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Programmatic SEO isn't just designed to bring you tons of traffic. It can help you build topical authority and generate high-quality leads in a scalable way.
Therefore, to choose a suitable keyword for this purpose, you must perform keyword research.
This is to ensure that you can modify the keyword several times, it's not too competitive, and has a decent amount of search volume that'll bring in the required leads.
Hence, to increase your chances of succeeding in your programmatic SEO efforts, keyword research is an important first step.
So, how do you perform keyword research for programmatic SEO?
The rest of this article will teach you:
Even though traditional keyword research and Programmatic SEO research are similar, the focus is different.
In traditional keyword research, the focus is on finding high-search volume, low-competition keywords.
But in programmatic SEO keyword research, the focus is on finding low search volume, low competition keywords. Here are examples of how Programmatic SEO works. Such keywords are called long-tail keywords.
They often have low competition and are easy to rank. Also, they have highly specific search intent hence, searchers are likely to take profitable actions.
Even though these keywords individually do not have appreciable search volumes, targeting them for programmatic SEO makes sense.
This is because you can rank for many modifications of a keyword resulting in huge cumulative traffic. Besides the increased chances of gaining highly qualified leads.
Therefore, having foreknowledge of traditional keyword research doesn't guarantee that you can do keyword research for programmatic SEO successfully.
In programmatic SEO, keywords must have two parts: the head terms and the modifiers.
What are head terms?
They're broad keywords with high search volume. They're hard to rank for and are usually two words long.
What are modifiers?
They are words that add details to the head term to make it more specific.
A head term + a modifier gives you a long tail keyword.
An example of a head term is "onboarding Software". While that of a modifier is " for SaaS", "for staffing agencies", and "for accountants".
Together, they'll give you long tail keywords such as:
So, how do you find your head terms and modifiers using keyword research?
There are two approaches:
You can do this by first brainstorming the primary words that best describe the use cases of your product or services.
A digital marketing Agency would use words like:
The list can go on and on. However, not all the search terms you generate for your business are worth going after.
To know the ones to chase, use keyword research tools like Ahref and Ubersuggest to filter them.
Here are the criteria you should use to filter your keywords. The…
If your keyword fulfills these criteria, then you can create landing pages for them.
Note: Because keyword research tools aren't infallible, there's a possibility that the keywords won't perform as expected. Hence, you shouldn't be quick to churn thousands of landing pages even if the keywords fulfill the criteria above.
We recommend you create a few pages for your head term first, wait for a few weeks, analyze Google search console data, and proceed based on how well they're performing.
Just like in traditional SEO, you can analyze your competitor's pages to find keywords that are a good fit for programmatic SEO.
There are two ways to do this:
One, searching your competitor's pages that are indexed in Google search.
You can do this by typing—site:competitorwebsite.com + topic that you're researching.
An example is — site:NeilPatel.com Blogging
It'll return lots of pages with keywords related to blogging that Neil Patel is ranking for.
Two, using keyword research tools to find keywords your competitors are ranking for.
You can do this by running your competitor's website through your keyword research tool of choice.
Identify suitable head terms and ensure that they're a good fit.
In summary, identifying your head term is the hardest and most important part of your keyword research process. Hence, take your time to generate them as it will ensure a seamless process moving forward.
Need some inspiration? Check out these 50 programmatic SEO examples
As said in the keyword research section, not all the keywords you brainstorm or generate through competitor analysis are a good fit for programmatic SEO.
Here's how to differentiate between good and bad keywords.
Now you might wonder which keyword research tool you should use.
These tools are great for snooping on your competitors, discovering the keywords that they're ranking for, and checking their backlink profiles.
Ubersuggest is best for site owners who want to implement programmatic SEO on a small budget, while the other two (Ahref and Semrush) are better suited for professionals who manage large websites.
Step 1: Brainstorm your head terms.
For instance, if you offer travel services, some head terms that characterize your services are:
Step 2: Find your modifiers
While you have lots of head terms to choose from, you should only choose the one you can modify the most times even after filtering it by keyword difficulty and search volume.
Using Ubersuggest, the head term that meet this requirement among the list above is "summer holiday"
The keyword ideas for this head term runs up to 300+. With few high difficulty scores and search volume of 0.
Step 3: Filter by search volume and keyword difficulty.
Filter by the lowest search volume.
Note that as search volume increases, the difficulty score increases as well and vice-versa.
Select keywords that make sense for programmatic SEO from search volume above 10 and difficulty score below 30.
Then export the selected keyword to a CSV file.
Pro Tip: Notice that I typed "summer holiday in" instead of "summer holiday". This is to enable the keyword research tool to generate more specific keyword ideas. Adding "in'' helped me generate results that are specific to places rather than broad keywords like "what is summer holiday".
Play around with prepositions like "in", "for", "with", "vs" after the head terms. You can also use adjectives like "top" and "best", before the head terms.
Step 4: Filter them for search intent and content length.
For programmatic SEO, the type of keywords you should chase are commercial and transactional intent keywords.
You can easily identify keywords with commercial intent with modifiers like "best", "reviews", "top", and "x vs y".
While transactional intent has "buy", "coupon", "cheap", "and price".
To further validate the search intent of a keyword, check out the top 10 pages ranking for the keyword. The features of the content you find can tell the intent behind the search.
Product, service, and landing pages show commercial and transactional intent. Such pages are what you should compete against.
Step 5: Edit your spreadsheet.
Ensure that you fill your spreadsheet with only good keywords based on the criteria for filtering keywords for programmatic SEO.
Now, you should have a long list of long-tail keywords to create as many landing pages as you need to dominate the SERPs for the head term and generate leads.
Remember, this is only the first step. Execution is important to record results and avoid being penalized by Google.
Hence, before you create pages, ensure that your template has a good design and you have a spreadsheet of highly valuable information that solves your readers' problem.
And it’s easy to achieve that when you use SEOmatic to create those pages. You also enjoy the benefits of fast Google indexation and plagiarism-free content on all pages.