The Skyscraper Technique may sound complicated.
Many of my prospects as a content strategist before launching Skyscraper Factory shied away from the idea whenever I tried to present it.
For some reason, they always thought it was not going to work for their niche, or that it is not applicable in the first place.
Check out this email I received from a prospect last week after discussing the technique with them…
With this in mind, I thought it is necessary to write this blog post to not only help prospects like these, but also help readers that come across the Skyscraper Factory blog to have an idea of how it can apply to their niches.
Simply put, the Skyscraper Technique in SEO is a strategy that consists of creating the best in your niche and outdoing any other “skyscrapers” ranking for your target keywords.
It helps you to build links for your skyscraper content, and as a result, enhance its performance on search engines.
Many of my clients have succeeded to bring results through my work with this technique. For example, here is a screenshot that highlights how my skyscraper content performed for Document360 on search engines…
In fact, I even made a video covering this customer. Have a look.
Whether you offer low- or high-ticket products/services, chances are the Skyscraper Technique will work for you.
You can get to create awesome content that solves your clients’ most critical problems. Not only will that establish you as an authority in your niche, but it will also bring several perks:
- More traffic
- High domain authority
- More links (no more paid links)
- More value to your niche and prospects
- Stand out from existing content in your niche
To perform the Skyscraper Technique, you must first find top-quality resources related to your website topic. These will be the “skyscrapers” of your niche.
The key is that your content needs to be better than the content on the existing skyscrapers in order to get inbound links back to your site.
Before we dig into the step-by-step process for performing the Skyscraper Technique, let me first present to you the history of the method and why it is worth executing…
Who Came up with the Skyscraper Technique?
The original article on the Skyscraper technique came from Brian Dean of Backlinko. Brian’s brand focuses on SEO and link-building-related topics, so he has a good idea of what works well for this purpose and what does not.
Brian Dean takes an experimental approach with the technique, as he has presented it in a blog post that is formatted as a case study for a blog post on Google’s 200 ranking factors.
The ranking factors skyscraper post does a great job of illustrating all the possible information the searcher might intend to find about the topic.
It provides a blog post that not only satisfies search intent but also provides a resource that is more valuable than other posts for the same topic.
For reference, take a look at this screenshot with Google results for the keyword “google ranking factors”:
As a result of creating this outstanding piece of content and marketing it as a skyscraper post, Brian Dean has succeeded to attract high-quality links and get over 320,000 referral visitors to that blog post.
Not only that, but he also got a boost in organic search traffic to his website, as it went up by 110% within only two weeks.
Using the Skyscraper Technique: The Step-by-Step Process
Step 1: Perform Strategic Keyword Research
This is the stepping stone of the skyscraper technique.
Picking the right keyword within your niche will enable you to rank faster and set realistic goals that match your marketing vision.
Simply put, a 1-year-old, 4 Domain Authority (DA) website has no chance of ranking for the keyword “wine” within six months. Yet if we change the target keyword to “the best wineries in Chisinau”, there is a plausible chance it can rank well using the skyscraper technique.
When I first started out doing SEO in the early stages of my career, I always targeted short-tail keywords.
I set the bar too high, too early.
The correct approach here is what I call “the first day at the gym approach”.
On your first day at the gym, you want to experiment with different workouts and machines—and that is the exact approach you need to take with keyword research.
Get a list together, preferably with a specialized tool such as Ahrefs (the best paid tool in the market) or Google’s own free Keyword Planner. Unless you operate within a very small niche with little to no competition, your best bet is to only pick keywords consisting of three or more words.
Step 1: Find Content to Compete Against
This is your chance to find your website topic’s top-quality resources. You want to find content on your topic that is popular and in-depth. You can use Google’s Top Pages feature to find the most popular content related to your website topic.
In this example, I have chosen to find high-quality articles on the topic of link building for a website about business.
By clicking on any of the results, I can see how many times the page has been shared on social media.
Once you have a list of these high-quality resources, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Create Content (Skyscraper) that Surpasses the Skyscrapers
Create a new piece of content that is better than the skyscrapers in terms of quality. By doing this, you will be able to gain new inbound links to your site.
First, you need to be able to identify the weaknesses of the most popular skyscraper content pieces.
In order to do this, you should take a look at other websites in your niche. Use the Top Pages feature again to see what the skyscrapers are.
From there, you can compare your content to their content.
Identify the weaknesses of the most popular pieces of content on your topic. You can do this by looking over the skyscrapers and comparing your content to them.
For example, I’m using page authority as a metric here because it’s relatively easy to see in Ahrefs.
Here, I can identify that the most popular content on this topic doesn’t use graphics or images.
I can then use that weakness as a strength. I’ll create a piece of content that is filled with graphics and images, which will make it better than all of the other skyscrapers on this topic.
Step 3: Share your Content (Skyscraper) on Sites that Get a Lot of Social Shares and Backlinks
Take a look at the skyscrapers. Take a look at where they’re being shared on.
These sites will be your primary sources for social shares and links to your content.
In order to take full advantage of this method, you should create content that generates a lot of social shares and links to your site.
How can you ensure that your content has this result? Share your content on quality sites that get a lot of social shares and backlinks.
This requires some research into the kinds of topics and pages that generate a lot of social shares.
One site you can use to do this kind of research is BuzzSumo.com.
Click on any of the topic pages from the menu and you’ll see a list of the most popular content pieces in that topic.
You can then use this information to generate social media and backlink-building opportunities for your content.
This process is simple: find sites that fit the bill and contact them about your content.
If you want to contact them, you should start by reading their editorial guidelines.
Their guidelines will tell you whether they accept guest posts, links to pages on your site, or both.
You can find these guidelines on their contact page.
Once you have a list of sites that accept guest posts and links to your site, you can proceed with the next step.