Backlinks for Content with Skyscraper Technique Case Study

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My linkbuilding journey [results of 880 skyscraper emails] I've read many great posts on linkbuilding and what a terribly dull, unmotivating, unpleasant and dumb effort it can be. Anyway, I want to add my own experiences here. Even though they might not be eye-opening or revolutionary, I feel like I can at least give back some of my experience to this subreddit.


• I used the skyscraper technique (or something similar) to collect 1.759 websites/resource pages/articles that linked to my competitors in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
• I tried to find the email addresses for 1.301 of those prospects (filtering junk & foreign websites)
• I managed to find 880 email addresses, to which I sent my pitch
• Approxiimately 10 days later, I sent out a follow-up email to most of the same email addresses
• At the moment, I have reclaimed 8 backlinks, with a handful of others to potentially join the feast!


I run a website, which – at the moment – is currently nothing more than a personal blog. I aim to grow it to something that's much bigger, like a platform, community and brand. I'm thinking of websites like or I aim to become sort of similar in 1-3 years or something. So far, I'm not too happy with my growth rate. I'm not unpleased, I just think know it could be better. If you're interested, I have been writing case studies about this litle website of mine on [the blogging subreddit] (
I think some good backlinks could have a big impact on my growth, which is why I decided to go big on an outreach campaign. My budget is small as my site does not generate any income whatsoever. I am not in it for the money, I do honestly believe in the idea of my website and like spending time on it. I can think of many ways of monetization down the road, but for now it is not on my radar. Hence why I don't want to spend a lot of money on anything.

Step 1: skyscraper content + analysing competition

I bought the $40,- SERPSTAT lifelong deal from the appsumo promo that was featured on Reddit a couple of weeks ago, and can't believe the value of the deal. I used SERPSTAT's backlink section to find out which site is linking to my competition.
I have quite some articles on my website that I consider to be unique, great and basically my unique selling points. I want them to rank. So I collected all the websites that are currently outranking me for these keywords (quite a lot), and ran them through SERPSTAT. I easily exported every backlink from SERPSTAT to an .xlsx format and plugged it into a giant Google Sheet. I did this for every one of my unique articles, and ended up with a list of 1.759 different URL's that I could target.
Some of these URL's were obvious junk or part of a crappy Private Blog Network (PBN) or just not worth it at all. This was easy to check, as SERPSTAT exports every metric of the link (source, do-follow, anchor, trust factor etc). I manually scanned this entire list in order to see which one of these URL's advanced to my next stage: email gathering.

Email reclamation

I now needed a tool to help me gather all these emails, and you guys pointed me in the right direction.
I first used my free trial for to import my list of target URL's. This got me about 750 emails, which I was quite impressed with! ninjaoutreach seems like a great Client Relationship Management (CRM), and if I can ever justify the expenses I will likely start using them for real.
I used the free plan of (okay, I created 2 seperate accounts) in order to find my remaining emails. What surprised me, is that they and ninjaoutreach complemented each other perfectly. They don't share the same source database, and found some emails that ninjaoutreach couldn't find and vice versa. Somehow, I expected ninjaoutreach to just use the Application Programming Interface (API) of hunter, but I was wrong 🙂
Anyway, I finally wound up with 880 email addresses.
I determined for each URL in my list what kind of email I wanted to send them (a general pitch for my website, or a specific skyscraper pitch for one of my articles). Depending on this, I sent them a different body of text, which I generated in Google Sheets.
This is one of the emails I sent, to give you an idea:

Hi Jessica,

I won't lie to you and cut straight to the point,

I am a relatively SMALL blogger and I'm looking to grow. Turns out, it's nearly impossible to grow without the help of bigger webmasters. Problem is: who likes to link to a small blog?!?! I won't blame you if that's what you're thinking right now. ;-) Well… I might break every rule in the book of reaching out to other webmasters, but here goes!

I'm emailing you now because…

I saw you linked to one of the bigger blogs ([target link from serpstat]) in one of your articles ([article link from serpstat]).

I would like you to know that I have written an article about the exact same topic (with the same observations + more) over at my blog. I have spent a lot of time and effort on this article, and I think your readers would would easily engage in its contents. I have scoured the web for hours looking for webmasters like you who reference sites like mine (but more established). I would be eternally grateful if you could swap/add my link to your article, as this will give me a chance to grow!

You can find my article here (it may be better than you think!): [my article]

If you don't, then that's okay too!

I want to thank you for your time either way, and hope you have an amazing day! 🙂

All the best,

A passionate happiness tracker with a blog

Some of you more experienced marketeers are probably dying of laughter now. This pitch is a result of reading tons of different advises, examples, best practices and my personal opinion. You can probably think of a WAY better pitch, but then again, there is not a single unanimous perfect pitch. I am definitely open to tips/feedback/jokes though! I would love to learn as much as possible from you guys.
Anyway, I sent this pitch (and small variations of it depending on the type of email I wanted to send) to my list of 880 prospects.
I used YAMM (Yet Another Mail Merge, as advised in my previous thread here) and I happily paid the $20 for the yearly plan. I am super impressed with how easy this thing is to set up, especially since I've been using Google Sheets for practically everything so far. And the good thing is, this is super scalable, so I'm likely to repeat this process again in the future with little to no extra effort! 🙂
I sent a simple follow-up email to every email that didn't reply yet after ~ 10 days. I made sure to skip the webmasters that specifically told me to never email them again after my first pitch, like this:

Don't email me ever again.

I got a number of those.. ;-) Sorry for spamming your inbox!


Before showing you the results, I want to show you my starting point. This table below shows the backlinks my website had prior to this campaign. I've included the ones that I feel are good backlinks (no social media, Reddit, web2.0 or junk backlinks):

No. How did I get the backlink Page authority Domain authority
1 Organically (pure dumb luck) 61 75
2 Pitched an editorialreciprocal backlink via one of my bigger posts 41 38
3 Pitched an editorialreciprocal backlink via one of my bigger posts 37 31
4 Pitched an editorialreciprocal backlink via one of my bigger posts 34 28
5 Organic 13 10
6 Guest post 39 36

At the time of writing, my homepage has the following metrics Page Authority (PA) 21, Domain Authority (DA) 19.

How many people replied?

In total, I have received 72 replies (8.2%). That means that a total of 808 emails were a waste of time. I received a shitload of auto responders and soft bounces, but the overwhelming amount of my emails just hard bounced or was neglected.

What sort of replies did I get?

38 of the 72 replies were negative. Some of the negative replies were pretty nice about it. They took the time to comment on why they declined (most of them didn't like me not using my name or my niche didn't fit theirs). Some of them were rather straight to the point:

Please remove me from all mailing lists permanently.

(I received this beauty just seconds ago as I'm writing this)
26 of the 72 replies were (conditionally) positive. And I say conditionally, because they replied quite positively but required more action from me. This includes some people that want to talk in person before continuing, or some that don't yet want to link to me but maybe in the future. Most of these however asked a (big) fee for the backlink. The highest quotation for a backlink was $250,-. I kindly replied to them that this was way beyond my budget.
I still have the chance of landing 5 additional backlinks, depending on my luck. I'm waiting for replies and am doing everything I can to secure them.
That leaves me with 8 positive replies.

My new backlinks

I got 8 new backlinks. Woohoo!
Out of 880 email addresses, I managed to nab 8 backlinks so far (0.9%…). To be honest, I was hoping for more. Prior to this entire campaign, I said to myself that I'd be happy with 20 links.
But in hindsight, I think I'm happy with the results. I've updated the previous table with my new backlinks, so you can see how much my link profile has grown due to this outreach campaign:

No. How did I get the backlink Page authority Domain authority
1 Organically (pure dumb luck) 61 75
2 Pitched an editorialreciprocal backlink via one of my bigger posts 41 38
3 Pitched an editorialreciprocal backlink via one of my bigger posts 37 31
4 Pitched an editorialreciprocal backlink via one of my bigger posts 34 28
5 Organic 13 10
6 Guest post 39 36
7 Cold email outreach – had to pay $20,- 27 39
8 Cold email outreach – had to pay $20,- 33 36
9 cold email outreach – no further action required 🙂 40 41
10 Cold email outreach – wanted a link in exchange 21 19
11 Cold email outreach – no further action required 🙂 15 13
12 Cold email outreach – no further action required 🙂 26 21
13 Cold email outreach – wanted a link in exchange 17 18
14 Cold email outreach – wanted a link in exchange 26 21
15 Cold email outreach – wanted a link in exchange 49 48

I'm really curious to see how this will impact my rankings. My link profile has more than doubled, and will only increase from here. I had to pay $20 for two of these links, which I felt okay with. I don't know if it was worth it, but I'll just wait and see I guess.

Additional links that are still in the pipeline?

As said, I'm still waiting for replies on 5 additional links, which show GREAT potential. I'm going to do everything in my power to land a link from these domains:

No. How might I still get this backlink? Page authority Domain authority
1 Might get accepted for a guest post 54 64
2 Planning to meet in person with one of the editors to talk about working together 47 55
3 Going to skype in a couple of weeks to talk about my website 62 71
4 Waiting for them to add link, no action required from me at this moment 11 13
5 Waiting for them to add link, said they will, no activity so far… :( 56 69

If I can at least land 1 of these (big) backlinks, I'd be happy. My previous experience with link building tells me not to be hopeful though :(

Was this a success?

This is a tough question to answer, personally. What do you think?
I spent about 15 hours of my free time on this campaign from start to finish. Also, it cost me $105,- (G suite, YAMM, SERPSTAT & 2x link fee's).
As a result, I more than doubled my link profile, so I'm hoping Google will start ranking me higher over the next couple of months. I still believe these couple of links can make an impact on my growth, but I honestly have no idea what to expect
What I like about this method is that it's really scalable. I plan to use this technique for every future (big) article I publish on the website. Even if I only sent 200 mails for every new article, that might secure me 2 extra backlinks (assuming my current hit rate doesn't move). I think I can now send out 200 email pitches within 2 hours from start to finish. That would result in 1 backlink per hour. I'll take that, thank you!

What do you think?

This is the time where I look to you for any additional tips/words of wisdom/jokes/feedback. What could I have done better?
I hope this post inspires you. If not, then at least I hope this has been interesting. If not, then at least I hope my email pitch made you laugh. If not, then I'm sorry for wasting your time… I guess.
As for a call to action to this post: just let me know what you think! There is a ton of experience in this sub, and I feel like I can learn a lot from you guys. If you want to give me feedback on anything whatsoever, please do! Don't worry, I have thick skin (I've theoretically been denied 99% of the time… I can handle some shit)
edit: almost got the formatting right the first time!

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