Posted by Dr. Pete

Roger Mozbot in UFOOne of the things we struggle with as SEO content providers, whether it’s as bloggers or event organizers, is what level to target content at. It seems that, almost no matter what the content, some part of the audience complains that it isn’t advanced enough. This is clearly an industry-wide struggle – we even have conferences now with "Advanced" right in the name.

The problem is that "advanced" means a lot of things to a lot of people. Some of those meanings are useful and can inform our future efforts, but some are closer to myth than reality.

1. "Advanced" Means Secrets

Let’s start with one that’s closer to myth. To some, especially people who are new to SEO, "advanced" means giving away the secret sauce. They naturally assume that we SEOs are saving the best stuff for ourselves or will only part with it if the price is right. Unfortunately, the snake-oil side of the industry does its best to perpetuate that myth.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know and have access to some pretty amazing search marketers. It’s true, on the one hand, that there are bits of information they don’t share with everyone. In most cases, though, those "secrets" are either short-lived (Google catches on), fit a very narrow niche, or are just high-level tactics that still require a lot of time and effort. I’ve never once heard a secret that would magically propel a site to the top of the rankings with no work.

2. "Advanced" Means New

Sometimes, "advanced" just means new or cutting-edge. Google’s algorithm changed more than 300 times last year, so keeping up with the latest can be important, and it certainly takes an advanced SEO (or, at least, a full-time one) to keep up with all the news. On the other hand, only a fraction of those changes really impact most people, so whether it’s important to always have that news instantly is open for debate.

3. "Advanced" Means New to Me

Of course, "new" is a bit subjective. Even the TV tells us: "if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you." In SEO, that could mean content you simply haven’t seen before, or it could mean a content niche that’s complementary to SEO but isn’t discussed as often. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a good example – it’s relevant and interesting to search marketers. On the other hand, as someone who participates actively in the CRO space, I’m often amazed at what passes for "advanced" with an SEO audience. I have to step back and realize that, just because I see that content ever day, our readers don’t. So, it’s new (and useful) to some of you.

4. "Advanced" Means Technical

If you like to get your hands dirty, you may think "advanced" means deeply technical tips, complete with spreadsheets, plug-ins, and code. It’s true that a lot of advanced tactics do require a deeper understanding of the technical side of SEO, but it’s often a challenge to cover that kind of content in a blog post or conference session. Either you can’t quite do it justice, or the topic becomes so niche that it only applies to a small segment of the audience. When you serve a wide demographic, this can be challenging, to say the least.

5. "Advanced" Means Enterprise

Finally, some people equate "advanced" with large-scale, enterprise SEO. Like the technical side, there’s certainly some validity to that idea. Sites with 100,000+ pages definitely have unique problems, and the scale can turn even sometimes simple issues (like duplicate content) complex fast. Like deeply technical SEO, the challenge here is that any given solution or discussion probably only applies to a fairly small number of sites, at least once you dig into the details.

What Does "Advanced" Mean To You?

Of course, these are just a few examples, and each of them can be split apart even more. Here’s where I’d like to hear from you. What do you think "advanced" SEO is, and, in a perfect world, how would you want search blogs and conferences to cover advanced topics? Feel free to use the survey below and/or to reply in the comments section.

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