Do you know what I hate?
I hate doing a ton of work for nothing.
The irony is that starting and growing a niche blog regardless of your chosen niche, often requires doing more stuff that fails than what works. That means I’ve done a lot work that were total failures.
Why do I keep plodding along?
I keep going with niche sites because I love it. It’s also very lucrative.
The key is understanding that you only need a few things to work well to earn a decent living. In many cases, one successful site can provide a living.
Table of Contents
Related: I use Ezoic to monetize my skyscraper articles (see super in-depth Ezoic review here).
What does failure have to do with Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique?
It’s very relevant because executing the skyscraper technique is a lot of work, which means it needs to be fairly successful to be worth it.
I’ve been a long-time Backlinko (Brian’s blog) reader. I like his style. He’s come up with some novel ideas when it comes to organic search traffic.
When he published his popular skyscraper technique blog post, I read it and thought to myself “wow, that’s a lot of work.”
Yet, I decided to to deploy it on one of my niche sites.
I immediately liked the concept (despite it being a lot of work) because fundamentally it’s publishing content that’s better than the best on a particular topic on the web. In other words, it’s simple (but not easy).
It’s not difficult to improve upon many topics published on the web. Even in my main niche where there are some really big players, their work can often be improved upon.
Did the Skyscraper Technique (ST) work for me?
It sure did. I’ve deployed it many times. I have more (a lot more) in the works.
This Skyscraper technique review is in the form of a case study that covers 2 blog posts I’ve published and 1 blog post I’m in the process of publishing using the ST.
Let’s get started.
Skyscraper Technique Blog Post #1
- Date published: April 29, 2014
- Type of content: List style post (with many images and videos).
- Number of items in the list: 17 (most comprehensive coverage of the topic on the Web)
- Word count: 1,572 / Images: 10 / Videos: 11 (videos are embedded from YouTube)
- Time to create: 9 hours
- Monthly search volume for targeted keywords (3 targeted keywords – included): 4,800
- Google SERP ranking for highest search volume keyword: 3 (page 1)
- Organic search traffic volume last 30 days (November 29 to December 28): 10,294 sessions.
- Total revenue since published: $2,524.00 (more than $600 generated over the last 30 days since adding affiliate offers. Also, traffic has really taken off for this post in the last 2 months).
- Monetization: 2 affiliate offers, Adsense, Media.net and Amazon CPM Ads. FYI, I only added the affiliate offers during the last 30 days (was waiting to be approved).
Screenshot of Blog Post #1
Traffic Last 30 Days for ONE blog post using the Skyscraper Technique
Skyscraper Technique Blog Post #2
- Date published: August 1, 2014
- Type of content: List style post
- Number of items in the list: 107 (I continue adding to it. It was a list of 100 when published). It’s the most comprehensive coverage on the topic on the Web.
- Word count: 4,260 (1 image, no videos)
- Time to create: 10 hours
- Monthly search volume for targeted keyword: 1,300
- Google SERP ranking for targeted keyword: 4 (page 1)
- Organic search traffic volume last 30 days (November 29 to December 28): 1,497 sessions.
- Total revenue since published: $291 (over 1/2 of that was earned in the last 30 days, which is a great sign for growing revenue)
- Monetization: Affiliate promotions, display ads (Adsense, Media.net ads and Amazon CPM ads).
Screenshot of Blog Post #1
Traffic Last 30 Days for ONE blog post using the Skyscraper Technique
Skyscraper Technique Blog Post #3
The third blog post I’m covering is a work in progress.
I’ve hired a freelancer familiar with the Brian’s ST who is writing a 7,500 word article targeting moderately competitive keywords. He will then do email outreach for links. I will update this case study as this third blog post progresses. To date the topic has been decided upon.
- Estimated cost for this one piece of content: 5 (includes images, referencing, formatting and email outreach). It’s a reasonable cost for a 7,500 word piece of content.
- Date published: It’s a work in progress.
- Type of content: List item in the form of tips and ideas.
- Number of items in the list: to be determined (TBD)
- Word count: TBD
- Monthly search volume for targeted keywords (2 targeted keywords): 4,800
- Google SERP ranking: N/A
- Traffic volume last 30 days (November 29 to December 28): N/A
- Revenue last 30 days from organic search traffic (November 29 to December 28): N/A
- Total revenue since published: N/A
- Monetization method: Display ads.
Stay tuned for updates, especially for blog post #3.
10 Recommendations when using the Skyscraper Technique:
1. Read Brian Dean’s blog post on the subject carefully.
2. Choose list style resource articles that can be improved upon simply by adding more items to the list. The fact is many lists online are outdated and incomplete. Be sure to give proper attribution.
3. Don’t be greedy. While this method works, don’t go for the most competitive keywords unless you have a killer backlinking plan and a lot of time. I much prefer going for lower competition and getting revenue rolling in fast.
4. Link to your ST content from related pages and posts on your site.
5. Promote your content across social media channels.
6. Spark the traffic flow with your email newsletter and social media. I did this (I link to the content from my email sequence which keeps steady traffic flowing every day). While I can’t prove it, I believe that traffic helps rankings. I also promote my ST content on the site (in the sidebar and below content). This too keeps traffic flowing to my best content.
7. Don’t be naive and publish garbage. If you want other website publishers to link to it and people to share it, make it an amazing piece of content. Yes, it’s a load of work (hence I now outsource this work).
8. Have a monetization plan in place. It’s a shame if you publish fantastic content only to generate no revenue from it.
9. The lion’s share of traffic is from long tail keywords. I don’t rank in the top spot for any targeted keywords, yet I’m attracting more traffic than the total search volume for all targeted keywords. This is a great bonus and reveals the power of the long tail.
10. Be patient. Organic traffic takes time. Avoid blackhat methods (unless you know what you’re doing).
What do I have planned?
I’m planning to publish many (dozens) of blog posts using the Skyscraper technique in 2015.
If each post generates $100 per month, 50 posts will earn $5,000 per month (over the last 30 days, my first 2 blog posts earned well in excess of $100 so $100 per month per post is not unrealistic at all). Most of it will be outsourced so there will be an up front cost, but the long term looks very, very good.
My first 2 efforts were an astonishing success (especially since I wrote the blog posts myself).
The third piece of content is riskier because of the 5 up front cost (but I don’t have to do the work).
I doubt the second piece of content profiled above will ever perform as well as my first piece, but it’s still doing well. If I could replicate the success of the first piece above, it wouldn’t take too many pieces of content to generate a comfortable living.
If you haven’t already, I suggest you give this method a shot.
Jon Dykstra is a six figure niche site creator with 10+ years of experience. His willingness to openly share his wins and losses in the email newsletter he publishes has made him a go-to source of guidance and motivation for many. His popular “Niche site profits” course has helped thousands follow his footsteps in creating simple niche sites that earn big.
10 thoughts on “Does Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique Work? 3 CASE STUDIES”
Howdy! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you could have right here on this post. I shall be coming again to your weblog for extra soon.
Thanks for the case study type post, Jon. Hugely informative and helpful.
BTW, your Niche Tycoon / Niche Sniper page isn’t opening. Showing 502 Bad Gatewat error. Please check the issue.
Glad you like the info. Thanks so much for the heads up about my link. I recently moved the sales pages and once in a while still find links not working. My bad.
Very nice article, i’m glad the Skyscraper Technique works. I want to try this strategy to boost my organic traffic!
I expect more articles about this subject!
How’d your third piece do? I created a piece mainly to get links in order to increase the overall authority of my site. Been an SEO too long and look at links as currency instead of money. This post was a good reminder to monetize.
Scalable, measurable, and repeatable process.
if you really earn five figure, why this blog?
Cause I like publishing this blog. It’s fun and I meet loads of people in the industry. I publish when I feel like it. But I hear ya… good question. I’d be suspect too.
This ST makes me hungry to get the link :D. Though I’m new here. But, I’ve started my first blog and getting an email from others to share the link. I did not know it’s Called ST.
So, Now, I know how to write the email 🙂
Thanks for your excellent article!
I’ve wasted a lot of time in the past trying to rank a website and got 0 results after more than a week of work.
Skyscraper seems a complex technique to put in practice, but if it’s providing the results I guess that’s going to make it worth it to try., thanks for sharing!
Really great technique. this post is very helpful for me. thanks