Producing high-quality long-form content for your website is unquestionably a terrific method for achieving high rankings on Google.

However, creating content at scale can turn out to be extremely tedious, costly, and resource-intensive. Programmatic SEO is one method for developing content that can have a significant impact on your search traffic.

In simpler terms, programmatic SEO is the technique of leveraging a database to mass-produce content for similarly structured long tail keywords.

Marketing Signal Lab will take a closer look at programmatic SEO, demonstrate it in practice, and teach you how to get started. No time for beating around the bushes, let’s get to it!

 

First Thing First, What is Programmatic SEO?

Programmatic SEO is a technique for creating a significant number of SEO-optimised web pages at once by leveraging existing datasheet and pre-programmed algorithms. The goal is to assist a website yield more traffic and revenue by creating relevant (often bottom-of-funnel) content that is readily accessible to potential customers—but at scale.

The datasheet comprises of two primary elements:

  • Head terms: High-volume competitive keywords, such as “SEO Malaysia”
  • Modifiers: Secondary terms that, when coupled with head terms, produce particular long-tail keywords (for example, SEO Malaysia for SMEs).

Programmatic SEO then employs page templates to generate several pages for each head term and modifier combination.

This table simplifies the concept by providing basic instances of how Head Terms, Modifiers, and Keyword Combinations can work together to skyrocket your website’s visibility and traffic.

Head Terms Modifiers Keyword Combinations
Healthy smoothies Green Green healthy smoothies
Low-calorie Low-calorie smoothies
Detox Detox smoothies
Outdoor furniture Rustic Rustic outdoor furniture
Patio Patio outdoor furniture
Weather-resistant Weather-resistant outdoor furniture
Mobile accessories Wireless Wireless mobile accessories
Bluetooth Bluetooth mobile accessories
Portable Portable mobile accessories

 

Regular SEO vs. Programmatic SEO – How These 2 Approaches Contrast

Enter the SEO arena: Both regular SEO and programmatic SEO are aiming for the same goal: more organic visitors.

Regular SEO is the meticulous chef, focused on high-quality content and the slow dance of creating landing pages based on certain keywords. It’s a masterpiece, but it takes time.

Now meet Programmatic SEO, the party’s speedster. It’s the dance off, with databases and templates used to quickly create many landing pages. Quick, efficient, and ready to top Google ranks.

Slow waltz or frenetic salsa: which SEO dance would you choose for your website?

Benefits of Programmatic SEO – How it Transforms Your Online Presence

 

1. Scalability

Programmatic SEO eliminates the need to manually create content for each long-tail keyword you wish to target. Instead, you create pages at a scale using the elements listed above.

This is a big advantage for anyone looking to swiftly develop a great deal of pages targeting long-tail keywords.

 

2. Search Visibility

Programmatic pages focus on low-volume, long-tail keywords. Although this method may appear counterintuitive, focusing on low-volume keywords often results in less competition.

As a result, you are more likely to score highly for your target keyword(s).

 

3. Increased Conversions

Because programmatic SEO entails producing an enormous number of pages, you’ll automatically broaden your reach and attract more visitors—the more traffic you have, the more conversions you can generate (assuming your conversion rate remains steady with traffic boost).

Furthermore, targeting specific long-tail keywords can attract quality, high-intent visitors (i.e., individuals who are already interested in the products/services you provide and are more likely to convert).

Long tail keywords like “Affordable SEO tools for beginners” may receive less search traffic than more SEO tools-related keywords, but this search clearly indicates that someone is in the purchase process.

 

Drawbacks of Programmatic SEO – The Bittersweet Truth

 

1. Indexing

Considering this approach produces thousands of pages, Google’s search crawlers may have difficulty indexing them all.

This is due to Google’s crawl budget, which specifies the number of web pages that search engine bots will explore within a given timeframe. A website’s crawl budget is often determined by the quantity of pages and its health (for example, the number of URL timeouts or server faults encountered).

As a result, a website with a large number of pages and errors will exhaust the crawl budget, sometimes leaving pages unindexed.

You can address this by setting up an XML Sitemap, backlinks, emphasising internal linking, and decreasing errors, which will help crawlers explore your website more easily.

 

2. Duplicate Content

Programmatic SEO reuses data across multiple web pages. Therefore, your material may appear similar on several sites.

Google values unique content. If two or more web pages contain similar information, Google may have difficulty determining the original source and which page to prioritise in ranking.

Consequently, all pages that contain the same information may face ranking challenges. Moreover, duplicate content depletes the crawling budget, potentially leaving other vital pages unindexed.

In other words, ensure your materials are unique. You can rewrite them manually or with AI-powered tools, whichever suits you best!

 

3. Keyword Cannibalisation

Using modifiers can help distinguish between keyword variations (e.g., skincare products for women, skincare products for men).

However, as with duplicate content, you run the danger of mistakenly targeting identical or nearly-identical keywords that meet the same goal across numerous sites.

Building different content for these search terms will result in keyword cannibalisation. This will confuse search crawlers as to which page to rank. As a consequence of this,  your pages may rank lower, and one variant may remain unindexed.

If the content pieces are identical or somewhat identical, it is advisable to combine them into a single source.

 

Putting Programmatic SEO Into Perspective Through Vivid Examples

Tripadvisor

Programmatic SEO Malaysia

(source: Tripadvisor)

Tripadvisor utilises programmatic SEO to display accommodations that are relevant to users’ search queries. The website’s keywords are based on the formula: <City Name> Hotel Deals.

The modifier determines the headline, map, and hotel deals on each page.

 

Zapier

Programmatic SEO Malaysia

(source: Zapier)

Zapier relies on programmatic SEO to create and rank pages for the integrations it provides. The platform targets keywords using the following formula: <App Name> Integrations.

<App Name> is the modifier, and Integrations is the head term.

Examples include:

  • Google Sheets Integrations
  • HubSpot Integrations
  • Landingi Integrations

Each Zapier page that targets the defined formula uses the same template and similar.

The only difference is that the copy and logo for each integration page are customised based on the modifier to match the users’ search queries and app name.

 

Payscale

(source: Payscale)

Payscale creates and ranks pages showing the average income for certain job titles. The website targets keywords with the formula: <Job Title> Salary.

Payscale, like Zapier, automatically modifies the copy based on the modifier to match the user’s search queries. For example:

  • Average Marketing Manager Salary
  • Average Digital Marketing Manager Salary
  • Average Social Media Marketing Manager Salary

However, wage data varies depending on the searched job title. Salary data can be obtained from publicly available databases.

 

Proven Programmatic SEO Strategies

Now that we’ve discussed what programmatic SEO is and shown a few scenarios, let’s look at the many methods you can implement with this tactic.

 

Community Forums – Reddit and Quora

Community forums such as Reddit and Quora are ideal for programmatic SEO.

Each topic page can be built automatically using an existing page template. Furthermore, content creation is not an issue because community members will continuously post.

Additionally, community pages frequently score high in the SERP.

They typically receive much higher levels of engagement than standard pages, and community members’ questions on a specific topic page can correspond to hot keywords.

As a result, community pages can rank at the top of the SERP and even in featured snippets.

(source: Quora)

 

Two-sided Marketplaces – Shopee and Lazada

(source: Shopee)

Two-sided marketplaces, such as Shopee, allow buyers and sellers to communicate through an intermediate platform.

Two-sided marketplace pages, like community websites, are readily established using the same framework. Sellers produce page content by listing their products, writing product descriptions, and including imagery. Buyers can also contribute by writing reviews.

Again, ranking for specific keywords occurs spontaneously. Users are able to locate your pages by searching for the products your sellers sell.

Lazada is another example here.

 

E-commerce Pages

(source: IKEA)

E-commerce pages work on the same idea as two-sided marketplaces. However, you will be responsible for creating content for each programmatic page (for example, product listings, descriptions, images, and so on) as well as ranking for keywords.

You may add a touch of uniqueness by allowing product reviews on your product pages.

 

 

Landing Pages

(source: Crocs)

Programmatic SEO in landing pages might take the shape of dynamic pages. A dynamic page can vary in some of its content (such as writing, CTAs, and graphics) while maintaining the same layout and structure.

Dynamic pages change their content based on user search queries. For example, the screenshot above is Croc’s landing page for the keyword: “Crocs for women”.

If people type “Crocs for children” instead, they will find the following:

(source: Crocs)

The headline has changed to fit the user’s search query, but the page layout remains unchanged.

 

From Zero to Scale: How to Get Started with Programmatic SEO in Malaysia

 

1. Keyword Research

Keyword research for your programmatic pages includes three crucial steps:

Identify the major topic your pages will address and discover your key terms.

Identify modifiers and related search terms for the specific topic.

Combine head terms with modifiers, and prioritise long-tail keywords.

Your head terms should be both general and specific. For example, if you’re in the travel or hospitality sector, the keyword ‘destination’ is rather broad.  Instead, use more specific search phrases, such as ‘travel accommodations’, or ‘Pulau Perhentian’.

The next step is to find your modifiers. These are intended to narrow down your main topic and help you rank for low-competition keywords.

There are two kinds of modifiers:

  • Primary modifiers: They split a category based on your head term (e.g., Luxury Accommodation, Tropical Beachside Resort, Lodging in [place].
  • Secondary modifiers specify your main phrase (for example, Budget Vacation Stay, Extended Stay Accommodations, or Book a Stay for [enter price].

Focus on long-tail keywords (three to five words). Despite their lower search volumes, they draw highly quality traffic. With numerous pages and focused keywords, you’ll draw an enormous amount of qualified traffic.

You can combine your head terms with primary and secondary modifiers to create phrases like Book a Budget Vacation Stay in Pulau Perhentian for [enter price].

 

2. Check Search Intent

Next, decide what type of content would be beneficial to buyers searching for these keywords. Examine the SERP for a couple of your ‘travel and accommodation’ keywords, and you’ll notice that many of the search results include similar information:

  • The ‘travel and accommodation’ score ranges from 0 to 100.
  • Comparisons with neighbouring regions or destinations.
  • Average rates for major services including lodging, food, and activities.

These data factors help us identify the type of information required to achieve the searcher’s goal.  Searchers want a convenient way to evaluate the ‘travel and accommodation’ offerings of different tourist destinations, as well as a breakdown of expenses across major categories.

 

3. Explore Relevant Data

The next step is to gather the data. There are three forms of data available to us:

  • Proprietary data is original information that is exclusive to you, your organisation, or your product. This is the most desirable data type since it allows you to supply information that no one else possesses.
  • Public data refers to data that is made accessible to the public and licensed for commercial usage. This is usually the easiest data to find, but it’s possible that other organisations are using it in a similar way.
  • Scraped data is data obtained from websites using web scraping techniques. This can be handy, but it may cause problems with copyright.

With your data sources, you may gather all of your desired data points in one location.

 

4. Build Your Pages

It’s time to bring your pages to life. While hiring a web developer would be helpful, we will provide a streamlined instance utilising Google Sheets as a basic database.

In the first tab, we will organise our keyword data for crafting page titles and URLs. The following tab contains our ‘travel and accommodation’ data.

Following our intent analysis, we aim to include three crucial bits of information on each page:

  1. The cost of accommodation
  2. Comparison to other destinations
  3. Cost breakdown by main categories.

In the third tab, we’ll create a formula that converts important data from various sheets into a simple page template.

P/S If you’re not well-versed in Google Sheets formula, relying on a ChatGPT prompt may come in handy.

This body copy effectively references data from the ‘travel and accommodation’ sheet, displaying the cost of accommodation, ranking it against other locations, and categorising the destination’s market pricing.

By adding more destinations to the list using a simple formula, new URLs, page names, and body copy are created effortlessly. Combining data sources with a uniform page template allows you to create a huge number of unique pages with only a few clicks.

It’s worth noting that the content generated here is on the ‘thin’ side, with duplicated text and non-original information. However, by incorporating unique data, creating useful imagery, and providing different written context, these pages have a better chance of providing value to readers and ranking for their intended keywords.

 

5. Time to Hit the Publish Button!

The final step is to publish your newly developed content on your website. Depending on the content management system you use, there are a few no-code tools that can assist with this process:

  • If you already use WordPress for your website, you should try WP All Import.
  • If you use Webflow CMS, create a Zapier integration to connect to your spreadsheet.
  • If you want to create a website directly from a spreadsheet, consider Softr.

Once configured, each of these tools will automatically create a new website page whenever a new row of data is entered into your spreadsheet.

 

6. Test the Site and Monitor for Improvements

Once everything is set up, make sure the site works on various browsers and devices. You want to ensure that everything, from the page content to the metadata, is properly formatted so that your site has the highest chance of ranking.

 

Bringing it All Together – What We’ve Learned About Programmatic SEO Malaysia

Programmatic SEO is not a magic wand for instant riches. It might even be difficult to manage enormous amounts of data and pages. If you want your content to climb the rankings and truly make an impact, you’ll need a wealth of engaging, relevant data. (Bonus points if you have ninja-level web development talents!)

However, when you combine those “scalable” keywords with some fantastic data, it becomes a powerhouse. With a few clever strategies, you can generate thousands, if not millions, of pageviews from a single, well-crafted page design. That’s not just cool; it’s virtually magical!



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