Anush Bichakhchyan

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November 21, 2022

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10 min read

Programmatic SEO: the strategy you've been missing. Part 1

Programmatic SEO benefits not to miss

93% of all purchases and decision-making on the internet start with a search query. It means you can have your piece of the huge pie if you master SEO, particularly the old and “new” programmatic SEO that will soon prove to be a killer strategy. Actually, programmatic SEO is not a new thing used to increase a website’s organic traffic. Here is what we have learned from our expertise in programmatic SEO. 

What is Programmatic SEO?

Suppose you have a tour website with hundreds of destinations, prices, and other staff. I am a traveler who is considering several destinations for my next trip, and I want to know the price of a Milan trip vs. a Barcelona trip (those are random examples; we can have any search query here). As an average user who wants to get an immediate answer to a question, I would rather search on Google for “Milan vs. Barcelona tour prices,” or I might ask Google “Should I visit Milan or Barcelona?” rather than searching for two cities separately. Your site gives me a simple and relevant page with two city prices, destinations, and even hotel rates compared. In old times, you would create thousands of pages manually comparing different cities (because you had analyzed and found out that people do love comparison).

Time for magic. Today, with programmatic SEO, you can take your information and automatically generate thousands of new pages. This practice has been used long before it got its official term and has proven its efficiency for many industries. And if you think that it is applicable only to specific industries and businesses, don’t rush to the conclusion just yet. With a creative touch, it can now become a substantial advantage for other industries as well.

Let’s get it more technical.

Programmatic SEO takes a set of data and helps generate an unlimited number of pages/articles (the number depends on your data and keywords) using automation. The aim is to meet the customer’s search intent and rank highly on Google. This practice focuses on long-tail keywords that have low search volume but high resource consumption. Another great thing about programmatically-generated pages is that there is little competition. Covering broader topics with long-tail keywords, such pages don’t have any issues outranking competitors. 

Here is why long-tail keywords are more effective for your campaign:

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Short vs. long-tail keywords comparison 

Programmatic SEO is addressing the “weaknesses” of long-tail keywords: low volume and high resource consumption, by automating (lowering the resource consumption) the process of creating multiple search pages at scale (increasing volume).

Sounds cool, right? But is everything that simple? 

Before we jump to the practical steps of implementing programmatic SEO, it is worthwhile to understand some significant 2023 SEO trends that may influence your processes. 

Google’s Helpful Update

We have seen numerous Google updates and ever-evolving algorithms, and we have kind of gotten used to “pleasant” surprises. The latest update we’ve got on August 2022 is Google’s Helpful Update, which has come to reaffirm previous updates’ goal of better connecting people to helpful information. Programmatic SEO is all about satisfying a user’s intent and never simply creating pages at scale to get traffic. At the same time, the main idea of the latest update is to rank your content as helpful in the search. It means you will actually do the things Google will appreciate if only you manage to create really valuable content and not just doorway pages (we will definitely talk about them soon). 

Automation

SEO automation is the key to increasing productivity. We are already practicing automation in technical audits, analysis, and reporting, but the bigger the initiatives get, the more the processes need smarter solutions with the goal of shortening the time between data collection and campaign launch. 

Automated content creation also makes some attempts to emerge into our routine, but we won’t have any legit automation technology or technique that will save us from manual search or content creation. 

You can start experimenting with AI-generated content for programmatically-created pages, but make sure to proofread and edit them because machine learning, though smart, lacks the human touch a lot. 

EAT

E-A-T or expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, the principle again focuses on content quality. Programmatic SEO is about content, and EAT is what you need to take care of. 

How to improve your EAT?

  • Create unique content that matches users’ search intent
  • Cite the sources.
  • Have a personalized approach by adding the author’s voice and point of view and company information.


Forget about auto-generated content, direct and aggressive advertising language, or paid link campaigns.

EAT should always be your key principle when creating content because Google's algorithm is always watching for you. Also, keep an eye on the Google knowledge graph to keep your information relevant and up-to-date. 

SCHEMA markup

Programmatic SEO has much to do with technical SEO. Along with developing thousands of pages, you should take care of their speed and optimization. Great schema markup is one more step to having great content and a competitive advantage. 

Schema markup is about structured data, and having detailed schema feeds will help search engines have more precise and nuanced information about your webpage. If eligible, you will appear on the first page of SERPs and snippets. 

(This is really an extensive topic and we will one day disclose and talk about it).

Mobile-first indexing

Google’s Mobile-First Index again shocked everyone, but it was predictable because, in 2022, half of the website traffic is from mobile devices. Mobile-First Index means Google uses the mobile version of a page first for ranking and indexing. When building your landing pages for programmatic SEO, make sure they have mobile versions in the first place so you do not lose rankings. 

How to optimize pages for mobile search?

  • Use fonts and buttons optimized for readability.
  • Make your website responsive.
  • Turn off pop-ups.
  • Use light images.

Featured Snippets

The featured snippet is the short, most accurate, and most up-to-date answer that appears on Google’s SERP. The “Featured Snippet” gets 8% of all clicks. Once it appears in the snippet, it has all the chances it needs to get a high organic CTR. Content on programmatically-generated pages that appear in snippets is twice as beneficial for your initiatives. 


Do you think programmatic SEO can help you gain more organic traffic?

Let us build an action plan for you. 

Programmatic SEO: The Old and New Trend you don’t want to miss

the benefits of programmatic seo

The benefits of programmatic SEO


This is a true time to talk about what you will really get with programmatically-generated pages. 

Easily scalable

The main principle of programmatically-generated pages is to have one design and different content. And you don’t just input content manually but simply provide structured data. It means, once you have data, you can create 100 or 1000 with the same effort. 

Enhanced user experience

In programmatic SEO, you target long-tail keywords, i.e., specific and very precise keywords that people mostly search for when they really know what they want. Giving them an exact answer may have a 100% conversion. So keep that in mind when creating a clear design that lands users on a page where they can easily and almost immediately find an answer to their questions. 

Building useful links

One of the goals of programmatic SEO is to optimize SEO scores and build internal links. Thus, visitors will always be able to find the source of the information they were searching for on your website. 

Better visibility

The more your page is SEO-friendly and optimized, the higher the chances are that it will appear in the SERP. While having multiple SEO-friendly pages means you will have more chances to appear on the first pages of SERP. 

More leads with less effort

Programmatically-created pages have all the chances of getting more leads to appear in the SERP because they are created to answer user search intent. Once you have created your pages, you simply wait and track the results. No more manipulation. At the end of the experiment, you can check which keywords generated more leads and if it is worth continuing to experiment with programmatic SEO. 


When and Why to Use Programmatic SEO?

  1. Your content has one major theme with the same head team (the head term will be explained in Part 2 of this article).
  2. The topic has a substantial search volume.
  3. Your long-tail keywords have low keyword difficulty.
  4. Running a programmatic SEO campaign will be about low effort.

Common risks and challenges with Programmatic SEO: How to mitigate them

the challenges of programmatic seo

How to mitigate risks of programmatic SEO

Programmatic SEO, so far, seems quite easy to implement and very effective for increasing revenue. But is it really effortless? The most common challenge and mistake when starting with programmatic SEO are taking the wrong approach.

“Programmatic SEO is not about creating multiple pages but helping users find an answer to their question easier.”

Here are some common challenges you will most likely face. 

Slow crawl speed

Maintaining 100 to 1000 pages means a lot of time for crawling, and yes, you have to wait while Google is processing and indexing the pages. As a result, you may get half of your pages indexed. 

What to do to speed up the process?

Add internal links to all the pages (automatically). It will help the search engine discover the linked pages.

  • Create a content silo structure
  • Add a “recommended pages” feature
  • Check crawl paths

Add authoritative backlinks to your pages to get indexed quickly.

P.S. Make sure you set up everything for indexing: XML sitemap, properly configured robots.txt

Duplicate content

The biggest challenge of programmatic SEO is duplicate content. Generating unique content for 1,000 pages is easy when you have enough content. If not, don’t go overboard. It is not mandatory to have 1,000 pages to generate traffic. You can have 10, 20, or 30 programmatically-generated pages that may bring higher results than 1000 pages. So stick to a page quantity that is compatible with your content.

Although Google doesn’t have a penalty for duplicate content, there is actually a duplicate content filter that may hide your content and give priority to freshly published content with relevant articles and valuable links. For a quick and scalable solution, simply stick to the goal of creating content FOR USERS, and not search engines. Try to answer the user's intent with your content, and everyone will be happy. 

Low-quality or thin content

Remember, you are creating pages for users, therefore, your content should be informative and useful. As long as you have low-quality content, you’d better delay the following processes and stick to content creation.

What can you do to create quality content?

  • Add structured sections to properly describe your product/service
  • Add bulleted descriptions
  • Create a perfect balance of text and infographics
  • Don’t use an accordion or other hidden content
  • Add captions and alt text to images

Keyword cannibalization

When targeting the same keyword with several pages, the search engine may get confused and end up ranking nothing. The best way to avoid keyword cannibalism is through better keyword research. If you have found 10 similar keywords with the same meaning, choose one with more search volume or use these two keywords on one page. 

How to start with programmatic SEO? Next Chapter

Programmatic SEO is a really extensive topic that deserves a “Part 2” with a deep dive into the process. In Part 1, we covered the basics of programmatic SEO and the advantages companies are losing by not implementing the strategy. Stay tuned to our blog for the second part of programmatic SEO, that is soon to come. 

How about now? Are you ready to start with Programmatic SEO?

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FAQ

What is programmatic SEO?

Vector

Programmatic SEO is the process of programmatically generating and/or updating large quantities of content using a database to achieve high rankings in Google's search results for similar, long-tail keywords.

What are the benefits of programmatic SEO?

Vector

A successfully developed and launched programmatic SEO campaign increases visibility, helps create quality backlinks to the domain, boosts domain authority, provides more leads with less effort, better visibility, and enhances user experience.


 

How can programmatic SEO help my business?

Vector

With programmatic SEO, you can take your information and automatically generate thousands of new pages, helping your potential customers easily find what they are looking for. It means programmatic SEO takes you several steps closer to customers, increases brand visibility, and eventually boosts sales.

What are the challenges of programmatic SEO?

Vector
  • Slow crawl speed
  • Duplicate content
  • Low-quality or thin content
  • Keyword cannibalization