How to Get High Quality Backlinks in 2021 (7 New Strategies)
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How to Get High Quality Backlinks in 2021 (7 New Strategies)

Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Dec. 30, 2020

How to Get High Quality Backlinks

Today you’re going to learn how to get backlinks in 2021.

In fact, the 7 strategies I’m going to share with you have helped my site rack up 368k total backlinks:

Ahrefs – Backlinko – Backlinks

Let’s get right into the techniques.

1. Become a Source For Reporters and Bloggers (HARO)

Here’s the deal:

If you want to rank on the first page of Google, you need to build backlinks from authority news sites and blogs.

(I’m talking about white hat backlinks from authority news sites and blogs.)

Fortunately, this isn’t as hard as it sounds.

All you need to do is use a free service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

HARO homepage

HARO is like Tinder for public relations.

It connects people that need sources (bloggers and journalists) to people that want links and exposure (you).

And I’ve personally used HARO to build white hat backlinks from mega news sites:

Entrepreneur – Backlink from HARO

And I’m not alone. In fact, I get emails like this from Backlinko readers all the time:

To be clear: this strategy takes work. And it’s not always easy.

But in my experience, it’s one of the BEST ways to build high quality backlinks at scale.

With that, let’s dive into the step-by-step process.

First, register as a source.

register as a source

Next, choose a free or paid plan.

different plans

Then, keep an eye out for requests that you can contribute to.

HARO requests

Finally, send the journalist a VERY brief and valuable pitch.

For example:

A while back I saw a request from someone asking: “What’s the difference between graphic design and web design?”.

So I submitted this pitch:

HARO pitch

And I got this sweet link from Rasmussen.edu (DA70 website):

edu backlink

Not too shabby.

And if you thought HARO was good, wait until you see our next strategy.

2. Publish “Skyscraper” Content

I’ve used “Skyscraper” content to build backlinks from authority sites like Entrepreneur.com:

Entrepreneur – Backlink

Hubspot:

HubSpot – Backlink

And I even got a link from the GoDaddy blog:

GoDaddy – Backlink

Yup, you’ve probably noticed that they’re all linking to the same piece of content: SEO Tools: The Complete List.

Backlinko – SEO tools

Well, my list of SEO tools is a piece of “Skyscraper” content.

And that page has generated 13.5K total backlinks.

Ahrefs – SEO tools – Backlinks

But more important than that, as you just saw, many of those links are quality backlinks from authority sites.

The question is:

How can you do the same thing?

Here’s the step-by-step process:

First, find a piece of content in your industry that’s already performed well (in terms of links).

The easiest way to do that?

A simple Google search.

Just search for your keyword…

Google search – "seo tools"

…and check out the first page results:

SEO Tools – Google SERP

As you know, backlinks are a super important Google ranking signal.

13_Total-External-Backlinks_line

So if a piece of content is ranking on the first page, lots of people have probably linked to it.

That’s step #1.

Next, create a piece of content that’s 5-10x better than what you just found.

For example, last year I noticed that most of SEO tools lists out there were “meh”.

So I decided to create something that was 10x better.

Unlike most other list of SEO tools, my post contained every tool on the market (183 tools!).

SEO tools – Number of tools

Was this piece of content easy to make? Heck no.

But it was worth it. To date, my SEO tools list has been shared on social media over 20,669 times…

SEO tools post – Social shares

…and has backlinks from over 1.04K different domains:

Ahrefs – SEO tools – Referring domains

Finally, promote your “Skyscraper” content.

This is KEY.

Yes, a piece of Skyscraper content already puts you WAY ahead of your competitors.

But to get the most out of your content, you need to actively promote it.

Now:

There are a million ways to promote your content.

So let me show you one quick strategy that works GREAT:

Promote to people that you mention in your post.

For example, I emailed all of the tools that I reviewed in my Skyscraper post. Here’s the exact script that I used:

outreach email

And because I wasn’t pushy or spammy, most of these peeps were more than happy to share my content on social media (some of them even linked to it):

reply to outreach

With that, let’s move onto our next strategy…

Using “The Moving Man Method” I recently scored links from…

A DA87 .edu site:

.EDU site backlink

A PA81 resource page:

Resource page backlink

And several contextual links from relevant sites in the SEO and online marketing space, like this:

Editorial site backlink

And this:

Ultimate SEO Checklist – Backlink

And now it’s time for the steps.

1. Your first step is to find sites in your industry that have:

  • Changed names
  • Moved to a new URL
  • Stopped offering a service
  • Stopped updating a resource
  • Shut down

How about an example?

A while back SEOMoz changed their name to Moz (and moved their site from SEOmoz.org to Moz.com):

moz changes names

After I heard the news, I realized that this was a PERFECT opportunity to reach out to the hundreds of people still linking to the outdated SEOMoz.org URLs.

2. Our second step is to find sites still linking to the old, outdated URL

This step is important:

Now that you’ve found a site that recently re-branded or a site feature that’s no longer there, it’s time to find all of the links pointing to that page.

Just grab the URL of the outdated resource and put it into your backlink checking tool of choice.

Ahrefs – Site Explorer – seomoz

(I’m using Ahrefs in this example but there are lots of link building tools that you can use to do the same thing.)

Then, check out all the sites that link to the old URLs.

link profile

Depending on the site, you should have quite a few link opportunities to work with.

Either way, you want to focus on sites that have the highest Domain Authority (DA).

Then, move onto step 3…

3. Last up, reach out and get your links.

Your last step is to reach out to all of the people that still link to the outdated resource.

You want to give them a quick heads up about their outdated link…and gently suggest that they add your link to their site.

I tested a few different outreach email scripts for my SEOmoz/Moz campaign. Here’s the one that worked best:

Outreach script

And because I added value to their site twice (once from the heads up about their outdated link and again by showing them my valuable resource) people were more than happy to add my link to their page:

Email response

That’s all there is to it 🙂

As you might have heard, a while ago BuzzSumo did a study of 1 million blog posts and articles:

buzzsumo moz study

So, what did they find?

They discovered that most content is completely ignored.

In fact, they found that 75% of all online content gets ZERO links.

(Zero!)

Zero links graph

That’s the bad news.

The good news is, they found that certain TYPES of content performed great.

Specifically, they discovered that the following content formats tended to generate lots of backlinks:

content type and links

In other words, if you want to get backlinks, focus on these content formats:

  • List Posts
  • Quizzes
  • “Why” Posts
  • “How to” Posts
  • Infographics
  • Videos

And I’ve seen these content formats produce results firsthand.

For example, here’s a post on my site that’s been linked to over 623 times:

Ahrefs – Content relaunch – Backlinks

(Including a handful of links from high Domain Authority sites.)

Sure enough, that post is one of the formats I listed above: a how to post.

viral content infographic

How about another example?

This list of SEO techniques has 3.73k backlinks to date.

Backlinko – SEO techniques

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The BuzzSumo study found that lists posts outperformed every other content format that they looked at.

list post and links

In fact, the authors of the study conclude that: “List posts appear to perform consistently well as a content format in terms of both shares and links.”

Am I saying: “Just publish a bunch of infographics and lists posts?”

Of course not.

If you want to get backlinks today, your content has to be amazing.

But these formats give you a starting point for writing amazing content that actually works.

Speaking of content formats…

5. Publish Ultimate Guides

You already know that the only way to move your site to the top of Google is to build high quality backlinks (and lots of them).

That much is clear.

But HOW do you get other sites to actually link to you?

Ultimate Guides.

Seriously.

Ultimate Guides are absolute link MAGNETS.

For example, here’s an Ultimate Guide to link building that I published a while back:

Backlinko – Link building guide

Even though I wrote that guide 3 years ago, it continues to generate links today (in 2021).

Link Building Guide – Backlink

Why do Ultimate Guides work so well?

First, comprehensive guides tend to contain A LOT of content on a single page. In fact, my guide to link building is a whopping 4,834 words.

According to lots of SEO ranking factor studies (including ours), long-form content tends to perform better in Google than short articles:

02_Content Total Word Count_line

Also, ultimate guides cover an entire topic on a single page.

And because your guide is the “go-to” resource for a topic, people will link to it whenever they write about that topic on their blog:

link to guide

Here’s exactly how to create an ultimate guide, step-by-step.

1. Your first step is to find a topic for your guide.

This is important.

You want to choose a popular topic that hasn’t been covered to death already.

(In other words: you don’t want to publish the 18th ultimate guide on a topic.)

Instead, choose a topic that hasn’t been covered to death yet.

For example, when I published my link building guide, I noticed the first page of Google had some helpful posts…

link building posts

…but NO ultimate guides.

I also considered writing an ultimate guide to SEO. But there were already a thousand guides on that topic:

seo guides

So I went with link building. And it worked out GREAT.

2. Next, outline your ultimate guide.

This is easy.

Just list out subtopics that make up your larger topic.

For example, for my link building guide, I simply listed out subtopics like this:

  • What is link building?
  • Black hat SEO
  • White hat SEO
  • Anchor text
  • Content
  • Email outreach
  • Advanced tips

And many of these subtopics each became sections of my guide:

contents

3. Lastly, write your Ultimate Guide.

And remember:

Don’t be afraid to cover EVERYTHING there is to know about a topic.

That way, your guide will be seen as THE definitive resource.

(And like I mentioned earlier, longer content tends to generate more backlinks, shares… and higher rankings in Google.)

Let’s jump right into strategy #6.

6. Use Branded Strategies and Techniques

Remember strategy #3 from this guide?

Build links from outdated resources

You might have noticed that I didn’t just outline the strategy… I also named it.

Moving Man Method – Named strategy

This wasn’t the first time that I mentioned the “Moving Man Method” in a blog post.

In fact, thanks to naming my strategy, people link to my content on The Moving Man Method all the time:

backlink

(People even publish entire blog posts about it.)

blog post about named strategy

And those links ONLY happened because I gave my strategy a memorable name.

How about another example?

Ramit Sethi created a strategy for looking like a rockstar at meetings called “The Briefcase Technique“:

post by ramit

And because Ramit named his strategy, he got a bunch of amazing links:

editorial link

Now that you’ve seen how well this can work, it’s time to cover the specific steps:

Step #1: Develop a Unique Strategy, Tip or Tactic

This sounds hard… but it isn’t.

All you need to do is come up with a strategy that has SOMETHING unique about it.

(In other words, the entire strategy doesn’t need to be unique.)

Derek Halpern puts it best:

Derek Halpern

You may not have unique ingredients, but you’ve got a unique recipe.

And that unique recipe is all that matters.

Derek Halpern
Derek Halpern

For example, lets look at The Moving Man Method.

People have been using broken link building as part of their link building campaigns for ages.

So what made my strategy different?

My unique twist was that the links weren’t necessarily broken (as in, they didn’t necessarily show a 404 error).

The links I used for The Moving Man Method technically worked… they were just outdated:

outdated link

And that was enough.

Step #2: Next, name your strategy.

I called my strategy The Moving Man Method because you’re helping the site owner “move” their link.

Not the most creative name, but it gets the job done.

So yeah, just make sure the name describes what your strategy does.

Other than that, try to use one of these words in your strategy name:

  • Method
  • Technique
  • Approach
  • System
  • Blueprint

You get the idea 🙂

Step #3: Publish the strategy as part of a blog post.

Your last step is to show people that your new strategy actually works.

How?

Publish your strategy in the form of a blog post (preferably a case study).

(That way, people have something to link to when they reference your technique.)

For example, here’s the post I used to announce The Moving Man Method to the world:

backlinko post

In this post I didn’t just say: “Look at my new strategy. It probably works!”.

Instead, I showed people PROOF that The Moving Man Method gets results:

contextual backlink

And that 1-2 punch (a branded strategy + proof) is an asset that can result in HUNDREDS of backlinks.

Which brings us to our last strategy…

7. Authority Resource Pages

Resource pages are a link builder’s dream.

Why? They’re pages that exist solely to link out to other sites.

Here’s an example:

resource page example

And here’s an example of a link that I recently landed from a resource page:

resource page backlink

You might be wondering

“OK, that’s great. But how can I get links from resource pages”?

Like every strategy in this post, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process:

First, you need to find resource pages.

These can be tricky to find. Very few people call their resource page a “resource page”.

Instead, people tend to describe their pages with terms like:

“helpful resources”

“useful resources”

“further reading”

“additional resources”

So to find these pages, you just need to search for these terms… plus a keyword.

For example, let’s say you just published an article about link building.

You’d do a Google search using this keyword:

Search string

And within 5 seconds I found a massive list of link building resources:

link building page

Second, now that you’ve found a resource page, it’s time to reach out and (nicely) ask for a link.

(Pro Tip: Check the resource page for outdated or broken links BEFORE you reach out. Letting the someone know about their broken link can 2-5x your conversion rate compared to straight up asking for a link.)

Here’s the email script that I recommend:

To be clear:

This script is just a starting point.

The more you personalize your outreach emails, the more links you’ll get.

But his proven script is a proven outline that you can start with.

Every once and a while someone will mention you in a blog post…

…but won’t actually link to your site.

Here’s an example:

unlinked mention

See how that person mentioned my site… but didn’t link to me?

That’s called an “Unlinked Brand Mention”.

These mentions are relatively easy to get backlinks from.

Why?

The author of the post already mentioned you. Which means they like you.

So you just need to send them this friendly email:

And you’re set.

Bonus Strategy #2: Send “Feeler” Emails

When it comes to email outreach, you have two options:

Option #1: Ask people for links in your first email

Option #2: Use a “feeler” email

From running hundreds of link building campaigns, I’ve found that both approaches can work.

But I’ve ALSO found that so-called “Feeler” emails increase conversions by 40%+.

So: what are “Feeler” emails?

Feeler emails are messages you send to prospects without asking for a link.

(You’re “feeling out” whether or not they’re receptive to your outreach… before you make a link pitch.)

Here’s an example:

Mike outreach email

See how Mike doesn’t ask for a link? Instead, he asks the person if they’d like to see it first.

IF they say “yes”, you send them your pitch:

Mike outreach email follow-up

In Mike’s case, the “Feeler” email got 40% more responses vs. asking for a link in the first email.

Outreach reply stats

Very cool.

What Do You Think?

There you have it: seven proven ways to get backlinks in 2021.

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Which strategy from today’s post are you going to use first?

Are you excited to publish an Ultimate Guide?

Or maybe you want to test “Feeler” emails.

Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

1003 Comments

  1. Hey Brian
    Killer strategy – this takes broken link building to a new (and easier to execute) level. I’m going to have to start an encyclopedia of all your techniques. This is great creative linkbuilding.
    Cheers!
    Loz

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your kind words, Loz! You’re so right: in many ways this is easier and more scalable than broken link building. I’ve definitely had a lot of success with it lately. Give me a heads up if you decide to give it a go 🙂

    1. BrianPedia.com – make it happen!

  2. Mikk Avatar Mikksays:

    Yummie, will implement this ASAP on my new niche site. Probably it will convert well also.

    By the way, where do you come up with such names “The Moving Man Method”, it’s catchy, but lol 😀

    Cheers

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Nice Mikk! Keep me posted on how the strategy works out for your niche site. The names usually come to me suddenly when I’m walking around the streets of Berlin 🙂

  3. Very interesting and useful. But you can get backlinks from forums also. My site is built in Joomla so I went and searched for Joomla forums, mostly I found nacional forums from countries like are Germany, Italy, Spain, France…and those forums are very active. I checked if I can saw as unregistered user other peoples profiles and signatures, and mostly I can, so i add my homepage and signature with three links on those forums. And you do not need to write on forums to get backlinks.:)

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your comment, Robert.

      I’m actually not a huge fan of forum backlinks. Forums are great for driving targeted traffic, but in my opinion, I don’t think Google places a lot of weight on forum backlinks 🙁

  4. I’ve had much success using this technique, I think the reason why many just pass this technique by is because they simply cannot be ‘bothered’. To be completely honest, those who didn’t already have an idea of this, just don’t have the brain power(intelligence) or drive to complete real SEO. Fact!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re 100% right: techniques like this can get pretty time and resource intensive. But they’re definitely doable if you’re willing to put in the work. Like you, I like it when SEO gets harder because it raises the barrier to entry. Great points all around, Jordan!

      1. The technique itself seems to kinda fall into category of manually emailing and asking for a link back (aka knock on doors or leg work), but the way of building the contact list is unique. This strategy might or might not work for niche topic sites where you can find at the most 5 sites to email (not my case, just wanted to point out for others). I would say this should probably be reserved for when more simple tasks (e.g. email sites that link to your competitors) are complete to maximize productivity and outcome.

        Brian, would you say for outsourcing a task like this or similar the email should come from an email on your domain to make the request look less farmed-out compare to say bob12345@gmail.com that a random freelancer might have?

        p.s. Need to fix “nameMoz” to “name to Moz” in the post

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Good points all around, Lilia. This is definitely an email outreach focused approach (in my experience those are the strategies that work best). I tend to use my email just for the sake of transparency. I think it’s a bit shady to pretend that you’re just some random person.

          Thanks for the heads up about the typo. Fixed 🙂

  5. Brian, your always so creative. Your one of the main guys I follow when it comes to white hat methods. You’re always giving actionable advice. Thanks mate!
    Oh…l can see your naming most of your strategies too!! nice! I heard that strategy from Derek Halpern..

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Kheng! I appreciate that. Yes, naming your strategies is a great way to establish your brand and make your advice more memorable. Derek is a master at that (his Drafting Technique was brilliant!).

  6. Gustav Avatar Gustavsays:

    Hey Brian,
    It’s always a pleasure to read your great posts filled with tips – really! I will implement all the tricks asap to my sites, and hope for the best 😉

    Greertings – Gustav

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Really glad to hear that, Gustav! Keep me posted on how this strategy works with your sites 🙂

      1. Gustav Avatar Gustavsays:

        Thanks, I will keep you posted 🙂
        I have actually a really quick question for you, Brian. When you’re writing for example: “A PA81 resource page:” What does “PA81” stands for? Or “DA87” for that matter 😉
        I know you probably already have explained this, but I have unfortunately missed it..

        I’m hoping for an answer,
        Greetings Gustav

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          No problem. PA stands for “Page Authority” and DA stands for “Domain Authority”. They’re two metrics developed by Moz as alternatives to PageRank.

  7. boni satani Avatar boni satanisays:

    Awesome (y) Head’s up for that man! Darn creative technique

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Boni. Shoot me an email if you ever have any questions.

  8. Wolston Lobo Avatar Wolston Lobosays:

    WOW! Just when I thought all the smart strategies have been covered you come up with another one. I have not seen this one anywhere else on the net and it is surely worth a try. There are so many brands that change their name and go through re-branding. I’m sure this idea will catch steam but for early adopters… This is pure gold.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Wolston! It’s so true that brands change names and re-brand (literally) very single day. Considering that, I think this approach will be around for the long haul and (hopefully) won’t get burned out like so many other link building strategies.

  9. Nice stuff Brian! Like the name “Moving Man Method”. I’m definitely gonna be giving this a go for the new niche authority site I’m building. Btw, what was your link:email ratio like for this method?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Richard :-). This is a great strategy for a new site.

      I didn’t track the conversion rate for this campaign. But I’d say it averaged around 10% or so.

  10. Vukasin Avatar Vukasinsays:

    Very nice Brian. Those are some powerful ways to instantly help people better rank their sites with some additional backlinks on higher PR sites.
    Thank you for this.
    I will try this method and I will keep you notified if I see some results.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad to hear you got value from the post, Vukasin. This is definitely a great way to get links from high PR, niche relevant sites.

  11. Shekhar,
    Can I suggest using outsourcing for this if you don’t have time? The content that you are hoping to have linked to has to be top notch, so I don’t suggest outsourcing that… but the outreach can all be done via a virtual assistant. If you don’t have a va, get one. Or pay someone to use theirs!

    Brian, always awesome content and names for your strategies!! Keep it up!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s a really good suggestion. I agree: everything but the content could be (easily and cheaply) outsourced.

      Glad you liked the post, Adam 🙂

    1. Jake Avatar Jakesays:

      Great idea Adam, thanks for the idea!

    1. Josh Avatar Joshsays:

      Im confused how do we find the business that are gone

      1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

        I’d use these search strings, Josh:

        “service not available”
        “page no longer exists”
        “this website is no longer updated”
        “this page is no longer updated”
        “no longer available”
        “website closed”
        “service no longer available”

        1. Samuel Denning Avatar Samuel Denningsays:

          Hey Brian I really like this post and I m interested in using this form of backlinking but I’m having trouble finding any outdated pages within my niche. If you could help me out I would appreciate it. Thanks and have a good day!

  12. Interesting post Brian, and a reason why some of my expired domains are losing a few links 😉

    I always found broken link building to be quite laborious and tedious as compared to other methods – such as guest posting and infographics… which of course, if done correctly, bring a lot more value than just a link.

    I’ve seen you use all three – how would you rank them (1, 2, 3) and why?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Tough question. If I had to rank them I’d also take into account the other benefits they can bring (namely, traffic and brand exposure).

      So I’d say: infographics, broken link building and guest posting in that order. But it’s a close race.

      I’d put guest posting higher (because you can get laser targeted traffic from it), but you have to do it right to make sure those links pass value over the long-term.

  13. As usual a great method. The only problem is that there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to try out all these tactics! I wish I had a team member to assign to each method you post lol.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for reading, Julian. As Adam Roseland pointed out, this is a great strategy for outsourcing to a VA. You could have him search daily or weekly for the search strings I provided in Google News or PRWeb, find the links pointing to the old resource and then reach out. It will definitely take some time to show him the ropes, but if you’re strapped for time, it’s a way to tap into the strategy without having to find extra time in the day.

  14. Impressive indeed. Thanks for sharing this Brian. Sure, it may require time being spent finding and getting the link placed but these are exactly the types of links that the big G are looking for in a sites link profile.

    These links will be much loved by Google as they are links that the site owner; A) Didn’t mass produce and B) Didn’t create themselves. On top of that the site linking to your site is relevant AND trusted.

    Yep, these are the links that will make a difference to your sites ranking. For this reason they are worth spending the time doing or paying your outsourcer to do for you.

    Either way, this is a winner.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Couldn’t have said it better, Michael. These are the exact types of links that work right now (and will always work). So like you, I see strategies like this well worth the investment.

      1. Henry Avatar Henrysays:

        The only question remains, how to find relevant niches without browsing the net for hours ?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          It definitely takes some work to find a relevant and outdated resource, Henry. But it’s something you can easily outsource 🙂

  15. I just love your tips Brian. Thank you for making it so easy to understand and I love the step by step. I work along as I read and just see for myself how easy it can be by following your SEO “recipes”. 😀

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks! I work hard to make the strategies simple and easy to follow. As a passionate cook, I love the “recipe” analogy.

      Go cook up those delicious links, Crystal 🙂

  16. hey brian, It seems to me like in order to get those quality high authority links from these sites based on the moving man method, i’d need to have written some very very very good content then being able to share them with these sites…i like the approach, it forces to create amazing content, then networking to share them and getting links…nice job

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s very true. Great content can really bump up conversions with this strategy (or any link building technique that required email outreach). Good points, Rob!

  17. Would love to read this whole post again with fresh mind in fresh morning air 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      No worries. It’ll be there tomorrow 🙂

  18. Really smart strategy. I enjoyed reading your post very much. Tweet!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Krystian! I’m glad you got something from the post. Send me an email if you have any questions.

  19. Great post Brian! Just a quick question, this method uses your ‘heads-up’ email technique. What sort of conversion or response can one expect to get? Keep up the excellent work! Looking forward to more gems from you 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Dee! I didn’t track conversions on this particular campaign, but I’d say it was around 10%. I’ll definitely keep track the next time I try this strategy and post it here.

  20. What a great idea! I’ve done broken link building before, but never thought about using it for pages that don’t return 404s. Very clever.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Takeshi! I actually discovered this by accident. I used to manually click on all working links on high PR pages to see if there were any outdated pages that the broken link checkers missed.

      And I thought to myself: “there has to be a way to scale this.” Tthen I realized that most big sites publicly announce that they’ve changed names.

  21. Great post, Brian. You know, the first thing that popped into my head was “gosh, what a pain in the butt…”. Then I thought, that’s exactly why this is a great idea. Sure it’s a pain, but it’s a pain for everyone. And if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

    Just curious, is this something that you work on yourself or do you have an assistant handle much of the research?

    Thanks,
    Gerrid

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Gerrid! The Moving Man Method is not a push-button process. But as you said, anything that’s easy gets gamed and ultimately devalued by Big G. It’s the “hard” stuff like this that works now and will ALWAYS work.

      It’s a combination of me and an assitant. I usually test out a strategy myself first so I can refine some things and make sure it actually works. Then I create systems (email scripts, research steps, search strings etc.) that I can hand to a staffer.

  22. Awesome ides to get backlinks, Brian! Love how you produce actionable (with photos) content we can put to use right away. Sad people are looking for automation, you’re right, backlinking in 2013 is hard/time consuming. Marketing got hard.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I try, Adam! I agree 100%: automation is for my coffee maker, not my marketing. Creative marketing strategies are just crushing it right now.

  23. That’s a nice strategy Brian..Every webmaster will love this, as you not only helped them to get rid of a useless or pointless link, but made the work easier..The only thing which we need to take care of is, building high-quality pages, so that admin doesn’t mind linking to it…

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Harsh! You’re absolutely right: your outreach email is usually well received. But as you pointed out, you definitely want to have a great resource in place so they have something they’d actually want to link to. Really good point.

  24. Another Boss piece of work from Brian. I’ve subscribed now so I don’t miss and further “Ramblings” 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for signing up Kevin. I think you’ll also enjoy some of my email-based ramblings 🙂

  25. Ryan Avatar Ryansays:

    Hi Brian,
    Can you share the results of your study (conversion rate, time spent ect.)? While it’s definitely possible to get some really great links, from my personal experience, blb (and I will assume the moving man method will produce similar results in terms of CR) is not worth the time even (unless outsourced) in the best case scenario- a highly authoritative site building edu and gov backlinks.

    It should also be noted that if you don’t have a site that’s worthy of being added to an educational or government institution’s resources page, this strategy is not for you…. There’s been a lot of hype about blb but at the end of the day, I think your time would be better spent elsewhere.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Ryan,

      I actually didn’t track anything that closely for this campaign (but I have another case study planned and will do that next time). But I’d say my conversion rate here averaged around 10%.

      I still think that BLB or the Moving Man Method is worth the time if you’re targeting high quality sites. Even if it takes a few hours to get a handful of quality links, the long-term ROI you’ll get from the increase in search engine traffic more than makes up for it.

      And if you outsource it, the ROI gets even better. But you’re right that it totally depends on where you want to put your business’s resources. If SEO is a small part of your revenue, then it probably doesn’t make sense to invest the time into this type of link building.

  26. It really works. One of the screen shots is actually of my site where Brian reached out and let me know I was linking to a broken resource which I was grateful for. Then his content was easily good enough to deserve a place in the resource list

  27. Nice strategy, Brian!
    How do you come up with this stuff?
    I’ll have to put it to work for my site… can’t wait!
    Looking forward to the release of your new course. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Todd! I usually come up with these strategies by accident. In this case, I knew from experience that there were a lot of outdated or closed resources that didn’t show up using broken link checking tools. And I’d sometimes click every single link on the page for really high PR pages. Needless to say, that got old really fast.

      That’s when I thought: “there has to be another way.” Then the Moving Man Method was born.

      Glad to have you aboard, Nick. Look forward to hanging out with you in the SEO That Works member’s area 🙂

  28. Chris Carter Avatar Chris Cartersays:

    Brian,
    I love this method. I especially like the give before you get aspect. I am totally opposed to buying backlinks but this I can work with. I have a friend who is an oncology esthetician and I will definitely be pointing her at this article. I dont do roll up your sleeves SEO but this I thinnk I can work with. Thanks. Great article. Has a nice beat and you can dance to it.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for sharing my article with your friend Chris!

      I totally agree: you have to give value before you expecting anything in return. As you know, people are busy and it takes time out of their busy schedule to add your link. But I’ve found that if you can lend them a hand by making their site better, they’ll be happy to hook you up.

  29. Whoa Brian,
    That’s a brilliant method. I think you’re more of a Scientist than a Blogger 🙂
    Way to go. Thanks a lot.

    Cheers!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Amal, I’m always happy to help.
      I actually used to work as a clinical researcher, so maybe that’s where the scientific influence comes into play 🙂

      Let me know if you need help with anything.

  30. Very useful information i like it and your interview page 🙂 cool

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Shamsher. Yeah, I was really happy with how the interview infographic turned out.

  31. Thanks Brian for the awesome article. It’s a bit time consuming but still a great method to add to my SEO arsenal.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for reading, Shahrul. It’s definitely a strategy worth adding to your arsenal. Let me know how it works out for you.

  32. Hi Brian,
    Very Impressive link building strategy. After reading first step I was little bit confused that but when I complete reading whole post I find it very awesome way to try. I am surely going to try this for my campaigns.
    Thanks for sharing.!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Vijay! These new strategies can get confusing at first so I try to include lots of examples so that it’s easy to read and implement. Glad to hear that I was able to help 🙂

  33. Hi Brian,
    Great idea as ever, one I will definitely bank and try when i get the time, unlike some of the comments above I have no interest in outsourcing everything, nor automating the entire process, it is this new level of SEO that makes it exciting and rewarding, all the automating and cheap/quick results are gone and that is a good thing. I have been working my magic on a skyscraper idea for a client of mine and seeing some positive results, so thanks for that. Looking forward to trying the ‘Moving Man’ approach 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Aaron. I’m with you 110%: this is the best time ever to be in SEO. There’s a place for automation and outsourcing to streamlining this process. But many people are still stuck in 2011 and haven’t updated their game for the new SEO world we live in. Which means there’s a lot of opportunities out there.

      Glad to hear the Skyscraper Technique has worked well for you. Keep me posted on the results you get from that campaign (and when you get a chance to implement this one) 🙂

  34. This is one of the reasons why I SEO is part Art and Part Science. Will try this method also.
    Thanks Brain

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Very well said, Adegboye. It’s an amazing industry to be a part of for that very reason. Glad to hear that you’re going to give the strategy a shot. Let me know if you have any questions along the way.

  35. Another truly EPIC post from Brian. You have showed from this post that there are indeed other ways of getting really high quality backlinks but of course the problem is that most of us are too lazy to think of other ways; it’s just easier to jump on the bandwagon and do what everyone else is dong.

    Anyway, thanks for the many great “aha” moments that am sure most people will get from this awesome post!

    I found this shared on the Internet marketing social networking and bookmarking site, Kingged.com and I “kingged” it, as usual.
    https://www.kingged.com/how-to-get-high-quality-backlinks-without-guest-posting/

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for “Kinning” the post, Sunny.

      You’re so right: there are dozens of awesome link building opportunities out there
      that aren’t discussed very often on blogs and forums. In fact, one of the reasons I
      created Backlinko was to teach SEO professionals these outside-the-box strategies
      so they could use them to grow their business.

      1. You meant to say thanks to me for “kingging” the post, right, Brian, 🙂

        The “king this”, “king that”, “kingged” and “kingging” concept hasn’t taken off yet, but it will, just a matter of time. And from what the founder of Kingged.com has in store, it looks like it’s going places, 🙂

        Still on the topic, I remember reading once in the Warriorforum where someone tried to bring you down in your shared thread about the 200 ranking factors. Many such people find it so easy to talk other people down and stick to their old age beliefs about rankings and SEO. They obviously don’t do their own homeworks to know what still works or doesn’t or what better way to do things. You do, so you are definitely worth listening to!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Yup, that’s what I meant. Conjugating “King” as a verb is a little tricky 🙂

          I’m definitely rooting for your site to do well, Sunny.

          I actually saw that thread too. I almost added my 2 cents, but as you pointed out, there’s
          no point getting into an argument with haters like that.

  36. floriefe may Avatar floriefe maysays:

    Good reviews from you Brian!

    Thank you for giving such resourceful and amazing ideas. It is very helpful and I must say that you really have good point regarding giving tips down there.

    Highly appreciate it!
    I found and “kingged” this on the Internet marketing social site Kingged.com

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Floriefe. I’m glad to hear I helped you learn something new. Thanks for reading and shoot me an email if you have any questions along the way.

  37. Great post Brian as usual, I really like this out of the box approach to link building which is why I visit your blog.

    When I think about the possibilities this strategy has for both niche and authority sites it makes my head hurt! I’m off to hunt for those “broken” links.

    – Lewis 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for reading, Lewis. I always try to bring something fresh to the table every time that I publish. So it’s nice to hear I’m on the right track. You’re right: there are an insane amount of possibilities with the Moving Man Method.

  38. Awesome Brian! You really inspired me with this one. I know another agency that just rebranded. I won’t tell which one! 😉

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for stopping by, Tad! That’s awesome that you found another opportunity already (I’d keep it to myself too) 🙂

  39. Kyle Swanbeck Avatar Kyle Swanbecksays:

    This is a great strategy Brian. I will be using this awesome idea to my advantage and sharing this with my team so we can maximize our results. I appreciate you sharing some trade secrets like this.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Kyle. Glad to see you’ll be using this to get some high-octane links for your clients. Let me know if you have any questions about the process.

  40. “Who said that you need budget for guest posting to gain quality links?”

    Great article Brian, this is helpful especially for people who want to get high quality links but low on budget.

    I use your queries but finding related sites is a pain so I derived this query from your PRWeb technique which helped me a lot: “press release” “rebrand” “keyword”

    Looking forward to more of your creative link building ideas.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Absolutely, Marck! There’s a place for guest posting, but it shouldn’t be the only link building strategy someone uses.

      Thanks for sharing that search string. Very nice! That’s really helpful because it allows you to find press releases that
      aren’t published on PRWeb.

  41. Inspiring Post Brian! Thanks for sharing this strategy.
    Keep up the great work 😉
    Bela

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your feedback Bela! Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  42. This is a clever one Brian! Kind of similar to another method, and that is to point out broken links (anything that’s broken on a page for that matter) to webmasters, and hoping/asking/begging that they will add a link to you as a thank-you.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Matt. You’re right: that strategy is actually what inspired the Moving Man Method (in my experience it works just as well, if not better!).

  43. Pat Avatar Patsays:

    Hey Brian,
    Great post! I’m going to start using this method soon. I have a random question for you. Have you noticed any of your new sites disappearing from Google shortly after you start building links to them? I have a new site (2 months) that I have built 3 links to and it has all of a sudden lost all of its rankings. it’s still indexed, just not anywhere to be found in the top 200 for search terms that it had been in the top 10-20 for. Just wondering if this is normal for a new site. Should I just keep moving along with my link building? Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you liked the post, Pat. This is pretty normal for new sites. New sites tend to dance around until Google finds a semi-permanent place for it. Definitely continue building links to at a slow and steady pace and you’ll be back in business 🙂

  44. Great tip Brian, But when using search strings it shows global results i mean shut down websites of every niche, How we can mix it up to get shut down niche specific website?

    Thanks

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Sachin. You can actually just add some keywords after the search string. So if you were looking for “this resource is no longer available”, you should just do something like: “this resource is no longer available” + fitness.

      1. Ha ha I copy pasted same example you given me in the Google and Google fired backlinko.com/high-quality-backlinks‎ on first spot. But ya i could able to find opportunity to get link from. Thanks

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          LOL. I’ve had that happen to me before too 🙂

  45. Wow! nice work Brian. I will try this 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Anil! Let me know how it works out for you.

  46. Thanks Mate its awesome article to get high do follow backlinks its helped me a lot and thanks for that

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure! Glad you got some value from it.

  47. Jenny Craig Avatar Jenny Craigsays:

    Hi Brian thanks for a great blog! A completely separate question I would love your input on. I just started a couple of new different sites for fun and was thinking to link to my main business site the question is does it matter when I link to my main site? Would it be better to link to my site right away or to wait until my new sites have gathered some authority?

    Thanks again for an amazing resource!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your kind words, Jenny. I’m happy to help 😀

      Good question. I like to mix it up. Sometimes I link right away and sometimes I wait a few months. That variety helps things look nice and natural 🙂

  48. Arbaz Khan Avatar Arbaz Khansays:

    Hi Brian,
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful strategy. All the webmasters are going to love this way to build awesome backlinks to their sites. I am lucky to have found this site for myself as I am currently building backlinks only for my blogs. Now I don’t need to rely much on Guest blogging 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Arbaz. You’re right: this is a great way to add some non-guest post links to your link profile.

  49. Thanks Brian,
    This was some great info on how to build quality backlinks 😉
    I have bookmarked this so I can come back and read up.
    You are a great writer in my book and hope to see more from you.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you got some value out of the post. Let me know if you have any questions for me 😀

  50. Michelle Avatar Michellesays:

    Brian, thanks for sharing this tip!

    One question though – I found a few .EDU sites with broken links on their ‘Resources’ page… however I don’t know how to contact the webmaster! I tried webmaster@domain.edu but I immediately got a message on my inbox saying that the email doesn’t exist. Any help on this? They don’t usually have a ‘Contact Us’ page and their email isn’t published so I’m stuck on this step.

    Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you enjoyed it Michelle! I’d take a look at the footer of the page. Around 60% of .edu sites have a webmaster email address there. Otherwise, I’d go to the homepage of that section of the site and see if they have a list of contacts/staff. If all else fails you can send a message using the site’s main contact form to ask them the webmaster’s contact information.

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