Skyscraper technique – Starter Guide

by Adam Arthur {date}


With the continuously growing plethora of website content, it can be increasingly difficult to capture the attention to your website. This has forced marketers to get more creative and adopt techniques to gain access to their target audiences within the highly competitive landscape. One such effective strategy is employing the Skyscraper technique.


The skyscraper technique demands a lot of patience, and research to creating the appropriate content for a maximum reach. This article can be used as an effective starter guide in using the technique - explaining what the Skyscraper page is, a structed template to deploy the method, its advantages and some pitfalls to look out for.

What is the Skyscraper?


The idea of the of the Skyscraper content, or the Skyscraper technique, was initially birthed by Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko. The idea is to turn your content inro high quality backlinks.

Essentially, you narrow down on a keyword or key phrase to target. Then, you start researching to pick to top ranking content pieces showing up to that key word. Finally you produce your own original content that better than the existing ones – this can be done by leveraging new information, using more engaging mediums, updating statistics or adopting an overall better design. The idea is to promote your newly created content to receive links and surpass the already existing ones.

Deploying the Skyscraper Strategy

This technique can largely be divided into four main steps.


  1. Choosing the right keyword

The keyword you are going to choose should match the type of content you are looking for and that is appealing to your audience. Depending on the form of content you are trying to create, you will look for a keyword that matches the following factors:

  • Branding – according to your target audience, is it niche, available to all or somewhere in between?

  • Relevant – is it interesting to the consumers of your business/industry

  • Traffic value – you can use the dollar cost amount for advertising for that keyword as a value compass

  • Buyer stage – An early buyer stage would mean that you are committed in investing time or money to creating quality content for consumers early in the sales funnel. Late-stage buyer stage would mean a focusing on a targeted word that are further down in the sales funnel, usually very close to the call-to-action button.

  1. Top Ranking Content analysis

After narrowing down on your chosen keyword, it is time to evaluate the competition. You can use the following questions to help evaluate the competitor’s content:

  • How relevant are the competitors post to your brand, product and industry?

  • What pain points do users seem to be resonating with in their posts?

  • Are there any lacking questions or content that may be missing in these posts?

  • How does your current content rank against the competition? Do you have the financial and talent capacity to match or exceed the competition?

Although answering these questions, especially when sieving through content, may be seem more qualitative it has a direct impact on the final amount of viewership to a site.

Here are a few tools that can be handy in analyzing the competition:

  1. Producing better content than existing competition

As google always says, you need to write for your users. There is no one mantra to writing good content, however there are a few simple methods that have shown positive results in successful website content.

Here are some of them:

  • Provide visual aids through embedded photos or videos when breaking from one paragraph to the next
  • Have more evidence through math, science or personal experiences to build credibility
  • Allow opportunities for user feedback to have them more engaged with the content – it’s a chance to improve your material for the next post
  • Content with links that are more appropriate and relevant than the ones used by competition
  • Break up content into lists or bullet points so it can be more easily digested (like this!)
  • Provide clear call-to-actions where required

Using already created content as reference gives you an edge – you are not forced to ideate your topic content from scratch. However, ensure to use the competitor’s material as base line and build above it.

If you find that there is a missing component to the material that can really resonate with the audience, you may choose to steer away into a totally different format or design from the existing competition. Just ensure to run the sample by a diverse sample size, before uploading your material.

  1. Tracking Backlinks and Doing Outreach

Once you have completed your material and uploaded it into your sit, you can use one of the tools, like ahrefs, to track its backlinks. You can use these results to help pinpoint the possible weaknesses in your articles that need to be improved upon.

Alternatively, you can use these tools to find all the complimentary sites that can link to your material. In reaching out these sites, and asking for a link to your valuable content you can increase your ranking.

If you are a relatively new player in a content creation, you may have to build a relationship with the opportunistic sites before securing content link opportunities. This can be done by building a strong inventory of valuable content, featuring their products/service within your article and consistent email follow ups.

Advantages of using the Skyscraper technique


  1. Assured demand

Through the discovery process, you are already aware of the existing customer base for that particular type of content. You can eliminate any qualms you may have about people being interested in that topic. This can be used as an effective ladder into diving deeper into the users expectations answers questions like – are their problems being addressed effectively? Are the resonating to a certain type of writing?

  1. Primed audience

Once you are past the discovery stage of the process, your goal fundamentally comes down to creating a better content than the original. The already familiar audience would be excited for a superior resource that’s engaging and in line with solving their pain point. This is especially applicable to timely categories such as fashion, sport and entertainment. It will also be relatively easy to have your article be picked up by other brands, publications and influencers because of its relevance.

  1. High ranking potential

The already existing content is most likely ranked and indexed by google. In the case that your article proves to be better, it can potentially topple the older piece content and outrank them. This can the lead to high amount of traffic, especially when you gain a high amount of quality back links.

Pitfalls to avoid when using the Skyscraper technique


  1. Unoriginal content

Audiences are far more aware of about the type of content their consuming, than ever before. You may need to find the right balance of providing new exciting content, while using the old as a reference. If the audience finds a plagiarism element to your content, it can sharply harm your site’s credibility.

  1. Avoiding Citations

All most all sites appreciate when their content is being linked by an external site. It increases their credibility and allows opportunity for traffic inflow. In cases, where you are directly siting statistics/quotes, please ensure to give the appropriate citations – either through direct hyperlinks, or leaving a note at the end of the article.

  1. Lacking quality

Especially for timely categories, it may be alright to spruce up an already existing content to gain more viewer traction. However, this should not be the go-to strategy all the time. If you wish to build a sustainable brand, which finds itself on the top of the list in a search engine results – you will have to focus on creating quality content for a long period of time.


No matter how good your content is, there will always be others who will publish new material in the efforts to surpass you on the search engine ranking list. But it is much more difficult to compete against an authentic credible material directly catering to the audience’s demand. Additionally, you can constantly update your content according to your industries trend to start owning all the floors to the proverbial “Skyscraper”.

Hope this article has been fruitful, please feel free to leave a comment below!


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