In 2024, one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website is still via search engine optimization (SEO). However, thanks to advances in modern technology (notably AI), it’s never been easier to rank for different keywords to capture as much traffic as possible. One of the newest methods to hit the scene is programmatic SEO.
However, while programmatic SEO does have some distinct advantages, you have to know how to use it effectively. So, let’s break down the basic elements of this process and how it can work for your business.
What is Programmatic SEO?
Programmatic SEO (pSEO) utilizes technology and templates to create multiple landing pages centered around low-competition keywords. The goal is to craft a unique and compelling template that can be repeated and adjusted as needed to target nearly identical keywords within the same space. When done correctly, you could create potentially thousands or millions of web pages and increase your brand’s domain authority practically overnight.
However, on the flip side, if the content isn’t meaningful or valuable enough, you may just be creating “spam” pages that could do more harm than good.
One of the fundamental aspects of programmatic SEO is building a high-quality landing page template. The better your template, the better your chances of success.
Real-World Examples of Successful Programmatic SEO
Some industries can benefit from programmatic SEO more than others. Typically, travel sites utilize this practice the most because they need to target people in different cities and countries. For example, Expedia has thousands of landing pages centered around specific keywords (i.e., the best hotels in [city]) and just changes the city name for each page. Otherwise, the layout and content are nearly identical across each page.
In this case, programmatic SEO simply speeds up the process of building these pages one by one, which sites like Expedia would want to do anyway. Since their goal is to provide travel accommodations for every city, it makes sense to use technology to build a rinse-and-repeat SEO model.
Real-world examples of companies leveraging programmatic SEO.
Canva is an online graphic design tool that allows anyone to create a wide variety of images and graphics, all without having to download any software. Because there are so many unique options (e.g., social media posts, business cards, video icons, etc.), Canva wants to rank for each one.
So, rather than building optimized landing pages manually, the site uses pSEO to generate similar content around different keywords. One example could be “how to make [X],” where the X can be changed to whatever someone could create with Canva. By producing so many pages like that, Canva boosts its online profile and often ranks in the top spot for each search.
Zapier’s business model allows companies to connect disparate programs by “zapping” them to trigger different automation within a given chain. Because Zapier can work with virtually any program and there are thousands or millions of combinations, it can utilize programmatic SEO very easily.
For example, each landing page could outline how to connect multiple apps with Zapier, and the company just changes the names of the apps on each page. It can even generate hundreds of pages for a single app or website and how to connect it to any number of other programs. Since each page is valuable to the user, they combine to boost Zapier to the top spot for these kinds of queries.
Eater is a website dedicated to helping people find the best restaurants within their city. While the list of restaurants varies from one city to the next, the template showcasing them is the same. So, Eater’s pSEO strategy works almost the same as a travel website like Expedia or TripAdvisor.
Keywords, in this case, could be akin to “the best restaurants in [city],” or Eater can focus on more longtail keywords like “affordable restaurants for families of four in [city].” Because pSEO can scale quickly and efficiently, Eater can rank for thousands of keywords without putting in a ton of work.
Other categories of sites that can easily benefit from pSEO include:
- Top X Lists – List sites are highly popular because they curate data for customers looking to find products or places to go. It’s also very easy to create a unique template where you can input data for each list. Plus, you can rank for a wide variety of topics, such as dog toys, video games, streaming apps, and more.
- [X] Alternative Sites – If a product is popular, it will likely have competition. You can create a template of the top alternatives to a high-ranking product or program, then aggregate data to utilize programmatic SEO. One example could be The Best Photoshop Alternatives, and you simply find apps that offer similar graphic design features.
Overall, make sure it’s easy to collect data that can be adjusted within each page. Ideally, this data doesn’t require much content generation, allowing you to scale your landing pages more efficiently without a lot of added work.
Separating Fact From Fiction: Is Programmatic SEO the Same as Spam?
If you do programmatic SEO correctly, it’s not the same as spam. However, because there is a bit of a learning curve with this process, it’s very easy to spam your own website, getting it flagged by Google and other search engines.
In most cases, pSEO requires coding skills, but there are non-coding alternatives if you’re not keen on working on the Dev side of your website. However, no-code options are generally more expensive, so there’s a trade-off.
The key to making programmatic SEO not spammy is to focus on value and to ensure that data sets change from one landing page to the next. Also, depending on your site and the focus of your content, you may only be able to generate a few dozen pages, not several thousand. Make sure to temper your expectations before getting started.
Launching Into Action: Your Guide to Getting Started With Programmatic SEO
As you can see, programmatic SEO can be a powerful tool to help your site rank better on search engines. However, it’s not a quick fix, nor is it an alternative to creating high-value pages that answer your customer’s query. Here are some factors to help you start on the right path.
- Focus on Value – Sites like Eater and Expedia benefit from pSEO because they want to create these kinds of list pages anyway. Technology merely speeds up the process, but the content is valuable for users no matter what. If you’re just trying to rank for keywords and don’t care what’s on your page, you’ll wind up creating spam.
- Make Sure You Don’t Duplicate Content – Since you’re building a single template, it can be easy to generate “duplicate” content if the details are strikingly similar. For example, if you’re creating lists of product alternatives, you might have nearly identical lists for similar products. Because Google flags duplicate content, you need to verify that your data sets are unique enough.
- Test Your Templates Before Scaling – Even if there’s the potential to generate thousands or millions of pages from a single template, you want to test it a few times before pulling the trigger. This way, you can fix any issues and verify that your programming works correctly. Once you’ve worked out the kinks, you can scale up as much as necessary.
When it comes to generating high-value content for your template, WriterAccess can be your go-to resource. WA connects you with top writers around the world, each of them specializing in different industries and disciplines.
Rather than using low-quality AI fluff, you can get human-written content that adds value for your reader. Plus, as you scale your project, you can tap into this massive writing pool to get more content to flesh out specific pages better.
Start your free two-week trial to WriterAccess and see how it can boost your pSEO strategy.