Is Programmatic SEO A Good Solution for Content Generation?
Programmatic SEO can be great but are there gaps you need to be wary of? Anna Uss joins the SEO Rant podcast to share her thoughts on programmatic SEO:
What is programmatic SEO and what makes it unique?
When should you use programmatic SEO
What to be careful of when doing programmatic SEO
How to be Successful with Programmatic SEO
Here's the problem. Programmatic SEO has you build out tons of templated pages at scale. That's an enticing notion as the more pages the more chances to rank (all things being equal). So where's the rub? Well, ensuring all of the pages provide unique value that passes content quality thresholds and that is not deemed by Google as unfit for indexation (due to duplication) can sometimes be a little tricky. Does that mean you should not "do programmatic SEO?" Certainly not as Anna Uss helps to better clarify the right way to do programmatic SEO.
When Does Programmtic SEO Work Well?
Like anything in SEO, the value of programmatic SEO depends. As Anna points out, you need to a way to ensure the pages provide unique value. This is why Anna's use cases heavily lean towards programmatically building pages based on unique data sets.
At the same time, you need to understand the goal of programmatic SEO. It's not like a typical page where to grab traffic you really need to rank very close to the top of the SERP. The goal with programmatic SEO is often to drive traffic with millions of pages - ranking #1 is not the top goal. Rather, the smaller amount of traffic each of these pages brings culminates in a massive amount of users hitting the site.
Programmatic SEO is also great for testing. You're dealing with a high volume of pages which allows you the ability to test what works in a live environment. There could be a benefit in spinning up pages with different variables simply to see what works and to incorporate that into your "main" SEO and content strategy.
Things to Be Careful of When Doing Programmatic SEO
The obvious danger when working programmatically from an SEO point of view is in creating content that is not unique. This is an evident issue from a pure branding and usership perspective but also plays itself out from an SEO angle as well.
Google does not have unlimited resources. If they can use resources more efficiently, they will. Thus, if the search engine sees that there are multiple pages on a site that basically talk about the same thing in the same way (i.e., duplicate content) they won't index all of those pages. Which, of course, makes good sense.
When doing programmatic SEO, Anna points out that it's a challenge to create unique content but it can be done. According to Anna, the upside here can be tremendous because you know that once you are able to show Google the pages are unique then there is a significant amount of traffic potential being released.
To this, it's important to realize that programmatic SEO is not necessarily a part of your content marketing strategy from a brand point of view and the like (in fact, it's most likely not a part of said strategy). As Anna calls it, programmatic SEO is "growth hacking" and it's to me very important to contextualize it as such.
For more of the SEO Rant Podcast check out our previous episode on: Making content memorable