93% of traffic begins with a search query.
Even with a high number of searches being performed, the large majority of users don’t ever scroll past the first page. If you want to get their attention, you need to be on that first page!
That’s where SEO comes in. SEO, or “search engine optimization,” is the key to increasing your traffic and growing your digital presence.
In this article, I’m going to introduce you to some incredible, advanced SEO tactics that will bring you up-to-speed with which ones to use in 2021 to build your brand and make the internet remember your name.
1. Start with an SEO Audit
There are a ton of factors that affect your SEO score — even some you may not be aware of.
This is why it’s important to periodically perform an SEO audit on site(s). If your tactics are out of date, your content won’t be visible to search engines. How can you show up in the search results if the search engines don’t even know to look for you?
This includes looking at all your pages and making sure all your basic SEO bases are covered:
Do all of your pages have meta titles and descriptions?
Do they have dedicated keywords – without keyword stuffing?
Are your URLs optimized?
Does each page include appropriate links?
Make a periodic SEO audit a part of your business’s marketing strategy to avoid falling into the trap of outdated tactics.
2. Test the SERP Results
Always be testing.
Making little tweaks in your original content can boost your SERP rankings. Things such as changing the title, changing the description, or putting numbers inside of the title will help boost your SERP score. Experiment with popular phrases or keywords to help find that sweet spot that your target audience is searching for.
For example, adding in words like “near me” and “reviews” will help guide users to your content.
3. Test Your Language
Speaking of testing, even the tiniest tweaks to the language you use can have a major impact on your click-through rates.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to add in action words, or words that convey emotion.
Try throwing an “awesome,” “unheard of,” or “unbeatable,” into your headlines and descriptions and test the results against your base copy. Remember, the language you use should be tied to the customers you’re targeting. If they aren’t likely to throw out “awesome” in a conversation, it probably isn’t a good fit for your copy.
4. Incorporate E-A-T
E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust) is a trusted advanced SEO tactic.
It breaks down the framework necessary to determine your place in the SERP. It prioritizes content from trusted and credible sources while ensuring that it is engaging and serving a purpose. E-A-T aims to deliver results that line up with end-user intent so it’s important to make this framework a cornerstone of your strategy and one of the advanced search engine optimization tactics you always employ.
In order to utilize the E-A-T strategy to optimize your SEO, you can try the following tactics:
- Give each page an author! Add author pictures and a short bio with a link to a full bio at the bottom of the page.
- Highlight any awards or backlinks you have. This helps to prove your authority in your industry.
- Focus on getting good reviews on other trusted sources.
- Have an “About” page that clearly explains who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best person to do it.
- Promote your personal brand and those of any additional authors you might feature.
- Double-check your site security.
5. Build Content Around Search Intent
Questions make excellent long-tail keywords, as they generally encompass the exact words users are typing into Google. Let your audience know that you have the answers to their questions by dedicating content to them.
Once you understand the kinds of questions your audience has, you can better build content that matches their intent. If they ask “how do I merge my Instagram account?”, they probably aren’t looking for a full starter guide on how to set up and promote an account. Their query was very targeted, and your answer should be as well.
Now, you’ve likely heard that longer content produces better results in the SERPs. But the truth is, Google is primarily concerned with finding content that best matches a user’s intent. If it only takes 500 words to fully answer a question, than 500 words is the perfect amount.
7. Incorporate Core Web Vitals
Google now provides you with info about load time metrics in Search Console. You don’t even have to visit another website like PageSpeed Insights to get the data you’re looking for.
Specifically, Core Web Vitals will show you how fast your web pages load on mobile and desktop devices. Assuming there’s enough data to measure for both platforms, of course.
So which “vitals” will you get info about in the Core Web Vitals report? There are three of them.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures when the page’s main content has “likely” loaded. Google uses the word “likely” because its agent might not get an exact measurement. Ideally, you want this number to fall under two seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID) – Quantifies the experience users feel when they first try to interact with the page. If a user can’t even scroll for a few seconds then you’ll see red on your graphs.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures visual stability. If you’re trying to load your page quickly by pushing all your CSS code to the bottom of the page, then users will see a flash of unformatted content (FOUC). You can expect to get poor marks on this metric if you’re going that route even though you’re trying to load the page more quickly.
8. Clean Up Broken Links
There is nothing more frustrating when you’re researching something than coming across a link you need that doesn’t work.
To check for and clean up broken links, you can use online tools such as BrokenLinkCheck.com, SEMRush, or Screaming Frog. These tools will crawl your site, locate your broken or rotten links, and give you the opportunity to manually correct them.
Broken links, 301 redirects, or 404 errors not only impact how your consumer views your authority but it impacts your SEO, too. If you have these errors on your site, fix them fast! Resolving issues such as these can lead to positive results quickly — sometimes as quickly as two weeks!
9. Increase Branded Searches Through Ads
Running ads inside of Google will increase your brand awareness.
The more someone sees your brand name, the more comfortable they get with your brand and the more likely they will be to search for your page. Increased branded searches and direct traffic will build your authority with the algorithms because they show that people trust your brand and it bills you as a credible source.
10. Create a Huge Push Around All New Launches
As soon as you launch a new page, share it on social media.
Run ad campaigns around it. Build an email marketing sequence around it. Do whatever you need to do to grow interest in it. Much like the psychology behind running Google Ads, the more your targeted audience sees your content, the more they start to trust it. Trust leads to the increased branded searches and direct traffic and those two things will lead to your pages getting indexed quicker.
The sooner that your content is indexed, the sooner search results will start spitting it out as a search result.
11. Switch Up Links on Linked-To Pages
Quick trick here: find all of the top linked-to pages on your website using a tool like Majestic.
Once you know the most linked to pages, go to those pages and change the internal links to the pages you want to boost.
12. Adopt a Refresh Strategy
Using Google Analytics, check to see which of your pages haven’t gotten much traffic from search engines in the past 6 months.
Google, and its users, love new content so to ensure that your website is getting quality traffic, refresh and/or redirect all of those pages to other pages with fresh content.
Adding fresh content does not have to mean starting completely from scratch.
You can do small, but meaningful, things like switch up the intro, add new backlinks, add or change a FAQ section, or add new sections to already existing blogs. If something has changed recently in your industry — Google releases new guidelines for SEO or WordPress makes major news — you can add that into your content, too.
13. Remove Underperforming Content
A periodic content audit is instrumental in ensuring your site is up to snuff.
Each and every page needs a reason for being on your site. If the content is thin or outdated, it needs to go. It serves no purpose for your site and will only hurt you in the SERPs.
You’ll likely find that over time you accumulate multiple pages on the same or similar topics. Take the time to run analytics on each page and find which one is performing better. Then, either combine all content on that page or redirect the underperforming page to the one with better results.
SEMRush recommends separating all content into three categories: keep, improve, or merge.
To find content that needs improving or removal from your site, you can use SEMRush’s content audit tools.
14. Create Local-Specific Pages
This will boost your local ranking and provide valuable indexable content. More indexable content leads to more search results appearances.
Even if you operate across multiple states or countries, showcase the areas you have worked in. Create local pages that speak to users directly in one of your target locations. For example, we operate on a national level but have separate pages dedicated to some of the major cities we work in.
In addition to creating more indexable content, you’ll also be showing your local customers that you’re dedicated to promoting and improving your local community. Incorporate local keywords, lean into local events or festivals, or work with other local businesses to boost your presence in the community both in real life and online.
Keeping up with your Google Maps listing and social media content will show your community that your business is alive and kicking – and here to stay.
15. Use Pillar Pages (aka Content Clusters)
If you’re looking for a great way to build out a content strategy to match Google’s EAT guidelines, pillar pages are what you’re looking for.
Pillar pages use one central “pillar” as your main hub for a particular topic. They allow you to cluster your content with clearly defined hierarchies and internal linking. Internal linking is great to gain traction with Google’s algorithms.
It not only improves your SEO, but also improves your user experience by making your website easier to navigate. Pillar pages build an information architecture around certain topics and make it easy for users to click through your content to find what they’re looking for. This also makes it easier for search engine algorithms to crawl through your site and find more indexable content.
SEO can seem overwhelming but really doesn’t have to be. With these advanced search techniques in SEO, and others that you’ll find periodically on our blog, you can start to learn about what it takes to become skilled in advanced SEO!
If you want more detailed and personalized help, you can always reach out to us to schedule a consultation with one of our advanced SEO experts