Programmatic SEO: What Does It Mean & How to Do It?

Programmatic SEO: What Does It Mean & How to Do It?
Programmatic SEO signals a new era for search engine optimization tactics. As a concept, it might seem intimidating, sweeping everything you know about traditional SEO under the rug.

However, fear not. It only reshapes the SEO principles, utilizing technology advancements to streamline the efficiency and effectiveness of SEO efforts. 

So, what is programmatic SEO? Let's break it down for you.

What is Programmatic SEO?

Programmatic SEO refers to automating the processes that are typically done manually in search engine optimization. This includes identifying and creating content for long-tail keywords and creating landing pages at scale. 

Instead of depending on marketers to carry out these tasks, computers are programmed to perform these actions. This doesn't mean that SEO experts are out of a job, in fact, it undoes them of the administrative burden, allowing for strategic and creative minds to focus on broader strategies.

The beauty of this approach is that it's more reliable and faster, contributing to quality content that effectively serves your audience. The more capacity to cover more topics and queries, the more scope to rank higher in search engine results and drive organic traffic.

Furthermore, programmatic SEO brings clarity in understanding how competitors are performing. You can gauge your progress by analyzing the metrics it generates. 

What is The Difference Between Programmatic SEO and Regular SEO

Aspect Programmatic SEO Regular SEO
Focus Automation and optimization through code and algorithms Manual optimization of content, keywords, and meta tags
Implementation Relies on software, scripts, and structured data markup Relies on content creation, keyword research, and link building
Advantages Efficiency, scalability, consistency in optimization Personalization, nuanced content strategies
Challenges Technical complexity, reliance on accurate algorithms Resource-intensive, requires continuous monitoring and updates

The difference between regular SEO and programmatic SEO is akin to the difference between a hand-operated lathe machine and a CNC machine. While both can get the job done, the latter offers higher precision, efficiency, and scalability.

Regular or traditional SEO encompasses strategies that drive organic visibility to a website through high rankings on search engines. It involves:

  • On-page optimization: Creating quality content and optimizing it with the right set of keywords, meta tags, alt tags, etc.
  • Off-page optimization: Building quality backlinks that point toward your website, indicating its reliability and credibility.
  • Technical SEO: Ensuring the website is easily crawlable, indexing pages, and focusing on site speed and mobile optimization.

Each of these tasks is generally done manually, requiring substantial time and effort while programmatic SEO utilizes the power of automation to complete said tasks.

Advantages of Programmatic SEO

Here are some pros of programmatic SEO compared to regular SEO:

✨Efficiency and Scale

While regular SEO is labor-intensive and time-consuming, programmatic SEO automates the manual tasks, making the process swift and less prone to errors. This tech-driven method permits handling extensive website catalogs and a larger pool of keywords, planting the seeds for delivering content on a large scale.

✨The Long-Tail Keyword Advantage

Regular SEO focuses on high volume keywords, which are often short-tail and highly competitive. However, due to the scale of operations, programmatic SEO enables targeting long-tail keywords that have less competition but are more specific. This approach leads to higher traffic and improved conversion rates.

✨Better Competitive Insight

Programmatic SEO offers better insights into the competitors’ performance at an intricate level. This feature arms SEO experts with valuable data to strategize better and stay ahead of the competition.

✨Technology Inclusion

While regular SEO practices can leverage technology to some extent, programmatic SEO is fundamentally built on technology. It heavily relies on algorithms, AI and machine learning, enabling SEO experts to apply broader strategies and explore untapped potentials.

Drawbacks of Programmatic SEO

While the virtues of programmatic SEO are many, like any other technology-driven approach, it embraces certain challenges:

❗High Upfront Costs

Setting up a programmatic SEO approach might require a significant upfront investment. The costs of dedicated software, plugin subscriptions, or specialized agency fees can add up.

❗Understanding the Technicalities

Programmatic SEO, with its algorithms, AI, and machine learning, is a technical playground. Without the correct technical know-how or specialist resources, harnessing the power of programmatic SEO can seem overly complex at first.

❗Automation Errors Risk

 If not carefully supervised, automated processes can sometimes yield unexpected results. For example, content generated by AI might lack the 'human touch' or not align with your brand voice.

❗Google Penalties

Programmatic SEO, in its quest for automating SEO, might run the risk of aggressive practices that violate Google’s SEO guidelines. Automation at scale can sometimes be interpreted as spammy behavior by the search engines leading to penalties.

Examples of Programmatic SEO

To understand programmatic SEO in action, let's take a look at some examples:


amazon product page as an example to programmatic seo

With countless products and numerous categories, Amazon excellently utilizes programmatic SEO to handle its extensive catalog. Each product page has optimized URLs, titles, and descriptions generated programmatically.

News Portals

News page as an example to programmatic SEO

Leading news sites automate their SEO strategies. When a news story breaks, they use programmatic SEO to quickly publish and index articles to rank higher in search engines.

Real Estate Websites

real estate webpage as an example to programmatic seo

With a wide variety of listings that change regularly, real estate websites use automatic generation of meta tags, descriptions, and other SEO elements to keep their listings updated and visible.

7 Steps to Implement a Programmatic SEO Strategy

Now that we have painted a clear picture of what programmatic SEO is and how it constitutes an ocean of untapped potential, we step into the 'how-to' zone. 

Here is a walkthrough of several steps that will guide you on implementing a programmatic SEO strategy:

1. Keyword Research

The heart of any SEO action plan beats around keywords, right? So, where better to start than keyword research. 

  • Find Your Head Terms: We start with identifying short, broad keywords called head terms. These high-volume keywords lie at the center of your topic and form the backbone of your subsequent keyword research. Various tools like SEOmator’s Free Keyword Research can help you with this task.
Keyword research by using SEOmator's free tool
  • Identify Modifiers and Related Terms: The next task is to find out the words or phrases commonly associated with your head terms. These are your modifiers and related terms. For instance, if your head term is 'coffee,' the related terms could be 'arabica,' 'roast,' 'bean,' etc. Besides, modifiers could be 'best,' 'top,' or 'cheap.'
  • Select Long-tail Keywords: We then proceed to find long-tail keywords, which consist of your head terms plus modifiers or related terms. These keywords are more specific and tend to drive better conversions. For instance, 'best arabica coffee beans' falls under this category.

Take note that programmatic SEO permits targeting an array of such long-tail keywords, surmounting the limitations of regular SEO.

2. Build the Content Outline

Next up is making a blueprint, i.e., designing your content template. This template should specify the format and structure of your future content, including headings, paragraph breaks, and keyword placements.

The architectural design of this template is vital. It determines how effectively your crafted content caters to user intent and aligns with search engine guidelines.

💡You may want to read: Content Outline: Steps, Benefits, and Guide to Boost Your SEO Strategy

3. Connect to a Database

Once your content template is set, the next step involves connecting to a reliable database. Here you store all the information related to your product or service that you will subsequently use. The integration of machine learning along with databases is a crucial aspect of programmatic SEO.

4. Design Your Page Template

A page template, serving as a global layout of your webpage, comes next on the list. Put simply, it is the skeleton of your website, where your content fits in. Along with comprising your content, it encapsulates aspects like website menu, header, footer, etc.

Designing this template with the best UI/UX principles will optimize your website for both search engines and your visitors.

5. Build the Database with Content and Labels

Now, we come down to integrating and labeling the content. In this step, we populate the database with the content created based on the content template. The system will apply the associated labels to each content piece during this step, contributing to streamlined content management.

6. Connect the Database to the Website

The next move involves developing an interface between your database and website. This connection is vital to ensure that your web pages are populated with appropriate content as per your template. You can use marketing automation tools to make this connection in a smooth way.

7. Publish and Get Indexed

Finally, you are all set to press the Publish button! But the journey doesn't end here. Ensuring that your published content gets indexed (recognized by search engines) is a follow-up imperative.

Once again, automation proves incredibly effective. With programmatic SEO, you can mass-submit URLs for crawling, ensuring that search engines recognize your content swiftly.

💡You may want to use SEOmator’s Free Website Crawl Test

SEO Tools and Techniques for Programmatic SEO

Fine-tuning your SEO strategy in the evolved world of programmatic SEO will most likely require several tools and techniques. 

The right blend of these can immensely simplify SEO audits, optimization, and automation tasks. They help identify areas of improvement and recommend corrections to enhance your SEO health.

Here are some useful tools and platforms to consider:

🔧Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a comprehensive analytics tool that tracks website activity such as session duration, pages per session, bounce rate along with information about the source of the traffic. It also integrates with various Google’s marketing products like Google Ads, making it a must-have tool for every SEO strategist.

🔧Google Search Console: Another gem from the Google family, Google Search Console helps monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your website's presence in Google Search results. It also offers insights into which keywords your website is ranking for and can alert you about potential indexing issues.

🔧SEOmator: SEOmator offers comprehensive resources for anyone looking to improve their website's search engine optimization without incurring costs. The wide array of SEO tools are tailored to address different aspects of SEO including keyword research tools, backlink checkers, SEO audit tools, content optimization tools, and more.

🔧Screaming Frog: Screaming Frog powerful tool crawls websites to analyze and audit technical and onsite SEO. It fetches critical data like Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, outbound links, duplicate content, and more. A dream tool for every SEO enthusiast!

🔧Zapier Automation Platform: Zapier integrates with thousands of apps, making it possible to automate almost any task spanning multiple applications. You can create a ‘Zap’, a blueprint for a task you want to be done repeatedly. 

Use of AI in Programmatic SEO

Coupling the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with your Programmatic SEO strategy can take you a long way in achieving efficiency and precision. With AI-enhanced keyword research, content creation, and on-page SEO, you can take your SEO performance to the next level.

AI is also instrumental in interpreting and predicting user behavior, thereby assisting in crafting user-centric strategies. Google's RankBrain, an AI algorithm, is a great example of AI's massive potential in SEO. It uses machine learning to comprehend and respond to a vast array of queries that Google hasn't seen before.

Consisting of a mix of automated tools and techniques, programmatic SEO becomes an aspired reality to strive towards in your quest for a better SEO strategy. These tools and techniques are potential weapons in your arsenal that you need to hone and wield in accordance with your SEO goals.

💡You may want to use: SEOmator’s AI SEO Assistant


Programmatic SEO is a cutting-edge approach that is reforming the usual SEO practices by adding the power of automation. It is a game-changer for businesses, especially e-commerce and publishers that have extensive product catalogs and broad topic coverage. 

Instead of arduously crafting content and performing repetitive tasks, programmatic SEO enables SEO experts to scale their efforts and target a broad array of keywords, thus paving the way for a significant boost in organic traffic.

Programmatic SEO allows SEO experts to generate content swiftly and accurately by automating tasks like keyword research, content generation, and on-page SEO. 

Yet it is worth remembering that automation, while highly efficient, requires a certain degree of control and monitoring to avoid undesirable results.

In conclusion, think of programmatic SEO as a treasure map – It gives you decisive clues, guides you along challenging paths, and leads you towards your SEO treasure. 

What matters most are the adventures, the resilience, and the knowledge you gain along the way!

💡Related Articles:

- Why Is Your Website Not Showing Up on Google? How to Troubleshoot it?

- How to Search Keywords on a Website

- What are Rich Snippets: Understanding SEO-Rich Snippets