The Skyscraper Backlinks Technique: Create Better Content and Improve Traffic

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Since digital marketing has gone virtual, the competition between brands has become more cutthroat. It’s getting harder to capture the attention of your target market, much less score the top spot of search engine results.

Out of desperation, some people have found themselves involved in black hat SEO. 

However, a huge chunk of digital marketers still make sure that they stick to Google guidelines to dodge penalties. From infographics, videos and graphs to blog posts, new content mediums are popping up left and right to gain more traffic. 

With the marketing landscape slowly getting saturated, what can you do to stay on top of your game?

This is where the skyscraper backlink technique comes into play. However, just like any other marketing tactic, it will only work if you do it the right way. Let’s delve into it and see what the fuss is all about!

What Is the Skyscraper Technique?

Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, shared a link-building strategy in 2015 with an 11% success rate. He named it the skyscraper technique, doubling his organic traffic in just a span of 14 days. 

Basically, the skyscraper backlink technique process boils down to four steps:

  • Locate high-performing content in SERPs for keywords that are related to your brand or company.
  • Record the publishers linking to the kinds of content you’d like to target.
  • Find out their weaknesses and use them to create a better piece of content.
  • Get in touch with the publishers and propose your newly crafted article!

The skyscraper technique’s popularity skyrocketed because it made outreach easier and more streamlined. You only target publishers who are already interested in the kind of content you want to put out there, giving you the opportunity for a better backlink gap analysis.

So, why is it called a ‘skyscraper’? Think of the search engine results as a huge city. Generally, people who live at the heart of the metro develop a fondness for tall buildings and popular landmarks. Likewise, users on search engines will click on the top-performing content. 

Why is the Skyscraper Technique Important?

In some cases, no matter how powerful your content is, getting enough traffic or backlinks still remains a challenge.  Thankfully, the skyscraper technique might just be the trick you need to break you out of this rut.

Check out some of its advantages below:

Helps You Reach Target Audience

target audience
Business people finding job candidates. Looking for employees with talent flat vector illustration. Target audience, human resources concept for banner, website design or landing web page

One of the most important advantages of the skyscraper backlink technique is that it helps you find your target audience. Since you’ve already found the most in-demand keywords in your niche, reaching out to a warmed-up audience becomes a piece of cake. 

All you have to do is think of better ways on how your version beats other pieces of content they’ve already read. Besides, you have a clue about their preferences and what interests them, so thinking of better ideas should come naturally to you!

Improves Authority and Traffic

SEO authority score and traffic overview

Since the skyscraper technique helps you earn tons of backlinks, you get the chance to increase your platform’s overall domain authority. You carefully choose the publishers to include in your outreach, giving you better control of gaining links that search engines prioritise. 

If your content is proven to be more unique, you’re likely to outrank your competitors and get the number 1 spot on search results. 

Helps you Think of the Right Content

SEO content plan

There’s no doubt that no matter how creative you are, you’re bound to hit a few roadblocks along the way. You find it harder to think of something to write about, while your competitors have an endless list of ideas to expand their reach. 

With the help of the skyscraper technique, you can finally come up with the right content for your brand. Since you’ve found the top-performing articles, blogs and even videos, you understand what made them successful in the first place. 

You can use this information to publish engaging posts and attract more visitors to your website. 

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Use the Skyscraper Technique

Can’t wait to join in the game and step up your SEO performance? Let’s jump straight to the step-by-step process of the skyscraper technique and outrank your competitors! 

Step # 1: Find Proven Linkable Assets

proven linkabale assets

Once you start your SEO skyscraper technique, the first step you need to take is finding proven linkable content. Remember that this will be the most critical phase of your strategy because the content you’ll produce will depend on your research. 

You can use various SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush and Majestic, among others. Setting up Google alerts for relevant keywords that you’d like to cover also works. 

By keyword

Using a keyword explorer search tool helps you find the best content by keyword. Enter a broad keyword you’d like to discuss and study the SERP overview to view the post that ranks higher than any other page.

Bear in mind that you need to set a keyword difficulty (KD) filter at 40 since pages with higher KDs often contain lots of backlinks.  

By topic

If you prefer to search for content by topic, using the Ahrefs content explorer is highly recommended. It’s the same with keyword research but what you need to input is a broad topic of interest and sort the results by referring domains. 

You have to set the referring domains filter at 50 to access the pages with many backlinks. And if you want to get the pages in your target language, you can also include a filter language. Make sure that you click on the top-ranking page! 

However, if you’re still uncertain about the topic but you already have an authoritative website you want to study, use the site explorer search tool instead. 

By the authoritative site

Use a site explorer search tool to find content from authoritative sites. You’ll see the top-ranking pages using the best by links report, helping you find the high-ranking piece of content. 

Just type in the site name, sort the list of URLs by referring domains and view the most relevant post.

Step # 2: Make Something Even Better

provide good content to start with skyscraper backlinks

Now that you know what’s out there, the next step is to create something so groundbreaking that users can’t help but click on your content. Take everything to the next level and do what needs to be done to get recognised by search engines! 

Here are some tips given by Brian Dean to stay on top of the game:

  • Make it longer – Let’s say you’re basing your piece on a blog post titled ‘Top 5 Laptop Brands to Buy in 2022’. To make it a lot better, list more brands and add more information as much as you can. In this way, you can provide more value for your audience that other pages will have a hard time surpassing.

However, make sure that you know your limits. Just because you have to make it longer doesn’t mean you write something unrelated. All the information on the content must be logical and relevant, so tread carefully!

  • Make it more updated – Just like a piece of bread, some content on the Internet gets stale way too quickly. Industries grow at the speed of light, so there’s always something new to discuss!

No matter which field you’re in, people love updated information on trends and innovations. You can update it using statistics, screenshots, infographics, images and even videos to gain the upper hand. 

  • Enhance the graphic design – Aside from quality content, working on a powerful page design earns you more links and clicks. When your posts are visually appealing and unique, it makes you stand out from the crowd, especially since we now live in the age of visual communication.

This includes creating graphs, adding illustrations or converting a blog post into a video. Even including a header on top of the page can also be effective. 

Always put your feet in your readers’ shoes. If you’re an Internet user, which would you rather invest your time in? Is it the content with little to no visuals, or something that has images and illustrations to make you understand a topic’s point?

Step # 3: Prepare Your Outreach Email

Before reaching out to quality prospects, make sure that you prepare a well-written outreach email. We understand that this step might feel intimidating, especially if you have no idea what to write. For starters, it’s highly recommended that you use email templates to give you a rough sketch of what to discuss.

However, if you plan to make your own, you can use a spam checker tool to evaluate your email. These are the parameters used:

  • Subject length
  • Word count
  • Question count

It also checks for any spam trigger words. If you don’t want to end up in the Spam section of your prospect’s email, this is a helpful tool to have!

To get you started, here’s an example:


Updated programming guide to link on your site


Hi there. I hope this email finds you well.

This is [Your name] from [Name of your company or brand]. It’s nice to meet you.

I’ve been reviewing pieces of content related to programming, and I discovered [Link to the backlink post title]. However, I noticed that the [Target site] blog post on programming you’re linking to is not up-to-date and lacks important information.

[Name of your company] has just written and published a comprehensive guide to programming, covering tools, data structures, syntax and variables. Would you consider replacing the link to [Target site] post with our more updated guide, or mentioning our blog to make sure your readers have access to every piece of information?

Thank you.

Best regards,

[Your name]

Always make your email personal. This means that aside from mentioning your prospect’s name, you refrain from using subject lines and requesting links in a non-pitchy manner. Make sure you also demonstrate that you’ve done some research so you have knowledge of what kind of content the prospect would find relevant. 

If your prospects do not reply after three days or so, don’t forget to send a follow-up message. 

Step # 4: Reach Out to The Right People

The skyscraper backlink technique pretty much revolves on finding people who are already interested in the kind of content you’re publishing. In this context, the right people to reach out to are in the same niche as you and have already linked to similar posts.

Let’s take a look at how this process works:

  1. Using SEO tools like Ahrefs, Majestic or Semrush, you find backlinks to the original content, outdated posts and top-performing pages.
  2. Export the list of backlinks as a CSV file.
  3. To make sure you only get quality links, you evaluate the list carefully. This will help you remove any forum links and article directories.
  4. Using an email lookup tool, you find the email addresses of the people you want to get in touch with.

You can also use media databases like ANewsTip or Gorkana to find journalists who may be interested in your content. Another option is to take advantage of Help a Reporter Out (HARO) so you can track journalist requests that your content may be relevant to.

When Skyscraper Strategies Fail: Things to Avoid

Even though the skyscraper technique has helped several businesses to earn more traffic and backlinks, the method remains controversial. It’s because it has a seemingly fail rate that digital marketers aren’t a big fan of, putting their SEO efforts to waste. 

This is because they fail to understand what the skyscraper technique is truly all about. Let’s discuss a common dilemma.

First, most writers cannot fully leverage the benefits of skyscraper backlinks because they often lack creativity. Remember the city skyline you’ve always admired. When the first-ever skyscraper was built, the next architect did not just copy the blueprint. 

Instead, he appreciated the building’s beauty and determined its flaws, helping him come up with a better skyscraper.

This is the same with the skyscraper technique. You find something that’s extraordinary and put your own spin on it. For example, you may have come across a viral blog post and created something that feels unique but still uses the same information. Think of it as a full-blown makeover!

Skyscraper Backlinks: Successful Use Cases


Considered to be one of the biggest marketing education brands, AuthorityHacker sees the skyscraper technique as the heart of cold outreach. The good results are based on sending lots of automated semi-personal emails to gain as many links as possible.

All in all, they had 152,000 prospects, 630,000 sent emails and three years’ worth of a campaign. The company also used Ahrefs, Hunter and Mailshake to launch and start their skyscraper strategies. As a result, they earned 4,306 backlinks from 4,244 referring domains!


The man behind the skyscraper technique, Brian Dean, further proves the effectiveness of this technique by providing compelling results to the public. He realised that this SEO strategy will not yield good results unless he determines user intent. This version is called the Skyscraper Technique 2.0.

When Dean came up with targeted content, he optimised everything and made user-friendlier posts. He added table contents and videos, as well as structured the text through subheadings.

In just a week, he managed to increase the organic traffic to Backlinko’s blog post to 652%.

Final thoughts

There’s no denying that winning at content marketing is not a walk in the park. Having to constantly come up with new content is getting harder as years go by. And sometimes, you have no choice but to jump on the bandwagon to attract users. 

Luckily, the skyscraper technique is right up your alley.

For as long as you have the right amount of dedication and luck, using the skyscraper technique can give you great results. We know that’s pretty intimidating out there, with lots of competitors and big-time influencers vying for backlinks and traffic. However, when you know what you’re doing, outperforming them is already within reach. 

Just make sure that you optimise your content, send a good email template and reach out to the right people. If you don’t know where to begin, our talented team of SEO service are here to help you!


What is skyscraper SEO?

In SEO, the skyscraper technique is an SEO framework that aims to make your content top-performing and popular. It’s a link-building strategy where you improve existing articles, blogs, e-books and videos and replicate the backlinks. 

What is the skyscraper strategy?

The skyscraper strategy boils down to four steps: 

– Step 1: Find linkable assets by keyword, content or authoritative site. 
– Step 2: When you already have a list of relevant content, identify their weaknesses and create something better. Make your content more updated and visually appealing by enhancing your page design.
– Step 3: Write your outreach email. Make sure that it doesn’t sound too generic and refrain from using spam trigger words.
– Step 4: Get in touch with the right people and propose your newly written content. They should be in the same industry as you and have linked to similar posts.

Looking for a trusted SEO agency in Singapore? Schedule a consultation with us today.

About Roots Digital

Roots Digital is an award-winning digital marketing agency and SEO agency headquartered in Singapore, specialising in eCommerce Marketing and lead generation. We are a Google and Meta Business certified partner working to deliver the best-in-class digital marketing campaigns from large enterprises and SMEs to growing start-ups.

Some of our core digital marketing services include SEO servicesSEM services, Google Ads management servicesGoogle Analytics services and more.

Feel free to reach out if you’re interested in working with us. Connect with us via our service enquiry form. You may schedule a call for more information and to know more about our digital marketing services.

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Ian Ong
Marketing Director @ Roots Digital, a digital marketing agency in Singapore. Aka the guy responsible for growing the digital marketing agency.
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Ian Ong
Marketing Director @ Roots Digital, a digital marketing agency in Singapore. Aka the guy responsible for growing the digital marketing agency.
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