The Importance of Backlinks for SEO & The Skyscraper Technique
Whether your brand new to SEO or you’ve been doing it for a while, you’re sure to have heard of backlinks! Backlinks are one of the main contributing factors in Googles ranking algorithm. Since its inception the algorithm has advanced to a point where it concerns itself more with the quality of backlinks as opposed to the pure quantity of these links.
Due to these consistent and rapid advancements of Googles algorithm, the landscape of SEO and link building is always changing, and today, the importance of building high-quality links has never been greater.
So, why is it that so many websites and SEO’s struggle with this task? Typically, it comes down to two things; They simply don’t know how to build high quality backlinks, or they understand the process but think it’s too much work. And for some people it is, so feel free to contact us to request a proposal and pricing information anytime!
How Google Collects Data to Determine Search Engine Rankings
In order to better understand why backlinks are important, we must first understand how Google reviews content across the internet and position pages to answer users’ queries.
Google crawls pages to index the information and then inputs this information into its algorithm to calculate and promulgate search engine rankings.
It’s important to remember that Google doesn’t care about selling your products or services or helping you reach as many people as you can with content. Googles concern is about providing the best possible answer to their users’ queries, in effect providing Google users with an intensely positive digital experience.
Because Google uses spiders and not people (Typically) to index content, it relies heavily on data points to reach its ranking conclusions. Through this process Google makes decisions about pages and those pages abilities or qualities to rank for any given keyword. (If you want to know more about the ranking process, check out this video from Google, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNHR6IQJGZs)
When the algorithm is interpreting the data generated from indexing, Google doesn’t simply look at the content on the page and how many times a keyword is mentioned. They also dig into user metrics on a page, like the well-known bounce rate metric, or page per sessions metric, and even further Googles algorithm analyses the number of links pointing to a site and more importantly the quality of those external sites that have decided to link their users to any given page.
Why Backlinks Are Important to Search Engines & Websites
There are two main ways that search engines like to use links, and two main ways in which links are valuable to a website. Let’s Explore these ways…..
Benefits of Backlinks for Search Engines:
- To discover new web pages
- To help determine Search Engine rankings
Benefits of Backlinks for Websites:
- To rank well on Search Engine result pages
- To drive a new channel of traffic to their domain (Increase authority)
The ability of Googles algorithm to utilize links as a ranking factor is a large reason it was able to dominate the search engine market in the late 1990’s and they have worked diligently to enhance this capability ever since.
Let’s think about this is another way. Imagine, you and your family recently relocated to a new State and you’re searching for a new CPA. You have 3 potential candidates for the job in hand and you are doing your best to discern which is going to be the better choice.
- The first has been in business 20 years, works out of a nicely built office building, and has advertisements all over town.
- The second has been in practice for 8 years, but you can’t find anyone who has worked with him and you’ve never seen an advertisement for his service. You found out about him because someone in line at the grocery store said he was great.
- The third has only been in business 3 years but was referred to you by your well know Real Estate Agent, a supervisor at your new job, AND the trusted local lawyer you just hired.
Who would you pick and why?
Most of us would select CPA #3, because we assign value toward referrals from trusted partners. Google looks at backlinks in the same way! While previously the algorithm was unable to determine the difference in value between a random referral in line at the grocery store or your trusted Lawyer / Real Estate Agent, it now has the capability to assign scores to these factors and use them in the algorithm accordingly.
In effect Google looks at these links as a vote of confidence in a page. The more respected in the eyes of Google the originator of that “vote” is, the more value it will provide to the resulting page. Further, the theory is that when an authoritative site links to another website, they are saying it’s a valuable resource that can provide information to their own uses. Otherwise they wouldn’t link to it, much the same way you wouldn’t send a friend to a bad CPA.
Skyscraper Link Building Technique
“OK, now I know backlinks are SUPER important…. but how in the world do I go about getting high quality backlinks?!?”
As a website owner understanding that backlinks are important is a great first step, but even seasoned SEO’s and Digital Marketing professionals are wary of the skills and effort required for earning high quality backlinks.
But here’s the good news.
While earning quality backlinks from authoritative sites is a tedious task, the steps used are straight forward and repeatable!
The Skyscraper Technique involves only three core steps:
- Finding link-worthy content
- Creating something better
- Sharing what you’ve created with the RIGHT people
That’s it! The Skyscraper Technique is a process of finding good content and making it even better.
Brian Dean aptly named it this technique, commenting that it’s similar to the race to build the world’s tallest skyscraper. It’s unlikely you or anyone else cares what the 5th or 6th tallest building in the world is, you only care which is the tallest.
The same goes for content, people want to know what’s ranking first, and make it even better! Once you know the bar to surpass, you can systematically work towards that goal and make it happen.
This process is very similar to the idea of making 10X content or content that is 10 times better than the content currently occupying the top spot on Google. Because Google wants to provide users the best answer to their queries, it can resist high quality, informative, and engaging content!
The proof is in the pudding!
According to Brian Dean, when he implemented the Skyscraper Technique for the first time, he increased his search traffic by 110% in just 14 days! Not to mention, that first post has driven more than 300,000 + referral visitors to his site.
Would any of you see an impact on your bottom line with 300,000 more site visitors this year?
Step #1: Finding the Best Link-Worthy Content
Identifying and finding link-worthy content, relevant to your keyword strategy, is the foundation of every link building effort. Brian Dean uses the term “Linkable Asset” and explains it as the “the perfect description of what you want to create: a high-value page that you can leverage for links over and over again.”
This is the content ranking #1 on search engines for whatever topic or keyword ranking you’re targeting. This content is not the typical link bait nonsense, but rather its high quality, engaging, and informative content that’s so great, people and websites can’t help but engage with and link their users to it.
Finding content that’s already optimally performing on Google and has generated a ton of links is the most efficient way to ensure your meeting this mark every time. A great way to find this information is by simply performing a Google search or using tools like Buzzsumo, which will analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor across the web or Haro which helps promote content once created!
Step #2: Creating Something Better
Now that you’ve identified the best content to “skyscrape”, step 2 is where the hard work starts. Now the responsibility shifts from identifying and analyzing to creating! It’s time to take what you’ve found and make it obsolete.
Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you knock it out of the park every time!
General Rules of Thumb for Creating Linkable Content
- The content must be displayed on a site providing exceptional UI and UX to users.
- The content is some combination of high quality, trustworthy, useful, interesting, and original.
- The content creates an emotional response.
- The content must solve a problem or answer a question through providing in-depth, exceptional, and completely thorough information.
Specific Rules for Creating Skyscraper Content
- Make it Longer
- If you find a great Linkable Asset to skyscrape the first thing you should be thinking about is making it longer and more in-depth. If you find an article titled “25 Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic” create and publish a list of 75 ways to increase website traffic! It may take a lot of work and effort to identify and compose content around these ideas, but when you’re done, you know you have something better than anything else out there.
- Make it More Up-To-Date
- Any time you can skyscrape a highly performing piece of content by using more up-to-date research and information, you can be sure you are going to make a big impact! Create something that covers many of the same points, but update it with cutting edge research, data, information, and subsequently content.
- Make it Better Designed
- Sometimes really good content looks really bad. Google may love a piece of content due to the stellar information it provides, but the design of the page could be a detriment to user engagement. If you have the opportunity to create a visually engaging article coupled with stellar information, you will be successful in ranking that content every time.
- Make it More Thorough
- Most list articles and blog compositions are just bland regurgitation of previous information. Take the time to think about a post from a different perspective. Think about how you can provide a more thorough read into a particular topic or how can you approach it in a manner that hasn’t yet been published. Adding more depth to a topic, while still providing the same root knowledge, will always help to skyscrape a current piece of content.
Ture skyscraper content will improve upon the existing ranked content on EVERY Level listed above. That way you have made it explicitly clear to Google and users that you have created a better piece of content.
Step #3: Share What Is Created with the RIGHT People
Too many site owners, SEO’s, and digital marketers fear step number three, and it paralyses them from even attempting step’s # 1 and #2! But as much as creating the content is important, reaching out to promote it is just as, if not potentially more, important.
The most important thing to remember here is that your efforts should focus around sites that will provide value to our page. A few key things to ask when qualifying these targets are:
- Is the site considered authoritative by Google?
- Is the site within the niche or provide value to the niche?
- Does the site have interest in your topic?
- Has the site linked to similar articles?
With sites like ahrefs, it actually is. You can use their tools to identify and export a list of all the links pointing towards the identified content you have skyscraped! (Note there are plenty of other tools on the market for this, ahrefs is SEO Experts favorite.)
Once you have exported your list, you can pare it down by removing the pages that wouldn’t make much sense for you to reach out to for a link. These include forums, directories, etc..
Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a solid list of authoritative sites, in your niche, that have already shown a propensity to link to similar content.
And the best part is, your content is better than anything they have seen! Now all you need to do is reach out.
Backlink Request Template:
Good (Morning, Afternoon, Evening) [Name],
I was searching for articles related to [topic or niche] earlier today and I came cross your page [url].
While reading I noticed you linked to another great article [ article title & URL linked].
I just wanted to let you know that I created a similar article on the same topic, for my site [URL]. It’s a bit more through and up today, and it includes unique outlook on [Niche | topic].
This is one of my favorite snippets [add snippet sentence or short paragraph]
Here’s a link [Title URL linked], it might be worth a mention on your page! Thanks for taking the time to review and keep up the great work!
Of course, this is not a rigid structure so feel free to add “flare” around our suggestions. Try different ways of getting this message across and gaining attention, because the more interest you get in this email, the more high-quality links your content will earn.
That’s it folks!
Now you may be thinking you don’t have time for all this work. And that’s fine too!
You can always reach out to the professionals here at SEO Experts and we will be more than happy to take the reins and run your program. Our industry leading team will implement our trusted strategies to increase your revenue, lower you marketing and acquisition costs, and box out your competition!
Sit back, focus on your business, and let SEO Experts Inc worry about the leads.