I need to get this off my chest:
Despite what you may have heard, there’s A LOT more to white hat SEO than “posting great content.”
Sure, awesome content makes link building easier…
…but it’s just the first step.
I never told you this, but my first site was in the weight loss niche. And my entire SEO strategy for that site was to post great content and let the links roll in.
Needless to say, the “post and pray” approach didn’t work out very well for me.
I learned the hard way that if you really want to rank, you need to get out there and build links.
That’s why I want to show you how one blogger used The Skyscraper Technique to build authority links to his site…and tripled his organic search engine traffic in less than a week.
“Wait…What’s the Skyscraper Technique?”
I actually posted the entire step-by-step system in this post: Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days:
Here’s the short and sweet version:
1. Find content with a proven track record of generating backlinks and social shares
2. Make that content better
3. Reach out to people to let them know about your new resource
You’re probably thinking: “that’s so simple.”
And you’re right: it’s not complicated (that’s the beauty of it )
But it works REALLY well.
And today I’m going to show you how one Backlinko reader used this system to increase his organic search traffic by more than 300% in just 7 days.
Here’s How Richard Marriot Used White Hat SEO to Skyrocket His Search Engine Traffic
Your first step is to find content that’s done well in your niche…and make something way better.
That’s exactly what Richard Marriot did with his expert roundup post, 55 SEO Experts Reveal 3 Favorite Link Building Tools:
As an SEO newbie, Richard wanted to know which white hat SEO tools the experts used (in other words, not automated spammy black hat SEO tools).
There was only one problem:
He couldn’t find that information anywhere.
And when he did find an article that covered SEO or link building tools, they tended to be overwhelming lists like: “100 SEO Tools You Need to Try”.
Most people would have thrown their hands in the air and given up…
Fortunately, Richard already knew about the Skyscraper Technique. And he realized that he had a HUGE opportunity staring him in the face.
So what did he do?
He created an outstanding resource that blew what was already out there out of the water…AND hustled hard to promote it.
But that’s not all…
As you can see from this screenshot, the post skyrocketed Richard’s traffic overnight:
To date, Richard’s guide has landed him a total of 3,600 visitors from social media, blogs, and forums:
3,600 visitors is a lot of traffic no matter who you are.
But in Richard’s case, these 3,600 visitors were more than he got to his site over the last 4 months combined!
So if you’re looking for a way to jump start your site’s sagging traffic numbers — stop posting 3 times per week — and publish an epic piece of content that really stands out.
But Wait, There’s More…
Instead of patting himself on the back about what a great job he did, Richard leveraged his linkable asset into even more high quality backlinks.
He emailed hundreds of people to let them know about his new resource.
A massive increase in the number of referring domains pointing to his site:
Including links from:
- SearchEngineLand.com (DA92)
- A PR2 resource page
- A PR6 digital marketing firm blog
Here’s How You Can Do The Same Thing For Your Site
You’re probably thinking:
“That’s great for Richard, but how can I get the same results for my site?”
I’m glad you asked…
Because now it’s time to break this down into the exact steps you can follow to get a surge of traffic and backlinks for your site.
Step 1: Find the Content Gap In Your Niche
If you want people to link to your content, you NEED to bring something new to the table.
And no matter what niche you’re in, there’s content out there that’s lacking in some way.
If you can swoop in and fill that gap with amazing stuff, you have a linkable asset that you can leverage for high quality backlinks over and over (and over) again.
In Richard’s case, he just looked at the top 10 in Google for keywords like “SEO tools”, “white hat SEO tools” and “link building tools”:
And he noticed that they didn’t answer the fundamental question: “Which SEO tools should I use?”
That’s when he decided to create something that did answer that question.
Step #2: Fill The Gap With Incredible Content
Finding content that could use a paint job is easy enough…
But taking that content and making it better takes a lot of work.
If you’re willing to put in the hours to publish something special, your competition won’t stand a chance.
To give his content the edge it needed to stand out, Richard decided to publish an expert roundup.
Even though he didn’t have any connections and only a few followers on Twitter, he was able to get contributions from ballers like Neil Patel, Anne Smarty, Gregory Ciotti, and Paddy Moogan:
He also asked me
In total, he emailed 115 influential people in the SEO space…and got 47 replies (that’s a 41% conversion rate).
How did he get so many busy people to respond?
1. His Outreach Email Was Short and Sweet: It’s almost impossible to make your outreach emails too short.
The email script he sent out to the experts was only 67 words. Here’s the email he sent to me:
As you can see, this script is straight to the point with zero fluff.
2. He Was Persistent: Richard followed up with the people that didn’t get back to him the first time around. For those that still didn’t reply, he sent them another email.
And if they still didn’t reply, he hit them up on Twitter:
3. He Hustled to Get the Word Out: After the post went live, Richard emailed his list of experts again.
This time, he gave them a heads up that the post was live and gently encouraged them to share his post with their followers.
And share they did.
The post has a ridiculous amount of social shares, including 2000 Facebook likes:
Did Richard’s post take a lot more work than publishing something lame like: “5 Tips for Finding a Link Building Tool”?
But that’s one of the main reasons that it’s performed so well:
It’s the best resource on link building tools on the internet. So it deserves to rank #1 in Google.
That’s the type of content you need to publish: world class stuff that makes your competition look silly.
Because when you have content like that, link building is MUCH easier.
Which brings us to step 3…
Step #3: Tell The World About Your Amazing Resource
You can publish amazing stuff all day long…
…but if no one reads it, you’re wasting your time.
That’s why the most important part of white hat SEO isn’t publishing great stuff…it’s promoting it.
Richard actually did a lot of outreach just to put his expert roundup together (remember, he emailed over 115 white hat SEO experts).
And that landed him a handful of decent links.
But to get the most out of his content, Richard knew that he had pound the pavement with an email outreach campaign.
At first, Richard tried straight up link begging…
…but that didn’t land him a single link.
Then he tried broken link building.
That took him from a 0% conversion rate…to more than 10%.
He went the extra mile with his first batch of emails by sending personalized images:
This creative email got him a decent response rate (and a link on a PR2 page).
There was only one problem:
It took WAY too much time to personalize each email (more than 10 minutes per email).
That’s when he shifted gears and went with a short and sweet email instead:
That email had a similar response rate, but took 10x less time to personalize and send out.
I’ve personally found that with any outreach — but especially broken link building — you should start off with a VERY brief email. That first email tells you whether or not the site owner actually checks their email and updates their site.
Once you get a response, you can impress them with a very detailed and personalized follow up email
And that’s exactly what Richard did with his followup script:
He was rewarded with a handful of high quality backlinks:
Here’s What to Do Next…
If you enjoyed this SEO case study, I want you do one thing:
Whether you have a site about baking, bodybuilding, or bird cages…The Skyscraper Technique works.
And I REALLY want to see you succeed.
In fact, that’s why I created Backlinko: to give you actionable strategies that you can use to get more search engine traffic.
But for these techniques to work, you need to put them into practice.
Before you get started on your Skyscraper content, leave a comment below right now. Let me know how you plan on using the technique or if you have a question.