Advanced SEO is simply any set of SEO techniques that require some degree of expert knowledge. It varies from person to person, but let’s just say you probably won’t master these your first few months.
Advanced SEO typically involves technical concepts that are somewhat advanced, and/or a deeper understanding of the workings of Google’s algorithm. Anyone can master advanced concepts with study and hard work.
Here, we’ve listed some of our favorite posts on advanced SEO, and you’ll find the most recent blog posts below.
When you operate in a competitive sector, you need to be doing more than the basics to achieve SEO success. To get your organic search strategy to drive business growth, increase traffic, and secure more conversions, you need to take your strategy to the next level.
And that means learning (and using) advanced SEO techniques that can give you a competitive advantage.
What is Advanced SEO?
Advanced SEO refers to SEO techniques that are not widely known to the average SEO specialist but require some sort of advanced knowledge and expertise. These techniques are usually related to technical SEO and to the latest changes made to the Google ranking algorithm.
Advanced or not, there is nothing stopping you from mastering these techniques and using them to improve your SEO visibility.
Specifically, we’ll look at:
- 1. Upgrade Existing Content
- 2. Build Out Topic Clusters
- 3. Run a Content Audit and Remove Underperforming Content
- 4. Find and Fix Keyword Cannibalization Issues
- 5. Master Internal Linking
- 6. Optimize For Featured Snippets
- 7. Fix Linked 404s
- 8. Steal Links that Point to Competitor’s 404s
- 9. Use FAQ Schema To Expand Your SERP Real Estate
- 10. Analyze Your Log Files
Advanced SEO Tactics You Need to Know
Take the time to learn the 10 techniques that we’re going to explore below, and you’ll be in the perfect position to drive increased performance for your site.
Of course, you might already be using some of these advanced tactics (nice work, if so), but we’re pretty sure that even then you’ll find at least a few new tactics to try out. For the most part, these tactics are assuming that you’re working on an existing site or that you have resources available to help with the implementation. However, even those working on new or smaller sites should find ways to work these into their strategy to see success.
So, let’s take a look at these advanced SEO tips:
1. Upgrade Existing Content (Advanced SEO)
It’s easy to jump straight into creating new content as part of your content strategy, but the fact is that most websites have opportunities to improve and upgrade existing content first.
New content takes time to rank and drive associated traffic.
It’s rare to publish a piece of content and have it rank at the top of the SERPs straight away. If only it were that easy. However, if you improve existing content, you could enjoy quick wins (both in terms of ranking gains and traffic). But where do you start upgrading existing content, and why is it something you should pay attention to?
If you were are looking back at what was published in the past, look for opportunities to improve your existing content based on two things:
- Current trends and facts
- Performance data available from Google Search Console
Updating Current Trends and Facts
Content can easily become outdated, even without you realizing it. When content becomes out of date, it’s less relevant to the search query.
Often you might have content that previously performed well that begins to slide in visibility over time. In this instance, updating the content to bring it in line with current trends and facts can help you regain lost ground.
Think things like:
- Updating 2020 posts to 2021
- Updating outdated facts with the newest versions
This may not specifically be related to your site’s evergreen content. But if you’ve noticed a decline in visibility for posts based on industry trends and tactics, it would be good to look into making sure what content you do have is factually accurate.
2. Build Out Topic Clusters (Advanced SEO)
If your site isn’t already structured around topic clusters, this is something you should consider working on. But just what are topic clusters? According to our recent guide:
Topic clusters are a group of content that revolves around a central topic and use a pillar page to link to and from.
In short, topic clusters are centered around a single topic and offer multiple internal linking opportunities to keep readers on your site.
In fact, they’re easier to understand by visualizing them:
Topic clusters are an effective SEO tactic for the simple reason that they help you to create grouped pieces of content that showcase topical relevance and expertise.
Just think of it this way…
If you only have a single piece of content about a subject or topic on your site, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’re an expert. But a whole cluster of related pieces of content that use internal linking to demonstrate the topical connection between these? That’s a whole different ball game.
This is a task that most sites should be running once or twice per year depending on the quantity of content that’s published.
And while migrating a site’s content into a topic cluster structure isn’t the simplest of tasks (especially if you have hundreds or thousands of pages), it’s one that pays dividends and can contribute long-term, too.
Long gone are the days of thinking about ranking for single keywords. In 2020, you should be thinking about how to rank for topics, and building out topic clusters is a great way to get into this mindset.
3. Run a Content Audit and Remove Underperforming Content (Advanced SEO)
Every page on your website needs to serve a purpose. To ensure your content is serving a purpose, you should be actively looking to get rid of (or improve) content that isn’t performing.
A great tactic that you can use is running a content audit to discover these pages that are holding back the rest of your site. In our SEO checklist, we highly recommend auditing your content, stating that:
We can’t stress enough that time spent running a content audit and pruning thin, duplicate, or low-quality content is massively underrated.
And once you’ve audited your site’s content, you can take action based on the following:
- Keep (Page is performing, no actions needed)
- Improve (Make edits and improvements to see the page perform better)
- Merge (Two or more pages are consolidated into a single page, with any that are removed 301 redirected)
This is a task that most sites should be running once or twice per year depending on the quantity of content that’s published.
4. Find and Fix Keyword Cannibalization Issues (Advanced SEO)
Most people misunderstand what keyword cannibalization actually is, wrongly referring to it as when two or more pages are optimized for the same keyword. But that’s not really true.
Just because two or more pages on your website are optimized for the same keyword, it doesn’t automatically mean that neither can rank.
Keyword cannibalization is all about intent.
It happens when you have two or more pages that target the same intent.
The reality is that you can have more than one page optimized for the same keyword, so long as they’re targeting a different intent.
As an example, one might be transactional, and another is informational. But common signs that your site might have these issues that need attention include:
- Ranked URLs keep changing in the SERPs
- Your rankings keep fluctuating
- You’re struggling to increase a keyword’s ranking position
- The wrong URL ranks for a page
And you can find specific keyword cannibalization issues using the SEMrush keyword cannibalization tool that’s available as part of the Position Tracking Tool.
5. Master Internal Linking (Advanced SEO)
Internal linking is one of the most underrated SEO tactics that there is. As SEOs, we’re often all too quick to chase after earning new backlinks before making sure that the ones we already have are working as effectively as possible.
These are your website’s most powerful pages from a link perspective, the ones with the highest number of referring domains linking.
You can use these to redistribute and pass some of this link authority to other (relevant) pages on your site. Look for opportunities to link these pages to topically related pages that need a push in organic visibility, thinking carefully about the anchor text you use. This tactic works and should be looked at regularly and used when you launch new content to look for opportunities to link to it internally.
6. Optimize For Featured Snippets (Advanced SEO)
Earlier this year, Google announced that it was removing double organic listings in search results for sites that rank on the first page and also capture the Featured Snippet.
Essentially, previous to this update, you could, in theory, hold the position zero (featured snippet) and the No.1 spots. This is no longer the case, and a site that grabs the featured snippet will only have this shown on the first page.
But that being said, most SEOs should still be optimized for the featured snippets as it means an opportunity to outrank all other organic listings.
Advantages of Advanced SEO
SEO can be an extremely powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Some key advantages of SEO can include a very high Return on Investment, expanding your reach to hundreds or even thousands of searchers outside of your normal client network, and results that last beyond your scope of SEO service.
1. HIGH ROI
Historically, SEO has performed very well in terms of ROI. In fact, a 2018 study found that Google was the single-largest traffic driver to websites, far outpacing social media channels and cementing the importance of showing up on Google searches. A big reason SEO produces such a high ROI is because it attracts high-converting traffic. The purpose of SEO is to show up when people actively search for your products or services. In many cases, a customer is ready to purchase when they perform the search, so when they find your website at the top of the results the chances of them converting into a client skyrocket.
2. EXPAND YOUR REACH
Word Mouth referrals constitute a major portion of a business’s growth, and it isn’t going away any time soon. What many companies don’t realize is that SEO allows them to tap into a vast network of potential clients far greater than the network of word-of-mouth clients can reach. Whether on a local or national level, your website can exponentially increase the number of people who learn about your business.
3. LASTING RESULTS
Another major benefit of SEO is the residual benefit you’ll see from it. SEO isn’t as volatile as a service like PPC, for example. With PPC, it’s as simple as flipping a light switch – fund the account and get leads. However, as soon as it turns off your leads dry up. With SEO, you may reduce your monthly budget into a maintenance mode, but still enjoy full-scale rewards with the visibility you’ve established. While these results usually aren’t permanent, they are certainly longer-lasting than many marketing channels.
Disadvantages of Advanced SEO
While the advantages of doing SEO are clear, there can be downsides that will play important roles in your decision-making process. These include looking at SEO as a long-term investment & not a short-term solution, no guarantees in results, and the risk of playing in a highly competitive SEO market.
1. LONG-TERM PLAY
One of the biggest disadvantages of SEO is the time it takes to produce results. SEO is truly a process of accumulation and there are many factors to consider before giving someone an estimate on how long it will take for the campaign to get traction. Google themselves says to give an SEO company 4-12 months to produce results. At Firestarter SEO, we usually see campaigns get their first real success between 4-6 months, with improving results accelerating from there. If you are in need of a fast solution to boost your sales, SEO probably isn’t the right answer.
2. NO GUARANTEES
Another downside to pursuing SEO is that there really are no guarantees it will work. In fact, Google specifically warns businesses against companies that offer guaranteed 1st-page results. The fact is, the algorithm is constantly changing, with rankings fluctuating on a daily basis. Additionally, months of work and progress could be negated by a major change to how Google evaluates a website, as some businesses have experienced first-hand a variety of algorithm changes over the years.
We occasionally encounter businesses that compete in a space that is truly saturated with competition. With a limited budget, it could potentially take years to catch up. Or, a company that was once the top dog in the rankings suddenly finds themselves behind the 8-ball, as their competitors grew wise to the power of an effective SEO strategy and leapfrogged the former leader. SEO needs almost constant investment in order to maintain its effectiveness and positive ROI.
While any marketing investment takes serious planning and consideration, SEO is no exception. Understanding the potential pitfalls of investment is crucial to success. However, in spite of the disadvantages one may encounter with SEO, more often than not the advantages far outweigh any potential risk. If you need help understanding the pros and cons of doing SEO for your business, contact one of our experts today.
Conclusion on Advanced SEO:-
I hope this gave you a lot of information to get your business started in the world of SEO. I wanted to make sure that you got your money’s worth by adding some of the top resources in the industry along with some videos and links all in a single document to make this as easy as possible for you to get it moving.
Once your SEO starts to kick in, stay tuned for my Advanced SEO which will cover:
- More Manual Linkbuilding: A list well worth the cost of the play
- Social Signals: The new SEO for 2013
- Advanced Website Optimization
- Favorite Outsourcing Gigs: Really boost your keywords with a little more of an investment.
- Localization: Target different regions