Digital Marketing

Skyscraper Technique: How to Use It to Drive Web Traffic?

The skyscraper technique has been much talked about in the last few years.

What exactly is the skyscraper technique? How does it work? How can you execute it well to capture the attention of your target audience?

The competition is really heating up in the marketing landscape these days. Driving traffic and attracting audiences is a constant battle for all marketers.

With the Internet overflowing with content, it is becoming increasingly challenging to get your content to get noticed. How do you ensure your content reaches the right audience and earns high-quality backlinks from other sites?

The skyscraper technique can help you overcome these challenges. This technique not only helps you create content that drives traffic but also boost your authority by earning numerous backlinks.

You will learn more about the skyscraper technique and how to implement it in this blog post.

Let’s get started.

What Is the Skyscraper Technique?

When most people think about how to get on the first page of Google, they think good content is enough.

However, with most companies amping up their content marketing game, good content is not enough to get you high-quality links. The quality and quantity of your backlinks can be a major deciding factor on how high you rank on search engine results pages.

This is where the skyscraper technique can be a game changer.

The skyscraper technique was created in 2015 by Brian Dean, Founder of Backlinko. The technique garnered incredible popularity after the organic traffic to his website nearly doubled in just 2 weeks.

So, what is this technique all about?

The skyscraper technique is all about recreating content so that it attracts high-quality backlinks.

Brian Dean presented this technique after seeing impressive results. He applied the technique to one of his blog posts and saw the backlinks grow rapidly. In fact, the organic traffic for his site increased by 110% in just 14 days.

Image via Backlinko

The skyscraper technique focuses on finding the best content for a specific keyword and creating something better. The goal is to offer this new content as a replacement backlink for websites that may have linked to the high-ranking content.

If you use content marketing, you may have often found yourself looking for ways to get your content to rank high on search engine results pages. After all, the higher your website ranks, the more organic traffic you get.

The skyscraper technique is a simple yet extremely effective way to help you create better pieces of content.

How Does the Skyscraper Technique Work?

There are 3 main principles that drive the skyscraper technique.

Image via Respona

Find Top-performing Content for Keywords That Are Relevant to Your Brand

Keywords play a very important role in Search Engine Optimization. If you want to use the skyscraper technique effectively, you will first need to find keywords relevant to your brand.

Once you find your target keywords, you need to identify the top-performing content pieces for them. Basically, you are looking for content that ranks very high, preferably the ones at the top spot because they draw the most attention.

For instance, the No.1 result on Google gets 27.6% of all clicks whereas the No.10 result gets only 2.4% of the clicks.

Image via Backlinko

The highest ranking content gets the maximum organic traffic, comments, social media shares, and, most importantly, a high number of quality backlinks.

Create Better Pieces of Content on Those Keywords and Publish Them on Your Website

Once you have identified the best pieces of content to apply the skyscraper technique, you need to create content that is better than these.

How can you make your content better?

Start by providing your readers with better and more in-depth information. Adding high-quality images and videos to your content is another way to improve your content.

Making your content more fun and interesting can also be an excellent and effective way to engage your audience.

The most important thing is to have a robust link building strategy that aims to acquire the backlinks that the current content has.

Creating great content becomes a lot easier when you use the right content writing tools. Consider using tools like Yoast SEO and Grammarly to create engaging content for your audience.

Image via Yoast

SEO audit tools like Ahrefs and Semrush can also play a key role in improving your content to attract more organic search traffic.

Reach out to Other Publishers Currently Linking to Existing Content and Offer Your New Article

The final step in the skyscraper technique is to promote your high-quality content.

After you have created “better” content, you must reach out to the publishers who have linked to the other content and offer yours as a better alternative.

The goal is to make other people recognize your content as the best for the target keyword, and encourage them to link back to your content.

Since these publishers have already linked to a similar article, they are likely to link to an article that is better.

The skyscraper technique works so well because you are taking something that’s proven to drive results and are making it better.

Skyscraper Technique: What Makes It Work?

Ever since its release, the skyscraper technique has been an integral part of the link building strategies of many marketers.

But what makes the technique work?

Let’s understand the various factors involved.

Demand

The skyscraper technique works by identifying high-performing content that is already attracting significant web traffic. The topic or keyword you are targeting already has immense demand.

By using the skyscraper technique, you avoid wasting time writing articles on topics your audience is not really interested in. It cuts down the time and effort required to find new topic ideas as you just need to enhance the content that already has a high demand.

However, you need to take your time to understand why the particular topic did so well.

Was it informative or entertaining? Did it solve a problem your audience was facing?

Try and figure out what makes the article work so you can learn to do it too.

Audience

The audience you are writing for already likes the original content.

All you need to do is improve upon the existing content, making it more valuable for your audience. You can add more information to the content, creating more value for your audience. Adding visuals can also make the content more interesting for your audience.

But, don’t stop at that.

Make a list of brands and influencers who have shared the original content. Reach out to them with your content and you may be able to tap into their audience as well.

Ranking Potential

The skyscraper technique works by identifying high-ranking content and then improving it.

The original content ranked high on search results. So, if you create something better, it is likely to do better than the original piece.

You can easily attract more traffic and outrank the original article, especially if you earn those high-quality links.

How Do You Execute the Skyscraper Technique?

The skyscraper method is a proven framework that has helped lots of people.

If you want to add it to your content strategy, here’s how you can do it.

1. Find Opportunities

To implement the skyscraper technique, you need to first find relevant, high-ranking content that has several backlinks.

A simple Google search is a great way to find such content. All you need to do is Google your target keyword, as shown in the example below.

Image via Google

But, how do you find out which of these top results have the highest number of backlinks? There are many backlink analysis tools available in the market that can make things easy for you.

For instance, you can go to the “Pages” tab on Semrush to find the number of backlinks a piece of content is getting.

Image via Semrush

Alternatively, you can use the Rank Tracker tool. All you have to do is go to the “Keyword Map” on the dashboard and update the “Keyword Difficulty” tab.

Image via SEO PowerSuite

You may also set up Google Alerts for keywords related to the topics you want to cover.

Image via Google

Pro Tip: Don’t pick a piece of content only because it is at the top spot of a search engine results page. Choose content that is relevant and valuable to your audience, and then enhance it.

2. Revamp the Content

Skyscraper technique is about creating content that is far more valuable than an existing piece of content.

The good thing about the skyscraper technique is that you don’t need to create your own content from scratch. You already have a lot of good ideas, which you need to improve upon to create superior content.

Here are some tips to create superior content from an existing piece of content.

Update Old/Outdated Information

Once you have identified an article you want to improve upon, check and correct any discrepancies in the text.

If the article has linked to research studies, check if you can find more recent and up-to-date research studies.

Is there any misinformation in the article?

By correcting the mistakes of the previous authors and adding current trending statistics can significantly improve the quality of the article. You may also eliminate fluff and other unnecessary data to create more valuable content for your readers.

Create a More Detailed Post

Can you add more information to the existing piece of content? If you can, that’s a fantastic way to create superior content.

If there isn’t anything you can add to the ideas expressed in the article, look for other ways to add value.

Here are some types of content that are engaging. You can add some of these to your content to make it more engaging.

Image via G2

It is also very important to keep your audience in mind when creating content. For instance, if you are writing for enterprise clients, you may not want to add memes to your article as it may not go down well with your audience. Relevance is key.

Making content more detailed and comprehensive is another way to improve your content. Add more ideas, fresh examples, case studies, and statistics to create content that is better than the existing one.

Work on the Visual Appeal

Sometimes all you need to do is make your content more visually appealing to earn more links. If you are adding visual elements to the content, ensure they offer valuable and easy-to-consume information.

You may add a few great illustrations to revamp the content. You could even rework the existing content into a video or an infographic.

The idea is to make the content better and more engaging.

For example, there are numerous articles on Google on the topic “SEO success factors.” How do you make yours stand out?

Search Engine Land created a periodic table of SEO success factors. What an amazing way to present an otherwise overused topic.

Image via Search Engine Land

Pro Tip: Long chunks of text not only diminish the visual appeal but can also be quite intimidating. Most people don’t have the patience for large paragraphs. Short paragraphs and plenty of white space are easy ways to make your content more visually appealing.

3. Promote Your Skyscraper Content

Promoting your content effectively is incredibly important, especially if you want to earn more backlinks.

The skyscraper technique is different from other link-building techniques in that it first promotes a piece of content to people who have already linked to similar content previously.

But when you have created content, you need to ensure that everyone knows about it, especially those who may link to it.

So, how can you find relevant prospects through your outreach efforts?

Once again, SEO tools like Semrush can be very helpful in this regard.

Just run the URL of the content through the backlinks analytics feature of Semrush, as shown in the image below.

Image via Semrush

Semrush lets you export all these links, allowing you to create a prospects list.

You will also get a list of other websites that have already linked to similar content.

You need to reach out to these prospects and convince them that your content is better and they should link to your content instead.

Smart link builders always go beyond people who have already linked to the content they are skyscraping. There will be tons of people out there who may not have linked to the original content but may consider linking to yours.

Using an email outreach tool is a great idea to reach out to your prospect list. These tools can manage the entire process with ease, including sending, monitoring, and following up on emails.

Now, what do you say in these emails?

Here is an email template you can use to contact your prospects.

Image via SEO Quake

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to send a “thank you” to those who reply, update your referring domains, backlinks, and traffic and check the results in a few weeks or more. Send a follow-up email to all those who do not respond within a week or so.

4. Share on Social Media

Social media marketing is extremely important these days. Before you reach out to site owners and brands, you should try and create a buzz among your own audience first.

There is no better way to create a buzz around your piece of content than to promote it on social media.

We recommend creating small snippets of your content to share on various social media platforms. You may even use YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, or Facebook Stories to promote your content.

You may also create short videos like the one created by Ahrefs below.

Image via YouTube

5. Stay Current

With time, your amazing content will not be amazing enough. Just like you created a better version of someone else’s content, someone will create a superior version of your content.

Ensure that you keep updating your content regularly to make sure that it stays relevant to your audience.

Pro Tip: Create evergreen content that stays relevant for a long time. Keep updating it at regular intervals to ensure all information is up to date. Also, use content pruning to regularly remove underperforming content from your website.

FAQs

Q1. Why is the skyscraper technique called so?

A. A skyscraper is a really tall building. According to Brian Dean, people like the tallest building in a city landscape. Similarly, in a SERP landscape, people like the best, most comprehensive piece of content on any given topic.

The skyscraper technique is about finding the best skyscraper (content) and adding more levels to it.

Q2. What is the reverse skyscraper technique?

A. The reverse skyscraper technique basically involves finding content that did not perform too well and then improving that content. It is often used by content marketers to build links and meet their link-building goals.

Q3. What are the benefits of the skyscraper technique?

A. The benefits of the skyscraper technique are:

  • It helps you reach your target audience.
  • This technique boosts traffic and improves your domain authority.
  • It lets you save time in the content creation process.
  • It helps you offer more valuable and relevant content to your audience.

Q4. What is skyscraper content?

A. Skyscraper content is long-form content that targets a viable search topic, offering in-depth content that attracts web traffic, shares, and backlinks.

Q5. What is the skyscraper technique in SEO?

A. The skyscraper technique is an SEO and content development strategy that makes your website the tallest “skyscraper” in the SERP landscape. The goal of the skyscraper technique is to offer newer, better, and more engaging content than other websites are offering on a topic.

Create Link-Worthy Content with the Skyscraper Technique

The skyscraper technique is a wonderful link-building technique that truly works. However, for the skyscraper technique to work you must create top-notch content, create a well-crafted pitch, and promote your content to the maximum number of people possible.

Have you tried the skyscraper technique before? If you have, how has your experience been?

Let us know in the comments below.

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic | 5K keywords on page 1. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business2Community, TechCrunch, and more.

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