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Programmatic SEO: Step-by-Step

You might have seen some particular website ranking for almost every other keyword for a specific niche – How do they do it?

The answer is programmatic SEO.

SEO is the backbone of bringing your web pages to the top results, and programmatic SEO takes the game up a notch.

With programmatic SEO, you can rank for thousands of pages without having to tire yourself by creating landing pages manually.

If you’re wondering how to do this, we’ve explained the step-by-step for you.

What is Programmatic SEO?

Programmatic SEO or pSEO refers to creating landing pages on a large scale, targeting hundreds and thousands of keywords.

But designing so many pages can take weeks and months!

Now, the question is, “Can programming be automated?” Yes, it can be. And that is how businesses create many landing pages that rank in SERPs.

The landing pages have the sample template with the same elements, like categories and images, that allow you to create multiple variations using programmatic SEO.

Websites like Nomadlist, Expedia, Zapier, and Trip Advisor widely use this type of SEO to rank for numerous keywords.

SEO vs Programmatic SEO

Now that you know what programmatic SEO is, you must be surprised to see how different it is from regular SEO. However, the goal is mutual: rank in SERPs and increase organic traffic.  

The main differences between regular and programmatic SEO are:

Attributes

Regular SEO

Programmatic SEO

Landing Pages

Manual

Automatic

Keywords         

All

Low-competition

User Intent

All

Mainly transactional

Scalability

Limited

Highly scalable

 

Regular SEO focuses on factors like meta description, loading speed, etc. At the same time, programmatic SEO enables you to target low-competition keywords without spending hours creating landing pages.

Is Programmatic SEO Spam?

When talking of regular SEO and digital advertising vs programmatic SEO, it’s important to understand that this kind of content also has the tendency to appear spam.

So, you must consider the most important factors, important for regular as well as programmatic SEO content:

  • Relevance
  • Updated content
  • Value it provides

Creating hundreds and thousands of landing pages through programmatic SEO would not be fruitful until they provide value. The examples mentioned above, like Trip Advisor and Zapier, satisfy user intent, making the best use of programmatic SEO.

How Programmatic SEO Works in Digital Marketing: Get Started!

Though the programmatic type of SEO is based on automation, there’s a whole process behind it. People without a technical background may also find it complicated. But it’s pretty simple once you know the basics. While hiring a programmatic advertising agency offers numerous advantages, some businesses prefer trying it themselves.

Here’s how to get started with programmatic SEO:

1.     Competitor Research

Like regular SEO, competitor research is a fundamental part of programmatic SEO as well. Study your competitors’ landing pages to discover elements that keep visitors on the pages and convert.

When analyzing your competitors, search for relevant topics on which you can create landing pages. Additionally, competitor research will help you design a template that works best for your niche. Thoroughly analyzing your competitors is the key to providing better value.

2.     Keyword Research

The next step of programmatic SEO is keyword research. While it is also a part of regular SEO, the keywords slightly differ.

Regular SEO constitutes terms like LSIs, primary, secondary, and short and long-tail keywords in regular SEO. However, when searching low-competition keywords for programmatic SEO, you pick a head term and a modifier. Adding modifiers to the head term helps you create hundreds of long-tail keywords.

Head Term + Modifiers à Keywords for Programmatic SEO

For example, travel sites such as Trip Advisor and Expedia use head terms like “things to do in” based on location. Similarly, websites like Cheap Flights and Yelp use “cheap flights to” and “vegan restaurants in” etc. as head terms.

Head terms usually have a high search volume, but adding modifiers makes them low-volume. When you add locations (modifiers) to these head terms, they become keywords for programmatic SEO.

Things to do in + Venice à Long-tail low-competition keyword

Cheap flights from + Istanbul à Long-tail low-competition keyword

You can use many different tools to find these keywords, including:

  • Google Trends
  • Semrush
  • Ahrefs

There is no restriction on the number of keywords for programmatic SEO; you may work on a few hundred to 100,000 programmatic keywords for your website optimization strategy.

3.     Check Search Intent

When you have researched competitors in your niche and created an Excel sheet with all the keywords, it’s time to create copy for the landing page. Study the search intent of your users’ query and create your content accordingly to bring and convert visitors.

Analyze the search intent from the following types:

Navigational: Search queries for a particular page, e.g., Gmail, Amazon, etc.

Informational: Queries looking for information on a subject; they typically begin with “How,” “Why?” “When,” etc.

Commercial: Users researching products before purchasing. E.g. “10 best microscopes for students,” “iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 13 pro max.” etc.

Transactional: Users looking to make a purchase; search queries generally include “buy.”

4.     Design your Landing Page Template

Apart from keyword research and appropriate content, the landing page template is another critical element of programmatic SEO success.

You might put in effort to find out the right head terms and modifiers, and create content accordingly, but visitors are likely to convert only when the landing page offers them what they look forward to.

And the best part is that you can target thousands of keywords with only ONE TEMPLATE!

The template should provide value to the visitor and ensure they get everything they expect when clicking on the link. In case your programmatic SEO landing pages fail to provide accurate and updated information to the user, Google might not index them.

Converting Landing Page Template

Low-quality Landing Pages Template

Unique data

Generic data from other websites

High value

Low value

Answers multiple questions

Answers on questions

Satisfies search intent

Ignores search intent

 

While landing page creation requires technical knowledge, website builders like Webflow are suitable for beginners. You can also integrate the API into your landing pages for convenience.

5.     Collect and Sync Data

Once you know the keywords you will work around, it’s time to collect data from different sources to add to your landing pages. They may include:

Private/ Proprietary data: This constitutes information unique to your company that no one else possesses.

Public data: While this type of data is the most easily accessible, it is typically generic.

Scraped data: It is the data you can scrape from websites, but it might have copyright issues.

User-generated content: Data you can find from other users.

Creating so many landing pages eventually translates to thin content, but your pages must provide information.

After collecting all the important information like metadata and deciding on-page content, add it to an Excel sheet or software like Airtable; you can also integrate Banner Bear or Placid with Airtable to add images.

6.     Publish and Index

After you’ve designed the template, collected data for your landing pages, and created them on scale, it’s time to publish.

Programmatic SEO landing pages might take longer to index due to their similar nature; some might be Crawled – currently not indexed, and others could be Discovered – currently not indexed.

But don’t worry!

You can ensure better optimization through these programmatic SEO landing pages by creating:

  • HTML sitemaps
  • Internal links throughout
  • Proper sitemap structures

7.     Monitor the Website

Just like regular SEO, programmatic SEO also requires continuous monitoring after publishing to ensure it brings the results you look forward to. Here are a few things you must consider and fix (if needed) after publishing your content pages:

Loading speed: Slow loading can be frustrating and result in a higher bounce rate.

Heat map testing: Heat map testing can help find problems in different landing page sections.

Website analytics: Use analytics tools like GA4 to analyze your website metrics like:

  • Page views
  • Page sessions
  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce rate

If the analytics do not improve over time, use A/B testing to try a change of elements on the template, CTA, images, etc.

Examples of Programmatic SEO

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor is one of the most common examples of websites using programmatic SEO. They use head terms like “Best restaurant in” and “Day trips from” to provide real-time, relevant information to the users through pSEO.

Websites like Trip Advisor, Nomadlist, and Booking.com rank for thousands of location-based long-tail keywords, which would be quite challenging otherwise.

Yelp

If you search “Best restaurant in Miami” or any other area, you are highly likely to see Yelp in the top results; it is one of Google Reviews’ biggest competitors – thanks to programmatic SEO!

Yelp uses restaurant and food-related head terms to target keywords. They have specific categories based on local food services and businesses. Users can check restaurant reviews, make reservations, or purchase from businesses through Yelp.

Visa List

Visa List is another business using programmatic SEO to create hundreds of automated landing pages.

Users can search for visa details for countries worldwide in this massive Visa List dataset and find relevant answers; Visa List turned its datasets into millions of dollars through programmatic SEO.

Canva

Compared to the above-mentioned examples, Canva’s landing pages have a different layout. Being a free graphic design platform, Canva’s programmatic SEO landing page shows an editable template with unique text for each keyword.

However, Canva also considers the search intent to show different types of landing pages to different search queries.

Other websites that use programmatic SEO include Zapier, Eater, Breweriesnearby, Webflow, ColorHexa, Gawk Outdoor, Failory, and ProductHunt.

Now that you understand the difference between regular SEO/ digital advertising vs programmatic, the advantages and disadvantages might help you decide if programmatic SEO is right for your business.

Advantages of Programmatic SEO

  • Valuable, quality content
  • Scale multiple keywords with one template
  • Boosts the SEO process with more landing pages
  • Focuses on transactional intent, encouraging faster conversions
  • Programmatic SEO helps with backlinks for content optimization

Disadvantages of Programmatic SEO

  • Investing in tools can increase overall cost
  • Poor programmatic SEO can harm site growth
  • Indexing hundreds of pages with similar content is hard
  • Your website has a large fraction of duplicate, thin content
  • Programmatic SEO requires continuous monitoring and updating

So, Are You Ready?

We have explained everything regarding programmatic SEO, including whether it can be automated to help you boost your business’s visibility. Create attractive landing pages with compelling content to keep viewers and boost conversions.

If you have any further queries regarding programmatic SEO for your business, get in touch with programmatic optimization and advertising at Kubico.

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