SEO expert and marketing copywriter specialising in writing about technology, marketing, branding, strategy and thought leadership for Articulate Marketing. Lover of Jack Kerouac, strong coffee and travelling.
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There’s no denying it, link building is a tough nut to crack. Backlinko’s Brian Dean will be the first to admit it. It requires other bloggers to be kind enough to link to your content when they have no obligation to do so.
But if you can master link building, you can master SEO, for link building is arguably the most important aspect of building authority and driving traffic to your site.
With this one simple concept, you can improve your link building strategy and start getting the results you deserve.
Introducing the skyscraper technique
The skyscraper technique is what could be dubbed as ‘the life of Brian’ - as it is the brainchild of backlinking Guru Brian Dean. It must’ve taken Brian Dean a long while to conceptualise and road test the technique, but nevertheless, he did. And it worked.
By researching link-worthy content, writing something even better than his competitors, and then dedicating an abundance of time to email outreach, Brain grew his link building efforts by 11 percent for his blog post titled ‘Google’s 200 ranking factors: the complete list’.
Better yet, he grew his website traffic by 110 percent in just fourteen days with this approach.
How to do the skyscraper technique
Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the skyscraper technique.
Step 1: Find link-worthy content
It goes without saying, but there’s a reason content performs well in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you’ve come into link building thinking you need to be ‘unique’ and ‘different’, it’s time to re-evaluate. Truth be told, you need to do what the top-ranking content creators are doing, only better.
How do you do this? By finding link-worthy content.
Buzzsumo – Analyse what content performs better for any topic.
Moz’s Link Explorer – Conduct link analysis, competitive research and use link building tools to see what’s performing well.
Google News – You can search using keywords to find out what stories are performing best.
Visual.ly - A great tool for finding well performing visual content.
Step 2: Create something even better
Now you know what sort of content Google is choosing to rank well in the SERPs, it’s up to you to create something even better.
Backlinko Brian chose to list all 200 of Google’s ranking factors after discovering that other people were only sharing half the picture.
‘It took 10 gallons of coffee and 20 hours of sitting in front of my laptop (don’t worry, I took bathroom breaks). But in the end, I had something that was clearly better than anything else out there.’
To make something even better, consider the following:
Make your content longer: Backlinko worked out that the average first page result on Google contains 1,890 words.
Make it up-to-date: Content goes out of date quickly these days. If you can write something with up-to-date statistics and current trends in your industry, Google will reward you for it.
Use design: digestible content is well designed. You’ve also got to consider things like page speed, HPPTS security and user experience.
Be more thorough: They’ve published a list of the top 20 blogs for tips on Azure? You need to publish a top 50 list. The more you give, the more you get back.
Overall, you need to make it clear to Google that your piece is better. That means focusing on the things Google will look for. Page speed and content length can be measured. Intelligent word play, although important, cannot.
Step 3: Outreach, outreach, outreach
Ask yourself, if you do all that work and then fail to promote your finished content, is it worth doing in the first place?
More than half of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel in terms of revenue generation.
Email outreach is the most important part of the skyscraper technique.
But instead of emailing random people with blogs and desperately scrounging for a link, you should target blogs that already link to something similar to your content.
What you’re looking for, then, is people who:
Have a blog in your niche
Are interested in what you’re talking about
Are already linking to something similar
Ahrefs: A backlinking tool that will help you find who’s linking to competitive content.