If you’re finding it increasingly difficult to capture the attention of your target audience, you’re not alone.
In today’s online landscape, the competition is heating up, leading many content marketers to explore new ways of optimizing their content for passage ranking.
If you’ve come across the phrase “skyscraper technique” in your research and want to learn how to execute it successfully, then you’ve come to the right place!
What is the Skyscraper Technique?
The skyscraper technique is a link-building tactic that was originally created by Brian Dean, founder, and CEO of Backlinko. In 2015, he revealed that this strategy yielded an 11% success rate, even doubling his organic traffic in just fourteen days.
According to Brian, “It’s human nature to be attracted to the best,” and he believed that the same principle applied to websites trying to build backlinks from other websites.
This is achieved by Googling a key term you want to rank for, analyzing any existing content that currently ranks for that term, and then writing something better. Or, as Brian describes the process, “Finding the tallest ‘skyscraper’ in your space…and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.”
Skyscrapers are long-form evergreen pieces of content that are typically 1,500 words or longer. A skyscraper will target a viable search term or trending topic, and serve up in-depth content designed to attract more traffic, shares, and backlinks.
These pages include content that builds off a specific topic and includes all relevant information on the same page. In recent years, this type of content has been abandoned by many in an effort to rank more pages for distinct keywords, questions, and phrases.
This is what is commonly referred to as the hub and spoke or the pillar page technique. This is where you build a landing page based on a big overarching topic or keyword with a large search volume. From there, you can produce related content on new pages that link back to your topic.
Think of the vertical nature of an actual skyscraper and you’ll see the correlation between looking up at a tall building and the vertical scrolling required when viewing skyscraper content. From an SEO standpoint, skyscrapers can be valuable as Google favors authoritative content.
When implemented properly, this strategy has been very successful for marketers across industries. However, others have lost a lot of valuable information from poor internal linking, which has led to creating orphan pages that are hard to build backlinks to.
This is where skyscraper pages can make their comeback.
Why Should You Use It?
The skyscraper technique has become a proven framework designed to help boost your site traffic. Using this approach, you can:
- Build high-quality content and create more engaging posts.
- Increase your social shares and blog comments.
- Increase your overall backlinks to your posts.
When Should You Use Skyscraper Pages?
It’s best to utilize the skyscraper technique when you have a ton of information on a broad topic.
You’ll also want to make sure this information easily flows and can consistently be improved and updated.
Think of a topic like digital marketing. This is a field that is regularly evolving from its previous standards and practices.
However, this can also be used for topics that have an incredible amount of detail like personal finance or public health.
One of the top reasons to employ this strategy on your site is to pick up more backlinks. This is actually what skyscraper pages were originally designed to do.
Fiding and securing backlinks for your skyscraper pages is typically easier because sections of your page can be repurposed and refreshed more easily than other pages. This allows you to frequently update and improve your content so that it aligns with the backlinks you are trying to acquire, as well as present a larger sphere of content that can link to your page.
Building backlinks is just one of the benefits of skyscraper pages. Here are a few more:
- Quick refreshes: With so much content in one place, the skyscraper technique makes it easier to locate and make adjustments to sections, rather than entire pages.
- Centralized information: When everything is in the same place it’s easier for a user to follow the story and understand your content. It also supports the use of jump links, which are great for both Google crawlers and user experience as information can be quickly located.
- Rank for more keywords: With all of your top keywords and questions on the same page, you can rank for more terms and gain a ton of authority.
How to Build Skyscraper Pages to Generate Backlinks
Pick a Keyword
There’s an art to choosing the best keywords for a high search rank.
Your keyword should be:
- Relevant to your brand and the interests of your target audience.
- Valuable with regards to traffic.
- Applicable to the buyer stage you’re looking to reach.
Find the Best Content Around the Keyword
Luckily, there are several tools that allow you to research backlink information for any given topic or keyword.
Sites like BuzzSumo, Site Explorer and Moz Link Explorer can provide you with a treasure trove of useful information, including backlink data. A blog post that contains at least 50 backlinks from different sources means it’s worth moving forward with to the next phase.
Analyze Google SERPs
The next step in the process is conducting a comprehensive analysis of SERPs for the keyword(s) you are trying to rank for. Here are some of the main data points to consider when looking to increase keyword positioning:
- Domain authority
- Page authority
- Internal linking structure
- Structured Data Markup
- Semantic Keyword Analysis
- Keyword Density
- Video Content
Create Better Content
At this point, you’re ready to create something that is superior to the content that already exists. After you find the term or page you want to compete with, analyze that content and expand on it.
Remember— a well-researched piece will reassure people that you are knowledgeable about your niche.
If there’s anything you can add to enhance your existing post, take the opportunity to do so. Be sure to add links to expand on related content on your site. Although this is the page with the most pertinent information, it is essential that you give users the opportunity to explore your website and learn as much as possible.
Once you have your headers and content in place, you’ll want to add elements that make your content stand out even more. These will be items like custom images and graphics, quotes from industry experts, and fresh examples for your users. Anything to enhance UX is a big factor in the eyes of Google.
Creating the best available content for users improves your likeliness of securing backlinks and building authority.
Promote Your Blog
Find Relevant Outreach Opportunities
Writing blog content is only half the battle. To promote your post, you’ll need to do some link-building outreach, often referred to as “blogger outreach.”
This entails finding other websites that regularly publish articles on a topic that relates directly to your content.
When researching relevant opportunities online, you can try limiting the date range or leveraging features like Google’s advanced search operators.
Send Outreach Emails
One of the biggest challenges with outreach is getting a positive response from the recipient.
It’s often a numbers game as so many reputable websites get numerous outbound emails per day. And since these emails generally follow a similar template, yours can get deleted quickly if it doesn’t stand out.
What determines whether or not your email gets opened depends on the following factors:
- The email should look like it’s coming from a real person, not a corporation.
- The message must be sent from an email at your domain.
- The subject line needs to be interesting enough to compel the reader to open it without being deceptive.
If you’re successful, you’ll bring in plenty of great backlinks, and even more traffic to your blog.
Pros and Cons of Using the Skyscraper Technique
- You have the luxury of choosing content pieces that are already relevant, popular, and have a lot of links to improve upon.
- There’s a strong possibility that the sites that published the original article would be interested in your updated piece as well.
- Most of the initial research has already been completed for you in the form of your original post.
- You need to determine if you’re truly adding value to the new piece of content you’re creating.
- Identify whether there’s a real need for an update, or if your goal is just trying to outdo a competitor.
- You run the risk of adding content to a piece that doesn’t need any improvement and ends up being expanded for the sake of being longe
The skyscraper technique is not a new concept.
In fact, many have found success with these pages while others were not as successful and ditched this strategy altogether.
Whether this is due to poor execution or Google deciding what’s best, there is a lot of merit in testing this approach on some of your top terms and landing pages.
In summary, the goal of the skyscraper technique is to find out what people are Googling, find out what the intent is behind that search, and publish something that outperforms anything else out there.
But as always, it’s never a good idea to rely on one single tactic. Keep experimenting and eventually, you’ll find a strategy that works for your business!