How do you get authoritative sites in your niche to link to you, even if you don’t have a Fortune 500 marketing budget or connections with influential bloggers? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, then you’ll love The Skyscraper Technique.
It’s a strategy that I’ve used to build high quality backlinks to sites in pretty much every niche under the sun, from internships to insurance.
I’m Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, the place where marketers turn for higher rankings and more traffic, and in this article I’m going to show you exactly how you can use The Skyscraper Technique to generate links and traffic to your site.
Keep reading. Before I get into the nuts and bolts of The Skyscraper Technique, let me tell you a quick story. When I started my blog, Backlinko.com, I knew that I was entering one of the most noisy, competitive spaces online, internet marketing. And I knew from growing other sites in competitive industries that unless I did something crazy to stand out, I was going to end up like pretty much every other site in the internet marketing space – no traffic, and buried on the 10th page of Google.
And I also knew that publishing great content was one of those things that sounded nice but didn’t really work in the real world. Maybe you’ve seen this yourself – you work hard to publish great content on your site all the time, but you barely get any links and traffic for your effort.
So I knew that, and that’s when I decided to utilize The Skyscraper Technique, and I -literally- doubled my search engine traffic in two weeks. And here’s exactly how I did it, and exactly how you can do the same thing for your site.
So it’s time to break down the exact three step process that I use. So the first step is to find content in your industry that’s already done well in terms of attracting links, social shares, comments, and traffic. One of the easiest ways to do this is just to search for competitive keywords in Google. Because if you find a piece of content that’s ranking well in Google, you better believe that there are a lot of links pointing to it.
And if you want to just double check and make sure that it’s actually an authoritative page, you can put it into a tool like ahrefs, MajesticSEO, and Open Site Explorer to see if there are a lot of links pointing to it.
In my case, I noticed that content around things like ‘Google’s ranking factors’ and ‘Google’s 200 ranking symbols’ tended to attract a lot of links and that’s the content I decided to use as the base of my skyscraper.
So now that you’ve identified a piece of content with a proven track record of generating links, it’s time to create something even better. And actually this is why this strategy is called The Skyscraper Technique.
You probably never wondered what the 11th tallest building in the world is, right? Everyone’s attracted to number one, so what you’re doing with step #2 is taking the base content that you found in step #1 and then slapping twenty stories on top of it, and all of the sudden you have the piece of content that everyone’s talking about.
So how can you make something heads and shoulders above what’s already out there? Well, there are three strategies that work really well. The first is to make your content more thorough. In my case, I noticed that most of the content out there that talked about Google ranking factors talked about how there -were- 200, but they didn’t even list all 200! And despite that, they still generated a ton of links and social shares. You can also make your content more up to date.
I’ve found that despite Google’s supposed preference for fresh content, there’s a lot of outdated stuff sitting on Google’s first page. So just making something that’s out of date and updating it for today is one of the easiest and best ways to make content that’s clearly better than what’s already out there.
And finally, you can make the content better designed than what’s already out there. Now make no mistake, design is huge, because it influences how valuable people perceive your content to be. In general, the better designed it is, the higher the perceived value. In my case, I noticed most of the Google Ranking Factors content was not only not thorough and out of date, but also really ugly. So I decided to invest in nice custom banners for my blog posts.
Now, once you have something that’s clearly the best out there, it’s time to get the word out. Now, how do you get the word out about your content? With good old-fashioned email outreach. Now, most people approach email outreach link-building the wrong way; they just email random people and beg for a link, and that’s not what we’re doing here. We’re strategically reaching out to people who are very likely to link to us, specifically, people that linked to the inferior content that you used as your base.
And here’s the exact word-for-word script that I use to generate dozens of links to my piece of content. “Hey Dave, I was checking out some of the articles on your site and found your post about SEO strategies. Great stuff! I couldn’t help but notice you linked to that classic article about Google’s ranking factors. I also love that resource. In fact, it inspired me to create a more thorough and up-to-date version. Here’s the link in case you want to check it out.
It might be worth a mention in your article. Either way, keep up the awesome work!” That simple email script converted over 15%, which is significantly higher than most email outreach campaigns. And as you know, today with links it’s all about -quality- not quantity, and a lot of those 15% were real gems, including a page rank 5 pagelink on a D-moz listed site.
And besides, the results speak for themselves: Less than two weeks after publishing and promoting my post, my organic search engine traffic doubled. So that’s the power of The Skyscraper Technique, something myself and dozens of Backlinko readers have used to get better results from their content.