There are so many different link building strategies out there to choose from that it can be hard to determine which ones are worth trying out and which strategies you should avoid at all costs.
There’s no way around it, if you want to turn your website into an authority and build up traffic in the long run, you need to focus on creating amazing content and building links to the content that you create.
Link building is a pretty straightforward process, although it definitely takes a lot of work and it can be reasonably priced or fairly expensive depending on the strategies that you want to follow.
Of course, you could just create loads of content and hope for the traffic and links to start flowing in, but for many people this is not a practical strategy and not building your own links is a great way to set yourself up for failure.
In this post, I want to talk about the SEO strategy known as the “Skyscraper technique”, which was made popular by Brian Dean over at Backlinko a few years ago.
After going over some of the details about this strategy, I’m going to kick off a case study where I detail the steps I’m going to take to try out this method on my own to see what kind of results I get.
The Skyscraper Technique for Link Building: A Quick Primer
In case you haven’t heard of it, here’s what the Skyscraper Technique is in a nutshell:
- Find a keyword that you want to target and find content related to this keyword that already has a lot of links to it
- Make content related to your keyword even better than everything that’s available out there
- Start emailing people letting them know about your amazing content
That’s really all there is to it and from the outside looking in, it doesn’t seem like that difficult of a strategy to implement at all.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the different steps and the processes you need to follow to make your way through this strategy correctly.
Finding a Keyword to Target
The first thing you’re going to want to do best to find a hopefully profitable keyword that you can target and use as your “linkable asset”.
There are so many helpful guides online when it comes to finding profitable keywords, although it’s up to you to decide whether you want to use something that can make you money or if you want to go along with a more informative type of keyword that might be easier to get links to.
For example, if you’re doing something like affiliate marketing with Amazon, it might be easier to get a link to an informative post about the benefits of hiking, rather than trying to get people to link to a post about the best tents for camping.
Of course, you’re going to want to interlink your content so that the domain authority can flow effectively through your website, and otherwise it’s up to you to decide which type of content you want to build links to.
One easy way that you can find keywords and content that you want to improve on is to take a look at your top competitors in your niche to see which of their posts has the most links and whether or not you can make it better.
How to Tell Which Content Has the Most Links?
There are some tools that you’re going to need to find content that is linked to.
You could use a free tool like OpenLinkProfiler as well, although it’s not going to provide you with as many accurate results as if you were using something paid.
Making the Content Better
Once you have a specific keyword in mind and you can see that the top posts on Google searches have a decent amount of backlinks, it’s time to create your own content that is better than everything on the first page.
You’re going to be really lucky if you find a keyword where all of the results are really bad, but in most cases there are going to be some pretty good results that you’re still going to have to improve on.
By creating content that is the best for the keywords people are searching, you’re not only improving the user experience but it’s also going to be a lot more likely that someone is going to want to link to your content, rather than if you just created something mediocre.
There are a few ways that you can make your content even better and these include things like:
- Making the content longer and more in-depth
- Adding more images, videos, and other types of multimedia to the content
- Making sure that the content is updated with recent information
- Improving the overall design of the content by making it easier to read or navigate
These are just a few things you can do to make sure that you have the best possible content compared to all of the other search results.
Make sure to check out the top 5 or 10 results to see what people are coming up with, and you can even write down some notes with different things that you can improve on.
One thing to keep in mind is that longer isn’t always better, especially if you’re going to be filling the content with a lot of fluff words or useless information.
On the other hand, if you’re able to write in-depth content that’s packed full with useful information and comes with practical videos, images, and improves the user experience overall, then you’re bound to come out ahead of most of the competition.
Emailing People for Links
With your amazing content in hand, it’s finally time to start doing your link building outreach.
There are a few tools that you can use to make this process a lot easier, although as a beginner I would recommend doing everything manually at first to get a better feel for the process.
After collecting the emails of the bloggers and website owners that you want to contact for links, you want to organize everything using an app like Google Docs or any other app so that you can keep track of who you emailed, when you sent an email, when you sent the follow-up, any replies you got, and whether or not you actually got the link.
You might be wondering what you should say in the e-mail – thankfully there are a bunch of different templates that you can find online that you can use for sending out the emails.
There are a few bloggers out there that recommend a much more personalized approach, and I don’t disagree that this is likely going to get you more link placement in the long run.
However, once you’re able to automate the outreach you’re going to be able to send more emails anyways so the personalization is going to end up taking too much time for just a few links.
As for the template, here is the one Brian Dean said he uses, and it’s also the one that I’ll be using in my own case study:
I was searching for some articles about [Your topic] today and I came across this post on your blog/website: [Link to post you’re referencing]
I noticed that you linked to one of my favorite articles – [Article title of content you want yours to replace]
Just wanted to give you a heads up that I created a similar article. It’s like [Name of the article that you’re referencing] but a lot more in-depth, thorough, and up to date.
You can check out the article that I wrote here: [Link to your own article]
It might be worth a mention on your page – I’m sure that your readers will find it super useful!
Either way, keep up the great work and I’m looking forward to reading more of your awesome content.
All the best,
So that’s basically the template that Brian Dean recommends that you use for your outreach and I recommend slightly personalizing it to better match the specific niche that you’re in.
All you need to do is fill out the more specific information in the email and then just start sending them out.
Over at Backlinko, Brian Dean claims to have gotten an 11% success rate – and keep in mind that he said he sent 160 emails.
Don’t get discouraged if you just send a handful of emails and no one replies, you really need to up the volume and send out quite a bit of emails if you want to get some links to your content.
My Skyscraper Case Study
Now that you have a better idea of what the Skyscraper Technique is and how to properly implement it for your own blog or website, I wanted to share with you a case study of my own when it comes to whether or not this technique actually works.
I’m not going to share the specific keywords that I’m going to be targeting, but the content is in the health and fitness niche and from what I can see there are a lot of people thinking to a wide range of content related to the niche I’m in.
Some different niches, like travel for example, you’ll find that there aren’t that many people linking out to others.
This doesn’t make it any harder really, you just need to spend more time looking for linkworthy content that you can create and then do some outreach with.
Right now, as of July 11th 2017, I have the keywords ready and I’m going to start working on the content right now.
I will make sure to update this case study once a week and provide a lot more details with the outreach progress, how the content turned out, the email responses I’m getting, and whether or not I’m able to build links with this technique.
In the meantime, check out the following link building case studies that have also used the Skyscraper method: