How to Perform Skyscraper Research with SEMrush

In the digital marketing realm, we are always looking for new ways to build links to our content. Link building can be one of the most effective ways of gaining authority on your site, but I think we can all agree that link building is easier said than done.

Whitehat link building can be especially difficult.

Without paying for links, what incentive do site owners have to link to your content? Thankfully as the digital space continues to evolve, more and more marketers are sharing their tactics to build high-quality links that you don’t have to pay for.

This is where I’d like to introduce you to a link building strategy called the “Skyscraper technique.” Originally dubbed by Brian Dean from Backlinko, this is a strategy I consistently use to achieve effective results.

And marketers around the world have started using this technique.

“The Skyscraper technique has allowed me to jump 5 DA points in the span of just months, something that’s really hard to achieve using any other digital marketing tactic,” says Gaetan Gabor from Ivio Agency, a digital marketing agency based out of Phoenix, Arizona.

In this article, I’m going to give you a general overview of how to perform the Skyscraper technique using SEMrush so you can harness the power for your own good.

First thing.

You can perform the Skyscraper technique on a plethora of digital marketing platforms including Ahrefs and Moz, but I will be demonstrating the technique on SEMrush.

This is the most important part.

Find a piece of content that a lot of people are linking to. In order to find this, make sure you do your research. Make keyword searches on Google related to your niche, take the 1st three results, and plug them into SEMrush in the search bar at the top. Reference the illustration below in order to see exactly how many links a piece of content is getting.

Once you’ve been able to locate how many backlinks a piece of content is getting, you’ll want to make sure that you choose one that has at least 400 backlinks (the more backlinks, the more opportunities for you to gain backlinks).

Once you click on the number of backlinks, you’ll be presented with a list of sites that are linking to that piece of content (aka link prospects).

Now, do it better.

What I mean is that you’ll need to find a way to improve the piece of content that your list of link prospects are linking to. This will be the most laborious aspect of the strategy.

You’re essentially building a “taller skyscraper.”

Whether you are writing the content yourself, or you have a writer, often times the top positions in the SERPs are there for a reason. That means improving on them is going to take creativity and hard work.

In essence, you need to give your link prospects a reason to link to your new piece of content. Otherwise, what incentive do they have to take the current link they have off and re-add yours? Usually, site owners want to give their audience the best piece of content possible, and if you can add to their content by providing a valuable link, then you are giving them a really good reason to link to you. So, make it better.

Fast forward, you write an awesome piece of content that trumps the previous piece you found in the SERPs. Now you need to prep your list of link prospects. In order to do this, click on the “461” links in the illustration shown above.

Once you click on the number, you will be directed to a screen as shown below. Be sure to click on “referring domains” next.

Referring domains will give you the list of domains from the lead prospects. If you only go off of the backlink list, you will see each instance a site linked to the piece of content, which means there will be a lot of duplicate sites. The referring domains are the distillation of the root domains that link out.

You don’t want to reach out to the site multiple times for a link; annoying a prospect is an easy way to get them to ignore you.

You can also export the list of domains by clicking on the “export” button on the right-hand side (shown above). An exported Excel sheet of prospects has its benefits if you are looking for ways to send bulk emails out with a provider like A software like this will allow you to send out 100 emails a day, which can be especially time-saving if you have a list in the thousands. The Chrome plugin is also a super helpful way to find the email addresses for a website (the free plan provides 50 email lookups per month).

Otherwise, it’s up to you to take the “sniper” approach and reach out to each prospect individually and pitch them your case. Many site owners receive tons of low quality pitches. Think of a way to make your email stand out from these lazy senders. One way to do this is to offer value first like writing a review of their podcast or sharing their content on Twitter.

In sum…

The Skyscraper technique is a great way to earn reliable and effective white-hat links. With search engines like Google improving their search algorithms on what seems like a weekly basis, they are getting better and better at catching dodgy link profiles, which can land you a costly Google link penalty.

The steps above can seem overwhelming to tackle on paper but know that the process is more simple than it may seem.

A word of advice.

Give yourself some time to get it down. It’s definitely worth adding this strategy to your arsenal and will provide a bounty of benefits once your site starts to raise in domain authority. But getting it down will take you doing it a couple of times.

Also, be sure that your emails to the prospects are really well thought out, clear, and enticing. Put your hard work on display and show them why your content is worth showing to their audience.