Most people think “great content” is what’s going to help them improve their SEO standing. Alas, that isn’t true anymore. You could write an incredible article and that still would not be enough, unfortunately!
With competition on the rise, you need to work twice as hard now to stay relevant. So if you want to get noticed, you absolutely have to make use of link building techniques. Keep in mind that these techniques aren’t a substitute for great content. Don’t compromise on your writing quality.
One such technique is the now-famous Skyscraper Technique.
What is the Skyscraper Technique? Why is it famous? All valid questions that we will shortly answer. We’ll even give you a little checklist at the end so you never forget the steps to this link building strategy.
What is the Skyscraper Technique?
The Skyscraper Technique was developed by Backlinko’s Brian Dean back in 2015. The strategy gained immense popularity when Dean published the results he achieved after using it. In a matter of 14 days, the organic search traffic to his entire site doubled. You read that right – doubled!
But what is the technique really?
The Skyscraper Technique attracts high-quality backlinks by improving existing content out there. We’ll dive into the exact steps on how to do that in just a minute. Before we do, let’s talk a bit about the technique.
It involves searching for the most popular and responsive blog posts that exist on high-quality sites. Make sure that the blogs are relevant to the industry you are in. Go over blogs and find one that fits your criteria.
Next, recreate that blog. That means taking the same topic and ideas and writing a much better blog on it; one that is longer, up to date, more visually appealing and so on. When you’re finished with the improved blog, connect with the sites that linked to the original content. Chances are, the websites will be interested.
The website you’re reaching out to already clearly has an interest in the topic. Furthermore, there’s already an established target audience for such blogs. Both these factors point to the obvious conclusion that the website and its audience, both will want to link to your improved blog.
If you do this enough times, slowly but surely you’ll see the traffic to your blog improving. Now let’s break down the Skyscraper Technique into smaller steps, each more crucial than the last.
Steps to executing the Skyscraper Technique
Now that you have a rough idea of what the technique is all about, we can look into the actual steps it consists of:
1. Search for a blog to recreate
Kick off the Skyscraper Technique by conducting your initial research. Look for a blog that is relevant to you. Don’t choose a topic simply because it’s doing well but doesn’t have anything to do with your business. That won’t create any value for your organization. Instead, limit your search to only those topics that relate to your industry. That will also make things easier for you because you’ll actually know what you’re writing about.
This first step sets the entire basis of the Skyscraper Technique. So don’t rush things. Keep in mind that you might not find the perfect blogs on your first go. It’s going to take time until you come across the right ones for you.
There are several tools available online that allow you to easily find link-worthy content. Here, we use one of these, Buzzsumo, to find sites with articles on a chosen keyword. This is more useful than a Google search because it helps rank articles according to their engagement.
2. Narrow down distribution partners to contact later
By this step, you’ve found a blog that you’re going to improve. The blog is a success with a substantial target base. Soon, you’ll have your own blog on the topic that is newer and better. However, you need a whole list of websites to pitch to.
Out of that list, not everyone is going to link to your new blog. Even Brian Dean had a success rate of 11%. Surprising right? Actually, 11% is a great success rate. Think of all the impact that it created. Remember, quality over quantity. Your list of possible distribution partners will have some high-quality sites in there. And an 11% success rate out of those high-quality sites can produce astonishing results for you.
Now let’s come to how you’re going to find possible distribution partners. There are some famous blog sites out there that you must already know of. List those down. Then hop online and look for similar blogs that cater to the same audience and are within the same industry/niche. There you have it – a whole list of distribution partners to contact once your blog is ready.
One way to get this list is to look for other sites that have linked to the original content. Again, there are several tools online that you can use to do so. Here, we use a free backlink checker by Ahrefs. Let’s say you’re interested in the article by Marketing Solved below. Simply plug the URL into the backlink checker and you’ll be able to view all pages and sites linking to it.
As you can see, there are 35 existing backlinks for this article. That means 35 potential distributors you can contact.
3. Recreate better content
Time to put those amazing writing skills of yours to work! You have the original content with you. This is the part where you improve it. Improving it doesn’t mean just copy-pasting the article and throwing in some fancy jargon. Instead, it means properly writing it from scratch on your own. Then you incorporate different visuals and statistics etc. to make your content pop.
You need to ensure that the visual content you include is not only engaging but also easy to understand. Don’t force visuals in the article if they don’t add any value. Also, always keep the audience you are catering to in mind. For example, if you’re targeting enterprises that have a more formal tone, then inserting jokes and such in your content won’t make sense.
Aside from using visual content, another approach to improve your existing content is to make it longer. Discuss the topic in great detail. In fact, turn it into a comprehensive guide if possible. Also, make sure to include statistics. They’ll help support your writing and add weight to it.
4. Promote your new blog
A common practice when emailing for backlinks is adding your social media profiles as well. This helps showcase that you are an established writer and serves as proof of your legitimacy.
If you haven’t created any such social media profiles, right now would be the time to do so. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the top 3 that you absolutely have to be on. With your accounts in place, it’s time to start gaining some traction. To do that, you have to start sharing your best blogs and writing pieces. Sharing on social media channels also helps create an initial buzz about your article. This helps establish social proof about the article’s importance, prior to contacting potential linkers.
5. Email your list of distribution partners
Remember when you shortlisted possible distribution partners back in Step 2? It’s finally time to make use of that list! With your article ready, you can now start reaching out to websites.
To start off, create an email template that works best for you. Of course, you’ll have to change the template a little each time by adding some personalized touches to it. A good practice is to be direct instead of beating around the bush. Tell the website how your blog is useful for them and can add value to their blog.
Mention how they already mention a similar article on their site. But since the old one is outdated, you took the liberty to improve upon it. The one you’re now presenting to them is more in-depth and engaging. Make sure to attach a copy of the newer blog so they can go over it to see if they like it.
A good template to help you out would be Brian Dean’s template that he has shared:
Ready to increase your search traffic?
And there you have it – that’s the Skyscraper Technique. You have all you need to try it out for yourself. The strategy has great potential, if only you remember to take your time with each step.
Just remember that the content you’re creating is bound to succeed. Why? Because there’s already an established demand for it. So time to improve your search traffic!
Guest author: Amna is currently a Content Marketer at EZRentOut, a rental software, where she particularly enjoys creating visual content. She is an avid reader, with a special interest in psychological thrillers, and enjoys picnics and drawing whenever she gets the time.