Skyscraper technique complete guide

The time when a mediocre text and a list of keywords were enough to make it to the top of the search results was gone. User requests are growing – yesterday there were enough photos of the hotel and the price, and tomorrow we need feedback from travelers and local influencers.

What is skyscraper technique

To get content to the top of search engines you now need to catch the user’s intention and give him maximum information, so that the user did not go looking for answers to competitors. Otherwise, the search engine will get a signal that the page is irrelevant to his interests. As a result – a decrease in organic search and a decrease in traffic.

“Skyscraper Technique” is a new generation content creation system. The author is Brian Dean. First published on the Backlinko blog in 2016. The main idea of Skyscraper is to find a topic with a lot of traffic keys, backlinks, social signals, to analyze the top sites and prepare an improved version of the material.

Imagine that competitors have built a 30-story business center with a cafeteria, cinema and hookah room. Your task is not to design a similar building with more floors. Increasing the height will not solve customers’ problems. Analyze users’ intentions. Visit the buildings, find the weak points and overcome the advantages.

A similar plan of action is used to create content using the skyscraper method. The author of the schema recommends not just to study all the articles from 1-2 pages and add a couple of paragraphs at the top. He advises to create new material and use 200% of the information potential.

The skyscraper technique is suitable for information sites, blogs, services, and social networks. The idea to take something good, add value and get a better product is not new. But many webmasters continue to buy content for keywords without focusing on the user’s intent. They believe that organic traffic to the article will be due to the volume of text or rental links. Although Google said that the main goal is to satisfy the request of the user. If the site copes with it, the owner gets the return in the form of audience, comments, likes, and leads.

Powerful content is not enough for stable growth. Add SEO, usability, and feedback. These connections will increase search traffic and revenue. Nothing to hide, almost all sites are created for monetization.

Get statistics from the Backlinko blog. In the post about Skyscraper technique, the author shared the results of the progress on search queries of material created by this method:

  • 300 000 users have read the post;
  • search traffic increased by 110% in 2 weeks;
  • explosive growth in backlinks;
  • 46 000 reposts on social networks.

In the example of the article, created by the technique of skyscraper, Brian Dean created an exhaustive list of 200 ranking factors on Google. He didn’t just collect items from sites from the top positions.

What step he did:

  • Grouped ranking factors into 9 categories.
  • Created pictures for each group preview.
  • Wrote a short description for each item in a clear language.
  • Added expert comments.
  • Designed navigation.
  • Highlighted the main thoughts by attention blocks.
  • Inserted links to relevant articles that reveal each item of the check-list.

To get the result you need expert content with great formatting, which covers the needs of the audience. Buying such an article for 10-20$ will not work. To collect information on a complex topic will take a day, and the preparation and publication will take twice as much. And note, no one is talking about “longreads” for 10-20 thousand useless symbols. Due to the understanding of the intent, lack of “water” and full coverage, a small article can easily leave the “fat” competitors behind.

All web writers, marketers and website owners should learn from Brian Dean’s skills. A simple review of the Google Search Console blog gathered 400 comments and 2,000 reposts. There is nothing to describe – a panel with 10 items and several functions. But a diligent specialist has developed a separate rendering for the material, added icons, explanatory screenshots, and beautiful blocks. If time is short, you can download the manual in PDF. Users will read the text on a tablet or phone in their free time, and Brian will get another subscriber in the email database.

The screenshot shows the results of progress on key queries through detailed articles on search engine optimization.

Results on SEO search queries

How to write and promote a text on skyscraper technique

During the reading, you realized two things. One: Skyscraper technique – long, expensive and difficult. Two: This approach to content creation has a good effect on the form of reposting. The skyscraper technique increases the cost of the material. The author should conduct a journalistic investigation, look under “every stone” and build a “skyscraper” of words.

We tell you step by step how to become an expert in the world of content marketing for a blog and successfully apply the method to an audience of travelers, geeks, SEO-specialists and anyone.

  • Content Search

The first step is a careful selection of popular topics. Make a list of several materials to select the most promising ones.

The formula for the perfect material:

  • Demanded articles. If there aren’t many shows on the keys, the investment in super-content isn’t justified.
  • It’s up to date. Making a selection of top comedy stand-ups in 2017 in 2020 is at least illogical.
  • Touches on a popular theme. Preferably with the high cost of a click in contextual advertising.
  • Relevant to the site. The logical point, but sometimes webmasters in pursuit of raising the traffic publish articles that go beyond the interests of the audience.
  • Effective with competitors. If an article has no reposts, comments or backlinks – maybe it is a signal to look further.
  • When all the “stars” came together, but in the search, there are 3-4 clear leaders with comprehensive materials, there are two options. Fight them, or search for a topic with a low entry threshold. If the competitors’ posts cover all aspects, are well designed, relevant and have gained weight – the conclusion is obvious. There is no way to improve content endlessly.
  • Enhancement

If it was possible to find variants for application of skyscraper technique, it is time to proceed to the next step. Take a look at the articles and think about how you can improve them.

Questions to help solve this difficult task:

  • Does Users get all the information they need?
  • Are there any unresolved tasks after reviewing them?
  • How much does formatting on a 10-point scale stand on? Are there lists, attention blocks, expert comments, statistics, infographics, etc.?
  • Is the material relevant?

It is possible to improve the material at the expense of:

  • expert opinions;
  • examples from life;
  • additional value (examples of filling in documents, upload of material in PDF, the possibility of online listening);
  • up-to-date information;
  • useful statistics.

Skyscraper Technique 2.0

2 years after the Skyscraper Technique was released, Brian Dean posted new material on Skyscraper Technique 2.0. He noted that the second variant of the scheme helps to ensure the long-term preservation of positions in Google. If you can combine both techniques, the positive effect will be higher.

Additional actions will help to meet the needs of the audience better. Brian notes that the updated methodology reanimated a good post, which over time has lost popularity.

  • Step 1: Find out what the user’s intentions are.
basic user intentions on key queries

What do people want? Identify the type of intent. “Recipe for Thai ice cream” is an information request, and “buy ice cream in Thailand” is a transaction. In the first case, users need a step-by-step recipe, in the second – the ability to order the product online or find places to buy offline.

  • Step 2: meet user requirements

The recommendations from the previous version of the methodology are saved here. We need to give our users as much information as possible. TOP-5 cheap hotels in Rome, will not go anywhere without prices, reviews, photo rooms, route maps, and promotional code.

  • Step 3: UX optimization

In 2020, users were accustomed to fast site loading, high-quality content formatting, and added value. Integrate blocks with pros and cons, personalize expert answers, split the text into sections, give the opportunity to write a comment. And don’t forget to integrate themed video. According to the author of the Backlinko blog, users stay up to 4 times longer on video pages. These chips have a positive impact on viewing time and depth, reduce rejection.


Efficiency depends on the skills of the author and the persistence of the one who will promote the materials. In the examples, the creator of the technique notes that it took 15 hours to create a new checklist on SEO optimization for the blog. But he also wrote to people and offered to place content on different platforms. Without persistence, SEO-optimization of the article and several distribution channels “tasty” material will be lost in the depths of the search extradition.
The main idea of the methodology is not to build a building that 20-30 floors higher than the competitors. Build skyscrapers where there are no skyscrapers and there is demand.

Rate article
Add a comment