Programmatic SEO and eCommerce: What are some best practices? 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to getting your website found and for you to take advantage of the phenomenal use of search engines as the starting point for most users’ journey on the web -- to find answers, to look for information, to compare product A with product B, to look for solutions, to find local stores or merchants, and also to buy. 

According to Panoramata and Oberlo, Google was visited at least 89.3 billion times in a single month. With a 91.9% market share among search engines and more than 8.5 billion searches conducted in a day, Google is where almost the entire planet starts to learn (about everything). 

If you are in business, there’s an increasing need for you to be found when a potential user starts searching for anything that your business does. 

This is where all of the effort you take for Search optimization meets user search intent -- if you do it right. 

For most web properties (blogs, business sites, eCommerce stores, online publications, and practically every single website), search engine optimization is a full-time job. But is also responsible for more than 80% of all visitor traffic. 

eCommerce Meets “Product Searches”

Just as it is with most things users search Google for, product searches are also a big part of the search bucket. More than 46% of specific product searches begin on the humble (but powerful) Google homepage. 

That’s where the sweet spot for eCommerce stores is (apart from all the other “long-tail”, content-driven search traffic that your eCommerce store can get). This is again in addition to local Google searches, Google Maps, branded paid ads, keyword-specific Google Ads, Google Shopping ads, and other Google search properties made available to you. 

But doing SEO is hard work -- endless days spent writing up authority content based on keywords is no joke. Content-driven SEO -- on top of Technical SEO -- is all about trying to make each piece of content as rich, informative, and as packed with value as possible so as to rank well enough on Google. 

Most full-fledged content-based publications -- let alone online stores -- barely try to make search optimization work for them. 

So, what can be done then? How can eCommerce stores and businesses try to appear for billions of searches conducted each day? 

While SEO is good, there are wee bit smarter ways to do it. Which leads us to Programmatic SEO. 

What is Programmatic SEO? 

Programmatic SEO is a method by which hundreds or thousands of pages with content created addressing simple, repeatable key phrases on Google. These keywords are almost always the “long tail” end of the curve (and not “too competitive”) keywords. 

The end goal is simple: try to use “the sheer collective volume” of all relevant long tail searches made up of thousands of related searches (a few ideas are mentioned below) to get traffic to your web properties. 

To achieve programmatic SEO,  a bit of technical wizardry is often included where you whip up targeted landing pages (or regular web pages) trying to do justice to the keyphrase or key phrase pair that’s being searched for. 

The key to programmatic SEO -- among other things -- is the sheer possibility of volume-based content available to “answer” tons of search queries often conducted regularly. 

Some examples of building landing pages based on keyword pairs include: 

  • Product Comparisons [Product X Vs Product Y] or [Product Category A Vs Product Category B
  • Cost of living in [ Name of City, Town, or Country
  • Best Hotels in [Name of Place
  • Best [Accessory name] for [Smartphone brand name
  • Top Places to Visit In [City, town, Country

…and so on. To meet the criteria to make programmatic SEO work, you’d need to validate your key phrases of key phrase pairs, each of these key phrases  should have sufficient volume, and you’d need a way to scale up effort (using technology and creative input). 

Programmatic SEO and eCommerce: How Does It Work? 

Programmatic SEO and eCommerce meet at the intersection of search intent and a plausible action that you’d like the search user to take. 

Where eCommerce brands are concerned, typically thousands of keywords work together to get long tail search working to send granular traffic to the many landing pages you’d create. 

Take, for example. 

Let’s assume you were looking for hotels to stay in Chicago, U.S. The search might lead you to this particular search result

Look closely and you’ll see that the landing page that you’ll arrive at, after clicking on the search result or SERP listing, you’ll land on the following page that’s purpose built to help you continue searching for hotels in Chicago. 

As a series of landing pages then, could target the following keyword pairs or keyword phrases which are as follows: 

[Primary modifier] [Keyword phrase] [Name of Place, City, Town, Country] 

So, could practically generate thousands of custom landing pages at scale for: 

  • Top Hotels in Seattle 
  • Cheapest Accomodation in Maldives 
  • Best Airbnb In California 
  • Safe accommodation [for solo female traveller(s)] -- an example of a secondary modifier in Hong Kong

Yelp, Tripadvisor, Zapier, Walmart, and Reddit -- some of the best businesses you know use Programmatic SEO in a similar fashion. 

How to Use Programmatic SEO for Your eCommerce Business? 

You’d obviously have to start with the industry you are in, search intent and a wealth of information about the keywords and keyword phrases people use to find your type of business. 

The primary task for you is to find some of the most searched keywords (long-tail) that you can use programmatic SEO for. 

Let’s assume that you are a Skincare eCommerce brand. Just off the top of our head, here’s how you could use patterns to form the basis for programmatic SEO with relevant keyword pairs. 

Best skincare products for [user’s main issue]

So, you could build pages -- with relevant content, information, and visuals to help -- at scale for: 

  • Best Skincare Products For Dry Skin 
  • Best Skincare Products For Oily Skin 
  • Best Skincare Products For Feet 
  • Best Skincare Products For Hands
  • Best Skincare Products For face 
  • …and so on. 

The actual landing pages can consist of  : 

  • Brand name, and a little about what the eCommerce brand does 
  • Continuation of tasks relevant to the intent-based search that a user does -- such as to search for hotels or home stays and land directly on a list of hotels (exactly what does). 
  • Buttons, pointing directly to an action that users can take. 
  • More information (displayed in a single column layout) or a two-column layout -- such as comparisons with other products, videos, and more. 
  • User generated content like customer reviews, and 
  • Related blog posts (also works great to add in some dynamic content for this landing page). 

To scale up the process, the content is added dynamically (using code, apps, or plugins) to the templated landing pages that you’ll first create. 

Do you plan to use programmatic SEO for your business? If yes, how would you align your eCommerce marketing strategy and performance goals with regular SEO or programmatic SEO? 

Reach out if you need help building this for your store - we're opening spots for programmatic SEO clients every two months.

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