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What does Skyscraper Link Building mean in SEO?

Skyscraper Link Building is a technique to get links from other websites to yours. The basics work like this:
  1. You identify the keyword or phrase you want to rank for
  2. You carry out a search for this keyword on the major search engines like Google and list the websites that rank top
  3. Using tools like Moz and AHrefs you identify what links these websites have
  4. You then approach the websites that have provided links to the current top ranking websites and try to persuade them to also create a link to your site.


In doing so you are trying to achieve one of two things:

  1. Displacement - You believe your content is better than that of your competitors so you are trying to get the other websites to link to you instead of your competitors (so strengthening your website while weakening your competitors)
  2. Addition - You are trying to get them to link to you as well because you provide extra or alternative content that their readers might find useful.


Key to the Skyscraper technique is that you must develop outstanding content that really is better (or a viable alternative) to your competitors. This might be simply in the depth and quality of your content or it could be via better presentation such as an infographic rather than text.

Skyscraper link building is well proven as a strong way to create quality backlinks to a website but it is obviously extremely time consuming, not just in creating the content but in terms of tracking all your competitors links back and then identifying the contact details of the right person who can create the link.

Some SEO practitioners argue that as you are working to create backlinks (link building rather than link earning) you are breaching the terms of search engines like Google. This is technically true but great content is unlikely to see the light of day unless it is marketed in some way and no one has ever reported receiving a penalty for following the Skyscraper technique.

Personally I regard it as one of the most effective ways to get backlinks if they are needed to rank a website. Yes you can use paid advertising to make people aware but the chances of an author who created a link to one of your competitors actually seeing this are minimal.

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

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