SEO Case Study: How I Increased My Organic Traffic 652% in 7 Days

SEO Case Study: How I Increased My Organic Traffic 652% in 7 Days

Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Nov. 01, 2018

SEO Case Study: How I Increased My Organic Traffic 652% in 7 Days

There’s a new SEO strategy that’s crushing it right now.

(“Skyscraper Technique 2.0”)

I recently used this strategy to increase organic traffic to one of my pages by 652.1%:

Skyscraper Technique 2.0 – Traffic increase

(In 7 days)

This same approach helped my brand new post hit the #1 spot in Google… within weeks:

And today’s SEO case study I’m going to show you exactly how I did it, step-by-step.

My Content Was a Smash Hit… Then It Flopped

On July 26th, 2016 I published this post:

My post got a huge spike in traffic in its first week:

Lots of shares:

And people quickly started linking to it:

Sure enough, my page cracked the top 10 for my target keyword (“SEO checklist”) a few weeks later.

All good right?

Well… not really.

You see, my posts usually get more traffic from SEO over time.

Not my SEO checklist page.

In fact: organic search traffic to that page decreased as time went on.

It got so bad that my post averaged only 4-5 visitors per day.

And my rankings dropped to the middle of the second page:

That’s When I Wondered: “What Happened?!”

On paper my content had everything going for it:

200+ backlinks.

Lots of comments (which Google likes).

And social media shares out the wazoo.

What was missing?

User Intent.

User Intent + SEO = Higher Rankings


Google’s #1 goal is to make users happy.

Which means they need to give people results that match their User Intent.

Never heard of User Intent? Here’s a simple explanation:


User Intent



The main goal behind a user's Google search.

And Google is REALLY good at figuring out User Intent (also sometimes called “Search Intent”).

In fact, a big part of Google RankBrain is to give users “results that it thinks searchers will like the most”.

And the 2018 Google Quality Rater Guidelines has an entire section on User Intent:

Google has even started asking users about their User Intent:

That’s when it hit me:

My post was getting buried because it didn’t satisfy user intent.

Here’s what happened next:

Skyscraper Technique 2.0: (An SEO Strategy That Works GREAT In 2018)

After I optimized my page around User Intent, organic traffic shot up like a rocketship:

And my rankings went from #11 to #5:

(And these improved rankings have stuck 4+ months later)

With that, here are the steps for The Skyscraper Technique 2.0:

Step 1: Figure out User Intent

Step 2: Satisfy User Intent

Step 3: Optimize for UX signals

To be clear:

The original Skyscraper Technique still works GREAT.

For example, this list of SEO tools is classic “Skyscraper” content marketing.

Most SEO tools posts list 10-20 tools. So I decided to review over 180:

And because my page is bigger and better, lots of people have linked to it:

That said:

This page also satisfies User Intent.

Which is why it ranks in the top 3 for my target keyword:

In short:

Ideally, you want to use Skyscraper Technique 1.0 AND 2.0.

Skyscraper Technique 1.0 helps you get the links you need to hit the first page.

And Skyscraper Technique 2.0 will make sure those rankings stick.

Let’s dive into the steps…

Step #1: Figure Out User Intent

Here are two simple ways to identify User Intent:

Analyze the First Page

Google’s first page gives you a HUGE insight into User Intent.


If something ranks on Google’s first page, you KNOW that it satisfies User Intent.

So all you need to do is search for your keyword…

…and scan the SERPs.

Specifically, answer the question:

“What kind of intent do these results satisfy?”

Do people want information? If so, are they looking for the basics… or advanced strategies?

Do they want to buy something? If so, are they ready to buy… or comparing two different products?

For example…

If you search for “Office Space Brooklyn”, the results are 100% transactional:

In fact, 10 out of 10 results are product pages for booking an office space:

But if you search for “Coworking Space Brooklyn”, you get something completely different:

The results are mostly blog posts about the best coworking spots in the city:


On the surface these keywords seem similar.

But Google’s first page reveals that the User Intent is VERY different.

Look At the Keyword Itself

Sometimes the keyword itself tells you all you need to know.

For example…

With my SEO checklist post, I asked myself:

“What does someone searching for ‘SEO checklist’ actually want?”

Duh! They want an SEO checklist.

Despite that, my original post was a case study… not a checklist.

Sure, there were some steps that resembled a checklist.

But it wasn’t the type of detailed checklist that searchers wanted.

And Google noticed.

Which leads us to…

Step #2: Satisfy User Intent

At this point I had User Intent figured out.

And now it was time to publish a piece of high-quality content to match that User Intent.

Here’s exactly how I did it:

Covered the Basics

I noticed that other content ranking for “SEO checklist” had steps for people new to SEO:

And I quickly realized something:

My original post was WAY too advanced.

In fact, the first step was: “Delete Dead Weight Pages”.

This is a strategy that people new to SEO should absolutely NOT use.

So I replaced this advanced strategy with steps for SEO newbies:

Changed the Format

Like I mentioned earlier, the original version of my post was a step-by-step case study.

So I changed the format.

This time, I made the content more checklisty.

Covered More Stuff

Google’s top 10 results were clear:

People searching for “SEO checklist” want checklists that cover LOTS of different stuff.

Despite that, my post had ZERO info on:

  • Technical SEO
  • Link building
  • Keyword research
  • SEO software and tools

So I expanded my post to hit on these important subtopics:

I Emphasized “2018”

I noticed a clear pattern in the search results:

Most of the content pointed out that their checklist worked in 2018.

So I emphasized that my checklist was up-to-date.


I included “2018” in my title tag…

…in the introduction…

…and I even mentioned “2018” a few times in the content itself:


In this case I rewrote an existing post.

But you can use this same strategy for brand new content.

For example…

A few months ago I wanted to write something about mobile optimization.

The first thing I did was search for “Mobile SEO”… and scan the results.

And I noticed 3 things about Google’s first page results:

They covered WHY mobile SEO is important.

So I led off my guide with a handful of stats:

2. They wrote about responsive design vs. dynamic serving vs. “M. mobile sites”

So did I:

3. They had tips for improving sitespeed.

So I included a section on that.

The end result was “Mobile SEO: The Definitive Guide”.

And largely thanks to The Skyscraper Technique 2.0, it quickly climbed to the #1 for my target keyword:

(Above heavyweights like Moz, Search Engine Land… even Google itself)

And now it’s time to…

Step #3: Optimize for UX Signals

Here’s the deal:

Your content can be a PERFECT match for User Intent.

But if it looks like this…

…people are gonna leave your site like it’s on fire.

And Google will quickly downrank you:

So now that you’ve nailed User Intent, it’s time to optimize for UX Signals.

Specifically, this step is all about engineering your content to:

Here’s how:

Embed Videos

Wistia found that: “people spent on average 2.6x more time on pages with video than without.”


I’ve never seen a video work THAT well.

But videos can definitely keep people on your site longer.

That’s why I embedded a few videos in my SEO checklist post:

Table of Contents

I added a table of contents to the top of my new post:

And this table of contents got me some sweet sitelinks in the search results:

Needless to say, these sitelinks boosted my organic CTR.

Short Introductions

What’s the first thing someone does when they land on your post?

They read your intro.

In fact, take a look at this heatmap from the Backlinko blog:

As you can see, there’s A LOT of action on the first few lines of my intro:

And if you start your post off with a long intro… users are gonna bounce.

That’s why I write short and sweet introductions (5-8 sentences).

LOTS of Examples

Examples INSTANTLY separate your content from the regurgitated garbage that most people publish.

So don’t be afraid to use tons of examples in every post.

For example:

I included 19 examples in my new SEO checklist post:

H2 and H3 Subheaders

Subheaders break up your content into chunks:

(Which makes your content MUCH easier to read)

In fact:

My SEO checklist post has over 9 subheaders:

Short Sentences. Short Paragraphs.

Here’s how to make your content 10x easier to read:

Short sentences. Short paragraphs.

That’s why I write short sentences:

And use 1-2 sentence paragraphs:

Which is a big part of why my post’s average time on page is 5:53.

Over To You

Now I’d like to hear from you:

What do you think of this SEO case study?


Maybe you have a question about The Skyscraper Technique 2.0.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.


  1. Deep Avatar Deepsays:

    First 🙂 Just
    Wanna Say That Brian You Rock 🔥
    And Happy Halloween Everyone 🎃

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Deep 👍👍👍

      1. Brian i just wanna ask you is that how you create custom pages like Backlinks: The definative guide 2018 post on your blog….Are there any template you use to hire the freelancers to do this work for you ..?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Deep, those guides are all custom designed and coded.

      1. Brian, I have a small request for you why don’t you write about social media traffic generation.?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          I’m not a big social media guy

  2. nooooo I didn’t think you could outdo your infamous skyscraper technique but you did!!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Austin. I’m not sure I outdid Skyscraper 1.0. But it’s really working well for me right now.

  3. Nic Avatar Nicsays:

    Excellent post for sustainable results.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Nic. That’s true: my rankings have been super stable on my SEO checklist post since I gave it the Skyscraper 2.0 treatment.

  4. Fantistic Brian, can’t wait to read this article! Thanks again for taking time to put such valuable content together for us!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Darshana

    1. I can only agree with that. Thanks Brian a lot! Great Posts each time. Have learned so much yet.

      Keep it up

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Cheers Calin. The original Skyscraper still works well. But SEO has changed a lot since 2013 (when I first wrote bout The Skyscraper Technique). So it’s good to have a new strategy to use in 2018 and beyond.

  5. Farooq Avatar Farooqsays:

    you have just nailed it.
    This article is like never ending with awesome content.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks 👍👍👍

  6. Very interesting Brian. I’m still fascinated by how Google *thinks* it can truly determine user intent. The act of someone coming to a page, quickly skimming or reading it, and then leaving without interacting at all (no sharing, commenting, submitting a form, etc) and certainly without filling out a survey (who the hell has time for surveys!?) does NOT mean that the reader or user was not happy with the result they found. Nevertheless, I guess it’s the best way to guess whether a reader or user was satisfied with what they found.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Michael.

      I agree with you. Google has called those signals “messy”. But they can be pretty conclusive in some cases. For example, if someone visits a page and heads back to the search results and clicks on something else… that is a signal that the first result didn’t satisfy user intent.

      (The book “In The Plex” quotes Google employees saying that they use this specific situation in the algorithm)

  7. Fantastic and thorough post as always Brian, thanks for the advice.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Keith. I try to bring it with every post!

  8. Hi Brian,

    Just saw this in my email haha! I knew its gonna be a bomb..

    Awesome new strategy plus great results right here.

    I would sure apply the techniques and see how it works….

    Google are paying great attention to UX.

    Great post once again and have a nice day.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Noah. I agree: UX signals are becoming more and more important. Let me know how it goes.

  9. Thanks Brian , it is great technique and it is time for us to upgrade!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      No problem, Raymond. It’s 2.0 time!

  10. Thanks, Brian for Sharing…. as usual good stuff.

    Have been using your tips to improve seo on my website.

    Happy Halloween

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Kanuj

  11. As usual, I am impressed with the quality of your content. Thank you Brian for articles like these, as they really help us implement the techniques on our websites! Good luck with your blog.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Daniel. Happy to help.

  12. Skyscraper 2.0 looks like an SEO CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) play.

    Makes sense- a lot of the technical SEOs I follow speculated that the recent Google algorithm updates (8/1 and 9/27) specifically related to user-intent/user-engagement, on-page factors.

    Awesome guide- so Skyscraper 1 is off-page and now Skyscraper 2 is on-page. A good duality.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ryan. That’s true: content that matches user intent is also going to help your conversions.

      And yes, user interaction signals are HUGE right now. They’re too helpful for Google to ignore.

  13. Well done, Brian! Ignoring user intent was a huge mistake I made with the first posts I published on my new authority site. I recognized that a week ago and now you confirmed with this article that I was getting on the right track. Thanks mate!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Viktor. You’re definitely on the right track

  14. Amazing content as always Brian! It is a simple thing if you think about, but as you have shown it can have a massive impact on your numbers. I especially agree on short, easy to read paragraphs, it makes such a difference in bounce rate.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Otto. For sure: readability is one of the most underrated skills in SEO and content marketing. If people can’t read your stuff, it’s not going to do well. Period.

  15. Bro I really dig your work. I have been telling people about “What Is” content (content with an informational bias as opposed to transaction oriented bias) mapping to user intent on highly competitive keywords for a while now, and you hit the nail on the head as usual. Well done.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks man. You’re 1000% right about that.

  16. Brian, it`s f$$#g useful stuff as usual. [went to analyze all my pages…]

    God, bless you.
    and 100000… thank`s.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Artem

      1. Same here. Now I see serps differently. Just this one article made me capable of finding user intent at an advanced level.

        Brian’s topic updates are epic and shouldnt be missed

  17. Stephen Avatar Stephensays:

    So as I understand, Skyscraper 2.0 is more of a part B, not necessarily a replacement?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Yes, that’s right Stephen. Both still work well. In fact, I now use both whenever I publish a new post.

  18. Epic post as always, love your blog! It sounds like Google is doing what it should do and that’s giving users what they want and removing sites that are gaming the system.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Seb! Absolutely: this is the direction Google is going. Whoever delivers the legit BEST result is going to win. And a big part of being “best” is matching user intent better than anyone else.

  19. Hey Brian,
    I face the same kind of problem. 3-4 month ago my website ranking was in a good position but right now I got lots of downranking. I like the way you describe Skyscraper Technique 2.0 and hope will be back with a good result.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I hope it helps, Ahsan. It’s not a magic bullet, but I’ve seen the Skyscraper Technique 2.0 consistent improve my site’s rankings for some tough keywords.

  20. Thanks Brian , it is great technique and it is time for us to upgrade!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Sufyan

  21. Amazing stuff Brian, it’s really indepth analysis and optimization stuff. Definitely it will help to get better rankings in search results.

    Keep sharing such wonderful guides.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you liked the new post, Asim

  22. This technique definitely works! I did a case study on Moz earlier in the year with a similar strategy. Across roughly 20 blogs we have gone to page one in most instances, and they stay there.

    Overall organic traffic is up 145%.

    Well explained.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Jeff, Nice! Excellent case study.

  23. Now I figured out why my site is hit with google update. I don’t focus on user intent. I just focus alone on 5000-6000 words post. But thanks Brain for this post. You really is a genius.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Sachin.

  24. Anant Avatar Anantsays:

    Awesome Strategy Brian !!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Anant. 👍👍👍

  25. Hey Brian Great Information. My websites one post was losing visitors last month. My post was taken down from page1 to page2 by google. At that time I really got confused. Then I figured out that my article was not matching user intent query. My article talks about some different topic that a user doesn’t want to read. My bounce rate was high.

    Then I optimize my post for user intent by figuring out other websites.
    Now that post ranks in Top 5 Page of Google. But I want a no1 position and I know how to do that after reading your article. Your post covers all the factors needed for matching user intent. I will definitely give it a shot.

    Jatin Thakur

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Awesome Jatin! Let me know how it goes. 👍👍👍

  26. Hi Brian,

    Great article as always! Are you planning to write more about user intent?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks! I tried to cover user intent pretty thoroughly in this post. Is there something I missed?

  27. This is great detail valuable information. I will certainly follow these steps to launch something in the future.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds good, Jitender

  28. Great post as always. Skyscraper techniques are great but getting backlinks in 2018 is getting really tough. Could a site rank in the first page just by using good content without backlinks?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Maher. You still definitely need links. Links are still super important.

  29. Fantastic as usual! Backlinko is a diamond among dirt and will be my top go-to resource for current SEO trends as long as you’re cranking out the knowledge! Thanks Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Jason. I’ll keep cranking it out as long as people keep reading 🙂

  30. Rodrigo Martinez Avatar Rodrigo Martinezsays:

    Reverse engineering eats all.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Pretty much, yeah.

  31. Checklisty! You, sir, are a wordsmith.

    Great read as always!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      HA! Glad you enjoyed the post, Gregory.

  32. Marc Avatar Marcsays:

    That fantastic, crazy Canadian genius Marshall McLuhan said “the medium is the message” and I love how you consistently, methodically break down what that means for online search.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Marc!

  33. Yes! This concurs with my experience. I have more authority backlinks, better content but still I get outranked on some keywords. For me it also seems like Google has made a huge shift in the last months toward more user intent and user behaviour.

    I am thinking about maybe adding a small non intrusive form on specific pages to ask what visitors are looking for on that specific page.

    Also what metric do you think is best to a/b test for? Bounce rate, avg time or amount of visited pages? I would think avg time on page.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Koen, I haven’t tested a lot of interactive stuff (besides videos), but a form could help. Either way, I’d definitely study the first page and see what the user intent is for that particular term. To answer your question: I focus on avg time on page.

  34. Great stuff, Brian. Backlinks definitely help improve rankings, but only if the content matches the searcher intent. I’ve had some of my content rank well with few or zero backlinks by keeping the content as my main focus. Although recently, backlinks seem to be used as a trust signal more heavily since the medic update. What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks for writing this. I’ll definitely be referring to it again in the future!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Nick. Glad you enjoyed it.

      To answer your question: I’m still making sense of exactly what Google was doing with the Medic update. There’s no doubt in my mind that trust was a big part of it. But it’s hard to see if it’s links based or based on other on-site trust signals.

  35. Another awesome article!! i will start to testing some of these examples.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds good. Let me know how it goes, Milad.

  36. In our industry, there are usually two groups of opposing searchers landing on our pages. Landlords and Tenants.

    This means intent is very different for the person landing on the page and I try and appeal to both people in the intro copy.

    Especially because there are 10 tenants for every 1 landlord.

    Our product is geared towards landlords but if the copy appeals to landlords AND tenants it will improve our position over time meaning more landlords will see it.

    It’s a rising tide raises all boats type of situation.

    It’s good to think about who else might be landing on the page and not just your target demographic.

    When we refresh content we keep this in mind now.

    Great article Brian… thanks for sharing.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds good, Eric. In that situation I think what you’re doing is smart: trying to appeal to both groups as much as you can. You’re 100% on the right track already.

      1. Eric Avatar Ericsays:

        Good to know Brian. Your content is super helpful for staying on track. The CTR case studies On the GSC guide are great.

        After reading that guide I realized how many tenants were landing on our content and started speaking Moreno to both sides. Thanks!

  37. Awesome post. Focusing on UX is very important nowadays which many people don’t do.

    Thanks for sharing these tips. 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome. I honestly can’t blame them. In the old days of SEO, UX didn’t make much of a difference. But today it’s HUGE

  38. Thank you Brian.
    I loved the Post, Simply Amazing.
    I want to apply the tips now and validate the results!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds good, Fernando. Keep me posted on how things go.

  39. Utpal Shuvro Avatar Utpal Shuvrosays:

    Thanks, Boss!
    No doubt about your strategy and
    all of the techniques.

    Very soon I’ll apply this.

    Have a good day.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Utpal

  40. You’re such an inspiration, thanks for the great work, Brian! Btw, I just finished SEO that Works: I LOVED it! Keep up the great work, buddy!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ivan. I really appreciate that. And congrats! 👍👍👍

  41. Vytas Avatar Vytassays:

    Hey Brian,

    As always an awesome and comprehensive guide. I was always wondering which plugin do you use for table of contents?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Vytas. We actually set those up manually using jump links.

  42. That is a fascinating post and really well explained.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Cheers Steve. Glad you liked today’s post

  43. Gordon Avatar Gordonsays:

    Excellent post as ever, super easy to follow and as always, actionable tips. Thanks Brian

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Gordon. I HATE “high-level” SEO content. SO I try to keep everything super actionable.

  44. Thanks a lot, Brain Dean, I really love reading your blogs, and when I implement this skyscraper technique it improves my blog ranking to 120%.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Michael. I hope Skyscraper Technique 2.0 also helps you get more organic traffic

  45. Razu Ahammed Avatar Razu Ahammedsays:

    I was waiting for your new research. The new skyscaper technique is really amazing. “Step 2: User Intent” is more important for 2018 SEO. I will use the technique. Thanks for coming with the new once.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Razu

  46. Cris Avatar Crissays:

    This post is great but I feel you can’t make trademark on this technique.

    It is usually obvious to most SEOs and isn’t revolutionary like first Skyscraper technique. I am not saying it bad, it is good but I still think that it isn’t mind blowing like you previously did with post. Sorry if I criticize but I just want to say what I feel.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      All good, Cris. Thanks for your feedback.

  47. Hey Brian,
    I really like all of your blogs and YouTube videos. I watched them over 20 times so far. It really helped me understand SEO in general and also in depth. I appreciate you sharing what you’ve researched! I get super excited whenever I see your email because I just know that I will learn from you. I am waiting to see your upcoming YouTube videos as well!

    Thanks again for sharing this awesome content.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Sandy. I actually do have a few videos in the works. See you on YouTube!

      1. AWESOME! I’m so excited to see your upcoming videos!
        I know you are really busy, but as I was working on growing my channel, I have one question for you.

        You know how Instagram only allows up to approximately 30 tags?
        I was wondering how many tags we can use for YouTube. I want to get discovered my many people out there and was using the same technique as you taught, which is using the exact same tag as competitors, but it didn’t help me to discover on “related video”

        Also, vidiq suggests having at least 400 tag characters.

        I know you are busy but I wanted to hear from your opinion since you are the SEO king! haha

        Thanks Brian.

  48. sah Avatar sahsays:


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      No problem

  49. This is really interesting. It seems like long-form content (skyscraper 1.0) is not enough. We need to optimize even more to get better results !

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      In my experience, Skyscraper 1.0 is usually enough. But not always. For times when 1.0 isn’t enough, 2.0 comes in handy

  50. Great post Brain!
    How would you do this for a local client?
    Let’s say in the “Auto Repair Space”
    Would you simple look at the competitors “minus” the directory sites (i.e.- yelp, yellow pages, etc.) and copy what they’re doing.
    By copying I mean, if they have a services page – create a service page, if they have a product page – create a product page?
    Could you explain how you would do this..
    Thanks for another great post, Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Good question, Justin. It actually depends a lot on the specific keyword. For someone searching for “Auto repair [city]” I’d look at the SERPs to see what’s ranking. And base your content based on the user intent you find. Does that make sense?

  51. You’re the only SEO researcher that makes me read your articles until the last word :), thanks Brian for skyscraper technique 2.0

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Usama. I appreciate that

  52. I just created the site TikiFreek and need to figure out the best way to create blog posts to get people excited to go to my page instead of Amazon. Any ideas?

  53. What is the tool that you use for generating the heatmaps?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:


  54. Hey Brian!

    Love your stuff! Another amazing post. With all your great skyscraper content (lots of screenshot and images) what do you personally to balance pagespeed with so many images? Do you ever find it difficult?

    Thanks again for all the great content

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Alex. I appreciate that.

      To answer your question, I use Kraken to compress and optimize images for speed. All those images definitely slow things down. But it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

  55. Amazing piece of content, per usual Brian!

    I’m looking forward to experimenting with Skyscraper 2.0 on a new piece of content for a client in a niche with a lot of opportunities. (Aka most content in the industry looks like the Gate N Fences page.)

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Lauren. In that case your content should shoot to the top of the results. Please keep me posted on how it goes.

  56. Daniel Avatar Danielsays:

    Im relatively new to your blog and already went through Skyscraper 1.0 …now this. I’m confident now I’m turning your space into my go-to blog. Thanks a million Brian for all the valuable insights.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Daniel. And best of luck with the new blog.

  57. This is an eyeopener for me, this makes allot of sense as to why some competitive sites to mine are ranking higher then me with less backlinks. Very interesting, allot to learn and implement!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I had the exact same reaction with my SEO checklist post. Tweaking it for user intent made a massive difference.

  58. Interesting case study. Thanks for stressing out that we should focus on user intent more otherwise we get lost in the crowd.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Lorraine.

  59. Steve Avatar Stevesays:

    Brian, your content stands out from the rest because it’s so in depth and you don’t hold back the best for something you’ll make money off of. Also, it doesn’t hurt that you’re just plain smarter than most of the other SEO folks! Thanks for being there.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Steve, you’re welcome, thanks for your kind words.

  60. VB Patil Avatar VB Patilsays:

    I’m fan of your blog.
    Was informative.
    Do this strategy works for ecommerce.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks VB. Definitely. If someone wants to learn more about a product, and you give that to them, it can only help you.

  61. Hey Brian,

    This was an awesome read, thanks for posting.

    I’m in a niche where every single post I write is essentially skyscraper content. Not only because I want the best content out there but also because my competitors make producing it really easy (most content in my niche sucks!)

    I always try to analyse user intent before I even put finger to keyboard but I’m going to go through my site over the next week to spot any issues I might have missed.

    Awesome work as normal!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Ben. It sounds like you’re already on the right track by at least paying some attention to user intent. So you should continue to beat the crap out of your competitors 🙂

  62. Brian, excellent article from you as usual, and it’s awesome that Skyscraper technique 2.0 is not about link building, but about User Intent and it’s an On-Page technique 🙂

    Thanks for great content,

    Burim 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Burim. I try to do Skyscraper 1.0 and 2.0 for everything I publish because those links still do make a big difference.

  63. I haven’t worked on SEO in years…it just got too confusing and I wasn’t getting anywhere. User intent brought me to your site recently. Seeing your step-by-step guides on how to generate more organic traffic has given me new life. I actually look forward to working on my site’s content and backend functions. Thank you!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Brent. Now it an awesome and exciting time to get into the SEO game. It’s all about publishing and promoting amazing stuff.

  64. Hariom Kale Avatar Hariom Kalesays:

    Keep up the good work! <3

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Hariom

  65. Great content, but what’s really awesome is that you beat Google ON GOOGLE!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      LOL! They’re still pretty good at SEO though 🙂

  66. This is fantastic content…love how you explain it. I am in a very competitive local keyword phrase situation and I’m always looking for the edge that will help me outrank national brands and very competitive local sites.

    My question is can I just rework my existing page/post or do I need to make a completely new post and then do a redirect from the old content post? The issue is that the post title was optimized for the keyword phrase so I would like to keep that title (url) with the new content / layout design.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Yates, I prefer to rework the page that’s already ranking. Usually those pages have some other signals (like links) and just need some user intent love to rank. But it’s ultimately your call.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I have been told not to in the past, but I figured you might have some actual experience on the topic.

  67. This is awesome. Looks better that 1.0, Surely I’m gonna try it and see the results.
    Thanks Brian

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds good, Moses. Keep me posted on how things go.

  68. Another helpful and insightful post to help me get my recipes to the first page of google! I used your techniques before and it got my Beef Brisket Chilli recipe on the first page (check it out if you have time). Keep the good content coming.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Awesome results George. And I need to try that recipe. Looks amazing!

  69. OOO… once again really amazing case study brain.
    You know by your skyscraper technique 1.0 my article get 1st page of Google…
    Your amazing.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Bishnu. And congrats!

  70. Rafa Valdivia Avatar Rafa Valdiviasays:

    Holy smokes that was so good info, SEO 101 – Season 2018. Thanks Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Rafa. Skyscraper 2.0 has helped our organic traffic go up A LOT this year. And considering it’s giving Google what it wants, I’m expecting it work even better in 2019.

  71. ElizMead Avatar ElizMeadsays:

    Another “University of Brian” winning post. Working towards my SEO Masters degree. Making up for lost time, so lots of ground to cover. Wish I could upload flash drive of all your posts to my brain…..

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Eliz

  72. Hamz Avatar Hamzsays:

    Brian, a keyword I want to target has 2 posts with DA29 ranking on page 1. It also has a couple of quora questions and Amazon pages.

    Do you think it’s worth going for it? And what’s your opinion on targeting keywords that have multiple amazon pages on page 1?


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hamz it’s hard to say without know all the variables. But based on what you’ve said here that keyword sounds pretty low competition. Outranking Amazon is tough but doable.

  73. Well this post is sexy, bro!

    I totally agree with everything here!

    I’ve increased a couple sites recently by 55-80% in traffic. This stuff works. 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:


  74. This is gold, Brian! Search intent and UX are more important than ever now.

    p.s. Best thing about this is probably how well you explain stuff.

    I noticed you’re using even fewer paragraphs than usual, which makes it read almost like a chat, very personal.

    it’s like I’m chatting with you XD

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Alan. Yup, I’ve tested using 1 sentence per paragraph and it seems like it’s easier to read. Glad you agree!

  75. Brian, how to delay a user if his intent is not comletely understood?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I’m not sure what you mean, Alex.

  76. Hi Brian,

    I found this too. You try and place a keyword into the wrong type of power page and it gets no results, as the user is actually searching for a different type of result. I did this with a keyword and couldn’t even get on page 2, then using the same keyword, looked for what people are typing it in for, through checking search results, completely restructured it and now it ranks number 3 on page 1. I’ve also found better than comments on posts is actions on posts e.g. download this or subscribe here, shows Google great user engagement. In fact we noticed on one post that ranks number one that dwell time was lower than on our average posts, but because our CTA was right towards the top to download a template our ranking was still number one. Just shows user engagement and maximising that is paramount in modern SEO. Thanks for the great read and looking forward to the updated backlink course.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for sharing, Luke. I kind of always knew that my SEO checklist post wasn’t the best match for “SEO checklist”. And for a while, the other signals (like backlinks) helped prop it up. But ultimately, like with your page, it just wasn’t a great fit. It was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. But once I matched my content to user intent, everything went up in a big way.

  77. Wow! This is really amazing! I will use this technique on my Polish blog and I’m sure to see the results before the end of this year 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Rafal. Happy to help.

  78. This is awesome man! I’ve been following you for a while and I have to say, your content’s always perfectly timed. I’m impressed with your ability to find trends as they’re emerging but before they’ve fully broken through – and then create outstanding content that secures your spot on page one when they do blow up. Great advice and I’ll definitely be going over older posts optimizing for intent.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Brad! I appreciate that. Please keep me posted on how optimizing old posts works out for you. I’ve done this for like 6-7 posts here at Backlinko over the last year and the results have been consistently INSANE

  79. Parth Suba Avatar Parth Subasays:

    What an awesome post with lot of real world examples to prove things. This post is justifies each and every statement you say in each section. You nailed it

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Parth. I always try to cite real world results in every single post.

  80. Anthony Avatar Anthonysays:

    Hi Brian, the user intent is the future of seo. Google will further progress in this direction. I made a video about it

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Anthony, I wish I spoke French dude. Seems like a solid video.

      1. Anish Kuriakose Avatar Anish Kuriakosesays:

        LOL 😀

  81. Great content! Thank a lot for sharing! You are the Boss.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Tomasz. Happy to help.

  82. I have been following the your skyscrapper 1.0 to make new backlinks from past 2 months. The result was very good. Now, you have posted skyscrapper 2.0, I hope to will help me to retain my position in google.

    Thank You Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I hope so too. Let me know how things go.

  83. Manish Ransubhe Avatar Manish Ransubhesays:

    Hi Brian,

    Loving this Skyscraper Technique 2.0, I have Some Doubt to rank top result, Google gives more important to backlinks or for user Intent.

    Thank for sharing this technique with us, I am going to try on my old blog posts.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Happy to help

  84. Fantastic technique. It is a great update.

    I have built a lot of high authority backlinks by using your skyscraper 1.0 technique.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Vishal

  85. Brian,

    With Google increasingly using RankBrain metrics, do you think the long-term need for links on a page will decrease? Not that links over the long-term will decrease, but rather a page will likely rank faster with links, but overall, content will be the primary factor for Google’s ranking of a page over the lifespan of the page?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Scott, good question. My take is that links are still a valuable ranking factor for Google. They let Google know if a site’s content is trustworthy and valuable (for example, you could have a site with amazing UX signals…. but the info is 100% made up). So I think there’s a place for both in Google’s algorithm for many many years.

  86. Skyscraper 2.0 is to satisfy the user intent and to make Google happy. Brian, do you have any suggestions for beginner SEO on how to understand user intent while working on SEO campaign.

      1. thank you Brian.

  87. Thanks for sharing another amazing article with us, Brian! Hope to see more good stuff from you in future.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome. More good stuff on the way!

  88. Thanks Brian, excellent article again. Greetings from Turkiye.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Fevzi. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  89. Azzam Sheikh Avatar Azzam Sheikhsays:

    The golden goose that keeps giving. You’re an (inter)national treasure, Brian. A new door opens every time I read one of your posts

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Azzam. I appreciate that!

  90. When you stop and think, it makes perfect sense:
    “Google’s #1 goal is to make users happy.
    Which means they need to give people results that match their User Intent.”

    Thanks for sharing your new technique and results, Brian.
    – David

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, David. It does make sense but it slipped past me until I had that experience with my SEO checklist post.

  91. Brian… awesome content!! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Gary. Glad you liked it.

  92. kamelia Avatar kameliasays:

    I absolutely love your content, Thank you so much!
    I was wondering if when you updated your skyscraper technique, you updated your old blog post or made a whole new post.
    Is it bad for SEO to update old posts and repost them? How much of your old content can you reuse without getting penalized?
    For example, If you create a blog post before you amass a following can you update it and repost it after having gathered readers?
    Thank you again for your amazing content.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Kamelia, in the case of my SEO checklist post, I updated the existing post. The update was significant so there’s nothing shady to worry about in terms of a Google penalty.

  93. Adrian Avatar Adriansays:

    interpreting user intent for a keyword using the search results on first page can mislead you. I have noticed this while I’m ranking my affiliate website. Everytime when I do my keyword competition research I notice only (most of the time) ecommerce websites ranking on first page and most of the time I outrank them with my well researched list of products.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Great example, Adrian.

  94. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for sharing Skyscraper Technique 2.0, it will sure help me to rank on google. My site authority is very low but it ranks higher from the competitor who has a high domain authority than mine.
    So building quality backlinks and guest posting on other blogs still help my site to rank higher or I just have to concentrate on the quality of the post.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Hemant, it’s important to build backlinks and satisfy user intent. In today’s world of SEO you need both.

  95. Thanks, Brian for Sharing…. great as usual, thanks.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Gary. Happy to help.

  96. Hi Brian, thanks for sharing! Will try it! What is your thought about this situation:

    – you have commercial keyword to rank (for example: slow juicers) on your blog (my position is 22)
    – top 10 results are only e-shops. Not too much description, mainly juicer prices

    On my blog there is very long post (7.000 words) comparing different juicer types with only few mention of product prices.

    Should I add more price examples to be in line with e-shops or use different strategy?


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thomas, I’d strongly consider that approach. Or you could optimize around a different keyword (like “best slow juicers”) that’s less transactional and more commercial.

      1. Hi Brian, I couldn’t understand what you mean by less transactional and more commercial? And how can that be helpful in generating revenue? Can you please explain in detail

  97. Hi Brian,
    many thanks for this geniune article. I have some questions. I’m a little confuse.
    So, We should start with which technique? the original or the second? It seems like the second technique is more than On page SEO and It should normally be always applied when you publish an article.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Helena. Ideally you’d do both. It’s important to think about links and user intent as you plan and write your content.

  98. Hansen Avatar Hansensays:

    Hi Brian.

    Thanks, great stuff as always. And so beautifully presented. You are genuinely helpful, and if this approach helps yourself in the end, then there is some justice in this universe. 🙂

    Two questions:

    1. To what extent do your tips and techniques apply to much smaller languages (like 5 million reading in Danish)? Should we aim broader – and rank faster?

    2. On launching an affiliate review site, there seems to be a contradiction between short and clear recommendations (lists etc) and the demand for long form content in order to rank. Any ideas on how to tackle this dilemma?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Jansen. To answer your questions:

      1. The same techniques apply. I have tons of Danish readers that have used these strategies and had success. Of course, you might need to tweak things a bit.
      2. I’d look at the SERPs. They’ll tell you what searchers for that keyword want to see.

  99. Thank you Brian, just thank you for all the teaching you pass on to us!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Natanael.

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