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When I think SEO I think of two varieties.  One is content first - basically producing medium to long form content around SEO that is informational and topically related to what your target audience wants to learn.  Think Hubspot or Intercom.  This is what most of the content is written about in the SEO world.  The other is large-scale programatic SEO, typically focused around scalably creating landing pages that rank for transactional intent.

In this series of posts, we're going to drill down and give a no-BS, step by step process about how to do the more programatic sort of SEO.  Most of this variety you'll see in consumer facing aggregators like Tripadvisor, Yelp, and Bankrate, but it's also pretty common in E-Commerce and there are a couple B2B examples such as Software Advice.

This variety of SEO is much less about producing long-form authoritative content that educates and builds brand, but rather about creating high volumes unique, user-friendly landing pages targeted at transactional terms.

Here's what we'll cover in this series.

Part 1 - Large scale keyword research

How do to keyword research at scale, and use that to guide your landing page creation.

Part 2 - Competitive analysis

No, this isn't the same rehashed crap showing you how to use Ahrefs or SEMRush.  In fact it has nothing to do with link profile at all.

This is about using data to determine who the big players are and to discover the whitespace in your vertical.

Part 3 - Creating landing pages at scale

Here we'll dive into how to create a landing page for each searcher intent.

Part 4 - Building links

It's not so easy to build links to your money pages in programatic SEO.  This is how you get around that.

Part 5 - Dealing with inventory: the technical issues you need to watch out for

In B2B SaaS you can get a long way with a simple wordpress theme.  With programatic SEO, there are a number of things to watch out for, technically speaking.

  • LC

    Luiz Centenaro

    2 months ago #

    "Yes Rand Fishkin, we know the Adwords tool doesn’t give accurate data, but we don’t need accurate. What we need is directional data that we can use for comparison." Hahah, I'll have to check out Keyword Keg.

    Thanks for sharing this brilliant programmatic strategy to SEO.

  • ML

    Mark Lindquist

    2 months ago #

    Wow, this is really interesting. I feel like SEO is making its way more and more towards being heavily data/analysis-backed, rather than 'do some keyword research and go'. Look forward to part 2!

    • MM

      Marcus Meissner

      2 months ago #

      Thanks for reading! My view is more that it has always been data driven, but much of the content written isn't by the folks doing that sort of work.

      • CD

        Charmy Dean

        about 2 months ago #

        So you suggest we find content writers with sector specific knowledge and not just any writer.

      • MM

        Marcus Meissner

        about 2 months ago #

        Charmy - While I think that's generally a good idea, what I was trying to say was as follows. Most people writing about SEO are consultants or people who sell SEO products. Those business models tend to fall into the realm of longform content to build brand & capture leads.

        Programatic SEO is much different, and mostly applicable to consumer facing businesses like Thumbtack, Tripadvisor and Pinterest. But what person who has practical experience there has an incentive to produce large amounts of content about the matter? Very few. In fact, most have a perverse incentive as revealing their methods could give clues to competitors.

        Hopefully we can change that with the content we publish on our blog.

  • JD

    Janelle de Weerd

    about 2 months ago #

    Wow, great post - very valuable! I'm looking forward to the next post already. Quite the cliffhanger ^^

  • JH

    Jake Hill

    2 months ago #

    Thanks for sharing such a well-schemed keyword search strategy. Looking forward to hearing more about building links to transactional pages. Personally, I think that's the toughest part of SEO to get right.

  • MS

    Martijn Scheijbeler

    2 months ago #

    Ha this a great post, finally some more people are talking about scaling keyword research. There is still so much more work to do. I'd also recommend putting all the modifier combinations into the suggesting tools of all the search engines so you can find even more long tail variants of what you're already going after. In the end that usually expanded my list with another xx% over time.

    • MM

      Marcus Meissner

      about 2 months ago #

      Totally agree - you can take keyword research really far and this article was more meant as an introduction rather than a step by step guide.

      Do you programmatically put variations into the suggestion tools?

  • NT

    Naina Tiwari

    about 2 months ago #

    Good Post, Sounds good about programatic seo .Looking forward to more on keyword research at scale.

  • ZH

    Zhen Henry

    about 2 months ago #

    I am very serious about SEO. This post is really informative for me. Thanks.

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