The Skyscraper Technique: For ranking Content

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As a local business owner,  you may find it increasingly difficult to capture the attention of your target audience. Consumers’ attention spans are decreasing. And, it seems that more national chains are moving in and taking business away from the local owners.  So what do you do to compete?

Marketing online, even as a small business owner is still the most cost effective way to get traffic to your business. We know that as much as 85% of consumers conduct local searches before visiting or hiring from a small business. The trick to capturing business then is to find a way to rank the content you have on your website higher than your competitors. This will allow your business to appear at the top of search engine results. When you are competing against national chains, this may not seem possible. However, it is if you follow the Skyscraper Technique.

What is the Skyscraper Technique?

The concept is pretty simple. It is no longer good enough to just write great content and putting it on the Internet. You need to have a systematic approach to getting high quality backlinks to your articles. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the more authoritative Google will see rate content. The more authoritative your content, the higher it will rank.

So the basics behind the skyscraper technique include:

  1. Find link-worthy content in your market area.
  2. Create an article on that same topic that is more descriptive, in-depth, and helpful for your audience.
  3. Reach out to the right people to get them to backlink you (link to your article).

Let’s put this into the real world by using an example from a client of mine.

Using the Skyscraper Technique to increase a local mattress stores online traffic for Tempur Pedic Mattress.

Step 1: Find link worthy content

The first step is to find link-worthy content that already exists. Start with a Google search of your potential key topic. In this case, we searched for “Tempur Pedic mattress.” You can probably imagine that the Tempur Pedic website will be at the top of the search engine’s results. We can’t compete against them because their site is branded for Tempur Pedic and is internationally recognized. However, the second, third, and fourth results are all businesses we can compete against.

Tempur Pedic Mattress will be pillar piece of a cluster content that we are working on for this mattress store. Some of the cluster content will be more of the long tail keywords.  Some we are working on are

  • Benefits of Tempur Pedic mattresses.
  • Tempur Pedic mattress reviews.
  • How long should a Tempur Pedic mattress last?

We will go through the same skyscraper technique with each one of them.

Step 2: Make your content even better

Creating even better content than what already exists is why it is called the skyscraper technique. Once you find the content that other pages are already linking back to, the key is to improve upon that content.  Add more levels to it – like building a skyscraper higher than the next building.

Make it longer 

One key element to creating better content includes increasing the amount of information within the page. 

In the case of Tempur Pedic mattress, most of the high ranking sites really don’t have a lot of good information about the mattresses. So, creating more authoritative site should do the trick fine. In the case of some of the long tail cluster content we are writing, it will have to be much more detailed.

Make it up-to-date

One of the cluster articles we are writing is on the benefits of a tempurpedic mattress.  Look at the date for the top ranked article

The information in this article is obviously out of date. Create a more up-to-date article that consumers will want to read. 

Make it look better

Getting backlinks to your content could be as simple as making your article look more visually appealing than the other content. Add more images, or even some video.

Make it more thorough

If one of the articles that we want to beat is “10 Benefits of a Memory Foam Mattress,” we will make our article include “15 Benefits.” Adding more relevant content, description, and expertise will help your article rank higher than that of your competition. 

The best thing to do may be a combination of all of the above recommendations. This should make your article the article that other websites will want to link back to.

Step 3: Reach out to the right people

Traditionally, if you want to get backlinks you have to reach out to as many sites as possible asking for the link. With the skyscraper technique, we are going to find websites that have already linked to similar (but inferior) content to ours.

How do you do this?

You need to find who is backlinking to the competitors article. We use a site called ahrefs, but there are several other programs on the market for this.

Using ahrefs to find who is backinking to content similar to yours, you will:

1.  Copy the full url of the competitors site and paste it into the dashboard of ahref

2. Click on the backlinks hyperlink

3. Click on export on the upper right side of the screen and export to the CSV file you want.

Once you have your list of backlinkers, go through and remove any that don’t make sense for you, like directories and forums  At this point it’s just a matter of emailing all the websites about your article. It should be something like this:

Hello [Backlinker's Name],
I was searching for some articles about [Tempur Pedic mattresses] and I came across your page [page URL]. I noticed that you linked to [article title].  I just wanted to let you know that I have created a similar article, but it’s more thorough and up-to-date. [your article URL]  It might be worth a mention on your page. 
Keep up the awesome work! 

[Your name, contact information & closing]

You obviously won’t get every site to link to your article, but if you keep it up you will start getting enough to rank your site above even the national competitors.