Content Marketing
Does the Skyscraper Technique Work for SEO?

Does the Skyscraper Technique Work for SEO?

April 3, 2023
7 min read

Almost 8 years ago, SEO expert, Brian Dean, revealed a game-changing strategy called the Skyscraper Technique. This technique introduced a new approach to gaining organic traffic, and reportedly helped Dean increase his own traffic by 110% in only two weeks.

If you’ve had your hand in the SEO game for more than 24 hours, you know those are some pretty impressive results. And when this technique first hit the digital press, it understandably gained a lot of traction.

But, to be fair, that was back in 2015. You and I both know that the digital marketing landscape is changing quickly. And with new innovations, like AI and ChatGPT, you’re probably wondering, “does the Skyscraper Technique even work anymore?”

The simple answer is yes, but when it comes to digital marketing, it’s unlikely that you’ll find success in a simple answer. That’s why in this post, we’re diving deep into the Skyscraper Technique, how you can implement it, and what it takes to generate results in 2023.

Quick Takeaways

  • The Skyscraper Technique is an SEO strategy that uses back-linking and top-ranking content to boost organic traffic
  • 75% of people never scroll past the first page of Google 
  • Publish high quality content with easy-to-read formatting and link-building techniques to optimize your chances of ranking
  • To rank with the Skyscraper Technique, you need to identify top-ranking content, improve its quality, and promote it to authoritative websites and professionals

Want to generate more organic traffic? The Skyscraper Technique is one of the most effective ways to earn relevant links to your high quality content.

The Skyscraper Technique: What Is It?

The skyscraper technique is a link-building strategy that improves top-ranking content and replicates its backlinks to boost organic traffic.

Imagine this: you glance across the Philadelphia skyline and immediately spot the highest skyscraper. That’s because the taller a building is, the more attention it will attract. The goal of the Skyscraper Technique is to make your content the tallest building in the skyline.

When your competitors are also building skyscraper content, you need to make sure yours is a couple feet taller. So naturally, you create longer content with better structure and more value. That way, your building – I mean, your content – gets the most attention from viewers.

illustration shows difference between your content and competitor content when using the Skyscraper Technique

Image Source: SEO Optimizers

Basically, the Skyscraper Technique comes down to:

  1. Finding popular content that other sites have linked to
  2. Revising & adding to said piece of popular content and publishing it on your own site
  3. Promoting your skyscraper content to prospects

Users will always choose the article that offers the most relevant, informative, and well-structured information. When your audience is looking for an answer to their problem, they will receive your skyscraper content as the most comprehensive.

Why the Skyscraper Technique Is So Powerful

If you haven’t heard, 75% of people never scroll past the first page of Google. That means if your content isn’t featured in the first 5 results, your target audience probably isn’t going to see it.

meme shows pulp fiction google search results joke

Image Source: Intergrowth

That’s why it’s so important to optimize your content to rank on search engines. By following SEO best practices, you significantly raise your chances of ranking.

The Skyscraper Technique is so powerful because it puts some of the most important SEO best practices into immediate action:

  • Publishing high quality, relevant content
  • Optimizing format with page titles, descriptions, and subheadings
  • Link-building

By using content that already ranks as a guide and making it even more valuable, you can rest assured knowing that you’re publishing high quality content. If you create content with easy-to-read formatting and link-building techniques, you will also optimize your chances of ranking, and ultimately, generate more organic traffic.

How We Know the Skyscraper Technique Still Works

We know the Skyscraper Technique works because we use a simplified version of this for nearly all our clients.

We’ve spent years looking at techniques that work to deliver the best organic search results for the money. Our analysis revealed a few things:

  1. The best way to create content that ranks is to understand what Google values. In other words, we review the ranking content first. Then create a better version of it for our clients
  2. While longer might seem like it is always better, we have found that consistency is a better predictor of success than length. That’s why we focus on a blog publishing frequency of 1 or 2 articles per week, at around 1,000 words.
  3. With the advent of AI and changes in Google’s algorithm, we are suggesting more experience, examples, opinions, stories and emotions in our client content.

Oberer Homes

One client that has achieved success through our technique is Oberer Homes. After just a few months of consistent publishing, their dedication to high quality content generated:

  • 110+ top ranking keywords on Google
  • 26% increase in organic search
  • 17% increase in web visitors

screenshot shows graph representing increase in traffic for Oberer Homes

[From: How Oberer Homes Earned More Traffic, Rankings, and Leads with Our Content Marketing Service]


Over the past few years, we’ve also helped Nutanix, cloud computing experts, grow their digital presence by focusing on sharing engaging, authentic content. With the help of the Skyscraper Technique, organic SEO, paid media, and social distribution, Nutanix gained:

  • Almost 200,000 unique visitors
  • 365,000+ page views
  • 1,000+ newsletter subscribers

image shows growth graph for Nutanix

[From: Nutanix Content Hub ‘The Forecast’ Wins Awards On Massive Growth]


Marketing Insider Group and DivvyHQ, a B2B SaaS company, worked together to build a content creation plan that promised results. Through our version of the Skyscraper technique and an engaging, personalized tone, DivvyHQ achieved:

  • 450% increase in organic traffic
  • Several hundred email subscribers
  • 2.4x as many keyword rankings
  • Dozens of trials and qualified leads

graph shows content marketing growth for DivvyHQ

[From: How Content Marketing Drives Traffic and Growth for B2B SaaS Companies]

3 Steps to Implementing the Skyscraper Technique

Ready to start generating more organic traffic? Here’s how you can start using the Skyscraper Technique in 3 easy steps.

1. Find the Competition’s Content

There’s 3 main things you need to consider when it comes to finding content worth recreating:

  1. Topics & keywords
  2. SERP rankings
  3. Number of backlinks

First, you need to define which topics and keywords you want to rank for. After creating a list of content-worthy keywords (using SEO tools & tactics, of course), you can search each topic on Google and assess the top 5 ranking articles:

screenshot shows google SERP for keyword how to tie a tie

Image Source: Google

This is your competition. Now, open each page and assess the content’s quality and structure. After identifying the best pages, check out their backlink profiles with a backlink checker tool.

screenshot shows example of backlink checker

Image Source: Ahrefs

By using a backlink checker, you can learn how many websites backlink to any specific page. In most cases, you want to identify the page with the most backlinks and use it as a guide while creating your better content.

2. Create Better Content

To create better content, you first need to assess the competition. Take a close look at each top-ranking article and identify the gaps:

  • What key information is missing?
  • Where is it lacking detail?
  • How can structure be improved?

After considering the questions above, create an outline for your superior content and to get to work! Keep the following in mind while you’re writing:

  • The more visuals, the better. Think infographics, graphs, lists, images, etc.
  • Freshen up. What information, statistics, and graphics can you update?
  • Make it longer. If your example article offers 10 tips, give your audience 11 (or more).
  • Focus on readability. Make sure your writing is easy to understand. A good rule of thumb is to write at an eighth-grade reading level.
  • Break it up. High quality content has a lot of white space. Use subheadings, titles, and bullet-points to clarify each section and maximize readability.

Just because your post is longer, that doesn’t mean it’s better. You’re on the right track if your content is full of easy-to-read, relevant information.

3. Publish, Promote, & Pitch Your Better Content

Now it’s time to unleash your skyscraper content on its audience – but just clicking the “publish” button isn’t enough. More than 10 million blog posts are published per day, so if you want yours to stand out, you need to put in a little elbow grease.

Promote your content using your email list, LinkedIn, and any other form of access to your community of industry professionals. Outreach your content to sites that have linked to your content in the past, and reach out to those who have linked to your competitors’.

By sending an actionable email to prospects, you can highlight the value of your content. Let recipients know why your content is better, and how they will benefit from it with their community.

Want to learn more about email outreach? Watch the video below.

Video Source: Ahrefs

But who opens unwanted emails any more? Want to know our little secret?

We use a contextual targeting platform called Zemanta to promote our client’s content. It basically provides recommended content when your audience is already reading something. Because they are in “reading mode,” they are more likely to click on a recommendation to similar content.

With this approach, we achieve less than $0.10 CPC (cost-per-click) and a nearly 1% Click Through Rate (CTR). That is nearly 100x better results than paid search or digital display.

So for every dollar our clients spend they get about 10 relevant, engaged, and new visitors!

image shows screenshot of business insider

Image Source: Business Insider

Challenges of the Skyscraper Technique

Every great strategy has its challenges. No pain, no gain, right? But just because there could be some roadblocks on your path to success, that doesn’t mean you can’t get there.

The key to overcoming the Skyscraper Technique’s challenges is to see them coming. Beware of the following, and you’ll be well on your way to an increase in organic traffic:

  • Keyword research. While link-worthy content is key, you can’t forget about the importance of keywords. Be sure to target keywords with high search volume, instead of just focusing on a niche audience.
  • Search intent. Don’t let the beating the competition let you lose sight of search intent. Understand whether your keyword generates transactional or informational results, and make sure your content aligns accordingly.
  • Length. Remember, bigger isn’t always better. According to Google’s Helpful Content Update, the key to ranking content is quality, not length. Focus on giving readers what they want before making your article longer than competitors’.
  • User experience. Similarly, always keep the user experience in mind. When your audience has a user-friendly experience, they’re more likely to share your content with their social networks, increasing your organic traffic and visibility.
  • Topic relevance. Targeting highly competitive keywords may be tempting, but it’s important to pick fights that you can win. This way, you can build your site’s credibility and gain momentum among your audience before taking on your largest competitors.

The trick to perfecting the Skyscraper Technique is all in the details. It may take a bit of trial and error, but by planning your strategy and being persistent, you’re guaranteed to see a positive outcome.

Start Generating More Organic Traffic Today

The Skyscraper Technique is a tried and true method for generating more organic traffic to your site. By identifying top-ranking content, revising it to a higher quality, and promoting it to your community of industry professionals, your content can take the #1 spot on SERPs.

Are you ready to start ranking? Marketing Insider Group can help. Our experts know how your company can generate more organic traffic with keywords and high quality content. Get started today by checking out our weekly blog content service, or schedule a free consultation now to learn more!

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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