Get Started with Programmatic SEO: A Beginner’s Guide to Get Your Mind Right

Today you’re going to learn how to begin with programmatic SEO. This guide will show you how to get your brain situated. I’ll provide a few examples that you can use to get started.

This is for non-nerds like me who don’t know how to develop or program. All you need to know how to do is publish articles and do some keyword research. This system is perfect for those types of people.

So, I’m saying that you need to shift your thinking from simply publishing articles on a niche site to creating a site full of great, programmatically created content.

I will not discuss hosting, installing WordPress, themes, or additional plugins because I assume you have already figured that out and have your own system.

The theme you use for your sites is important; if it’s not GeneratePress, you’re missing out. But that’s neither here nor there.

So, check it out.

Mindset

Again, this is not your typical content site. You’re not writing one or two articles a day. You’re not trying to get 15-20 articles published per month. Or outsourcing for 2 cents per word.

If you’re looking to create a large amount of content all at once- we’re talking 500 posts or pages, 1,000, 2,000, 33,000 (like me!)- then keep reading.

This is more for people who want to do a lot quicker rather than those who want to dive deep and write a lot of detailed content. For example, if you’re writing about pet food, you’ll need to include all the details about what kind of food dogs need to eat (e.g., German Shepherds need eight pounds of meat per day). If you have to write all that out anyway, you might as well write the article at that point.

This is more for if you have key data points and want to build around them.

There’s no need to put a lot of effort into keyword research. Instead, focus on coming up with content ideas.

Additionally, keyword extrapolation is making assumptions based on educated guesses. For example, if you see that a certain keyword is getting a lot of searches in one area, you can assume that people are also interested in other locations with a ratio based on population.

For example, “Kansas City butcher” gets an estimated search volume of 880 per month, according to Semrush. Given that the metro population of Kansas City is about 2.2 million, one could assume that “Sioux Falls butcher” (metro population of around 280k). However, it shows zero searches on Semrush, would probably get about 90 searches per month.

This way, your website will show up when people search for “butcher,” and they’re located in Sioux Falls, Kansas City, or any other city. You don’t need to spend time sitting there and entering all the different variations.

Don’t hope to rank for a few keywords by writing just 75 posts. Produce 10,000 posts instead. Even if only a fraction of them rank well, you’ll get traffic from sheer volume.

If you’re starting from scratch, I would recommend a new website. If this is your first time venturing into this territory, then don’t try to publish on an existing site. You might mess things up; trust me, I know from experience.

It only costs fifteen dollars for a new domain name. And in about a week, you could have everything set up and running. That’s practically the amount of effort it would take to write just five articles! With this system, you could easily create fifty thousand posts.

It’s one of those things, especially when you’re getting started. And this is how it works: I went through the same thing. You’re going to have iterations as far as your content goes.

The first programmatic project I ever published was terrible, but it still got traffic because it’s a volume play. But I look at that and think, “I’m not proud of what I published.” I just wanted to learn, and the thing with SEO is that you can’t learn in an isolated environment – you have to get out there and publish so that search engines can do their job.

If I wanted to, I could take the data from one site and use it to improve another. For example, after publishing a post on one site, instead of going back and editing it, I could create an entirely new post on another site with the improvements I thought of later.

So, instead of only making changes to my current website, I can register an entirely new domain name and create an altogether different website. Essentially, this would pit the two websites against each other in search engine results. However, now I have two assets that I can use however I see fit.

Don’t expect your first attempt to be perfect; if you don’t think it’s bad after a month, you haven’t progressed.

Creating a website that you’re content with doesn’t happen overnight. It took me around five different versions before I arrived at a site I was pleased with. And even then, it’s an ongoing process of refinement and change.

The Only Plugin You Need

The only plugin you need to get started with importing data into WordPress is WP All Import. I know many software programs out there promise to make the process easier and more user-friendly, but they’re not necessary.

What Sort of Content Should You Make

We’re not developers, so we’re mostly creating static content. So you want to focus on stuff that’s evergreen and fast. You want stuff that can be created quickly. You don’t want to spend weeks on this because if it doesn’t do well, all that time would have been wasted.

When you focus on creating “evergreen” content, you can easily and quickly produce relevant articles regardless of the date. This type of content doesn’t have to be new – it could be a repurposed article with a fresh spin. You can also find inspiration from other sources, then improve upon what’s already been created (skyscraper approach).

Here are some of the ideas I’ll be discussing in more depth: digestible databases, product comparison sites, and big daddies (which I’m working on now).

More programmatic SEO examples can be found here.

Digestible Databases

This concept is about taking a massive amount of information and making it easy to read. For example, you can Google any hex code, and the search results will show you the color corresponding to that code.

Do a search for #FCA311, which is a beautiful shade of orange. If you take a look at any site that presents information about hex color codes, they include different shades and hues related to the main color, as well as tertiary colors that go well with it. Additionally, they list out the CMYK version of the hue and corresponding Pantones.

They’re not manually writing each article or page. They’re just retrieving the information from a database or spreadsheet.

Here’s another example: if you have access to a healthy spreadsheet of vehicle information, or if you want to scrape data from vehicles you know about, like the miles per gallon on a 2022 whatever, the weight, the seating capacity, and so forth— when people search for something like “how many miles per gallon can my 2003 Ford Explorer get?”

This is the information you need to know about ranking for pages on your website. You don’t have to rank for every page, but a few common and obscure ones will help boost your traffic significantly.

Some other examples of interesting website ideas could be about space stuff. For example, there are 500 stars out there, and they probably have names. If you could find a data set for that or compile it yourself, you could make a website about space stuff. Another idea would be to create a website to track all the satellites orbiting the Earth.

We want to be able to produce a lot of content quickly without spending weeks or even months on just a few pieces.

Product Comparison Sites

To create a successful product comparison site, you’ll want to include elements like charts and graphs that are easy for visitors to understand at a glance.

The website technical.city allows users to compare 4,000 different types of GPUs and CPUs side-by-side in an easy-to-read format.

You can see which is more powerful and which has less power. You can also see which part has high performance. All that information is readily available to you, so you don’t have to be a computer nerd to figure it out. The cool thing about this system is that it scales quickly with more products on your site.

Fortunately, it’s in the middle to bottom of the sales funnel because when people are close to choosing between two options and they can see that one is better, they’re more likely to make a purchase.

If you can show that your product is better than similar products on the market, you’ll probably make some sales.

Things like most electronics like speakers, monitors, keyboards, laptops, headphones, MIDI keyboards – all that music equipment – can be used and compared to user interfaces like audio interfaces or mounts.

Some examples of van life gear are portable batteries and fridges. This is the type of stuff that people in the van life community need for their builds. They want to know things like what’s the height and width of this fridge, will it fit my build? If you could gather this information and create posts based on it, you would be able to give your readers a lot of value.

Midi keyboard, close up and selective focus

Big Ol’ Sites

I’m currently on my fifth attempt at this project, and I’ve learned a lot along the way about how to best present data and build these types of websites. Even though they’re big projects, they can be pretty boring.

Imagine the same article grinding that you have to do right now, but on a much larger scale. You’re publishing 20-30 articles at a time, but with this method, you could be doing 40,000 pages at a time!

I’m going in without focusing on one particular niche. I aim to create great content that people will want to consume, regardless of the topic.

For example, alcoholdelivery.com. It’s a website where you can order alcohol for delivery to your door in virtually any city across the United States. They have landing pages for every city, with a few affiliate links included.

There’s no doubt they’re getting paid for their services – an estimated 30,000 visitors per month. Ready to purchase booze.

I’ve found that the keyword research tools are inaccurate for programmatic websites because you’re targeting any and all keywords, regardless of how many searches per month it gets.

Here’s an example: I created my first real programmatic website, and in the first 30 days, it got 330 clicks. But even better news? It still hasn’t shown up on any SEO tools. They’re estimated at getting 30,000 searches a month, so if they’re only showing that many, who knows how many they’re actually getting? They must be raking in serious numbers if I’m getting 330 with zero visibility.

👇🏾The first programmatic site I created’s stats in real time👇🏾
Go back to October 12th, 2022, to see the full stats.

It’s almost like a fortification. Your moat is that you’re able to create content at such volume that the only people who can compete with you are other people doing programmatic SEO or they’re just focused on your top-performing posts.

The tools they’re looking at are only showing pages for “alcohol delivery in New York City.” They don’t see the pages for Manhattan, Kansas, or Independence, Missouri, but those pages still get (let’s say) 20-30 clicks per month. You have 10,000 of those that are doing 30 clicks a month.

That’s it! Go make something happen.