Programmatic SEO is on the tip of many SEOs’ tongues.
It’s a strategic approach that uses data and tools to create and optimize multiple web pages at scale. This enables businesses to target long-tail keywords, ultimately attracting more organic traffic. However, it is important to note that it’s not for manipulating search engines or spamming the web with low-quality content. Instead, it’s about understanding your audience’s needs and providing content at scale.
What is Programmatic SEO?
Programmatic SEO often targets search phrases with lower search volume, relying on keywords that indicate a higher intent to purchase or convert. Once these keywords are identified, template-based pages are created. These templates will look exactly the same in design and structure, and the only thing that will change is the niche content. You will customize the information for the specific keyword or topic.
Now, during this process, you have to ensure that each page is unique in words but consistent in flow. You don’t want to be penalized with duplicate content, and you want to create content that adds value.
Here are a few benefits it can bring:
- Increased scalability: it’s a highly efficient way of creating and optimizing a large number of pages; ideal for enterprise businesses with extensive product catalogs or services. This can also become quite a competitive advantage.
- Increased organic traffic: targeting a wider range of keywords—including long-tail keywords—can attract more qualified traffic to your site. This goes hand-in-hand with the increased scalability of your content.
- Improved user experience: using data to create and optimize pages, you can ensure your content is relevant and valuable to your audience.
- Efficiency and cost-effectiveness: by automating the creation and optimization of pages saves time and resources, leading to lower costs and higher ROI for your SEO efforts.
How to Scale with Dynamic Content
Here are additional ways to scale programmatic SEO on dynamic content.
1. Leverage Keywords with Modifiers
Long-tail keywords are more specific than general keywords, meaning there’s less competition for them. This increases the likelihood of your site ranking high in search results. Additionally, long-tail keywords are often more relevant to users’ search intent, making them more likely to click on your website.
Keyword modifiers can be used to further refine your long-tail keyword strategy. These include:
- Intent descriptors: modifiers like “best,” “buy,” “top,” “cheap,” and “free” indicate what the user is looking for.
- Product or service descriptors: modifiers like “for flat feet,” “online,” “men over 50,” and “black” provide more information about the product or service the user is seeking.
- Location descriptors: modifiers like “in the UK,” “in the US,” and “in Canada” indicate the user’s location.
Remember to use a variety of keyword modifiers to target a wide range of long-tail keywords, and ensure that they are relevant to your target audience and describe your website’s content.
Additionally, try to build content that can hit multiple keywords at once. Not only will this increase traffic and make each page seem more popular (which Google likes), but it’ll also create more opportunities for internal linking.
2. Utilize Search Page Features
One helpful search page feature is the “People Also Ask” box. This shows a list of questions frequently asked in conjunction with the search query you’re targeting. Understanding these questions can help you create content that directly addresses users’ needs and interests. But more importantly, it helps you understand what intent Google is assigning to a given query.
Remember to not rely on a single feature but rather all the features cohesively.
For instance, searching for “chocolate cake” will bring up related questions like “which chocolate cake is the best?”; however, the rest of the page clearly indicates that Google prioritizes recipes for chocolate cakes.
Aside from “People Also Ask,” you can also use the following:
- Related searches: this feature shows a list of related search queries that users have entered, helping you identify other keywords to target with your content.
- Autocomplete: this feature shows a list of suggested keywords as you type your search query, helping you identify keywords relevant to your target audience.
- Featured snippets: these short snippets of text appear at the top of search results for certain queries and are a great way to get your content in front of more users.
3. Respect Google’s Spam Policies
When creating content programmatically, it’s easy to accidentally create duplicate, thin content, or content stuffed keywords. Avoiding this should be a core focus when implementing programmatic SEO.
Duplicate/thin content and keyword stuffing are just two examples of Google’s spam policies. Violating these can lead to penalties, leading to your dynamic content negatively impacting your SEO performance rather than scaling it.
4. Build Contextual Links
Contextual links are another important strategy in programmatic SEO. These are links embedded within your content that provide additional information or resources related to the topic. Not only will this improve the user experience, it’ll boost your SEO performance and increase your site’s authority.
You’ll often see this principle implemented on company blogs linking to other relevant posts. For programmatic SEO, you can see it when webshops include a “customers also bought…” section. This also highlights how your SEO efforts can serve multiple functions at once, as showing someone other products based on previous purchases is an effective way to generate more revenue.
5. Customize Pages via User Input
In addition to using templates to ensure consistency across your pages, you can also rely on user input to customize pages and make them unique. This can be done by:
- Allowing users to leave reviews: reviews can provide valuable insights into your products or services and improve the user experience on your pages.
- Involving users in content creation: ask users to contribute content, such as images, videos, or blog posts. This can make your pages more engaging and informative.
- Personalizing content for each user: use data about your users to personalize the content they see on your pages.
Companies like Amazon, Yelp, and YouTube use user input to customize pages, improving user experience and boosting SEO performance.
6. Understand Your Crawl Budget
Being aware of your crawl budget—the number of pages that search engines can and want to crawl on your site within a certain period—is crucial when scaling your programmatic SEO efforts. Why? Well, the addition of hundreds or thousands of new pages can quickly consume your crawl budget.
7. Implement Prerendering
To avoid this, you may consider using prerendering to generate a static HTML version of your page, making it easier, quicker, and generally more efficient for search engines to crawl and index.
Dynamic rendering, or prerendering, is a cost-effective solution compared to other rendering models.
Balancing Quantity and Quality with Programmatic SEO
While programmatic SEO allows businesses to create a large number of pages effortlessly (and fast), it’s not just about quantity. The quality of the pages created is more important. Whatever you put out there must align with Google’s Helpful algorithm or meet the standards/policies set by each search engines.
If you’re an enterprise looking to scale your content, you’ll most likely need to look at prerendering. On the surface, this may seem like a big undertaking and require modifications to your existing servers, but Prerender can be installed outside of your web server. It works with any tech stack; therefore, there is absolutely no impact on your existing infrastructure. Try it—sign up and start with 1,000 free renders!