The “skyscraper technique” by Brian Dean of Backlinko, has reached its peak of popularity because of its easy-to-follow process yet has produced effective results for most people who executed the methodology.

Of course, not all have reaped the fruits of their labor, some have missed the objective of building and earning organic links through its skyscraped content (as well as rank for keywords/search terms that might impact their overall campaign).

Here are reasons listed by Ross Hudgens why the Skyscraper technique may not be working (or can fail):

  • Assuming skyscraper content (10x content) is an output of volume, not of quality.
  • Assuming content’s ranking performance on search is solely based on its own quality, not who it comes from.
  • Quality of content is realized by the volume of efforts put into creation, not by the value it provides to its users (e.g. definition of terms queries requires mediocre yet succinct content, not bigger content piece, to satisfy its users).

Apparently, the aforementioned reasons do not totally disprove the effectiveness of “skyscraper technique”.

With proper strategy and thorough execution on each individual phases of the process, I’d almost guarantee that you can hit your business’ objectives with the skyscraper strategy.

skyscraper-technique-case-study

In this post, I’ll share actual samples of my workflow and thought-process – from content ideation, content production to the extensive promotion of skyscraper content.

 

1. START BY IDENTIFYING FREQUENTLY-SEARCHED TOPICS

Use keyword research tools (like Ahrefs’ keyword explorer) to find topic phrases that have substantial search volume. The data should answer the question, “are there enough people looking for the topic?“.

ahrefs sleep for kids search volume

Continue doing your research by looking for keyword variations. These keyword variations can help expand your content’s reach when included in your content piece (as they can help your page rank for secondary keywords and other long-phrase keyword variations).

AutoSuggest and Related Search Phrases (located below of every SERPs) are handy features of Google that can help you find keyword variations of search terms.

Tip: You can use Ahrefs’ Questions feature to discover related questions (which you can later select and include those you’re capable of answering in your content asset).

ahrefs question feature

2. ENSURE THAT THERE’S A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF PAGES TO LINKING TO RANKING PAGES

Get an idea of the linkability of the topic by looking at the first few pages of search results. See how many linking opportunities does each page obtains (with Moz you can glance it quickly).

sleep for kids google search results pages

3. STRATEGIZE HOW TO OUTCOMPETE LINK-WORTHY CONTENT  

During this point of process, you can choose to proceed to either of these two directions:

  1. Create content on the linkable topic and make it better than the first ranking pages for the target keyword/phrase.
  2. Choose one among the ranking pages, check if you can feasibly do better than it, and produce a more comprehensive content piece.

Whether you choose option 1 or 2, the mindset should be in accordance to the original Skyscraper process: find link-worthy content, make something even better and reach out to the right people.

For this case study, I choose option 2.

I’ve found one niche website that ranked for the keyphrase, “sleep for kids,” – which is a microsite of an industry organization, National Sleep Foundation.

When we review the website, it only has 50~ indexed pages. Not all of these pages have valuable information about the main subject area (a content gap we can fill in the industry).

sleep for kids indexed pages

This leads us to choose this website as our starting point for creating the 10x cotnent.

This opportunity of discovering a topic-focused site rarely happens – but if you’ve found one, it is best to consider the following things:

  • How long does the site hasn’t been updated?
  • How many pages does the entire website has? Are they all under the same subject area?
  • Are there any important topics not yet included that you can cover on your own content asset?

Strategize how to outdo the link-worthy content by creating an outline to visualize the outcome of your own content piece.

Make sure you look for important points that haven’t been mentioned in their content. You can use Quora and Reddit to spot frequently-asked questions and cross-check them with their content (to see if those topics have been integrated).

quora questions skyscraper technique

Increase chances of your content piece to rank in search by optimizing it for other secondary keywords that your competitors’ have included in their content.

You can use Cognitive Content Assistant tool to identify the exact keywords your content is missing as well as keywords you should use more often or less (in the case of keyword stuffing). Their Content Performance metric gives you an idea how likely your content is to be ranked higher up.

cognitiveseo content assistant tool

Moreover, incorporate any of the following content formats to better enhance the utility of your own content piece:

  • Visual asset (turn interesting data points to a remarkable image)
  • Case studies of your own (or of other entities/personalities you’ve asked permission to share on your own website)
  • Audio or videos that better explains important points of your subject
  • Interactive tools or elements to improve content consumption

As an example, we heavily invest in infographics for our client’s content assets, only if there are data points that are be more valuable to present visually.

For example, the question found on Ahrefs’ Questions feature (how much sleep for kids) can be best answered by gathering data points and turning it into an infographic.

You can easily these other content formats to other sites or leverage them as guest blogging content (see guestographics).

sleep for kids infographic

Overall, invest in making your content asset more valuable than your target link-worthy content (and than other competitors’ content).

skyscraper content

4. PITCH LINKERS AND INFLUENCERS

Start reaching out to people who’ve linked to your competitors’ content.

To increase your outreach campaigns’ open rate (as well as response rate), invest time in crafting catchy and effective email subject lines. Here are some useful tips by Giselle Navaro (from her latest outreach article on SearchEngineLand).   

1. Be specific about the format of your content

subject line email pitch 1

2. Mention the site when it matters

subject line email pitch 2

3. Convey the email’s purpose.

4. Pitch your content to journalists in their language

subject line email pitch 3

5. Choose a journalist’s headline as your subject line when following up

subject line email pitch 4

If it’s a resource page you’re trying to get links from, you can approach outreach by suggesting your content as an additional reference to their links page.

Another value proposition to make is to tell them about any broken links on their resource page (if you’ve found any) and propose your content piece alongside with a non-competitor content as replacements to their defunct links.

This outreach activity is included in another link acquisition process. Read our broken link building guide here with easy steps to follow.

OUTREACH PROCESS IN ACTION

Going back to our case study – sleep for kids guide, we’ve reached out to .edu librarians, other link curators, and webmasters who’ve have linked to the competitor’s content.

acquired link 1

acquired link 2

We further looked for other industry bloggers who might potentially be interested in including our visual asset as a complimenting content to their existing articles.

Then, acquire high-quality links:

skyscraper acquire link 1

skyscraper acquire links 2

Securing links from these sites is only the first step. The relationships built with these webmasters can later on translate to additional relevant links to your other future content assets.

Need help with your skyscraper campaigns? Check out our link building services here.