still won’t be willing to change the link to a different website because the seomoz link redirects to moz, effectively still taking users to the correct page.

So I was wondering how this works? or are we hoping that the site owner thinks that seomoz is gone (which it technically has) and hope he/she doesn’t know that a new moz exists?

Thanks Brian

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Alan. My example of SEOMoz to Moz was actually a real life case study. It definitely works. If the link redirects you’re sell is that they have an outdated mention and anchor text. Not as powerful as if the business’s site doesn’t function anymore (like with Barnes and Noble), but it’s still superior to a straight link beg.

Reply
Darren DeMatas

Hey Brian –

To be honest, I am having trouble finding good linking opportunities for one of my sites. I can find broken sites, etc. But almost all of them have a backlink profile thats not worth while.

What did work for me was:
1. doing a google search for my target keyword.
2. Running a SEO report in ahrefs
3. Filtering To Find Pages With 404
4. Running a batch backlink analysis on the 404 pages in ahrefs

I still think your technique is awesome, just coming up short for this particular market.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks for the update, Darren. The thing that’s great about this strategy is that even if you don’t find opportunities right away, you’ll be ready the next time a major player in your space goes out of business or rebrands.

Reply
gopal

Hello Brian Sir,
I run eCommerce site. As I understand your method for find expired domain but how to get a link that I am not understanding in above post.
Can you please give me more hint or some detail, so I can easily understand it.
Thx

Reply
Brian Dean

Hi Gopal. You need to do email outreach as I talk about in Step #3.

Reply
Danny

what was the subject text in the email. have you split tested which ones get better open rates?

Reply
Brian Dean

I’m not sure what he used, but I use “Problem with (SITE)”. I’ve tested a bunch and that’s worked best for me.

Reply
Chris Laursen

I used “question about (SITE)”. No split testing but putting their web address in the subject line works

Reply
HARSH

hey Brian,
you must be some kind of einstien for SEO. I could never think of something like this on my own.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thank you, Harsh.

Reply
Niki

Dear Brian,
Great post. I’ve been reading your stuff since I joined quicksprout. Do you recommend buying old domains and link to our clients sites?

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Niki :-)
A private network can work, but you have to be careful. There are a lot of nuances to creating one that works.

Reply
Mahesh

Thank you Brian Dean for Awesome Guide regarding E commerce, I used to think how they do their SEO except PPC and advertising.

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Mahesh.

Reply
soam

Great resource for link building. Thanks

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Soam.

Reply
Prateek Bansal

Brian, I am looking forward to create a blog network and will it be effective for ecommerce..

Reply
Brian Dean

That can work, Prateek, but I wouldn’t reply on a blog network too much. It’s risky.

Reply
Frank

Brain you made my day. Such an amazing read thank you for sharing those amazing modern SEO practices.

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Frank :-)

Reply
Arman Bimatov

Seems like an effective strategy indeed. However, how does this strategy work together with the ability to rank for keywords? Asking for contextual links from those websites seems like too much, but does having a non-contextual link provide any value?

Reply
Brian Dean

Arman, Yes, it definitely works (I’ve used it as part of a campaign that’s ranked for competitive keywords). You definitely want to focus on getting links from relevant sites.

Reply
Joris @ Digital Defense

Hi Brian,
Good article, but you’ve made a typo 😉
“Because JustBiyIt is starting from scratch”
should be
“Because JustBuyIt is starting from scratch”
I assume.

Reply
Brian Dean

Glad you liked the article, Joris. And thanks for the heads up. Fixed :-)

Reply
Sunny

Hey Brian,
Wonderful strategy. Last week, I read first few paragraph of this post and started practising this strategy.
To my surprise, I send 5 mails to different websites, where links were broken and got all of them replaced within a week. Man, and the surprising fact is that, the conversion rate was 100%, OMG and above that, most of them also said thanks! :)

But here are 2 Questions which I wanted to ask:
1. We see a lot of broken links on news/ PR websites, how to trick these guys out? Of-late I have discovered lot of links from these guys pointing to those who have gone out of business.
2. What can be a good backlink strategy for Deal of the Day kind of website, while using this method?

Reply
Brian Dean

Nice work, Sonny :-)
1. You have to find the original author of the article.
2. I’d find coupon sites or saving money-focused content.

Reply
Colin

Some interesting strategies there thanks. Very “outside the box” which makes a refreshing change in this industry

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Colin :-)

Reply
Rafael

Cool article. Thank you very much Brian. Greetings from SPAIN

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Rafael.

Reply
Beth Daniell

Does it feel a little dishonest to say “these products are now found”, kind of like you’re telling the person that you’re the person who was selling the product before? Do you use a different script for non-product related broken links, e.g. you’re offering this post to someone who’s link to another link-building blog post is now leading to a non-existent site?

Reply
Sarrah

Nice Stuff…!!
My question is “Is there any other software like Screaming Frog”?

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Sarrah. Not that I know of :-(

Reply
Neha

A brilliant post Brian…Working on it straight away..
You may have another case study to write about in a few months!!! jus sayin :)

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Neha. I hope so. Let me know if you get some results.

Reply
Plabon Hassan

Hi Brian, another great post we’ve got. But personally I want to get another detailed tutorial about Ecommerce On Site SEO and Ecommerce Link Building.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks for the suggestion, Plabon.

Reply
Mazux

Very nice stuff, that’s what I’m calling creativity and being solution-oriented.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Mazux.

Reply
Jordan

In Screaming Frog it has a status code tab couldn’t you just go of that instead of using the screenshot tool?

Reply
Brian Dean

Jordan, the nice thing about the screenshot tool is that it shows you pages that are technically working but have something funky going on (like the example I have above).

Reply
Cao Minh

Hi Brian, your article is super useful.
I bookmarked it and came back many times to read it
Long time no see your new update
I’m looking forward to your new post
Best

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks :-)

Reply
Greg

So I understand, when you find a broken link you are replacing that link with one of your own that will link back to your site, and they are typically grateful for pointing out the fact that a link is broke? Thank you!

Reply
Brian Dean

That’s exactly right Greg.

Reply
Jens larsen

What an awesome piece of advice/guide. I will try to implement some of the things in my own SEO strategy.

Reply
Brian Dean

Sounds good, Jens. Let me know how it goes.

Reply
susan

An excellent post man! It is really helpful and I am planning to implementing it on my new project.

Reply
Brian Dean

Sounds good, Susan. Keep me posted :-)

Reply
Tim

As always another excellent and informative post from Mr. Dean.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Tim :-)

Reply
Richard Hale

Brian, awesome article. Appreciate the time you spent and great research. I’ve been doing SEO for years and I’m still taking some great pointers away. This is exactly why I love researching because you find hidden gems like this article. Nice work!

Reply
Brian Dean

Happy to help, Richard. Let me know how this strategy works for you.

Reply
Dane Frampton

This is eye opening!! I have been struggling for years to build quality back links, struggled to the point where i literally gave up. I can’t thank you enough for this post!!

Reply
Brian Dean

Happy to help, Dane :-)

Reply
Carolina Clover

Hi Brian,
Great info here. Question: if you have a parked or expired domain with valuable outdated links that could be useful to your site, who are you contacting and how are you obtaining those links? The ones where the site is RIP? Thanks!

Reply
Brian Dean

Hi Carolina. In that case you’d reach out to people linking to your expired domain.

Reply
Bharath

Cool info Brian. Wondering if you offer any services at backlinko.com so is it pure knowledge sharing site / blog like Neil’s? I like that you showed step by step guide as opposed to just superficial content.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Bharath. I offer a premium training program called SEO That Works. Registration will open up again next year.

Reply
Pierre Angela Cruz

This is the strategy I’ve been searching for. I know link building in e commerce website than on the other site is quite different. Thank you for this one.

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re very welcome, Pierre :-)

Reply
gary

Solid advice again Brian. I have been using this method for a short while now and it works exactly how you describe. Nice clear breakdown and instructions…
Cheers
Gary

Reply
Brian Dean

Glad to hear that, Gary :-)

Reply
Fred Aguilar

Hi Brian,

I am creating a link building plan for a new website and i seems that this strategy is a good point to start with.

Best,

Fred

Reply
Brian Dean

It definitely is, Fred. The Moving Man Method is perfect for new sites.

Reply
Mike

Hi, Brian,
Happy to read another great post from you.
It is a hell of hard work finding, and especially organizing all the link opportunities using this method. But I think it will pay off finally.
Said we got 1000 link opportunities uncovered, and the success rate is about 5%. That number of high quality and relevant links is enough to get a new small business site to take off.
I haven’t put this smart idea into practice yet, and I am not that confident that people will give me a link in return for my pointing out the outdated resource on their sites.
There must be a simple social philosophy backing this idea.

Best,
Mike

Reply
Brian Dean

Hey Mike, As you said, 5% can make a HUGE difference in your rankings. It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing is :-)

Reply
Mike

Yes, Brian, that’s true.

I think the Skyscraper Technique is another great way for ecommerce sites to succeed in SEO.

I mean creating great, relevant blog content based on a proven frame work and try to ask people to link to you. Let the PA boost of that specific blog post give the whole site a lift (DA) in the SERP.

Mike

Reply
John M.

Thanks for the great advice. I am addicted to your blog to help me learn more seo techniques. We invested a lot of money in seo years ago and it worked great till everything they did was blacklisted by Google. So now starting from scratch again and your blog is a great help.

Reply
Brian Dean

Happy to hear that, John. Here’s to a fresh start with SEO :-)

Reply
pawan

Outstanding concept! I never come across such whitehat link building techniques in the past, Our ecommerce site has been hit by Google penguin update in 2012, since we are striving to find out the replacement in google. I think this technique would be betterment for us to regain visibility in google.

Reply
Brian Dean

Definitely give it a try, Pawan.

Reply
Cem

Hi Brian
Cem here again and as always, reading everything your write :)

Just have a question. When I send the email with my replacement link, do I need to provide a link to my specific product? or can the link just point to my ecommerce site?

I ask this because I find it easier to find blogs in my niche rather than sites that sell the same product as I do.

Hope that made sense :)
Cem

Reply
Brian Dean

Cem, you want a link to the product page for sure.

Reply
Hao

Hi Brian Dean,
Thank you for your good share. I also interest in the way you explain on your images: rectangular, arrows.
Could you please tell me which software help you do with those images? Thank you.

Reply
Brian Dean

Hao, I use a program called Greenshot.

Reply
Diwakar

Wow! Thanks Brian, I had never tried this technique. This is really awesome and unique for me.
Thanks!

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re welcome :-)

Reply
Andrew

I am struggling with ecommerce SEO for my shopping portal. I am really excited to follow all the strategies especially moving man method to build links. Will inform you about my progress.

Reply
Brian Dean

Sounds good, Andrew. Let me know how it goes.

Reply
Archa

Hi Brian , this is a really creative new idea of link building.
Thanks a lot for sharing it.

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Archa.

Reply
Imon

Brian, Your writing is mind blowing. Your snapshot included articles helps me enough.

Reply
Melody Scott

Hi, what I find frustrating is this. I’m using strategy one, but I’ve tried a few others in the past with similar results.
1. I find a site like preparedmealsmadeeasy.com. Not a lot of backlinks, but maybe worth going after, since it’s the only keyword that pulled up a site worth using.
2. I go to the first six sites on the list that supposedly have backlinks, and they do not. So I feel like I’ve wasted my time. Thanks, maybe I’m just going after this wrong, but I am having no luck.

Reply
Wally

The tool at http://www.bizzbuzz.dk has never worked for me. If you paste 100 links it will actually show an image on maybe 5 of them…the rest are just white squares…is there a similar tool out there (I could not find one)?

Also, is it normal in this type of link building to find link opportunities only to find tons and tons and tons of the links pointing at them to be of the absolute lowest quality? What starts out as me being excited that I may be able to get some links ends up with me giving up after 5,000 links turns out to be 2 links after I delete the spam sites.

Either way, awesome post as always!

Reply
gaurav

I am struggling in SEO for e-commerce from a long time. i am studying all this seo process for e-commerce and will try to my e-commerce project. what is latest symentic strategy for e-commerce. that will also helpful.

Reply
Josh

Hey,
I just wanted to say great post Brian, I’ve been following you for a few months and I really enjoy how thorough your posts are. I’m glad I found your site!

Reply
Marina

Hi Brian,
I really want to show my appreciation and respect for your unique intelligence (which you put towards all the great work you do) and for the help you provide. You really make it so clear and fully explanatory, even for a non-tech person. Many thanks!

Reply
Brian Dean

You’re welcome, Marina :-)

Reply
Adam

Hi Brian,

Great post. On average, how many people respond to your ‘Moving Man’ outreach emails?

Thanks,
Adam

Reply

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