The Skyscraper Link Building Technique

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If you’re a website owner, you likely understand the importance of providing viewers with well-written articles specifically structured to meet the SEO requirements of search engine algorithms. That’s the best way to get your content to rank on the first page of search results, after all! 

But how can you be sure the SEO content you’re creating is good enough to impress the almighty algorithm, let alone convince it to rank your website well?

Aside from partnering with an expert content writing agency like Content Dog, there’s a specialized method you can use to help get the job done; the Skyscraper Link Building Technique.

Keep reading on to learn what this technique can do for you!

Related: What is SEO? A Beginner’s Guide

White pug sits on chair in front of Apple Desktop monitor
White pug sits on chair in front of Apple Desktop monitor

What is the Skyscraper Link Building Technique and its Four Critical Steps?

The Skyscraper Link Building Technique also called the Skyscraper Technique, is a successful link building strategy developed by Brian Dean. It involves content creators finding multiple pieces of high-ranking content with several backlinks and capitalizing on their weaknesses to write a better article than what’s already out there.

It’s called the Skyscraper Technique because people like and recognize the tallest building in a city, and you’re essentially creating the “tallest” or best piece of content amid a sea of competitors. 

The technique involves four key steps;

Step 1: Locate Examples of High-Performing Content with Lots of Backlinks 

Step one of the Skyscraper Technique involves finding high-ranking articles and blog posts with lots of backlinks covering the topic you want to cover. It typically requires some significant keyword research.

For example, say you want to write a blog post on “the best shoes for dogs.” The first thing you’ll have to do is put that phrase into a search engine, and you’ll find the highest-ranked results on the first search engine results page (SERP), which are likely to have plenty of backlinks. You’ll also want to look up other related keywords and phrases, like “dog shoes.”

You can also use several valuable tools to find more relevant content pages for the keywords you research with plenty of backlinks, like Content Explorer, Site Explorer, and Keyword Explorer. These tools can be highly beneficial if you need to take your keyword research to the next level. However, please keep in mind that some cost money or require you to sign up for paid accounts. 

Once you’ve selected your top competitor articles, analyze and compare them to look for missing information, weaknesses, and other issues you can fix in your own content.

Related: What is Quality Content and Why is it Important?

Step 2: Take Note of the Publishers Linking to That Content

Many other guides on the Skyscraper Technique will only include three key steps and forgo this one altogether. But our experts at Content Dog have found this step to be very beneficial for those serious about leveraging the full benefits that the technique has the potential to provide.

Once you’ve found your top competing articles and blog posts for your chosen topic or keyword, you’ll want to find their backlinks to see which websites are linking to their content.

Tools like Semrush and Link Explorer allow you to perform backlink audits and analyze the quality of a page’s backlinks. Link Explorer offers users access to a wide range of metrics to help them locate the best backlinks they may want to reach out to during Step 4 below, including Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Spam Scores.

Does your website need some tail-wagging good content to please the Google algorithm and rank with the big boys? Our expertly trained writers at Content Dog are here to help through our wide range of specialized services!

Step 3: Create Better, More Comprehensive Content than What’s Already Out There

This step is arguably the most essential out of the four needed to complete the Skyscraper Technique because it’s where you start to put all of your previous research together. Here, you can begin to create a piece of premium content that other websites will naturally want to link to.

During step one, you should have compiled a list of issues, missing information, and other problematic elements in the articles you’re trying to compete with. Now, it’s time to create an article or blog post that corrects these issues and includes the information missing from competing articles.

Brian Dean, the creator of the Skyscraper Technique, recommends that content creators actively try to improve these four aspects;

  • Depth: Don’t just fill out information or copy what’s already out there. Provide more details to make your content more valuable than competing content.
  • Length: Expand on what’s already out there to provide more content. For example, in the case of list posts, if a competitor provided 15 points, beat them out by offering more. 
  • Design: Good content creation isn’t just about words; it’s also about visual appeal. Make sure the design and formatting of your piece are pleasing and stand out to readers.
  • Freshness: If the competing articles are older, make yours fresher with newer information, screenshots, images, and more.

Related: The Benefits of Hiring an SEO Agency

Step 4: Contact The Publishers Linking to Competing Content and Recommend Your Superior Article

Finally, you’ll want to reach out to the backlink providers leading to your competitor’s web pages and present them with your improved, superior article. The idea is that, since they have already linked to similar content, they’ll be more likely to link to an article that’s better and can provide more value to their readers.

An effective tactic for this method is a simple email outreach campaign. Your message should;

  • Explain why you’re contacting them
  • Provide a link to your content
  • Explain why it’s superior to the content they currently link to
  • Provide a CTA that asks them to swap their link to your content

That said, you should always remember that not all backlinks are provided by quality sources that you’ll want to link to your content. Choosing reputable backlink providers that produce well-written content that pleases Google and other search engines is essential.

Does the Skyscraper link-building Technique Work?

The skyscraper technique looks amazing on paper, but is it worth it as a link-building technique? Brian Dean—the founder of this link-building technique that we mentioned earlier—talks about how he increased his search traffic by over 100% in two weeks.

Using the skyscraper technique, he saw high success rates from the outreach he performed. For example, after sending 160 emails, he ended up with an 11% success rate—the result was 17 backlinks. That number might not seem high, but it’s a significant success for a cold outreach strategy; link-building conversion rates are typically much lower.

And before we get into the steps to skyscraper link-building, let’s discuss how to increase your success—keep these tips in mind:

  • Content is king; we can say it a million times, and it will still ring true. The better your content, the more likely your skyscraper link-building strategy will succeed. Ensure that your content is better than the best—give them a reason to link back to you.
  • Influence matters. If your brand is seen as a thought leader and you have influence in the industry, you’ll get better results—see Brian Dean as an example. He’s a well-known blogger and a prominent figure in the SEO world. If you got an email from him, you would likely respond immediately.
  • You need to reach the right people. Anyone can use Hunter.io to find email addresses; if it’s easy and widely accessible, it will probably not help your link-building strategy much. Instead, dig into the “Meet the Team” and “Contact” pages of relevant sites. Then, find the person that handles editorial requests and reach out to them directly.

Why the Skyscraper Link-Building Technique Is So Powerful

The challenge of link-building is scaling—not to mention the uncertainty around how much success you will see.

For example, broken link-building is limited by the number of opportunities on the web; to scale this tactic, you must rely on sites with broken external links that align with your site. While this is a great tactic, you have to rely on others to scale, making it extremely difficult.

Digital PR is another proven and popular link-building strategy. It’s similar to the skyscraper technique; however, it’s about doing something brand new to get attention (and links). And while the results from digital PR can be phenomenal, you can’t learn it overnight.

But this proven process relies on some of Google’s most important ranking factors, including:

You’ll struggle to rank highly and drive organic traffic without the best content that RankBrain can align with searchers’ intent and links that point to that page.

So how else can you tick all of those boxes without being an experienced digital PR specialist? By using the skyscraper technique—you create exceptional content and promote it to earn links. The result is high-ranking content at the top of the SERPs and more organic traffic to your site.

Close up of black pug wearing glasses
Close up of black pug wearing glasses

Time to Try the Skyscraper Technique for Yourself!

While the Skyscraper Technique may seem complicated at first, it’s a very straightforward tactic for quality content creation that can significantly help improve your website’s Google rankings. Consider trying out this specialized tactic for yourself to see what it can do for you! Or, if you’d prefer to leave the heavy lifting of quality SEO content creation to a group of seasoned professionals, consider reaching out to a specialized content writing agency today!

Are you struggling to construct top-quality, SEO-compliant content that lets your website rank well with Google’s algorithm? It’s time to contact our expert writers at Content Dog today to learn about everything they can do to help!

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