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A Guide To Organizational Nirvana

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A Guide To Organizational Nirvana

SEO project management is a strategic framework for promoting your website’s visibility, increasing brand exposure, and gaining credible leads through search engines.

It relies on a comprehensive integration of SEO into an array of business workflows that ensure search optimization best practices are reflected throughout each stage of digital content creation and other processes relevant to managing your digital presence.

Why SEO Project Management Matters

Effective integration of SEO into marketing, website, and development, or an agency team, can be highly challenging.

Even in this day and age, many employees haven’t had experience working with SEO pros.

They may not understand the value that SEO can offer their existing workflows or believe these workflows function sufficiently well without it.

So, it’s critical to explain the key benefits of SEO in ways that demonstrate how they can be applied to various team needs across different departments and actively improve each.

What Should Be Included In SEO Project Management

The following initiatives are just some of many that SEO professionals can use to advocate for process integration as part of your SEO project management efforts.

Topic Ideation

Use keyword research to uncover topics and themes for content that will allow you to rank for keywords and terms that are important to your business.

This research can uncover white spaces for new content or opportunities to update existing content.

Content Calendar/Seasonality Recommendations

Analyze keyword popularity and usage seasonality to decide when to publish or update content.

Brief Support

Provide recommendations for keywords that should be used throughout the piece, including the title tag, on-page title, meta description, headers, body content, social copy, and alt text.

Traffic Projections

If keyword research and recommendations included in content are based on monthly search volume (MSV) and estimated eventual rank, then estimated organic traffic/users can be calculated.

While these estimates can’t be directly applied to other channels, keywords are still an indicator of intent.

So, by including keywords with decent MSV, you know there’s interest in the subject matter.

And by writing content you know your audience is looking for, you might also encourage additional traffic from content shares and clicks from email links.

Copy Review

Reviewing copy within the context of keyword research supports existing SEO efforts to make sure the correct keywords are included.

That way, they are used to match the audience’s search intent, where the right range and volume of topics adequately support the subject matter.

So there isn’t too much business jargon or too many company-centric terms that audiences may not be familiar with.

Overly niche or branded language likely won’t mean much to most searchers when they see it on the search engine results page (SERP).

Content Publication

Ensure findability through the correct setup of the new website URL.

Without proper SEO implementation, you’ll risk Google (and other search engines) potentially being unable to find your content, rank it well, or absorb all the content you’ve written.

If you want your content to be findable in search engines:

  • It has to be marked as indexed.
  • It should have title tags and meta descriptions – these are the best way to help convince searchers to click through.
  • It should include alt text on images relevant to your content so Google can understand the image’s context and for accessibility purposes.
  • It should link to internal and/or external content correctly and usefully.

This should help the content reach its full potential of driving organic traffic and avoid mistakes that reduce findability.

Reporting

Proof of the value of SEO, or any effort, comes down to the numbers.

You’ll need to demonstrate how the keywords you are actively going after raise your ranking and how the prominence of your content grows on Page 1 of SERPs.

To accomplish this – and to report on how your optimizations and the new content you create – increase each of the following:

  • Website visibility in search engines.
  • Clickthrough rates (CTRs) from search engines.
  • Organic traffic from search.
  • Conversions from search traffic.

Collectively, these can help prove the significance of SEO work and the value of incorporating it into project management plans.

Content Optimization

Ongoing SEO reporting should focus not only on the impact of new content, but also the role of existing content.

Instead of wasting time, effort, and money creating net new content, SEO can provide insights into the opportunities to help existing content reach its full potential.

It can offer guidance for the most up-to-date language, topics, and themes to incorporate, and which reflect what is most relevant to audiences.

Updated and more accurate content will help improve website jurisdiction on the subject matter and support any existing SEO authority.

And when Google recrawls a recently updated site, it gives the content a new life and can make it more likely to show up higher in SERPs.

Why Get Buy-In First Before Implementing SEO PM Processes

Before setting up new processes or jumping into making structural changes, it’s important to get buy-in from all of the associated team members and leadership.

Set up meetings with interested parties, including creative, product, demand gen, PR, events, marketing execs, and company thought leaders, to understand the benefits of implementation.

Reframe each conversation based on the goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and expected outcomes.

But consistently share the main point: SEO should never be an afterthought.

SEO starts in the brief creation and research phase.

It should be prioritized throughout, serve as quality control before and after publication, and be reported on to prove results.

Demonstrate the value of the SEO workflows and objectives listed above to highlight why incorporating SEO should not be considered optional, but a necessary part of content and webpage creation.

Dedicating time to connect with team members will help prevent pushback – or at least reduce negative feedback – because they will understand the upsides.

How To Create Effective Cross-Team SEO Project Management Processes

When it’s time to begin integrating your SEO efforts into larger team processes, follow this holistic set of actions:

  • Establish.
  • Collaborate.
  • Finalize.
  • Share.
  • Implement.
  • Test.
  • Track.

Establish The Role Of SEO In Your Company And/Or Department

Establishing the overall role of SEO will be most helpful for deciding where to start your efforts.

It will also help inform which of the above SEO project management integrations are most valuable to your current team, organization, and needs.

Begin by establishing a thorough understanding of these two sets of processes:

  • Existing content processes.
  • Existing web/development processes.

Establish the players involved across content creation for existing content processes, including copy, design, strategy, planning, social, etc.

You should also consider communication platforms, order of operations, timelines and deadlines, primary KPIs, any existing SEO efforts, and anything else included between the initial stage of a piece of content’s inception, to its eventual publication and tracking.

For existing web/development processes, understand the technical steps required for a piece of content to go live.

Who is responsible for creating a new page?

Is the content management system (CMS) self-service and user-friendly to someone outside the dev team, or is more extensive programming knowledge required?

Who, if anyone, is responsible for ensuring SEO best practices are followed? Is there anything built into the CMS that makes incorporating SEO components easier?

Are there any structural implications for the site when creating new content? Are there any other technical SEO considerations?

It may take a while to answer all these questions and figure out what else you need to know. But these are good starting points for understanding where SEO needs to be integrated.

Determine A New Set Of Collaborative Processes For Content Creation And Optimization

Once you’ve obtained a fairly comprehensive understanding of your team’s processes, it’s time to inject SEO into the spaces where it should live – or decide how to alter SEO’s current role to provide the greatest benefit.

Here’s an example of an SEO-driven content creation process:

  • Team member ideates content topic.
  • The team lead approves topic.
  • SEO expert creates content brief.
  • Content Lead reviews content brief and provides feedback.
  • SEO and Content Lead align on the final brief.
  • Content Lead sends brief to the writer.
  • Writer submits first draft of content and submits for review to Content Lead.
  • Content Lead reviews first draft and provides edits as suggestions to Writer.
  • Writer finalizes draft and submits for final review to Content Lead + Manager/Team Lead.
  • Writer ideates & then submits all blog design needs. (For example, hero/header image, product image, charts, graphs, images for social posts, etc.)
  • Designer creates graphic elements.
  • Writer sets up content CMS/website platform.
  • SEO reviews setup in CMS/website platform and provides feedback.
  • Writer makes any other edits from SEO.
  • Writer publishes the article.
  • Writer QAs published content to ensure correct implementation.
  • Writer creates copy for social media channels.
  • Writer updates content records to include new content.
  • Writer and SEO track content performance.

While multiple processes could be created to account for various content owners and creators, this example shows one of the more extensive ways that SEO can be involved with content.

Finalize New Processes By Getting Leadership Approval

While you’ve hopefully already received buy-in from leadership and other team members and departments, request additional approval once your proposal is complete.

Sharing the start-to-finish process of SEO and content integration will show just how many ways SEO can contribute to the content process, all of which should help increase findability and traffic.

Comprehension of the full picture should help increase appreciation of SEO efforts to optimize the entire workflow, thus further advocating for SEO and building on your buy-in.

Share The New Processes With Team Members

Open communication is critical any time processes change.

Make sure no one feels blindsided or disconnected from the efforts they’re involved with.

Additionally, ensuring your whole team has visibility into your plans can help improve awareness, adoption, and accountability.

Communicate Plans By Leveraging The Right Technology

One of the most successful ways to do this is by leveraging the right technology to communicate and track updates.

And the best way to publicize these processes is to include them in a project management or project tracking software system.

Whether or not you currently use software for team and project management, devote time to identifying the best PM technology for your team’s needs.

The optimal software should include at least these five capabilities:

  • Calendar view.
  • Tasks for multiple owners.
  • Document editing and management.
  • Commenting, tagging, and communicating within the platform.
  • Integrations with core tools.

Implementing The Right Project Management Software

Programs like Asana allow you to build out project templates that include each task, and accompanying subtasks, of your plans with project descriptions, expectations, and links to relevant documents.

Each can be assigned to an individual with due dates or a range of start and end dates.

These platforms can send emails, Slack updates, and other notifications about you and your team members’ tasks to help keep each of you informed about your assigned workloads.

As long as the tasks are set up properly, you can be assured that each team member clearly understands the new expectations, timing, and dependencies between SEO and other departments.

And all will have clear visibility into deadlines, so you don’t have to remind them.

Setting Up And Sharing The New Processes In The PM Software Before Launch

Be very clear and direct when it comes to implementing new project workflows before kicking them off.

Communicate with the content team and relevant product team members about:

  • What the new processes entail.
  • How each is set up in the PM software.
  • How much time each team member has to complete each project phase.
  • What parts of the project are contingent on other parts – especially what is needed for SEO to kick off their research.
  • Which project will be the first to implement the new processes.

Take in any feedback, and update the process as needed.

Implement New Project Workflows

Now the work begins.

Follow the flow you’ve created to build out content from scratch or refresh it.

Test

With all your comprehensive planning (and some luck), your new SEO integration efforts will go off without a hitch.

But just in case, carefully test and follow the progress and completion of the first few iterations.

Confirm if everything is going according to plan, whether there are any flaws or gaps, if the assigned SEO has the resources they need, and if there is any team feedback.

Be mindful of expected deadlines, whether more lead time is needed, and if, given everything else you and your team members are expected to accomplish, your whole team can deliver the best SEO-driven output throughout each stage of the process.

If not, don’t hesitate to make changes to your plans.

It’s better to delay full implementation than to proceed in a way that doesn’t allow you to substantiate the full impact of your efforts.

Track Performance Of Content That’s Been Created With Your New Processes

Lastly, tracking your efforts is critical for maintaining buy-in on any SEO project management strategy or process.

Measure Performance

Measure your performance against historical benchmarks of similar content – focusing primarily on organic traffic and activity from organic search.

Decide which organic KPIs are more important to you; for example, traffic to your blog, form conversions, time on page, or newsletter subscriptions.

Then, identify and establish projections for each.

Your projections should be based on things like historical performance, ranking expectations, MSV for targeted queries for new content, and promotional plans that drive traffic.

Increased traffic across non-organic channels can be an additional way to measure the success of SEO efforts since keywords represent search intent, so you know audiences are looking for the content you create.

If they see it in email, social, or ads and click at a higher rate, you can infer that the search intent applies to other channels.

Set Up Reporting

Start your reporting by first identifying your data sources.

For website analytics and site traffic, you may be using Google Analytics or Adobe.

For form conversions or newsletter subscriptions, you’ll be using a MAP.

Connect with the owners of these tools, like an expert on your marketing automation team, to determine what can be automated and how you can begin to build reports to track KPIs.

Even without automated resources, there are plenty of free tools and APIs to help.

For those with more resources, this is where investing in an SEO platform can really help aggregate all of your data in one place to analyze and extract key insights.

Uncover Insights

Once you have your reporting in place, review your content’s performance regularly.

Start off with more frequent and granular readouts to become familiar with the nuances of the data, so you can begin to identify small trends.

Before you present to leadership, step back and show a holistic overview of the impact of your efforts.

Make sure you consider how long it’s taken Google to start ranking a new piece of content and when it begins to drive organic traffic.

Report on whether the content created through your new SEO project management system speeds it up.

The same applies to the amount of time it takes for conversions to start – and hopefully spike – after certain efforts.

Then analyze the types of content and topics that perform best.

Feed Learning Back Into Content Optimizations

Use all of this reporting to your advantage, and translate your findings into optimizations for your process and your pages.

Conclusion

While most content roles and skills have found ways to integrate themselves into the content research, creation, and optimization processes, SEO often struggles to emerge as a consistent, let alone required, part of team project management.

However, by approaching SEO project management with specific tasks in mind and a process that incorporates them, you’ll have the best chance for success – especially when the process can be carefully woven into the existing efforts of your team.

It can take time, but it will ultimately show strategic initiative thinking that demonstrates holistic knowledge of an effectively optimized process, resulting in measurable performance improvement towards reaching your goals.

More resources:


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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.


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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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