There’s No Such Thing as Advanced SEO

I’ve been doing this SEO thing for a long time.

My thoughts and ideas about SEO have changed a lot over time. After many hundreds of SEO projects and so many different types of customers, I have come to a conclusion…

There’s No Such Thing As Advanced SEO.

There, I said it.

Two summers ago, I even authored and delivered an “Advanced SEO” class. Hummpphh. No such thing.

Seven years ago, I’d have made a big deal about SEO and how experts were hard to come by. How complex it is and how it would take a deep understanding of how robots work and all kinds of technical issues: canonical resolution, site theme or silos, funneling page rank, server configuration, directory structures, keyword density analysis and on and on and on.

Alright – before you get all nuts, I get it – these things are important.

But it’s a matter of degree and resource. What I find in 99% of cases, these things don’t matter so much and so don’t warrant any resources (time or money).

Here’s what I mean: Let’s say you’re a small accounting firm. You have 3 accountants you work with and bill $700,000.00 per year. You have a 12 page Web site that contains all the standard “here’s who we are and here’s what we do” information on it. They are static html pages. In this case, none of the advanced mumbo-jumbo (that I spent years learning) applies at all. None of it. Sure, they should log into their hosting account and make sure that is 301′d to And even that redirect is usually done automatically by most hosts. What else is there?

Nothing advanced, that’s for sure.

I’ve consulted with literally thousands of businesses all over the country. The vast majority of them fit the description above – not accountants, but have simple, brochure Web sites and need no big changes in order to rank just fine. So if not advanced, what should people do? Well, let me put it like this:

Here’s What You Should Do:

  1. Identify a good set of targeted keywords. Download keyword ranking software and use it to find high traffic, low competition keywords.
  2. For each keyword, craft a new Web page inserting the keyword in each on-page element: title, meta description, meta keyword, header, first sentence of body copy.
  3. Add 300-400 words of body copy making sure to use various permutations of your target phrase.
  4. Submit your site manually to Google, Yahoo! and Bing along with an XML sitemap.
  5. Start backlinking – Press releases, social bookmarks, articles, directories, chambers, business partners – wherever you can find them.
  6. Add a blog and write a few posts per month, making sure to use relevant keywords in each post and then push the post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Um, that’s it.

How is that advanced? It’s not.

The real problem is that most businesses just don’t have the necessary time to put into SEO, or managing their pay-per-click campaigns, for that matter. It is not that SEO is so hard, it’s just that it takes time. It is not advanced to write blog posts. It is not advanced to get a nice profile in Google+Local and Bing Local. It is not advanced to create and launch SEO press releases.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am…with few exceptions, most SEO is simple, straight-forward and easy to implement, albeit time consuming. Maybe an argument could be made that knowing where to go to get back-links is where the expertness comes into play? I suppose so. But a single afternoon on SEOMoz or will teach you all that.

Yep, I’m an “expert SEO.”

But I’m thinking that doesn’t mean as much as it used to, or even should.

I’m convinced: There’s no such thing as advanced SEO.