Content Hacks

The Skyscraper Technique


This hack is all about creating the best content, but let me first explain the analogy with skyscrapers.

Having the highest building has always been a race between nations throughout history.

The ‘Taipei 101’, located in Taiwan, was the largest building until 2010 with a total height of 508m or 1667ft. Then the ‘Burj Khalifa’ took over this record and is now the largest building globally with a height of  830m or 2722ft.

Taipei 101 in Taiwan
508m = 1667ft
Height record until 2010
Burj Khalifa in Dubai
830m = 2722ft
Current height record

And, as usual, all eyes are currently on the Burj Khalifa. It’s like with any other race: the first place is the most important.

But, it’s only a matter of years until another nation will build a higher skyscraper.

In this hack, we will use the skyscraper analogy for your content. We will look for the ‘Burj Khalifa’ content pieces around a particular topic on the internet and then we build an even more impressive content piece.

What do you want to accomplish?

Basically we want to create more traffic to our website by:

  • Finding the best piece of content around a certain topic
  • Creating a better version of this content
  • Hunt for links to our newly created topic


You can apply the skyscraper technique by following these three steps:

  1. Find the best content around a particular topic in your niche with a lot of inbound links (the current ‘Burj Khalifa’)
  2. Create an even better version of this content
  3. Reach out for links to your own version

Let’s dive a bit deeper into each of the steps:

Find best content

First, you need to find the best content in your niche with a lot of inbound links. This is content with a proven track record to attract visitors:

How can you find this content? We will basically look for content that has at least 25 sites linking to them.

Popular sites

The first method is to start with popular sites in your niche. Then you can use an SEO tool (such as Ubersuggest or Ahrefs) to find the top pages for each of these popular sites. Remember: you are looking for pages with at least 25 sites linking to them.

Keep track of both the pages and the backlinks (the external pages linking to them).

Google search

A second method is to search Google for keywords related to your niche. You can then take the top 10 results: you can expect them to have many links, otherwise, they would be positioned lower.

Put each of these top 10 results in your SEO analysis tool and only keep those with at least 25 sites linking to them.

Create a better version

Creating a better version will not be easy and will require some time!

There are different ways you can create a better version:

  • Improve the quality = more thorough
  • Actualize the content = more up to date
  • Improve the design = better looking = more attractive
  • Use other content types or a mix of different types: text, images, video, audio
Improve the quality

You can do a better research and make the content more thorough.

If you find a popular article like ‘15 Ways to Lose Weight’. Then come up with even more ways to lose weight: ‘30 Ways to Lose Weight’. Do more research about losing weight, reference more experts, etc.

It will take an effort to create this type of content, but imagine the impact you will have!

Actualize the content

If you find popular content that is outdated, then you basically have a goldmine.

There are probably many extra insights for that topic that you can compile into a more up to date piece of content.

Better design

Quality content that is attractive at the same time will perform better. Google will also give this type of content higher search positions.

Upgrade your design skills or find a good designer that can brighten up your content.

Mix content types

Most older articles contain 90% text and 10% images. As already mentioned before, you should use more & better-designed images. But you can also embed video or audio to bring more life into your work.

Reach out

Link building is an essential part of any content marketing strategy. We will reach out to site owners that have already linked out to similar content.

Remember the first step of the Skyscraper Technique: ‘Find Content’.

Here we searched for content that already has existing links from other sites:

The obvious next step is that we reach out to each of these backlink sources. These should be good backlink candidates because these sources link already to an article in your niche (the one you started with).