What Is the Skyscraper Technique for Link Building?

Minimal search visibility makes all your content creation efforts futile. 

If no one finds your content and visits your website when they’re searching for solutions to their problems on the internet, then you’re in serious trouble. 

No traffic – no conversions – no revenue. 

That’s why many businesses, desperate in their attempts to attract their target audience and make up for the lack of organic traffic, try to use alternative promotion channels. Such as social media. But, boosting their new post on Facebook or Instagram and over-promoting it usually leads to unsatisfactory results. 

Instead of improved visibility, what they achieve is annoying their audience. 

No wonder that people decide to ignore, hide, or even unfollow a brand after having their social media feeds bombarded with one and the same post all over again. 

It’s obvious that increasing your website traffic organically is a much better option.

But how do you make your website more prominent and visible in search engines without the luxury of a hefty budget? 

The answer is through a combination of SEO tactics, including the skyscraper link-building technique designed to help you build high-quality links and drive organic referrals. 

What Is the Skyscraper Technique?

You already know that a strong link building strategy is the cornerstone of every successful SEO effort.  But it’s also important to note that content is essential to link building.

Given that links are among the top three ranking signals in Google’s algorithm, it makes perfect sense that you should put in substantial effort into ensuring you’ve got enough backlinks from trustworthy sources pointing to your website. 

No wonder that marketers try to hack the system and build as many high-quality links the easy way, using manipulative methods. For this reason, Google keeps a close eye on how backlinks are built and penalizes those who resort to questionable tricks. 

According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, natural links are earned and editorially placed – something the Skyscraper Technique can help you achieve. 

This technique was developed in 2015 by Brian Dean of Backlinko, with the purpose of earning valuable editorially placed links at scale through creating engaging, link-worthy content. 

It can be boiled down into three steps: 

  • Finding exceptional content that a lot of authority websites link to 
  • Creating a new and more superior piece of content on the same topic and publishing it on your website .
  • Promoting your content and letting the sources that link to the original piece know that you’ve created an updated and improved version of it. 

The metaphor is obvious – outperforming the existing well-positioned piece of content by building upon and expanding the idea it discusses, which will result in constructing an even taller building that will tower above all the other similar content pieces. 

If the concept of improving the existing high-quality content and creating something even better and more comprehensive sounds familiar, you’re right. It resembles creating 10X content, but the Skyscraper Technique is much more effective when it comes to link building and generating organic search traffic. 

Using the 3 core principles of the Skyscraper Technique, Dean managed to double the overall search traffic to Backlinko in just 14 days. What’s even more stunning is that a single piece of content he created has attracted more than 300,000 referral visits to his website. 

Not bad, right? 

Why Is the Skyscraper Technique So Effective? 

The thing is that in order to build and earn high-quality links, you need to create relevant, informative, educational, and entertaining content. 

It’s only logical that respectable websites will be more than happy to link back to the insightful content that adds value to their readers. 

But where’s the catch with links being that crucial for SEO and Google? 

Let’s do a little sleuthing. 

Pick any keyword phrase that comes to your mind, run a Google search, and check out the top result you get. 

Then use a tool for analyzing backlinks such as Monitor Backlinks to explore the web page that’s sitting at the top of Google’s search results. You’ll discover that it features a number of stellar backlinks pointing to it. 

In other words, the more backlinks point to a certain page, the higher its search visibility is. 

But, we have to emphasize one more time that the quality of those backlinks plays a crucial role in the success of this process. Those coming from shady sources that aren’t credible don’t count. Moreover, they can only damage your reputation, so make sure to disavow them. 

Another factor that you have to pay attention to is the relevance of those backlinks. If you wrote a blog post about the most common health issues in cats, having a number of furniture, car, or consumer electronics-related websites linking back to it would be considered pretty strange. 

Google would rightfully conclude that these backlinks are absolutely irrelevant to the topic of your blog post and lower your rankings. 

On the other hand, if a number of credible veterinary sources and cat-related websites link to your blog post, then it’s a sign that your content provides real value to their audiences. As a result, Google will reward you with higher rankings. 

With the help of the Skyscraper Technique, you will be able to build high-quality, relevant links at scale using tried-and-true, awesome content. 

In a nutshell, you’re not only producing exquisite content but also amplifying and transforming it into active capital capable of increasing your rankings, improving your search visibility, and generating a lot of organic traffic. 

Before we delve into how the Skyscraper Technique works, it would be a good idea to touch upon the Shotgun Skyscraper. 

What Is the Shotgun Skyscraper Technique? 

You can probably guess that this technique is Skyscraper on steroids. 

It was trademarked by Mark Webster and Gael Breton of Authority Hacker, and although it heavily relies on the original Skyscraper Technique, Shotgun additionally enhances its effectiveness. 

The first part of the process is the same as in the Skyscraper Technique – finding the content with lots of high-quality backlinks, topping it by creating a better, more in-depth piece with more media, and then reaching out to those who link back to the original piece and asking them to link back to you. 

In the regular Skyscraper, the last step, that is, the outreach is increasingly personalized, which means that it takes a lot of time and energy to create it. In other words, you’d have to send a personalized email message to every website owner who links back to your competitors’ content and ask them to link back to you. 

Now imagine how long it would take you in case there are 500 links. 

Automating Your Outreach 

The Shotgun Skyscraper Technique streamlines this last step of the process with the help of email outreach automation tools. This way, you can create and send outreach campaigns at scale using semi-customized email templates. 

We’re talking about hundreds of emails a day instead of no more than 20. 

While it’s true that semi-automating your email outreach means somewhat lower response rates, it makes up for this downside by securing more links through the volume approach. 

Keyword Research 

Another thing that the Shotgun Skyscraper Technique does differently is keyword research. 

If you know the first thing about SEO, you probably go for keywords with a lower keyword difficulty (KD) score. They’re much easier to rank for, which means that your odds of scoring an SEO win in the form of a top spot in the SERPs are significantly higher. 

But, the Shotgun Skyscraper Technique takes the other way round. 

It suggests identifying keywords with a higher KD score. 

The reason for this lies in the fact that keyword difficulty is measured based on the number of links that point to the top 10 SERP results for a   particular keyword. Therefore, if you pick a keyword with a high KD score, that means your competitors have a lot of links – and that’s exactly what you need in order to make this technique work. 

After drawing a comparison between these two similar link-building techniques, we can move on to explaining the basics of the process. 

Tips for Using the Skyscraper Technique for Building High-Quality Backlinks 

We’ll split the process into 4 steps that you can follow and build a strong backlink profile. 

1. Identify Popular Content in Your Niche  

The quality of your content won’t matter much unless you’ve picked an in-demand topic that’s popular. 

If you don’t get this right, you’ll end up with something that no one will be interested in, and all your efforts will go down the drain. 

Feeling the pulse of your target audience is crucial if you want to create link-worthy content. 

One way to do this is using tools like BuzzSummo, Hootsuite, or SproutSocial, with which you can unearth and identify the content that’s generating a lot of buzz and social shares. 

Another tactic is checking out what influencers from your niche are sharing, posting, and discussing on their social media platforms. You can be sure that a certain topic is hot if it’s on their feeds. 

2. Spy on Your Competitors 

Keeping a close eye on your competition is the second step of the process. 

After you’ve identified a topic that you want to cover, search for it in Google and analyze the top two results – these are the ones that are the most relevant according to the search engine. 

This will give you an idea about what you should do in order to come up with a better, more relevant, detailed, and comprehensive piece that will be good enough to dethrone them. 

In addition to this, use Ahrefs to analyze your competitors, discover the keywords for which they rank, and find out how much traffic they attract. 

3. Create Better Content 

Ask yourself do you know what it takes to build upon the original content and create something better that will wow both trustworthy linking sites, Google, and your audience. 

Here’s what you can do to improve the original piece and build the Skyscraper content:

  • Create long-form content. By publishing well-researched blog posts with 2,000+ words, you’ll add more value to your readers. When they see a detailed piece, they will know that you put a lot of effort into creating it. This approach can help you establish yourself as an authority in your field. 
  • Target a couple of keywords. It’s always better for the same piece to rank for a couple of keywords, as that’s how you can boost your organic rankings for each one of them. 
  • Use a data-driven approach. Corroborate your statements with studies, research, stats, facts, data, and all kinds of relevant information you can find. Also, provide the link to trustworthy resources so that your audience can further explore the topic. 
  • Come up with an eye-catching headline. The first thing that your visitors see when they land on your web page are those couple of words, so it’s essential your headline makes a great impression. If your headline is strong, then it’s likely that people will actually decide to read on. 
  • Walk the extra mile. The reason why your competitors’ pieces are at the top of the SERPs is because they’re great. Therefore, you need to outperform them and offer the ultimate resource for a particular topic. The goal is to explore this topic in detail and put all the relevant information, tips, tricks, and advice in the same place so that this piece of content can be useful.  Your audience is too busy to look for bits of information about something across the internet, and if your blog post or video rounds everything up in an easy-to-follow manner, you’ve hit the bulls-eye. 

4. Reach Out to Authority Websites 

After you create the Skyscraper content, it’s time to pitch it to authority websites and ask them for backlinks. 

If you’re wondering whom to reach out to, the answer is very simple: the influencers whose social media feeds you checked out in search for a topic, websites that gave backlinks to your competitors, or any other popular and relevant sources from your industry. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out even if you think that they’re above your league because after you’ve put so much hard work and energy into your piece, it’s probably fit to be featured on their websites. 

Use an automation tool to speed up the process, just as we mentioned in the section about the Shotgun Skyscraper Technique. 

Finally, if you’re wondering what’s in it for them, remember that these authority websites and influencers are doing their best to consistently deliver the best and most relevant content to their audience, and by inserting links to top-notch sources, they’re improving their user experience. 

The Skyscraper Technique can be a game-changer for your rankings, as it can catapult your website to the top of the SERPs and tremendously boost its search visibility. Give it a try, and though it’s time and resource-intensive, it’s worth every effort.

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