This Programmatic SEO Mistake Could Destroy Your Traffic

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I’ve heard this mistake numerous times. If you look up “programmatic SEO tutorial” on Youtube, you’ll come across this mistake. And it’s a mistake that could kill your traffic.

Programmatic SEO is not AI. Programmatic SEO can benefit from AI. Let’s explain

What Is Programmatic SEO?

Programmatic SEO is displaying information (like inventory) in a way that Google can index and show to users.

Think of a grocery store placing items in specific locations so shoppers can easily find them. It’s the same with websites.

For example, Yelp. They have lots of data grouped by cities. And each city gets their own landing page.

One way a user can find good restaurants near them is to go to Yelp’s landing page. Then search for restaurants. And then add the location of San Francisco. And then search. 4 clicks.

Another way, is to search on google “Yelp restaurants near me”. 1 click.

The second way takes way less typing and clicking.

This is programmatic SEO, and is good for the internet.

For more real world examples check out this article.

Programmatic SEO Is Not AI

It would be easy to use AI to generate lots of pages of content and say that’s “programmatic” SEO. It ain’t, friend.

You use ChatGPT to generate hundreds of pages of content targeted at certain keywords. And then you upload those pages, and pray to the Google gods they give you traffic.

Here’s the problem, that’s spam. And Google is already cracking down on websites giving poor user experiences. See Google’s Helpful Content Update.

Right now AI-generated content may give a little traffic boost. But experts believe SEO will change drastically as the internet is flooded with copycat content. Thought leadership and branding will grow in ranking weight over modern factors like keyword usage.

Google’s John Mueller, a leading voice in the SEO community, says “Programmatic SEO is often a fancy banner for spam”. Ouch.

So you can try and use AI spam to get higher rankings. And it may work in the short run. But over the long run Google will recognize sites that are giving poor user experience and punish their rankings.

How AI Can Help

But don’t be mistaken. AI can and is helping with programmatic SEO. The key is to focus on the user. Are you creating content for them? Or for an algorithm?

Kevin Kelly, one of the writers that launched Wired magazine, suggests treating AI as an intern and not a final editor. Use it to create outlines or rough drafts, and then add the uniquely-human skill of storytelling to finish it off.

Ultimately, programmatic SEO is a useful tool for gaining traffic if done correctly. Done incorrectly, and Google will slap the proverbial ruler on your proverbial wrist.

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