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10 SEO Techniques for More Traffic

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10 SEO Techniques for More Traffic

Getting more traffic to your website from organic search can be done in three ways.

You can either:

  1. Rank higher for existing keywords
  2. Rank for more keywords
  3. Get more clicks

The SEO techniques below all help you do one or more of those things.

1. Learn from your competitors

Competition makes life harder, but your competitors can also be a source of topic ideas.

To find your competitors’ most trafficked pages, you can use the Top pages report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

For example, if we plug a competitor of ours into the tool, we see its guide to Magento SEO gets a fair amount of search traffic.

Top pages report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We haven’t yet covered this topic ourselves, but it looks like it could be worth doing so.

You can also use the Content Gap report in Site Explorer to find keywords your competitors rank for that you don’t.

Here’s the process:

  1. Enter your domain into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content Gap report
  3. Enter a handful of competitors
Content Gap report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

For example, SEJ, SEL, and Moz all rank in the top 10 for “seo content strategies,” but we don’t because we haven’t covered this topic. So it’s probably worth adding to our content calendar.

Content Gap report results showing data on "seo content strategies"

2. Prioritize low-difficulty topics

It’s worth prioritizing low-difficulty topics if your site is new because you’ll probably struggle to rank for competitive topics out the gate.

You can find these with a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Just search for keyword ideas then filter for those with low Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores.

Matching terms report results, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Old content needs updating periodically because rankings don’t last forever, especially if you’re targeting time-sensitive topics.

For example, here’s the estimated organic traffic to our list of top Google searches over time:

Line graph showing organic traffic dips and spikes of an Ahrefs article

Each dip occurred when the content lost its freshness. Searchers wanted an up-to-date list of the top Google searches, but ours was old. That’s why rankings tanked.

Each spike occurred when we updated the content.

You can find pages on your site that may be due for a refresh in Site Explorer. Just plug in your site, go to the Top pages report, set the comparison mode to “Previous year,” sort the report by traffic change from low to high, and look for topics where freshness may be the issue.

Top pages report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you’re a WordPress user, you can find pages that no longer perform well by running a free content audit using the Ahrefs SEO plugin.

List of no longer well-performing pages, via Ahrefs' SEO plugin

Our study found that if a page ranks #1 for a keyword, it ranks for almost 1,000 more keywords in the top 10 on average.

Many of these keywords will be different ways of searching for the same thing. But some will likely represent subtopics you’ve covered in your content.

For example, our guide to submitting your website to Google ranks in the top 10 for “submit url to google.”

Organic keywords report result, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

That happens because we’ve covered this subtopic in the post.

Table of contents of an Ahrefs article

However, we have plenty of posts that almost certainly miss important subtopics. If we can find these and fill the gaps, our page can likely rank for related keywords and get more traffic.

Here’s a simple way to find content gaps:

  1. Enter one of your page’s URLs into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content Gap report
  3. Paste in a few top-ranking URLs for your main keyword
  4. Sift through the keywords for content gaps

For example, HubSpot and Neil Patel rank in the top 10 for “what are guest posts,” but we don’t.

Content Gap report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This happens because we didn’t cover that subtopic in our guest posting guide, whereas they did.

Not only could covering the topic in more depth help us rank for more long-tail keywords, but it could also serve the user better with information they might want.

Content hubs are interlinked collections of content about a topic.

For example, our beginner’s guide to SEO is a content hub. It has a pillar page about SEO that links to and from subpages about how search engines work, SEO basics, keyword research, etc.

Pillar page of our beginner's guide to SEO

The main benefit of content hubs is that link equity flows to and from all the pages in the hub via internal links. In other words, if one of your subpages gets lots of backlinks, they all get stronger and potentially rank higher.

If you already have content on your website, the easiest way to create a content hub is to reorganize related pages around a new “hub” page.

Flowchart showing how existing content can be reorganized

If you want to create a new content hub, one of the easiest ways to find topics is to look at your competitors’ top subfolders.

For example, let’s plug DietDoctor into Site Explorer and go to the Site structure report. We see 30 pages under the /low-carb/keto/recipes subfolder that get an estimated 143K monthly search visits in total.

Site structure report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If we click the number of pages, we see all the pages under that URL structure along with their estimated traffic and top keyword.

List of pages with corresponding data on traffic, value, keywords, top keyword, etc

Many of these topics will make sense for a content hub.

Learn more: Content Hubs for SEO: How to Get More Traffic and Links With Topic Clusters

Backlinks are one of Google’s top ranking factors, but getting high-quality ones is easier said than done. It’s arguably one of the most challenging parts of SEO.

For that reason, before you start trying to build more backlinks to a page, it’s worth checking whether this is likely to help.

For example, if you plug our guide to SEO analytics into Site Explorer, you see it has backlinks from 57 referring domains (websites):

Overview of Ahrefs' guide to SEO analytics, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This page currently ranks #2 for its main target keyword:

Our guide to SEO analytics ranks #2 for "seo analytics"

But if you check the top-ranking pages for that keyword in Keywords Explorer, you see that the page outranking us has significantly fewer referring domains.

Top-ranking pages for "seo analytics," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

These numbers don’t consider backlink quality, so it could be the case that the top-ranking page outranks us because it has more high-quality backlinks. But generally speaking, it doesn’t look like a lack of backlinks is the issue.

On the other hand, if you look at the SERP for “what is seo,” you see that our page has significantly fewer backlinks than those outranking us.

SERP overview for "what is seo"

Building more backlinks is probably the way to go here.

7. Optimize internal links

Internal links are links from one page on your website to another.

Like backlinks, they transfer “link equity” from page to page. Unlike backlinks, you have complete control over where and how you internally link on your website. That’s why a popular SEO technique is to point more internal links at pages that need a boost.

To find these pages, plug your domain into Site Explorer, go to the Organic keywords report, and filter for keyword rankings between 2–10.

Organic keywords report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can then sift through this report for your main target keywords.

For example, we rank #7 for “off page seo.”

Ahrefs blog ranks #7 for "off page seo"

To find relevant and contextual internal link opportunities for this page, we can add it to the target page filter in the Link opportunities report in Ahrefs’ Site Audit.

Link opportunities report results, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

In this example, the report suggests we internally link a contextual mention of “off-page seo” in our on-page SEO guide.

Learn more: Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide

Broken backlinks are a common problem because people often delete or move pages over time. Unless you redirect these pages to their new URLs, any backlinks pointing to the old ones will effectively point to nowhere.

Here’s how to find broken pages with backlinks on your site:

  1. Paste your domain into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Best by links report
  3. Add a “404 not found” filter
  4. Sort the report by referring domains from high to low

For example, we have backlinks from 57 referring domains pointing to the old URL for our SEO Toolbar.

Data shows 57 backlinks pointing to old URL

Given that our “SEO toolbar” page still exists, we can reclaim those backlinks by redirecting the old URL to the new one.

Learn more: How to Find and Fix Broken Links

Ranking high on Google is only part of the battle. You also need to entice searchers to click on your result.

Here are a couple of ways to do this:

  1. Write a compelling title tag and meta description
  2. Add schema markup for rich snippet eligibility

Google often shows title tags and meta descriptions in the search results, so making them as compelling as possible without creating clickbait is important.

Example of title tag and meta description on a Google SERP

Here are a few tips:

  • Match search intent
  • Avoid truncation (use a free SERP snippet optimizer like this one to check)
  • Address the searcher directly
  • Include your main keyword

You can also use schema markup to make pages eligible for rich snippets. This is where Google shows additional information below the search snippet, such as review ratings and FAQs.

Example of rich snippet on a Google SERP

Given that these optimizations take time, it’s worth prioritizing pages with the most search traffic. You can find these in Google Search Console or get an estimate using the Top pages report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Top pages report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

10. Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets are short answers that show in some search results. Google pulls them from one of the top-ranking pages.

Example featured snippet on a Google SERP

You can effectively shortcut your way to the top of Google by winning featured snippets. But first, you need to find the best opportunities.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Enter your domain into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Organic keywords report
  3. Filter for top 10 rankings
  4. Filter for SERPs with featured snippets where you don’t rank

You should now see all the keywords you rank for in the top 10, where Google shows a featured snippet from another result.

Organic keywords report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

For example, we rank #2 for “google operators,” but Google pulls the featured snippet from another page.

SERP overview showing Google pulls the featured snippet from a competitor

There’s no exact science to winning featured snippets, but you’re unlikely to do so unless your page has the information Google wants to see.

For example, it’s clear that Google wants a short definition here, but our page doesn’t have one.

Google SERP for search term "google operators"; notably, featured snippet shows a succinct definition

While adding one to our page doesn’t guarantee Google will choose us for the featured snippet, it will improve our chances.

Final thoughts

Getting more search traffic to your website is about ranking higher for existing keywords, ranking for more keywords, or getting more clicks. There are plenty of SEO techniques you can use to do that. These are just a few of them.

If you want more, read our list of SEO tips.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Capabilities Coming To Bing

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Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Capabilities Coming To Bing

Microsoft announced today that it is bringing cutting-edge AI capabilities to its Bing search engine, with the addition of a new ChatGPT-like feature.

Microsoft revealed its plans for integrating ChatGPT at a private event held at its Redmond headquarters today, which centered around its partnership with OpenAI.

Unlike recent virtual events, this particular press conference was held in person and not broadcast online.

During the event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted the significance of this new feature and how it will revolutionize the way people interact with search engines.

“I think this technology is going to reshape pretty much every software category,” says Nadella.

Nadella proclaimed, “The race starts today,” and Microsoft is going to “move and move fast.”

The event attendees were given a sneak peek at the latest search experience, which Microsoft refers to as “your AI-powered copilot for the web.”

This new experience combines the all-new Bing search engine and Edge web browser, which are designed to complement each other.

Nadella explained that the new Bing would provide direct answers to questions and encourage users to be more creative.

He also stated that the current search experience is not working as efficiently as it should be, as 40% of the time, people click on search links and then immediately click back.

This clearly indicates that the search experience needs to be updated and improved. Nadella claims that the search engine user experience hasn’t changed in 20 years, and it’s time for Microsoft to adapt.

Introducing The New Bing

The new Bing is powered by a next-generation language model from OpenAI, which has been specifically customized for search purposes. It’s even more powerful than the ChatGPT model.

Microsoft has implemented a new way of working with OpenAI called the “prometheus model,” which enhances the relevancy of answers, annotates them, keeps them up to date, and more.

The search index has also been improved by applying the AI model to the core search algorithm, which Nadella calls the largest jump in relevance ever.

It runs on a new user experience with an expanded search box that accepts up to 1,000 characters. Examples shared during the event look exactly like recent leaks.

The new Bing includes a chatbot that behaves similarly to ChatGPT, allowing users to interact with Bing in a natural language.

Bing’s new ChatGPT-like feature will take it a step further by allowing users to have an actual conversation with the search engine, with the ability to follow up on previous questions and provide more context for their search.

The new Bing is now available for a limited preview on desktop, and anyone can try it out by visiting Bing.com and performing sample searches.

You can also sign up to be notified when it becomes more widely available.

The preview will be expanded to millions of users in the near future, and a mobile version will be available soon.

The New Edge Browser

The chat interface Microsoft demonstrated in Bing is available as a sidebar feature in Edge, allowing users to access it without navigating to the Bing website. The interface can run alongside any webpage and interact with it.

During a demonstration, the AI assistant in Edge could summarize a 15-page PDF with one click and even translate a code snippet from Stack Overflow into another programming language.

Another benefit of the Edge browser’s “AI co-pilot” is having it complete tasks for you, such as filling out forms and writing emails.

In Summary

Microsoft has made a substantial leap in search engine technology by integrating a ChatGPT-like feature in its Bing search engine.

The new Bing is powered by a next-generation language model from OpenAI, which takes key learnings and advancements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5.

Bing with the AI co-pilot is now available for a limited preview on desktop, and a mobile version will be available soon.

Additionally, the chat interface will be available as a sidebar feature in the new Edge browser, which has the ability to summarize information, translate code, and even complete tasks.


Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: Poetra.RH/Shutterstock



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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

Conductor, a leading enterprise organic marketing platform, has acquired European-based competitor, Searchmetrics, to accelerate its expansion in the European market.

After acquiring ContentKing in 2022, the acquisition of Searchmetrics continues to strengthen Conductor’s position in the industry.

Seth Besmertnik, Conductor’s CEO and co-founder, said that the acquisition would bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and its shared customers:

“Searchmetrics has been a competitor almost since we started Conductor, with a strong data foundation and a powerful presence in the European market. We are excited to bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and to our now shared customers. Our goal is for customers to greatly benefit from this acquisition through delivery of more product value on a global scale.”

 

Matt Colebourne, the CEO of Searchmetrics, expressed his excitement for the company to join Conductor, calling it the “definitive global leader”:

“Conductor is indisputably the SEO space market leader. For years, we’ve admired their commitment to innovation for customers and their efforts to foster a dynamic and rewarding workplace culture for employees. By joining Conductor, we bring the best of what we do along with a large European customer base—solidifying Conductor as the definitive global leader. We cannot wait to build more for customers going forward.”

 

Ken Ogenbratt, Searchmetrics’s Chief Financial Officer, said the acquisition is a “pivotal step” for the SEO industry as the two companies move forward as partners with the opportunity to drive even greater value to customers.

With this acquisition, Conductor continues its commitment to creating a single, global platform that integrates all parts of the SEO workflow.

With Searchmetrics’ strong European presence and solid customer base, the acquisition will significantly accelerate Conductor’s growth in Europe.

Conductor has completed its second acquisition in a year with the purchase of Searchmetrics, which follows the company’s significant funding round from Bregal Sagemount in 2021.

This acquisition is seen as a sign of Conductor’s recent growth. It is expected to solidify its position as a leading player in the SEO space by incorporating the strengths of both companies for their shared customers.


Featured Image: dotshock/Shutterstock



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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

In 2015, Brian Dean revealed a brand-new link building strategy. He called it the Skyscraper Technique.

With over 10,000 backlinks since the post was published, it’s fair to say that the Skyscraper Technique took the world by storm in 2015. But what is it exactly, how can you implement it, and can you still get results with this technique in 2023?

Let’s get started.

What is the Skyscraper Technique?

The Skyscraper Technique is a link building strategy where you improve existing popular content and replicate the backlinks. 

Brian named it so because in his words, “It’s human nature to be attracted to the best. And what you’re doing here is finding the tallest ‘skyscraper’ in your space… and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.”

Here’s how the technique works:

Three steps of the Skyscraper Technique

How to implement the Skyscraper Technique

Follow these three steps to execute the Skyscraper Technique.

1. Find relevant content with lots of backlinks

There are three methods to find relevant pages with plenty of links:

Use Site Explorer

Enter a popular site into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Next, go to the Best by backlinks report.

Best pages by backlinks report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows you a list of pages from the site with the highest number of referring domains. If there are content pieces with more than 50 referring domains, they’re likely to be good potential targets.

Sidenote.

Ignore homepages and other irrelevant content when eyeballing this report.

Use Content Explorer

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is a searchable database of 10 billion pages. You can use it to find mentions of any word or phrase.

Let’s start by entering a broad topic related to your niche into Content Explorer. Next, set a Referring domains filter to a minimum of 50. 

We can also add:

  • Language filter to get only pages in our target language.
  • Exclude homepages to remove homepages from the results.
Ahrefs' Content Explorer search for "gardening," with filters

Eyeball the results to see if there are any potential pieces of content you could beat.

Use Keywords Explorer

Enter a broad keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Next, go to the Matching terms report and set a Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to a minimum of 40.

Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Why filter for KD? 

The reason is due to the method we use at Ahrefs to calculate KD. Our KD score is calculated from a trimmed mean of referring domains (RDs) to the top 10 ranking pages. 

In other words, the top-ranking pages for keywords with high KD scores have lots of backlinks on average.

From here, you’ll want to go through the report to find potential topics you could build a better piece of content around. 

2. Make it better

The core idea (or assumption) behind the Skyscraper Technique is that people want to see the best. 

Once you’ve found the content you want to beat, the next step is to make something even better

According to Brian, there are four aspects worth improving:

  1. Length – If the post has 25 tips, list more.
  2. Freshness – Update any outdated parts of the original article with new images, screenshots, information, stats, etc.
  3. Design – Make it stand out with a custom design. You could even make it interactive.
  4. Depth – Don’t just list things. Fill in the details and make them actionable.

3. Reach out to the right people

The key to successfully executing the Skyscraper Technique is email outreach. But instead of spamming everyone you know, you reach out to those who have already linked to the specific content you have improved. 

The assumption: Since they’ve already linked to a similar article, they’re more likely to link to one that’s better.

You can find these people by pasting the URL of the original piece into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and then going to the Backlinks report.

Backlinks report for ResumeGenius' how to write a resume, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows all the backlinks to the page. In this case, there are 441 groups of links.

But not all of these links will make good prospects. So you’ll likely need to add some filters to clean them up. For example, you can:

  • Add a Language filter for the language you’re targeting (e.g., English).
  • Switch the tab to Dofollow for equity-passing links.
Backlinks report, with filters, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Does the Skyscraper Technique still work?

It’s been roughly eight years since Brian shared this link building strategy. Honestly speaking, the technique has been oversaturated. Given its widespread use, its effectiveness may even be limited. 

Some SEOs even say they wouldn’t recommend it.

So we asked our Twitter and LinkedIn following this question and received 1,242 votes. Here are the results:

Pie chart showing 61% of respondents feel the Skyscraper Technique still works

Clearly, many SEOs and marketers still believe the technique works.

Sidenote.

According to Aira’s annual State of Link Building report, only 18% of SEOs still use the Skyscraper Technique. It’s not a go-to for many SEOs, as it ranks #20 among the list of tactics. I suspect its popularity has waned because (1) it’s old and SEOs are looking for newer stuff and (2) SEOs believe that content is more important than links these days.

Why the Skyscraper Technique fails and how to improve your chances of success

Fundamentally, it makes sense that the Skyscraper Technique still works. After all, the principles are the same behind (almost) any link building strategy:

  1. Create great content
  2. Reach out to people and promote it

But why do people think it’s no longer effective? There are a few reasons why and knowing them will help you improve your chances of success with the Skyscraper Technique.

Let’s start with:

1. Sending only Brian’s email template

In Brian’s original post, he suggested an email template for his readers to use:

Hey, I found your post: http://post1

<generic compliment>

It links to this post: http://post2

I made something better: http://post3

Please swap out the link for mine.

Unfortunately, many SEOs decided to use this exact template word for word. 

Link building doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If everyone in your niche decides to send this exact template to every possible website, it’ll burn out real fast. And that’s exactly what happened.

Now, if a website owner sees this template, chances are they’ll delete it right away. 

Sidenote.

Judging by my inbox, there are still people using this exact template. And, like everyone else, I delete the email immediately.

I’m not saying this to disparage templated emails. If you’re sending something at scale, templating is necessary. But move away from this template. Write your own, personalize it as much as possible, and follow the outreach principles here.

Even better, ask yourself:

What makes my content unique and link-worthy?”

2. Not segmenting your prospects

People link for different reasons, so you shouldn’t send everyone the same pitch. 

Consider dividing your list of prospects into segments according to the context in which they linked. You can do this by checking the Anchors report in Site Explorer.

Anchors report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can clearly see people are linking to different statistics from our SEO statistics post. So, for example, if we were doing outreach for a hypothetical post, we might want to mention to the first group that we have a new statistic for “Over 90% of content gets no traffic from Google.”

Then, to the second group, we’ll mention that we have new statistics for “68% of online experiences.” And so on. 

In fact, that’s exactly what we did when we built links to this post. Check out the case study here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

3. Not reaching out to enough people

Ultimately, link building is still a numbers game. If you don’t reach out to enough people, you won’t get enough links. 

Simply put: You need to curate a larger list of link prospects.

So rather than limiting yourself to only replicating the backlinks of the original content, you should replicate the backlinks from other top-ranking pages covering the same topic too.

To find these pages, enter the target keyword into Keywords Explorer and scroll down to the SERP overview.

SERP overview for "how to write a resume," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

In this example, most top-ranking pages have tons of links, and all of them (after filtering, of course) could be potential link prospects.

Pro tip

Looking for even more prospects? Use Content Explorer.

Search for your keyword, set a Referring domains filter, and you’ll see relevant pages where you can “mine” for more skyscraper prospects.

Referring domains filters selected in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

4. Thinking bigger equals better

Someone creates a list with 15 tools. The next person ups it to 30. Another “skyscrapers” it to 50, and the next increases it to 100.

Not only is it a never-ending arms race, there’s also no value for the reader. 

No one wants to skim through 5,000 words or hundreds of items just to find what they need. Curation is where the value is.

When considering the four aspects mentioned by Brian, don’t improve things for the sake of improving them. Adding 25 mediocre tips to an existing list of 25 doesn’t make it “better.” Likewise for changing the publish date or adding a few low-quality illustrations. 

Example: My colleague, Chris Haines, recently published a post on the best niche site ideas. Even though he only included 10, he has already outperformed the other “skyscraper” articles:

Our blog post ranking #3 for the query, "niche site ideas," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

He differentiated himself through his knowledge and expertise. After all, Chris has 10 years of experience in SEO. 

So when you’re creating your article, always look at any improvement through the lens of value:

Are you giving more value to the reader? 

5. Not considering brand

As Ross Hudgens says, “Better does not occur in a branding vacuum.”

Most of the time, content isn’t judged solely on its quality. It’s also judged by who it comes from. We discovered this ourselves too when we tried to build links to our keyword research guide.

Most of the time, people didn’t read the article. They linked to us because of our brand and reputation—they knew we were publishing great content consistently, and they had confidence that the article we were pitching was great too.

In other words, there are times where no matter how hard you “skyscraper” your content, people just won’t link to it because they don’t know who you are. 

Having your own personal brand is important these days. But think about it: What is a “strong brand” if not a consistent output of high-quality work that people enjoy? One lone skyscraper doesn’t make a city; many of them together do.

What I’m saying is this: Don’t be discouraged if your “skyscraper” article gets no results. And don’t be discouraged just because you don’t have a brand right now—you can work on that over time.

Keep on making great content—skyscraper or not—and results will come if you trust the process.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.” 

Final thoughts

The Skyscraper Technique is a legitimate link building tactic that works. But that can only happen if you:

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.



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