How To Find The Best Keywords For Programmatic SEO

How To Find The Best Keywords For Programmatic SEO

How to do Keyword Research for Programmatic SEO

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:

  • The difference between programmatic SEO and traditional SEO.
  • How to find keywords for programmatic SEO
  • How to differentiate between good and bad keywords
  • The keyword research tools you should consider
  • The step by step approach to perform keyword research.

Note: Want to invest in a programmatic SEO software? SEOmatic provides all the features you need to help you to 10x traffic on your website.


  • Prioritize low competition, long-tail keywords with low search volumes in programmatic SEO.
  • Your keyword strategy should include head terms (broader, high search volume keywords) and modifiers (more specific additions).
  • Discover your keywords either by brainstorming relevant terms or conducting a detailed competitor analysis.
  • Choose optimal keywords that have low difficulty, receive at least 10 monthly searches, can generate 100+ variations, and are currently associated with low-quality content.
  • Leverage tools like Ubersuggest, Ahref, and Semrush for comprehensive keyword research and analysis.
  • Your research process should involve identifying terms, finding relevant modifiers, filtering by volume and difficulty, analyzing search intent, and refining your keyword list.
  • Once your research is done, use your keywords to develop well-crafted landing pages loaded with valuable content.

Traditional Keyword Research Vs Programmatic SEO Keyword Research- What’s the Difference?

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.

How to Find Suitable Keywords for Programmatic SEO

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:

  • Onboarding software for SaaS
  • Onboarding software for staffing agencies
  • Onboarding software for accountants.

So, how do you find your head terms and modifiers using keyword research?

There are two approaches:

  1. Generic keyword research
  2. Competitor analysis

Generic Keyword Research

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:

  • Social media marketing
  • Attract clients
  • Blogging
  • Email marketing

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…

  • Keyword difficulty should be low.
  • Long tail keywords should have at least 10 monthly search volumes.
  • Head term should be able to create at least 100 modifiers.
  • Content ranking for the long tail keywords is low-quality and you can do better.

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.

Competitor Analysis

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

Good vs Bad Keywords: How to Differentiate


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.

  • A head term that can create at least 100 modifiers is a good keyword and anything less is a bad keyword. Reason is, if the modifiers are too low, you won't be able to create enough landing pages to have topical authority and boost your domain authority.
  • Check the SEO difficulty or keyword difficulty (KD) of the keyword. KD is simply how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. It is determined by the domain authority, page authority, and backlinks of the ranking pages. Difficulty scores vary from one keyword research tool to another. Here are the score ranges in Ahref. Keywords between hard and super hard are bad keywords because they're almost impossible to rank for. The easy and medium KDs are the good ones.
  • Determine the monthly search volume of the keyword from your keyword research tool. Too high or too low search volume is bad. A good keyword should have at least 10 monthly search volumes.
  • Perform a SERP analysis to determine the length of the pages ranking for the keywords. Truth is, if the content in the ranking pages is long-form, it will be difficult for you to outrank them. For a keyword to be good, the ranking pages should have thin content pieces. Usually within a word count range of 200-500.
  • The long tail keywords should have transactional and commercial intent to be a good fit. This is because keywords with transactional and commercial intent are suitable for landing pages as they're expected to have short and straightforward content.

Now you might wonder which keyword research tool you should use.

Here are…

3 Keyword Research Tools You Should Consider

They are:

  • Ubersuggest
  • Ahref
  • Semrush

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.

Keyword Research in Action

Step 1: Brainstorm your head terms.

For instance, if you offer travel services, some head terms that characterize your services are:

  • Vacation
  • Tour
  • Summer holiday
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Tourism
  • Travel insurance
  • Car rentals
  • Hotels

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.

After Keyword Research, What Next?

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.


👨‍💻 Took my first leap into SEOmatic.ai today.

🖊️ It was simple to use & generated 75 pieces of unique content using keywords + some prewritten exerts.

⏳Total time cost for research & publishing was ≈ 3h (Instead of ≈12h)



Founder, Salespitch

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