Programmatic SEO: The Manual Layer

When working on programmatic SEO builds, you’re thinking about the data.

Where has that data come from? Have you scraped it yourself? You could also hire a data engineer or software engineer to gather the data programmatically for you.

Have you checked through the data? Does it need additional vetting and cleansing?

Chances are, it probably hasn’t.

Well, not properly or from an SEO point of view.

Even more than that, has it been extended?

Has anyone looked at holes in the data, and tried to work out if there are any pieces missing?

Sometimes there are some easy wins in a quick data update.


Updating your filters

Checking what filters you’re using, along with the actual filter values, is a great first step in the manual element of programmatic SEO.


Grouping your existing filters with a ‘translation’ layer

Some sites have significant numbers of values within some filters. These values could be extremely similar.

Rather than just using the data as it comes in, imagine a layer in between it, and the website.

Imagine modifying and/or grouping the data, to be more user/SEO friendly.

For real estate, you could have ‘units’, ‘apartments’, ‘condos’, ‘flats’, and ‘granny flats’.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense to have individually targeted pages for all of them, and instead, group apartments/condos and units/flats together.

Find out more about deciding what filters to optimise for, here.


Extending your categories & sub categories

Particularly with marketplaces & classifieds sites, are there any categories and subcategories, or other layers, that are missing from the data that you have content for?

Are consumers listings items that you currently don’t cover?

Have had a client before that had a classified site, and had pages for plenty of gaming consoles.

XBOX, XBOX ONE, Playstations, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, etc but they didn’t have the latest consoles listed.

Whilst they might have the overall product line page covered under the ‘Playstation’ page, they were missing the itemised pages of Playstation 4, and Playstation 5, missing out on some key targeting opportunities for the site.

They had all the category pages for when the site was launched, but nothing that had since popped up over the years the site had been around.

By adding these extra variables into the category set, they can instantly create these new pages and more efficiently target these terms.

Just by checking what the values are and what else is being listed on the site that might be getting missed by the current data set.

You can really get some compounding growth with the added categories. You might not have a heap of listings related to the new ones, but once you’re more effectively targeting them, you can start ranking. Once you start ranking, you’ll get more traffic for the categories, and chances are, you’ll get more people wanting to sell those items / offer those services too.

The missing categories could start a nice growth trajectory for you.


Improving your location data

Location data can often be missing key locations, or specific location tiers.

Looking at Australian location data, one key city is the Gold Coast.

However, this isn’t a city in many data sets. It might be under a region, and that level might not be getting integrated into the system.

If that’s the case, the entire location could be getting skipped from being targeted, leaving a giant gap in the strategy.


Upgrading your data

Your data may not be 100%. Some info might be missing.

A piece of content could suit a landing page perfectly, but maybe it’s missing a tag?

Maybe a product hasn’t been correctly categorised?

Or maybe there are some specs missing, and adding those specs could double the amount of content on product pages.

There are so many ways that you could be upgrading your data to improve your SEO.

See what gaps you can fill yourself, or build out a process and maybe even offshore the work.

You could have a team fill out the data for you, and as time goes on you’ll get more and more.


Creating custom pages

Just like my recommendation for tackling the lower value filters, you can create custom filter combo pages.

These pages involve the heavy manual element of mapping out all the rules, but there could be 10s, hundreds, or even thousands of pages you could be creating to fill in gaps in targeting, that a default filter couldn’t target alone.

Try and understand if there are gaps in your targeting for keywords that include multiple filters you’re already no optimising for.


The manual element could be key

There could be a manual element in your programmatic SEO build that you’re missing.

This manual element could be the key to success, by giving your build a point of difference.

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