Everybody who follows the evolution of SEO more or less closely knows that new revolutionary techniques, methods, approaches and ideas appear in this environment with exceptional regularity. Some turn out to be fakes, some exploit weaknesses in search engines' algorithms that get rectified as a result of this abuse, still other turn out to be really useful - albeit rarely to the extent promised by hyper-excited â€˜gurus' promoting them.
So now we have something new to occupy our minds, the so-called skyscraper or skyscraping technique, which claims to bring something absolutely new into the world of white hat SEO. So what is it? Does it really work? How does one go about applying it? Let's take a look.
The main idea behind the method is expressed via the following metaphor: Find the highest skyscraper in the area, then build twenty stories on top of it. Or, more straightforwardly, find the most popular page and improve upon it.
Basically, skyscraping method consists of the following steps:
- Find websites in your field generating a lot of backlinks;
- Study their content;
- Create content that would be head and shoulders above the top search results;
- Reach out to sites that linked to them through email and persuade them to link to your, better content.
With the rapid development of Google algorithms we saw in the last few years that made the quality of content much more important, it became a popular idea that in order to rank high in search results one doesn't have to do anything but generate awesome content, and the rest will do itself. Skyscraping method is based on the assumption that it is far from true - otherwise we wouldn't have so many utterly pathetic top results when there are obviously better ones hidden in further pages.
Skyscraping method combines both content marketing and direct outreach, providing obvious benefits. It gives you a clue as to what content you should build up and improve to get more traffic, it helps you avoid links to the sources you wouldn't like to be connected with, it allows you to concentrate on a small number of high-quality links.
In the very least, it allows you to greatly improve the quality of your content marketing. Instead of moving about blindly trying to generate content dealing with your general area of expertise, you find content that is already doing great, which means that people are interested in high-quality information on this particular topic. This helps you determine the direction your website should take, and when you try to persuade people that matter in your industry to link back to your website, you will have content that deals with a topic that has a proven record of attracting a lot of attention from the public.
Results achieved through the application of this method vary, with some sources claiming an increase in organic search traffic by more than 300 percent in 7 days.
At a glance, the idea looks to be a perfectly reasonable one. We all know that one high-quality backlink is usually much more useful than a hundred of low-quality ones, and skyscraping technique lets you concentrate on a relatively small number of sites and achieve outstanding results by a mere application of 20/80 rule.
However, in reality everything is a little bit more complicated, just as usual. For one, even very careful application of the method doesn't guarantee fantastic results. Some other case studies describe much less alluring stories: sometimes people try their hand at Skyscraping and, despite carefully applying all the steps and giving them time to take, they fail to rise higher than 3-4th pages of search results.
One can give different explanations to that: they quit too early, they didn't create content that's good enough, they've chosen the wrong keywords. The truth is probably that each situation is unique, and a lot depends on one's starting position, the area in which he/she works, the competition and so on. In other words - mechanical application of the skyscraping technique alone does not guarantee success. That doesn't mean it is a bad strategy - you simply have to understand that miracles don't happen by themselves, and you still have to apply a lot of time and effort to make it work.