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Building higher can still work

Once we’ve identified a search term that we’d like to rank for, the ‘skyscraper technique’ is a long-established method of ranking highly for that term. This involves nothing more than finding something that’s already ranking highly for the term, and creating a more comprehensive, more up to date and more linkable alternative web page.

The technique has been around for years, and it works because it doesn’t really try to reverse-engineer why the existing top-ranked page is doing so well, it just does the same thing better.

Making it more individual

The traditional technique for creating something better has been to add detail, fill in any gaps and bring the article up to date. These still apply, but I’d also take the opportunity to introduce more solid examples and original references. This is because generative AI is about to unleash a torrent of vague content onto the web, and search engine algorithms are going to adjust accordingly. I’d suggest that case studies and uniquely personalised text will become attractive differentiators.

One final tip is not to be overambitious. If the top results on a search are articles which turn out to have hundreds of high-quality links (use a link-checking tool to find out), think about whether it’s likely that any improved article could ever do as well.