The Skyscraper Technique: What it is and How to Apply It

Do you have a blog with great content, but you’re still not getting enough traffic or backlinks?

One way to break out of this rut is to get visibility and the right exposure through creative and aggressive marketing strategies. A great start is applying the Skyscraper Technique.

Invented by Brian Dean of Backlinko, the Skyscraper Technique is a strategy of getting backlinks by:

  1. Identifying existing popular content in your niche that has lots of backlinks
  2. Creating an improved version of this piece of content
  3. Asking prospects to link to your superior post instead

A major advantage of the skyscraper technique is that there’s proven demand for the topic. There’s potential to attract the existing audience and get more traffic.

So, how can you apply the skyscraper technique and get results? Let’s get into it.


The Skyscraper Technique: What it is and How to Apply It


Step 1: Find a Relevant Topic

The first step of applying the skyscraper technique is identifying the topic you want to cover.

Use a tool like the Semrush SEO tool to find keywords and phrases that have a high search volume.

Next, use the same tool to find a post around that keyword with plenty of quality backlinks and shares. It shows that the topic is something bloggers, journalists, and other content creators are ready to link to.

The post should also have some room for improvement. You want to go for a post that is thin, outdated, inaccurate, or full of broken links.

Ideally, the best content to use for the skyscraper technique will strike a balance between its potential as a linkable asset and the extent to which you could improve it.



Step 2: Create a Better Piece Than the Original

You’ve found the topic you want to cover, now get into content creation.

The basic principle of the skyscraper technique is creating a more valuable piece than the existing one. Here are a few ways to create an epic linkable asset:

  • Get a unique angle. Using a new and different approach to a familiar topic improves the readers’ experience. For instance, try providing a fresh perspective on an old issue or a different and up-to-date way to tackle an old problem.
  • Add visual appeal. Improve the layout and design of the post and page. Use screenshots, GIFs, and videos that make the message interesting and easier to consume. For instance, you can turn a huge block of text into an infographic.
  • Increase the length with logical and relevant information. If you’re improving on a top 10 list, make yours a top 20 list, but only if you can maintain high quality throughout the content.
  • Add depth. Do thorough research and use it to go deeper into the topic and provide important insights in your post. For instance, add statistical data, use cases, and detailed descriptions to listed items. Be sure to add details that people are searching for.

Keep in mind that as time passes, the usefulness of your post will decline as the industry evolves and fresh content on the same topic arises. Update your post frequently to keep it evergreen and relevant.


Step 3: Hunt for Quality Prospects

This is one of the most exciting parts of using the skyscraper technique—creating an email list of prospects.

Not every prospect you contact will agree to link to your post. For this reason, gather as many relevant prospects as you can, this increases the number of backlinks you can get.

Instead of spamming the inbox of every content creator you can find, focus on brands, blogs, and influencers you know would have an interest in the post.

These can be blogs that have linked to a similar topic or post. Their sites would already have an audience that is likely to benefit from your new post.

Also, use HARO to find journalist requests relevant to your post.

Next, consider websites that have already linked to the original content that inspired your new post. If they linked to the original article, what would stop them from linking to a better version of it?

Run the URL of the original article using Semrush. It’ll show you a list of all the backlinks to the post. Export the list. Clean it up until you only have quality links, preferably from articles and blog posts.

Once you compile a list of good prospects, find their email addresses and move to the next step.


Step 4: Reach Out to the Prospects

You’re now in the final stage of applying the skyscraper technique. Make your intentions known through a strategic email campaign targeting your list of prospects.

Your goal is to send personalized emails giving your prospects a reason to link to your new and superior post on a popular topic.

Keep in mind that you have two groups of prospects—those who had linked to the original post and those who hadn’t linked but might be interested in the post.

Here are a few things to include in the outreach email:

  • Why you’re contacting—show the prospect that you know something about them.
  • A link to the post.
  • Justification as to why your post is awesome.
  • A call to action asking them to link to your post or make a swap.

For prospects that had linked to the original post, use Semrush’s backlinks anchor report to check the anchor text that the prospect used to link to the original article. Tell them how you’ve improved the section related to that anchor text and why they should link to your post.

Remember to follow up on prospects who don’t respond within three days.


Ready to Give the Skyscraper Technique a Try?

There you have it, four easy steps to use the skyscraper technique to your advantage.

Keep in mind that for the skyscraper technique to provide the best results, it’s important to:

  • Create outstanding content
  • Reach out to high-quality, relevant prospects in large numbers
  • Create personalized emails without sounding too promotional

Do not rely only on the skyscraper technique. Experiment with different link-building strategies to build your credibility, increase traffic, rank higher on Google, and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

About Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business 2 Community, TechCrunch, and more.