The Skyscraper Technique: Building High-Quality Backlinks


The Skyscraper Technique, popularized by Brian Dean, has caused quite a stir in the world of SEO and link building, and it’s not difficult to understand why.

This strategy offers a powerful means of acquiring high-quality backlinks on a large scale while incorporating critical factors that impact your Google search rankings.

While there are signs that this particular link-building method may not be as potent as it once was, it remains a viable strategy for surpassing your competitors when employed thoughtfully.

In this article, we’ll comprehensively explore the Skyscraper Technique, equipping you with the knowledge you need before integrating it into your content marketing strategy. Additionally, we’ll delve into why this approach yielded impressive results in the past and provide insights into optimizing this link-building tactic for 2023.

Key Takeaways

  • While some suggest that the skyscraper technique may not wield the same level of effectiveness as in the past, it remains a viable link-building strategy if executed with precision. This approach serves as a valuable method for identifying high-performing pages that have garnered substantial backlinks, offering valuable insights for shaping your content strategy.
  • The skyscraper technique’s enduring efficacy can be attributed to its core principle: engaging with blog owners keen on linking to top-notch content. The approach centers around identifying the most prominent content related to a specific keyword, developing your own page that surpasses the existing offerings in quality, and replicating the acquisition of backlinks.
  • In essence, the skyscraper technique, when employed thoughtfully, continues to be a potent asset for link building in the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing and search engine optimization.

What Is the Skyscraper Technique?

The skyscraper technique stands as a reputable and ethical method for enhancing your website’s backlink profile through outreach efforts. This strategy involves the enhancement of existing content while replicating the high-quality backlinks it has acquired.

The process itself is rather straightforward:

  • Identify top-performing content that ranks well for your desired keyword.
  • Create superior content on the same subject matter and publish it on your website.
  • Reach out to the bloggers or publishers linking to the original content, politely asking them to link to your improved piece instead.

The primary objective of the skyscraper technique is to elevate your content above the best-performing articles online and secure a prominent position in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

The underlying principle is that Google will recognize your content as more engaging and informative than what currently exists, potentially enabling your page to surpass its competitors.

This strategy was crafted by Brian Dean, a prominent figure in the field of link building, through his platform Backlinko in 2013. Brian’s implementation of the skyscraper technique resulted in a remarkable 110% surge in organic traffic to his website within just two weeks.

Out of the 160 outreach emails he dispatched, Brian managed to secure 17 high-quality backlinks, which translated into an impressive 11% success rate. It’s worth noting that typical conversion rates for link building efforts tend to hover around 2-3%, making this achievement quite remarkable for a cold outreach strategy.

💡Where Does the Skyscraper Technique Get Its Name From?

Just as a towering skyscraper commands attention amidst a cityscape, this strategy strives to craft exceptional content that distinguishes itself amidst the vast sea of articles within the search engine results pages (SERPs).

This approach centers on producing content that not only excels in relevance but also captivates and allures with its visual appeal, ensuring it surpasses the quality of competing articles covering the same subject matter.

What Made the Skyscraper Technique So Effective?

Ever since Brian Dean unveiled his remarkable findings, the skyscraper technique has emerged as a brilliant method for not only constructing valuable backlinks but also uncovering exceptional subjects for top-notch and contextually pertinent content.

With a more comprehensive understanding of this approach, let’s delve deeper into the reasons behind its resounding success.

It Helps You Create Better Content

The initial phase of the skyscraper technique entails the crucial task of pinpointing high-quality content that currently holds a strong position for your desired keyword. This step encompasses a thorough analysis of the content to discern the key elements contributing to its excellence. To illustrate, you might discover that the top-ranking pages consistently feature custom-designed images.

As a result, this method not only aids in recognizing aspects of your content that require enhancement but also brings to light potential opportunities for enhancing the value you provide to your audience.

The Approach Is Scalable

The skyscraper technique offers a remarkable advantage by facilitating the exposure of your content to numerous webmasters and bloggers.

When targeting specific keywords, it empowers you to discover a wealth of online prospects, each ripe for engagement.

Provided your content boasts exceptional quality and delivers superior value compared to the existing landscape, it significantly enhances your prospects of securing valuable backlinks and drawing a greater audience to your website.

The Ranking Potential Is Huge

As previously discussed, the primary objective of employing the skyscraper technique is to surpass an already high-performing piece of content. When the page you aim to surpass has maintained its ranking for an extended period, it’s probable that Google has thoroughly indexed that website.

By crafting superior content, you have the potential to dethrone the older material, secure a higher position in search rankings, and subsequently enhance the traffic to your website. This is particularly achievable if your outreach campaign garners valuable backlinks from authoritative sources.

There’s Already a Demand for Your Content

In contrast to various other link-building approaches, the skyscraper technique offers a higher level of assurance that your content meets a pre-existing demand. This assurance stems from the fact that the webmasters and blog owners you reach out to have previously linked to content similar to yours.

Your primary task is to convincingly illustrate to them why your content surpasses the existing material, allowing you to tap into this existing demand and secure valuable backlinks for your website.

Is The Skyscraper Technique Still Effective?

While Brian Dean initially pioneered the Skyscraper Technique, heralding it as a treasure trove for garnering backlinks and amping up organic traffic, today, there is a growing consensus that its effectiveness has waned.

Nonetheless, as is the case with any approach to link building, numerous factors contribute to the occasional underperformance of this method.

Let’s explore some of the most common in the section below.

Webmasters Are Used To It

An essential element in mastering the skyscraper technique lies in persuading a blog owner or webmaster to substitute an existing backlink with your own.

In earlier times, webmasters were often more open to including outbound links. However, as time has passed, they’ve received an overwhelming influx of such requests.

If your email outreach lacks engagement and fails to compellingly demonstrate why your content surpasses what’s currently in place, webmasters are likely to disregard it.

This effectively eliminates any chances of your page securing that coveted link or driving additional online traffic your way.

Search Engines Have Evolved

When the skyscraper technique initially gained popularity, numerous marketers mistakenly believed that elongating their content was the key to surpassing the highest-ranking pages.

While this approach might enhance the overall value for readers, it fails to harmonize with their underlying search intent.

To master the skyscraper technique in 2023, one must cultivate creativity and envision how their content can optimally cater to the needs of the individual who entered the keyword in Google’s search bar.

Long gone are the days when Google exclusively favored lengthy posts. In the contemporary landscape, concise content often delivers superior value to readers in a more efficient manner.

💡What Does Search Intent Mean?

When it comes to SEO, aligning your page with Google’s interpretation of user intent is paramount. By ensuring that your content aligns with what Google perceives as the most relevant response to a particular keyword or phrase, you significantly enhance your prospects of securing a top ranking for your targeted search term.

Site Authority Is Crucial

Numerous individuals were under the impression that the skyscraper technique would work like magic, instantly transforming their website’s organic traffic. However, they failed to consider a pivotal element in this equation – site authority.

Upon closer examination of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), it becomes evident that a website’s brand recognition and authority frequently take precedence over the inherent quality of its content.

One might meticulously craft the most exceptional webpage imaginable, but it remains an uphill battle to surpass other towering content pieces, even if your creation is superior, when competing against websites boasting a higher domain rating (DR) and a more robust backlink profile than your own.

🌇The Verdict

While the skyscraper technique may not be the shiny new strategy it once was, it remains a powerful tool in the world of digital marketing. Its execution may have become more intricate, but that doesn’t diminish its value.

With the right approach and a touch of expertise, the skyscraper technique still offers a viable path to secure top-notch backlinks and propel organic traffic to your website. Don’t underestimate its potential; it’s a time-tested strategy worth your attention.

How to Use the Skyscraper Technique to Drive Results

Here, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on harnessing the power of the skyscraper technique to discover fresh and captivating content ideas that will pique the interest of both readers and webmasters.

Furthermore, we’ll unveil effective strategies for crafting outreach campaigns that are impossible for webmasters to resist.

1) Identify Proven Linkable Assets

The initial step of the skyscraper technique involves the discovery of high-quality pages that have amassed a substantial number of backlinks. At LinkCrafters, we rely on Ahrefs for this purpose, although there are various online tools available for the same task. Ahrefs offers three distinct methods for uncovering linkable assets, namely:

  1. Site Explorer
  2. Content Explorer
  3. Keywords Explorer

While each of these methods is effective, the most straightforward approach for identifying linkable assets is through the use of Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

Here’s a breakdown of how it operates:

Begin by inputting a broad topic relevant to your industry or niche into Ahrefs’ Content Explorer. This extensive database is a treasure trove of millions of web pages, words, or phrases.

As an example, let’s say we’re searching for results related to “best SEO tool.”

Since your goal is to pinpoint pages with a substantial number of backlinks, it’s advisable to set the minimum “referring domains” filter to, let’s say, 50.

In our case, we’ve also set the language filter to English to ensure we receive results in our target language.

The result? A wealth of information at your fingertips, with access to 883 pages boasting exceptional backlink profiles. These pages can serve as invaluable references to guide the creation of your own content.

2) Create Even Better Content

After pinpointing valuable content with a substantial number of earned backlinks, the next step is to craft your link-worthy assets.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that the skyscraper technique is all about elevating the existing content to construct superior and unparalleled content for a specific subject.

There are a few different ways that you can do this:

1) Make your content more detailed

Upon careful scrutiny of search engine results pages (SERPs), it becomes apparent that a significant portion of online content merely scratches the surface. To truly excel and provide exceptional value to your readers, it is essential to elevate your content beyond the one-dimensional, top-ranking materials.

To accomplish this, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Infuse your content with intriguing statistics or lesser-known facts to enrich its depth and appeal.
  • Employ innovative methods, such as text boxes or graphics, to demystify complex concepts or terminology for your audience.
  • Enhance your content with real-world case studies that vividly illustrate the practical applications of the ideas you present.

By incorporating these meticulous details into your web pages, you can craft an advanced piece of content that significantly bolsters your ability to compete against the sea of superficial competitors in the digital landscape.

2) Make your content more up-to-date

When faced with outdated content on a specific subject, you’re presented with a golden opportunity to craft something fresher and more pertinent than the current offerings. Your approach should encompass related subjects to the existing material while weaving in the latest developments, emerging trends, and groundbreaking innovations within the industry.

This method serves as an excellent avenue for generating content that truly resonates with readers, positioning your work above competitors who have yet to refresh their pages to align with the ever-evolving industry landscape.

3) Make your pages more visually appealing

Many content marketers tend to overlook the significance of incorporating visual elements and design into their web pages. However, it’s essential to recognize that images not only enhance the overall user experience and convey your message effectively but can also play a pivotal role in boosting your website’s traffic.

Research has revealed that websites incorporating infographics tend to attract an average of 12% more traffic compared to those that neglect visual content. This underscores the power of visual storytelling in capturing and retaining the attention of online visitors.

Furthermore, the importance of a well-designed page extends beyond user engagement. It also contributes to your website’s perceived authority, a critical factor in attracting visitors and enhancing your backlink profile. A professionally designed and visually appealing website signals trustworthiness and competence, further solidifying your online presence.

💡A Note on Longer Content

Producing content that surpasses existing lengths doesn’t automatically equate to superior quality compared to those existing pages.

When pondering methods to enhance your content, it’s imperative to deliberate whether expanding an article will genuinely enrich the experience for your readers or contribute more profound insights to your subject matter.

3) Reach Out To The Relevant People

The culmination of the skyscraper technique involves the crucial phase of email outreach. It’s worth noting that many webmasters are no strangers to this strategy, making it essential to stand out. Without engaging email outreach, there’s a high likelihood that your carefully crafted pitch will be swiftly discarded by website owners, never to be read.

Before diving into the art of crafting personalized outreach emails, it’s essential to explore the methods for identifying top-tier prospects who are genuinely interested in linking to your content.

Here’s how it works:

First and foremost, it’s essential to export the list of backlinks from your competitors’ websites into a spreadsheet. By doing so, you gain access to valuable data about their linking strategies.

Since your competitors have previously linked to content similar to what you plan to create in your skyscraper strategy, it’s highly probable that they may be interested in linking to your superior content.

The next step involves refining your list of prospects. To do this, eliminate links that do not seem suitable for outreach. This may include links from forums, spammy websites, or article directories, among others. The goal here is to focus your efforts on websites that are more likely to engage positively with your content.

Additionally, you can apply filters to the results to pinpoint higher-quality prospects. For example, narrow down your list to links that are of the “dofollow” type, primarily found on blogging platforms, and limit it to one link per domain. This refined list will help you identify potential prospects who are inclined to publish and share content similar to what you intend to produce in your skyscraper campaign.

Now, It’s Time for Outreach

Creating a compelling outreach campaign that captures the attention of blog owners and webmasters is crucial in link-building. At LinkCrafters, we pride ourselves on our expertise in crafting highly personalized outreach strategies that consistently yield positive results for our clients. Here’s an inside look at how we tailor our email outreach:

📌 Crafted Subject Lines

We understand that the subject line is your first opportunity to make a lasting impression on the webmasters and blog owners you’re reaching out to. To demonstrate that our communication is far from generic, we employ subject lines customized for each specific target. This could mean:

  1. Incorporating the recipient’s name.
  2. Posing a thought-provoking question.
  3. Referencing a recent piece of content they’ve contributed to.

🔎 Thorough Research

In our pursuit of personalization, we delve deep into the target website to gather information that allows us to make our outreach as tailored as possible. We identify the individuals responsible for the blog and analyze the type of content they regularly publish.

💡 Presenting Your Value Proposition

The crux of successful outreach lies in clearly articulating the ‘why’ behind your communication. When contacting a blog owner, it’s imperative to explain the purpose of your outreach and why your content surpasses what they are currently linking to. Take time to study their previous work and pinpoint how your content can enhance their audience’s experience.

Moreover, we recommend providing links to your previous work. This serves as a visual testament to the quality of your content, illustrating its worthiness for a valuable backlink.

Our approach at LinkCrafters is centered around a genuine commitment to understanding and engaging with our targets, ensuring that our outreach is not only noticed but also welcomed.

Now, It’s Your Turn

In the realm of online content marketing, the skyscraper technique has proven to be a potent strategy for both acquiring valuable backlinks and generating innovative ideas for top-notch content. Yet, if you’re looking to harness the full potential of this approach, there are several key aspects to bear in mind:

  • Elevate Your Content: Your first task is to create content that far surpasses the quality of anything currently available. The aim here is to stand head and shoulders above the competition.
  • Target the Right Audience: Reaching out to the appropriate individuals or websites is crucial. Identifying the right people to connect with is essential for the success of your skyscraper campaign.
  • Craft an Engaging Pitch: Your outreach messages must be meticulously crafted to engage and persuade your chosen contacts. A compelling pitch is often the key to opening doors.

It’s important to note, however, that the skyscraper technique isn’t a magical shortcut to overnight traffic and instant ranking improvements. To make it work effectively, you also need to take into account factors such as your website’s authority, your industry’s landscape, and the competitive environment you operate in.

If you find yourself in need of outsourcing your link-building endeavors or require a consistent and scalable solution, our dedicated link-building agency is at your service. We’re here to assist you in achieving your link-building objectives. Feel free to get in touch with us if you’d like to delve into the intricacies of your link-building strategy in more detail.

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