Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days

Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days

Here’s the brutal truth about link building:

There are WAY too many people in internet marketing today that think “great content” is enough.

They say, “if I publish great stuff, people will naturally link to me”.

If only it were that easy…

If you’re serious about generating high quality links, you need to be very systematic with how you create and promote your content.

Otherwise you’re taking the “cooked spaghetti approach”: throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall and hoping something sticks.

Well today I’m going to show you a technique that almost guarantees that you get high quality links from every piece of content that you publish.

Get More Traffic This Month: Get access to a free downloadable PDF checklist that will show you how to get higher rankings with The Skyscraper Technique.

Keep reading to learn how…

The Skyscraper Technique: (Content Marketing for Link Builders)

On April 18th I published  Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List.

After executing “The Skyscraper Technique“, the number of backlinks to that page shot up like a rocket:

Referring Domains Ahrefs

More importantly, organic search traffic to my entire site — not just that post — doubled in just 14 days:

organic traffic increase google analytics

As a nice bonus, that single post has driven more than 300,000 referral visitors to my site so far.

total traffic to a page

The best part?

You can do the same thing for your site…even if you don’t have a Fortune 500 marketing budget or connections with influential bloggers. 

The 3-Steps to Using “The Skyscraper Technique” To Get Quality Links and Targeted Traffic

There are 3 steps to The Skyscraper Technique.

And I go over all of them in this short-and-sweet video:

Like I mentioned in the video above, here are the 3-steps that make up The Skyscraper Technique:

Step 1: Find link-worthy content

Step 2: Make something even better

Step 3: Reach out to the right people

Here’s why this technique works so well (and what it has to do with a skyscraper):

Have you ever walked by a really tall building and said to yourself:

“Wow, that’s amazing! I wonder how big the 8th tallest building in the world is.”

Of course not.

It’s human nature to be attracted to the best.

And what you’re doing here is finding the tallest “skyscraper” in your space…and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.

All of a sudden YOU have the content that everyone wants to talk about (and link to).

Now: The Skyscraper Technique is just one of many strategies that I use to land first page Google rankings. I reveal the others in my premium business training course, SEO That Works.

Step #1: Find Proven Linkable Assets

A linkable asset is the foundation of any successful link-focused content marketing campaign (including this one).

I’m not sure who coined the phrase “Linkable Asset”, but it’s the perfect description of what you want to create: a high-value page that you can leverage for links over and over again.

Keep in mind that linkable asset is not “12 Things Spider Man Taught Me About Social Media Marketing” link bait nonsense.

It’s content so awesome, so incredible, and so useful that people can’t help but login to their WordPress dashboard and add a link to your site.

But how do you know if your linkable asset is going to be a huge success…or a total flop?

That’s easy: find content that’s already generated a ton of links.

Here’s how:


Now it’s time for step 2…

Step #2: Make Something Even Better

Your next step is to take what’s out there and blow it out of the water.

Here’s how you can take existing content to the next level:

Make It Longer

In some cases, publishing an article that’s simply longer or includes more items will do the trick.

If you find a link magnet with a title like “50 Healthy Snack Ideas”, publish a list of 150 (or even 500).

In my case,  I decided to list all 200 ranking factors…or die trying.

The first 50 were a breeze. 50-100 were really hard. 100-150 were really, really hard. And 150-200 were damn near impossible.

It took 10 gallons of coffee and 20 hours of sitting in front of my laptop (don’t worry, I took bathroom breaks)…

…but in the end, I had something that was clearly better than anything else out there.

More Up-To-Date

If you can take an out of date piece of content and spruce it up, you’ve got yourself a winner.

For example, most of the other ranking factor lists were sorely outdated and lacked important ranking factors, like social signals:

Outdated Content

If you find something with old information, create something that covers many of the same points…but update it with cutting-edge content.

Better Designed

Sometimes, a visually stunning piece of content can generate a lot more links and social shares than something similar on an ugly page.

Just check out Help Scout’s Customer Acquisition Strategies for Entrepreneurs:

Content Curation

This guide is a curated list of links to other internet marketing sites.

And the page has generated a lot of buzz because it’s beautifully designed.

For my guide, I added a nice banner at the top:

custom banner

More Thorough

Most lists posts are just a bland list of bullet points without any meaty content that people can actually use.

But if you add a bit of depth for each item on your list, you have yourself a list post that’s MUCH more valuable.

In my case I noticed that the other ranking factor lists lacked references and detail:

Low DetailSo I made sure each and every point on my list had a brief description (with a reference):

ranking factors post

Important Note: I recommend that you beat the existing content on every level: length, design, current information etc.

This will make it objectively clear that YOU have the better piece of content.

Which is really important when you start getting the word out…

Step #3: Reach Out to The Right People

Email outreach is the linchpin of the Skyscraper Technique.

It’s similar to straight up link begging, but with a VERY important twist.

Instead of emailing random people, you’re reaching out to site owners that have already linked out to similar content.

When you qualify prospects like this, you know that:

1. They run a site in your niche.

2. They’re interested in your topic.

3. They’ve already linked to an article on that topic.

Now it’s just a matter of giving them a friendly heads up about your clearly superior content.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Use to export all of the links pointing to your competitor’s content into a spreadsheet. Tools like Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer will also work.

ahrefs export

2. Weed out referring pages that don’t make sense to contact (forums, article directories etc.).  In my case, after cleaning up the list, I had 160 very solid prospects to reach out to.

3. I emailed all 160 of them using this template:

skyscraper technique outreach template

(I obviously personalized and tweaked this template for everyone I reached out to).

Even I was shocked at the overwhelmingly positive response:

Email Response

Out of 160 emails I landed 17 links: an 11% success rate.

Considering that these were cold emails that asked for a link in the first email, an 11% success rate is pretty amazing.

You may be thinking, “17 links, that’s it?”.

But remember it’s about quality, not quantity.

There were a lot of gems in that group of 17 links.

Besides, just look at the meteoric rise in organic traffic that those 17 links got me (in a very short time period, no less).

Obviously there were a few links to that page that came organically, but some of the best were from The Skyscraper Technique.

Now You Try It

I hope you can see the potential of The Skyscraper Technique for your site and your business.

Yes, it takes hard work to create something great.

But with this strategy you already know ahead of time that your hard work is going to pay off (unlike pumping out reams of content hoping that something goes viral).

Ready to get started?

Click the link below and enter your email to get access to the PDF Skyscraper Technique checklist.

Skyscraper Technique Checklist


  1. Hey Brian, Well put Man! What other tools you recommed other than topsy? I did some quick search on my niche and didn’t really find any existing quality articles . Link building is a broad niche so what do you suggest for other smaller niches where there is little scope of creating awesome contents? Especially if i am in a niche where I know very little about that niche 🙂

    1. Glad you liked it Anisul. If you can’t find anything in Topsy, you may want to search in Google for keywords in your niche. If that work you may want to broaden your niche a bit. For example, if you were in the carpeting niche you could look for articles in the home improvement, home decor, or DIY organization niches.

  2. You hit the nail right on the head, I don’t have a Fortune 500 marketing budget or connections but I do have time to work on your approach, thanks. Also have been looking over your Google’s 200 Ranking Factors looks good so far, but let me get to work on these links first.

  3. Hi Brian Dean, ( i am little weak in english language, so please dear with me) you have published a great stuff with case-study.. After ready your post, i feel that you are a perfect person to ask this question.. This question is related to link building method… i am doing seo for web development company and website has more than 2lac backlinks, majority of backlinks come from social bookmarking, article and press release submission.. in this recent penguin 2.0 update, i lost my ranking on majority of keywords.. Could you please tell me what strategy should i implement to recover my keywords?

    1. I’d start a fresh campaign that mixes in a bunch of powerful strategies, like Funnel Links, broken link building, infographics etc.

  4. I was there at QuickSprout and found you to get valuable helps for solving my link building doubts and my goodness that latest case study is solving one of my biggest doubt that why and how people would link to a quality content.

    1. Glad I could help you out, Robin. Contrary to what many SEOs say, people DO link to quality content: you just need to know who to ask and how to ask them.

  5. @brian, would like to make the list in german as well the infographic for all german speaking seo people. i will refer for your to your site… would that be okey for you?

  6. Hi Brian, great article. I did something similar some weeks ago, doing a top 25 of most expensive dimain names, as the lists out there were not updated. You gave me the idea to extend it to a top 50 and contact site owners. Thanks for the inspiration,

    1. Thanks, Christopher! Yup: 50 should do better than 25. In general, the longer the list the more links and shares it gets 🙂

      1. Totally agree, but have you ever thought about a way to automate all those emails?

        It takes a lot of time to send out 160+ emails, so I was wondering if you knew of a tool that could do it?


      1. New to the site, thanks for the article Brian… I need to set my priorities straight! Been doing this for a long time but never once had any form of decent traffic on any of my website.

  7. I love to read case-studies and this was awesome.. Everyone wants free backlinks and too much traffic on their blogs but most of the blogger are missing right approach to get it.

    Your study is superb and I am going to work on one infographics to get more out of it. 🙂

    1. You’re right: this is a great technique for link building. I’d love to hear how the strategy works out for you.

  8. This Is What I call “sweet Juice” That is so cool tricks 🙂

    Am gonna use this tricks into another level. 👿

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