The Skyscraper Technique for link building has a lot of people talking right now. Some site owners and SEO experts are often frustrated with the difficulty of securing quality backlinks to their pages. After all, they can’t ignore this influential requirement when it comes to the almighty Google ranking algorithm. Some of them believe that if they just write amazing content, the links will come naturally. This may happen on occasion, but you don’t want to rely on this as your primary source for link building. Others are so desperate for links that they will buy link packages even if they can only use a few out of a hundred of them. The risk with buying links is that many of them are low-quality that can actually hurt your rank instead of helping it. That forces you to sift through all the bad just to get a few links out of the whole deal.
There is no one link building technique that guarantees 100% success. However, when implemented effectively, the Skyscraper Technique can act as a saving grace to many businesses and niches. What the Skyscraper saves you in money, it costs in time. It’s important to understand that this technique isn’t a quick fix. It will, however, help you reap larger benefits with the more time and attention you put into it. More established sites may see faster results than a newer website, but it will still take some effort for any business to build a strong domain ranking.
Basic Concept of the Skyscraper Technique
Although each step takes some work, the simplicity of the Skyscraper Technique is easy for anyone to understand. Basically, the Skyscraper Technique takes an already established “skyscraper” on a search results page and focuses the attention to your own created “skyscraper”. We’ve broken the process down into four straightforward steps below.
Step 1: Target a Keyword
Effective content writing starts with strategic keyword research. If you don’t narrow down keywords that are working in your industry, you may as well be shooting in the dark and hoping you randomly hit a target. Keywords help businesses reach their target audience, which increases both page visitors and customers. Not to mention, Google, Bing, and other search engines use site traffic in their ranking structures. Keywords are critical for bringing in that “right” traffic. Keyword research doesn’t stop at just finding the most popular keywords, however. If you have a newer site, you may lack the capacity to compete for those top keywords. You can work up to those, but it will take some creativity to rank for specific and low-competition keywords first. Keyword research tools are tremendously helpful for targeting and determining which keywords you can realistically rank for. They will usually categorize keywords by difficulty and will even track which keywords are bringing your site the most traffic and conversions.
Step 2: Find Content
Once you have identified a few keywords, pop them into a search engine to view the top results. You already know these pages were ranked highly for a reason. They also may have tons of backlinks you can use (more on this later). Click on a few to scan the content. If you think you could create better content than one or two of those top results and they also have multiple backlinks, start there.
Step 3: Re-write Better Content
Next, re-write their content bigger and better than they did. Remember to use your own voice and structure. DO NOT just copy most of the text and add a few sections here and there. Google will pick up on this, view it as duplicate content, and rank you lower, if at all. Here are a few content improvement ideas to spark your imagination:
Length. You can expand on short content, especially if you have personal experience with the topic. Providing definitions, giving examples, and adding to a list are all methods you can use to increase content length. If you find a top result with a “Top 10” or “Top 25” list, see if you can’t increase it to “Top 50” or “Top 100”. Some niches have limits, though, and users may become overwhelmed with too many choices.
Update. Depending on your industry, content and news quickly becomes outdated. If you can’t find content for your keyword published in the past year, month, or even week, you can be the one to keep readers in-the-know. Provide your audience with the most recent trends, stories, and data in your industry. If you are the first person to write about a new discovery, test, or solution to a problem, even better. You will score big relevancy points with Google, as well as make your content attractive to potential backlinks.
Design. Sometimes readers prefer more visually appealing pages over just plain text. Improve on an article not just with words, but with visual presentation as well. Add pictures and video to keep the page interesting and to reach a broader audience.
Step 4: Outreach
After creating better content, it’s time to reach out to the backlinks on that original page. You know they were willing to link to this content already. Now you are providing an even better resource for them to link to. Keep in mind, you can master the first three steps but flop at this stage. This can cause the whole venture to finish as a fail. If you aren’t confident with your outreach strategy, check out our article here on a few effective outreach techniques. Below we will discuss how best to approach outreach within this particular Skyscraper Technique.
While the Skyscraper Technique is simple to understand, it also requires a lot of analysis, quality content creation, and a useful outreach strategy. Paying close attention to each step will increase your chances of success. Although this technique may not cause the enormous results you’re looking for every time, at least you’ll always come away with at least a few quality backlinks and contacts for the future.
To effectively implement the Skyscraper Technique, you will want to analyze the quality of the backlinks you find on those initial search results pages. There are many tools online to help you analyze the nature and quality of these links to help you determine whether or not to reach out. We recommend checking out Ahrefs Backlink Checker, LinkResearchTools, and Monitor Backlinks to find a good backlink analysis tool for your business.
You probably won’t reach out to every single backlink domain because not all will be relevant. However, most of the backlinks on the article you are rewriting should also relate to your website and business. It’s better to reach out to too many backlinks than too few anyway. Since you may reach out to upwards of 100 different backlink domains, you will want to create a spreadsheet to keep track of all the domains you contact, which ones you follow up with, and which ones eventually respond.
When creating an email template for your outreach, you will want to structure it in a way that is both applicable to and personal to every backlink you are contacting. The basic structure should be the same, but you can input the relevant names and sites into each email to make it sound genuine. Here is an example:
As I was perusing content today, I saw you linked to [URL]. I loved this article because it helped me with [X, Y, and Z] in my business.
However, I noticed it was missing a few points and decided to create a more relevant article for users. [Your URL here].
It’s more up-to-date and includes more information than [Previous Site]. I wanted to alert you to this new content to link to because I think it would fit well on your page.
Thank you for your attention on this!”
Your email doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should grab the attention of the person you are sending it to without sounding too salesy. If they have a broken link in their article, definitely mention that you noticed the broken link and have a new one they can switch it out for.
Google also created a short video on effective techniques for building links, which includes a few more suggestions than what we have listed above. Check it out below for further education:
With the Skyscraper Technique, some implementers see success right away, some see small success, and others see no success. The difference between all of these results is the attention paid to each step. You may even find that the exact same outreach method won’t work for all of your contacts. You may develop different outreach strategies for the various niches in order to increase your success in each area. Regardless, this technique guarantees each link you do secure is a natural, high-quality, and worthwhile link in the grand scheme of things. PlacementSEO has built a Skyscraper Technique system that has helped multiple clients scale already. If you would like to learn more about our unique process, click here.
Remember, it does take time to build a strong domain rank and keep it there. Don’t expect automatic results in a day, but strive to build lasting results that will withstand any changes Google may make to its algorithms in the future. For professionals serious about gathering quality backlinks, we strongly recommend trying the Skyscraper Technique for yourself.