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Skyscraper Content: What It Is and Why Would You Care?

Skyscraper Content: What It Is and Why Would You Care?


Have you heard of skyscraper content?

It’s actually an SEO technique that’s been around for some time and there’s only three steps to it:

  1. Seek out high performing content
  2. Create even better content than that
  3. Try get tons of people to link to your stellar content

How easy does that sound? And it really is. This technique has great results.

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But if you are not an SEO expert, what can you do with this skyscraper technique? Well, the good news is you don’t even need to be SEO expert. This technique can work for anyone and everyone who wants to improve their content marketing.

How The Skyscraper Technique Improves Content Marketing

The idea behind this technique is that it lets you see all the “Top content” for a given keyword or even a topic idea. With the help of a few tools you will know exactly which posts are enjoying the most shares, what topics are being covered and the quality of the popular content.

Using this technique, you will come out with some top quality skyscraper content ideas and you can target that content to exactly what your audience wants. You’ll also gain insight into where the content quality is at. So by rights, you should be able to improve on that content.

Now, Let’s Argue Against This Technique

We think there is a downside to skyscraper content. Don’t get us wrong, it can work, if used properly. But the crux of the issue with so many content marketers and blogs trying to outdo one another is that they seem to think this kind of content is more about length and not value.

This could well be a misunderstanding. So many writers and marketers are using the number of written words to measure value, something a lot of people also believe Google has been doing. There’s certainly a bit of truth in this. It can be tough delivering loads of value in a 500-word post, but it’s not impossible.

Overall, writing 1,000 – 2,000 words gives writers the ability to write with far more depth and give their skyscraper content authority.

However, the skyscraper technique isn’t just about longer posts to try and outrank your competitors in Google. It ignores your strengths and just focuses on easy-to-copy writing in pretty much any subject.

Sometimes Skyscraper Content Forgets an Important Piece of the Puzzle

Here’s something to ponder: creating skyscraper content ignores true value and that in turn can result in a poor reader experience.

For starters, it is content that is written more for the search engines and not for human readers. It leads to writers padding posts with valueless introductions and stuffing the content with keywords.

How often have you read a post of 1,000+ words and about half of the way through you’ve not even gotten to the point? The content creators were too focused on the length of the piece and making it way too comprehensive at the expense of the reader’s sanity.

Here’s another side-effect of skyscraper content – writers focusing on length will not concentrate on what not to include. Actively choosing to exclude fluff is a service to your reader. Sadly, the folks creating lengthy skyscraper content tend to add just about everything they’ve come across in an effort to outdo competitors.

One more gripe: if you look at a blog as whole, one that is exclusively skyscraper content, it just becomes unapproachable.

Examples of Great Content

Take BuzzFeed. They balance out their listicle formats with insightful long-form content. The Content Marketing Institute offers its followers a great mix of how-to articles, podcasts, opinion and guest posts. Then there is the Guardian that offers a long read but balances it out with commentary, photography and news.

To Skyscraper Your Content or Not?

Not every single piece of content is going to rank tops on Google. But that’s actually okay. Chances are, those top ranking sites, as a whole, aren’t creating compelling reader experiences. This is a very important subtlety that is lost to those content marketers who blindly follow a single tactic such as skyscraper content.

Don’t fall into the regurgitation trap! Talk to Iris Content about your unique content needs.



Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.


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