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0x003 - Programmatic SEO 🛺

Hi, y’all! This is the third issue of unzip.dev, a newsletter dedicated to developer trends, where we unpack trending dev concepts. My name is Agam More, and I’m a developer generalist that loves learning & sharing. Join the ride and have fun!

Programmatic SEO

Who said you can’t program your way to the top of the SERP 😉

TL;DR:

  • Problem: Trying to target each query a user might search for in your site is too time-consuming to do manually.
  • Solution: Leverage code to generate landing pages at scale for long-tail keywords, which results in a lot of organic search traffic.
  • In Sum: Programmatic SEO is becoming a fundamental SEO strategy.
“Best” can be replaced with “Cheapest”; “Berlin” with “Austin”... and so on to generate many different landing pages.

How does it work? 💡

  1. Identify the combinations of keywords that might relate to your product or service niche.
    1. Think about a sentence, then modifiers you can replace, like a format string (e.g. title=f'{modifier} rental properties in {city}').
  2. Generate landing pages, one for each generated term (with different content, so the page will have a unique value for the visitor).
  3. Profit! get more organic inbound traffic from all those long-tail terms.

Use cases ✅

  • Your data could be used for SEO.
    • As a general rule, it is preferable that the data you use is either hard to acquire or hard to parse, so you will have less competition for those topics.
    • Creating the potential landing pages won’t require a lot of manual work.
  • You’re a Developer and you are aspiring to get into technical marketing. Programmatic SEO can be your way into the scene.

Why? 🤔

  • Increase # of incoming leads: Targeting long-tail keywords to expand the start of your funnel, which might not have been utilized otherwise.
  • Value creation: Generate new valuable content (landing pages) from existing unused data.
  • Coding is leverage: Leverage your coding skills to automate content creation, be more impactful for your business.

Why not? 🙅

  • Spam: You need to be careful you aren’t creating low-value content, Google will punish you if you generate content that is low quality.
    • Low quality programmatic landing pages can be seen as doorway pages, to mitigate, make sure the pages are unique and useful.
  • Labor-intensive use cases: If each keyword variation requires manual work, automating the creation of landing pages can be less viable.

Tools & players 🛠️

  • Webflow - A website builder, you can leverage its CMS capabilities to generate dynamic landing pages.
  • Keyword Research - Isn’t dev related, but here is a start if you want to get to know the SEO land:
  • SEO report - Use lighthouse to measure your SEO score, fix any issues that may arise.
🤠
My opinion: I was kind of shocked that there aren’t any products or specialized tools in this space. It is currently done manually, which means that there is an opportunity here. If you build something relevant, don’t forget to mention @unzip_dev when you do so I can share it!

Forecast 🧞

  • Market adoption: Programmatic SEO was utilized for a long time but was in the shadows up until recently, coming into the market's consciousness. I suspect to see more players leveraging programmatic SEO.
    • This will probably make Google enforce doorway pages more rigorously.
  • Emerging tooling: I still think that this concept is relatively under-utilized, there is a place for new tools to streamline this methodology. We will see newly-sprung products aiming to solve programmatic SEO needs for customers without such in-house skills.
  • Jobs: I think there will be a greater demand for developers doing marketing work in this space. On the flip side, we may see more marketers learning to code.

Who uses it? 🎡

  • Pinterest, Tripadvisor, Zapier, Airtable and many more...
  • We’ve all come to hate Grepper, but undoubtably their programmatic SEO strategy works (one of the top results in Google for “urlllib decode utf-8”).

Extra

  • For a more in-depth guide on how to do classic programmatic SEO, check this guide by @RiojaAlejandro.
  • Consider leveraging static site generation and CDNs to create fast-loading landing pages, most probably your landing pages won’t change that frequently, and if they do use Incremental Static Generation.
  • A very interesting twitter thread from @iannuttall about his experience and tips about Programmatic SEO for more than 1.2m visitors.

Thanks 🙏

I wanted to thank @TomGranot (the best DevRel I know), @AndyKatz (tons of insights about technical recruitment) for great insights on this issue.

EOF

(Where I tend to share unrelated things)


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