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Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

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Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

We’re back this Women’s Day with even more tips and advice from women in the SEO industry on how to know your worth – and command it.

This piece was originally published in 2021. Now, another year into a global pandemic and amid ongoing socioeconomic unrest the world over, our experts have more to share.

And their insights have never been more important.

COVID has worsened global inequality across the board and in America, this has translated to a deepening wage gap – especially for Black, Native American, and Latinx women.

SEO is constantly evolving according to data, consumer behavior, and algorithm trends.

But when it comes to women being treated as equals, the industry is much less evolved.

SEO is still a male-dominated industry where men outnumber women 2-to-1, according to a study conducted in 2020.

That survey found that:

  • Women are far less likely to be technical SEO professionals.
  • Women are twice as likely to freelance (see: unstable employment) as their male counterparts.
  • Men are more likely to charge monthly retainers; women are more likely to get paid by the hour or project.
  • Men’s retainers are 28.6% higher than women’s.
  • Men’s project rates were on average 66.7% higher than women’s.
  • Median hourly rates for men were 16.8% higher than for women.

And while the sample sizes for various aspects of this research were small, it is also worth noting that the study failed to account for the impact of combined gender and racial bias for Black, Indigenous, and other women of color in SEO (which the study coordinator acknowledges and regrets).

Had that been factored in, we would most likely see even more extreme differences in pay and opportunity for those women.

Despite this, many women continue to be attracted to careers and entrepreneurship in SEO and Digital Marketing.

Our world is fun, challenging, and ever-changing.

And as more women become involved in and grow in the industry, the uphill battle those women face is realized by more and more people.

It can be intimidating to ask for the rates we see in industry benchmarks and to prove our value to the companies or agencies who employ us.

In this column co-authored by Stephanie Gifford, SEO Marketing Manager at Adigma.io, we’ve asked women to share their best advice for peers and things they wish they’d known earlier in their careers.

Check out these tips for knowing your value as digital marketing and SEO professionals, getting paid fairly, and defending the title you’ve earned.

Please note that the job titles listed below reflect those of each contributor when they first submitted.

Knowing Your Value As An SEO Professional

Miracle Inameti-Archibong, Organic Performance Lead At Moneysupermaket Group:

“One of the reasons why women fail to ask for their worth is the feeling that they are not good enough. Work on that imposter syndrome.

Keep track of your accomplishments both big and small throughout the year. Don’t wait until it’s time for your review.

Don’t forget to value your soft skills as much as your hard skills it all impacts the work you do and it’s so unique to you, you deserve to be paid for it.”


Sara Taher, SEO Manager At PDFTron Systems Inc.: Sara Taher

“Being woman wearing a hijab led to my being underestimated in so many situations.

But then I realized, I need to be confident first inside to radiate it from the outside…

Confidence isn’t the same as competence; I know I’m good at my job… and all I need to do is to raise my confidence level to be as high as my experience as an SEO professional…

I’ve been working on that since last year, it’s not an easy journey but I’m getting there hopefully soon!”


Robyn Johnson, Chief Executive Officer Of Marketplace Blueprint: Robyn Johnson

“If I know that I am good at what I do, and believe that I provide a product that will make a difference to a client, I am doing them a disservice if I don’t assertively make that offer.

I found earlier on that I didn’t want to ‘pressure’ people, and then those same customers would go purchase with someone who had slick marketing or a more aggressive sales process even when they had less experience and expertise.

Consider who your customers might go with if you don’t communicate your offer and the value you bring to the table.

You aren’t tooting your own horn to gloat or be prideful; you need to accurately highlight your skills and your value so that your customers or potential employers can determine if your offering will really get the results they need.”


Julia McCoy, Coach & Strategist At The Content Hacker: Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

“Give yourself an annual task of re-assessing your rates.

Every year, without fail, audit what you charge and increase as needed. You should be charging more as your experience, skills, and credibility/tenure grows.

Don’t let imposter syndrome stop you from claiming your rightful place in the market. Back it up by boldly talking about the work you’ve done, and goals you’ve smashed for clients!”


Chelsea Alves, Sr. Content Marketing Specialist At Rio SEO: Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

“As a woman, knowing your professional value not only builds confidence but extends to the work you produce. This in turn leads to higher quality work, increased satisfaction with your job, and likelihood for promotion.

Stagnation can be a career killer. Instead, we must strive to push past our comfort zones.

To do this, I encourage women to continue to enhance your skills, broaden your networks, and ask for mentorship when needed to truly leave your mark in the SEO world.”


Navah Hopkins, President At Navah Hopkins LLC: Navah Hopkins

“On general value: Use data! Before you set rates or go into a salary negotiation, look up what others are charging/being paid.

Don’t be afraid to have different rates for different projects and always make sure you’re accounting for overhead (taxes, utilities, software, etc.).

Here’s to all the amazing power women knowing their value and being paid appropriately for our brilliance!”


Jenise Uehara Henrikson, CEO Of Alpha Brand Media, Home Of Search Engine Journal: Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

“When in doubt… go for it. Apply for that job, ask for that raise, ask for more $$$ in your proposal.

In the workplace, women in general tend to hang back and ask for less. A recent LinkedIn study showed that women apply to 20% fewer jobs than men.

Another famous study found women feel they need to meet 100% of the job criteria before they will apply… while men usually apply after meeting ~60%.

Women are twice as likely as men to report a total lack of comfort when asking for a raise. We need to ask for more. And when we don’t get it? Instead of giving up, learn to take a different approach, dust yourself off, and try again.

It’s taken me a long time to evolve my reaction to rejection: that it is not a verdict on me and my worth and I should just stop. Rather, I’m learning from failure, so that I can try again, fail better, and eventually… succeed.”


Ivy Boyter, SEO & Content Manager At GYBO Digital Marketing: Ivy Boyter

“As someone with HR experience from years ago, your title won’t matter as much as the meat you can put into your resume… the data and results that matter to who is looking to hire someone.

Show what you bring to the table by including valuable measurements in your descriptions instead of the day-to-day activities.

In general, though, titles can help you research what pay ranges you may expect.

There are plenty of websites that will help you discover pay ranges based on position, years of experience, where you live, etc. And I agree with PP… negotiate high (read “Never Split the Difference” if you want to learn serious negotiation skills ).

Finally, if you can’t get the $$, benefits like vacation/PTO are sometimes negotiable for the right candidate.”


Negotiating Rates And Raises: Practical Tips From Women In SEO

Rue Walker, Owner Of Walker Web Consultation:Rue Walker

“I work with small businesses who often have tight budgets.

I always want to respect the investment in my services, so I prepare monthly reports that detail exactly what I have provided and show clear results.

Then, when I ask for a raise, I have a record of success.

I will also offer to work for three months at a lower rate of pay with the option to negotiate a raise to my preferred pay scale once I have shown results.”


Motoko Hunt, President – Search Marketing Consultant At AJPR LLC:Motoko Hunt

“Show your value in terms of business data, not just because you’ve been there for X number of years or you put X number of hours but because your work grew (contributed to growing) business X% or increased the revenue by $X.

Also, always keep paper/digital records of communications, projects, etc.; whatever proves what you did/said.”


Shelly Fagin, Director, Growth Marketing At Credit Karma: Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

“Never be afraid to negotiate if the offer isn’t right for you. I do believe women tend to negotiate less out of fear of being seen as aggressive or demanding.

On the flip side, if someone isn’t willing to give you what you deserve don’t be afraid to walk away.

If the company or client really understands your value, they’ll work with you. If they don’t, you probably dodged a bullet.”


Anna Crowe, SEO Strategist At Hello Anna Branding: Anna Crowe

“Stop giving away your number.

I’ve worked both in-house and in freelance life.

Over the past four years, after talking to my friends about their salaries and rates, I realized how underpaid I was. I would get to the negotiation and lowball myself.

I was following the motto’s of “Hustle hard” and “Slay your day.” But, in reality, following advice from an Instagram quote doesn’t pay your bills.

I realized it’s all about how you finesse the numbers.

First, I came up with my line in the sand of what I needed to make to survive. Then add a little extra ($10,000-$15,000 per year).

When you’re asked for a number, ‘What is your budget?’ or ‘What are your salary requirements?’ Flip the script. Ask your client or potential boss what their budget or salary range is.

You might be surprised with the number you get back.

The first time I did this, I was going to quote $3,000 per month.

By the end of the conversation, I had more than tripled my money. It’s like poker, don’t show your cards. I had undercut my company, my self-worth, and my time. I was just happy to win a client.

Now, I understand my bottom line. And, I’m comfortable saying no, whether it be to clients or a project.”


Robyn Johnson, Chief Executive Officer Of Marketplace Blueprint:

Robyn Johnson

“Don’t base your prices on what you are ‘worth.’ I know that sounds counterintuitive but what if you have self-worth issues? That made me tend to underprice my services.

Instead of focusing on ‘What I am worth?’ I now ask myself, ‘How much value will I bring to this client?’

Focusing on the value I bring to the customer allows me to separate my service fees from how I might be feeling about myself on any given day.”


Bibi Raven, Founder Of Bibibuzz: Bibi Raven

“I think a lot of women have the notion that negotiation has to be confrontational, so they try to avoid going into it full-heartedly.

They also don’t like putting themselves in the spotlight and feel that talking about their accomplishments is a bad thing.

What I’ve learnt works best is this:

Assess your own worth, and then double that (as you’re probably aiming too low, and the negotiation result might end up lower).

Determine your BATNA: Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. This is one of the pillars of the Harvard Method. It means that prior to a negotiation, you determine when you will walk away from the table.

It’s a great safeguard against agreeing to something you’re not comfortable with.

Don’t take it personally. Separate what you do for work and business from your personal worth. Rejection in a negotiation does not say anything about who you are.

Of course, the other party might mean it personally, but you don’t have to play along. Water off a duck’s back.

Be as laidback as possible. The weird thing is, when the other party notices you’re relaxed, they often tend to agree with you. If you don’t know what I mean, watch the movie “Office Space.”

Use “okay, and…” when the other party offers something you don’t want but it’s not quite at BATNA level, create an opening for yourself.

Don’t say no right away, but create an opening by countering with a demand that will make theirs acceptable.

For instance, when they say: we want you to start working full-time, then you say: Hey cool, but I’d like three months paid leave with that.

If you have this idea stuck in your head that you’re simply not that kind of person to ask for things, pretend you’re someone else that you admire and channel them.”


Why Titles Still Matter In SEO

Libby Stonehawk, Co-owner Of Stonehawk Digital: Libby Stonehawk

“I seriously undersold myself at the start by calling myself ‘junior’ in my job title and charged way too little, working myself to a plump while over-delivering.

I soon realized that many so-called experts (usually male) knew about as much as me but would mystify clients with SEO jargon so they would not ask any questions!

When my husband started to freelance with me under the name Stonehawk Digital, during client pitches a lot of the more technical questions were directed to my husband even though I had the formal training.

If I could go back I’d say leave out the ‘junior’ designation, charge more, and connect with other women in tech earlier for advice and support.”


Navah Hopkins, President At Navah Hopkins LLC:

Navah Hopkins

“Never allow yourself to be called ‘associate’ or ‘junior’ anything. You’re a strategist, consultant, or specialist at entry-level.

If you’re a rockstar individual contributor with no desire to manage people, get a ‘senior’ or ‘team lead’ added to whatever function you perform.

‘Director’ and above tends to be faster to secure at smaller companies, and typically demands you have just as much business strategy at your back as digital marketing.

For agency owners: you’re a CEO unless you’ve handed control to someone else. We all tend to think of CEOs as the boss. President can work, too!”


Rachel Libby, Marketing Director at Buy Box Experts: Rachel Libby

“I learned early on that if I wanted to quickly progress and grow in my career, I had to be hungry for opportunities and proactively seek out paths that took me where I wanted to be.

Those experiences weren’t going to fall in my lap simply by paying my dues and sticking to routine. I had to chase each opportunity, take risks, and pursue the things that ultimately gave me the growth I desired.

I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with colleagues that saw my talent, ultimately helping me realize my full potential and what I was capable of achieving. That encouragement has always been helpful to me when the road inevitably gets tough.

Ultimately, my advice is to really think about where you’d like to be in 10 years. What are you doing? How much money are you making? What does your work/life balance look like? What makes you happy?

Then create a plan that gets you there little by little with small, doable, daily goals. Be flexible with your dreams and patient with yourself and your journey.

Lastly, surround yourself with a supportive network that believes in you and sees your potential. That encouragement will get you through the growing pains that always inevitably come.”


Top Takeaways For Women In SEO

Know Your Value:

  • Keep track of your success with measurable data.
  • Have confidence and work on combating imposter syndrome.
  • Communicate and accurately highlight your skills.
  • Review and re-evaluate professional rates and pricing annually.
  • Continue to hone your skills and build connections.

How To Negotiate More Successfully:

  • Show your growth in experience in skills through data.
  • Keep records of results of successful projects and results.
  • Don’t be afraid to push back and negotiate more for the right price or walk away if it isn’t right for you.
  • Know your bottom line and ask the right questions.
  • Focus on the value you bring to clients.

Why Titles Still Matter In SEO:

  • Don’t undercut yourself by accepting titles with ‘associate’ or ‘junior’ in it, titles can always be tweaked to not feel like it’s selling yourself short.
  • At entry-level, focus on ‘strategist’, ‘specialist’, or ‘consultant.’
  • ‘Director’ and above can be more easily attained in smaller companies but requires equal parts technical expertise and business and marketing strategy.
  • Envision your ideal career path and take incremental steps to get there.

At the end of the day, we are all in this together.

We need to remember that the value we bring to the companies and clients we work for and with, is different than our value as individuals.

Keeping track of our successes and the results will push us all forward to better advancement and futures to show the value we bring to the table.

It can be challenging to find and link up with other women in the industry, so we would like to provide some additional resources to connect with more women in SEO.

These are among the solid and supportive communities we use to connect with women in SEO:

More Resources:


Featured Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock




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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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