Five Advanced SEO Tactics

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When most people think of SEO, a couple of things come to mind: creating keyword-targeted web content and building up incoming links.  A few years ago – around 2004 when blogs were becoming all the rage – this was sufficient to get a good ranking.  The fact is that the web is getting increasingly cluttered.  Blogging software and user-friendly web templates allow everyone and his uncle to start a web business.

As a result, webmasters have to find new ways to beat the system.  Here are five advanced tactics that are totally above board so you don’t have to cross over into black hat territory.  Some webmasters start doing black hat tactics because they feel they’ve exhausted everything white SEO has to offer.  There are several tricks to SEO that you may not yet be employing.

1.    Article Syndication

One thing people might fear with this is article duplication.  If you’re syndicating an article all over the web, won’t this affect how the content is ranked on your own site.  If you’re concerned about this, you can only syndicate content that does not appear on your site. However, this isn’t totally necessary because article directories are not penalized for duplicate content in the same way as a traditional website.

A good trick to consider when linking to your site from an article directory is to link directly to your site’s sitemap.  This will ensure that your entire site is effectively spidered.  New webmasters are often surprised to find that they may rank highly for certain pages, and even the homepage, but won’t even show up for some important internal pages.

On that note, you should link to said internal pages whenever possible.  Say, for example, you make a comment on a blog.  Many site owners will automatically link to the site’s homepage.  Linking to internal pages can be just as effective.  This can be especially useful if the comment and the internal page link are somehow related.

2. Improving Your Site Map

On the site map front, all site maps are not equal.  Some site maps are well indexed by one search engine, but not another.  Obviously it makes sense to weight a site map towards Google, because that accounts for the most traffic.  A major sales-oriented website is going to have a great number of possible pages to put into the site map: articles, product descriptions, images, affiliate links, and more.  A ROR site map is an XML-based site map that is compliant with all search engines and makes your site better indexed by spiders.  I’ll speak more about ROR maps in a coming post.

3.    Improve Internal Linking

On this front as well, you should link between articles on your site whenever appropriate.  This should be a key component of your keyword strategy.  Linking that keyword to another article on the site that also pertains to that keyword makes a spider’s job much easier.  Remember, the spider’s main gig is to find out if your site is relevant to the content you have in place.  This is why putting a bunch of unrelated content on the site can be damaging to a site’s architecture – even if that content is very popular.  A spider wants to know the express purpose of a site.  Creating internal links between pages tells both a spider what type of information on the site, as well as make the site more information rich and user-friendly to visitors. Basically, you want to make it easier for anyone to navigate the site, both human and bot.

4.    Spying on the Competition

I’m not even bothering to mention simple SEO strategies like monitoring site traffic for keywords and conversions: if you’re not already doing that, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.  On the bright side, you’ve got a great untapped resource.  On that front, you should also monitor the site traffic for the competition.  Sometimes websites make this easy by putting a button on the site that leads to an analytics program.  You probably won’t get this lucky though and you can use a tool like GoogSpy that will tell you what sorts of keywords your competitors have bid on in PPC.  At the very least, you should read your competitor’s site back to front and check the page rank on important internal pages.  There’s nothing wrong with a little mimicry – not by duplicating content, but by adopting your competitor’s successful tactics.  Like they say, “Great artists steal.”

5.    Translating your site into other languages

Your site might come up in, or something else, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be read, and Google translate certainly has a lot to be desired.  Offering a translated version of your website is a good way to increase your customer base, as well as increase incoming links for foreign-based sites.  This of course depends on the nature of your website, and it could be expensive to hire a series of translators for different languages, but it should not be ruled out, especially if you are marketing something with international potential.

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