Programmatic SEO For SaaS: How To Do It The Right Way

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July 2, 2024
Programmatic SEO For SaaS: How To Do It The Right Way

Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Programmatic SEO is an automated way of doing SEO.
  • Brands like Zapier successfully used pSEO to boost monthly traffic by almost 300%.
  • Programmatic SEO emphasizes relevance, depth, and scalability.
  • The combination of programmatic SEO with advanced AI tools results in more effective optimization and results.

Do you know why your B2B SaaS business is different from the B2C brands out there?

You have a narrower target audience!

While a single B2C company like McDonald’s could have as many as a hundred million potential buyers, SaaS companies struggle with just a few million—sometimes even a few thousand.

Worse still, you’re only able to connect with a fraction of these figures despite maxing your in-house enterprise SaaS SEO strategies out. 

And this is all thanks to search engines’ ever-changing algorithms, the complexity of SaaS buyers, and existing market competition.

But what if you could reach and connect with more than a hundred percent of your already narrow audience?

Programmatic SEO makes it all possible. And I will show you how, with examples, in this article.

What Is Programmatic SEO?

Programmatic SEO, otherwise known as pSEO, is a marketing and content strategy, that involves automating the creation of hundreds or thousands of pages, each tailored to a specific query or keyword.

Let’s break it down into two scenarios. 

The problem:

  • Assume you provide SaaS CRM software for companies, and your primary keyword is “CRM software.”
  • When people search for CRM software, they include different modifiers E.g. CRM software for marketing teams, CRM software for sales teams, CRM software for finance teams, CRM software for HRs, etc.
  • The traditional SEO approach is to stuff all these keyword variations into a single product page for the CRM software.
  • However, that makes targeted ranking impossible. It’s more or less like trying to stuff McDonald’s largest-sized burger in your mouth at once—you’re going to waste a lot or throw up everything.

Where Programmatic SEO comes in:

  • Each “keyword + modifier” gets a different page that’s tailored with appropriate content for the title despite marketing the same product.
  • For example, “CRM software for marketing teams” has a dedicated page, and “CRM software for sales teams” has its own page. The same thing happens to other variations.
  • So, when someone searches for “CRM software for sales team”, they get a page exactly tailored to that, not a generic page containing all the search terms.

But that’s not all. Programmatic SEO uses automation tools to create hundreds and thousands of pages needed in seconds, each targeting a long-tail keyword (keyword + modifier). This makes it much more efficient and scalable to a large extent compared to the traditional and manual way of doing SEO.

How Did Programmatic SEO Become So Popular

Programmatic SEO is not a newly invented wheel—it has existed for years and has been the secret weapon of some brands like G2 and BeginDot. However, we can also agree that pSEO gained more ground than ever before in 2024 due to the rapid adoption of automation in our day-to-day SaaS marketing.

Zapier, an automation platform, is also one of the early pioneers of pSEO in the last few years. Prior to implementing pSEO, the brand had only around a few hundred thousand in monthly traffic, sometimes less. This was largely attributed to a single reason: Zapier’s primary keyword had a low search volume.

“Automation platform” has only about 390 monthly search volumes, which is incomparably low compared to the millions of target customers the company had in mind. Zapier knew it had to stop focusing on generic primary keywords that don’t bring in traffic and focus mainly on demand-generation tactics.

This involves finding the questions people are actually asking and creating relevant information about them. In this case, Zapier’s target customers had issues with app integration, and most had no idea Zapier was a solution they could use because the company branded itself simply as an automation platform.

So, Zapier switched its context and chose “Integrations” as the primary keyphrase or seed keyword. Leveraging the wide hub of integration services it provides—over 6000, implementing programmatic SEO became much easier.

Over the years, Zapier has launched thousands of integration pages, each with thousands of search volumes compared to “automation platform.” For instance, “Slack integrations” has over 1,000 monthly visitors.

Using this method, Zapier has managed to grow its website’s organic traffic up to almost 2.3 million monthly visitors, down from 3 million recently. A 300% increase from before implementing pSEO.

SaaS companies are not the only ones using programmatic SEO. The likes of Begindot, a B2B software and product recommendation platform, use pSEO to create thousands of landing pages for seed phrases, such as:

  • Alternatives: {product name} + {seed phrase}. E.g. Hubspot alternatives, Trafee alternatives, Slack alternatives, etc.
  • Comparisons: {product 1 vs product 2} + comparison. E.g. Zoho CRM vs. Recruit CRM comparison.

Your seed phrase could also focus on integrations, similar to Zapier, or templates as used by Wrike—E.g. {JTBD} + templates = time management templates

Does Programmatic SEO Help SaaS Businesses?

The simple answer is Yes!

We’ve seen how Zapier used pSEO to attract more visitors to its website. And remember, more traffic means more leads. More leads mean more conversions for Zapier, and more conversions mean more sales.

So, a well-designed programmatic SEO helps to boost ROI directly and indirectly.

Besides that, creating a page with unique content for each query by your target audiences positions you as an authority with vast knowledge in the industry to the likes of Google—and even to your prospects.

It’s only a matter of time before your prospects start seeing you as a go-to resource hub because you have a working solution to almost everything.

Lastly, while pSEO primarily involves creating thousands of pages, you’re barely doing any writing, save the page’s introduction and a few touches. Most of the work is automated with your dataset, which I will discuss later.

That means you don’t need to hire a team of writers to get things done. In a nutshell, your cost per page is nearly insignificant.

Key Fundamentals Of Programmatic SEO For SaaS Businesses

Programmatic SEO is not rocket science, but it’s no magic either. You need to understand a few fundamentals to ensure this approach works. Let’s quickly go over them. 

Content Accuracy Is a Top Priority

Remember I mentioned something about automation handling most of your content except the introduction and some finishing touches? That is the real truth—for pSEO in all senses.

The good news is programmatic SEO pages don’t require many words. Usually, you focus on just the heading, subheadings, introduction, lists of features of each app if needed, clear call-to-action, and related triggers. 

However, don’t forget we’re dealing with the SaaS industry here. Your target audience consists of buyers who are decision makers, executives, and market leaders. So, you have to be careful of washing your pages with generically inaccurate content.

It has to be 100% data-backed and human-vetted. That’s why it's crucial you verify each page for data accuracy before it goes live.

If It’s Not Deep, It’s Not Valuable

I get it! pSEO pages are highly simplistic; after all, they are not the same as blog pages. So, there’s no way to add your world-intriguing copies. However, that doesn't mean you can just launch a thousand pages whose only distinct feature is a four-line intro and meta titles.

Google and other search engines will likely mark them as duplicate pages since each page contains almost the same thing as the next.

To avoid that, you must add depth by integrating customer reviews, testimonials, case study links, videos from companies, and social proof. Looks more human than AI and provides more information to your website visitors.

Pattern Must Be Scalable

Most importantly, you must be able to bulk-create these pages in hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands like Zapier did, without losing relevance and depth. 

This includes:

  • Using a primary keyword that can produce thousands of seed phrases.
  • Designing a feature-rich template that can be re-used in creating the pages needed.
  • Building multiple robust datasets to populate your pages with accuracy.

Begindot’s “alternative” keyword is an example of a scalable keyword. As long as the B2B industry exists, there will always be a “new” B2B product, and BeginDot can create a new alternative page for this.

It’s not scalable if you can’t:

  • Automate page creation in seconds.
  • Generate unique content for each page based on the available dataset.
  • Maintain content accuracy across all pages.

How To Create And Implement An Effective Programmatic SEO Strategy

If you create 5000+ pages through pSEO and each receives 200 monthly visits, you’ll get a total of 1 million visits. That’s how much value the programmatic B2B SaaS SEO strategy can bring to your SaaS business.

And here’s how to create one.

Create Your Seed Terms

A common mistake is using keyword research tools as a first line of generating seed terms. What you’ll get is a group of generic lists that are extremely tied to your business but might not necessarily be generating demand.

Zapier’s “automation platform” keyword is an example of that.

Alternatively, think of this:

  • What are my audience’s pain points?
  • What issues are they facing in their day-to-day business activities?
  • What questions are they asking online?
  • What words do they use when searching for solutions?

Use surveys to collect this information and use the result to form a holistic idea of your future seed phrase. Afterward, throw the primitive seed phrase into your keyword tool and analyze its search volume, difficulty, and other variations.

When validating your seed phrases, search volume doesn't really matter in the overall context. You should be looking at places like Google’s trend to see if that’s the latest thing on marketers’ radar or not.

You can also double-validate by creating variations for your preferred phrase, creating a few tens of pages for each variation, and letting them run for a few weeks to measure performance. This takes more time, though.

Alternatively, you can analyze your competitors’ seed phrases with a keyword tool, especially if they have successfully implemented programmatic SEO on their websites as well. See what they are targeting and what’s driving traffic for them.

Gather whatever you’ve gotten and add modifiers to create relevant variations.

For SaaS businesses, the format is always something around:

  • Comparisons: {product A} vs.{product B}. E.g. Zoho CRM vs. Recruit CRM.
  • Alternatives: {product} + alternatives. E.g. Hubspot alternatives.
  • How-to questions: how to calculate {metric} in {software}. E.g. How to calculate conversion rate on Salesforce CRM.
  • Integrations: {product} + integrations. E.g. Slack integration.

Design A Structured Landing Page Template

Templates form the backbone of your page designs. That’s what you will build your future pSEO pages on. So, it’s important you prioritize hierarchy and ensure there’s a robust structure in place starting from now.

Also note there are two ways to create a template—with existing CMS tools or a custom built-in solution.

I advise using CMS tools like Webflow. One, it is a no-code or low-code platform, which means you do little or no coding to build awesome hybrid landing page templates. Second, Webflow has thousands of existing dynamic page templates that you can easily customize and launch in seconds.

Things to consider when designing a template include:

  • Heading.
  • Subheading.
  • Software or product introduction.
  • Social proof, testimonials, and review sections.
  • CTAs
  • Related blog or software section.

You can always tailor the list to your needs.

Gather Data And Populate Pages

There are two main ways to gather data: using internal data or scrap from a third-party source. Both approaches are great, and you can even combine them for the best results.

Once you have your data, upload it to your CMS or custom-built solution. If you’re using Webflow, you can directly import datasets from any data management system with the aid of Zapier.

Alternatively, you can use AI-generated content to populate your pages. However, that’s not recommended with the likes of ChatGPT or perplexity due to their generic output. But you can combine specialized AI tools that are for writing with a human writer to produce genuine and highly accurate content for each page.

One page per seed phrase variation.

Create A Pillar Page And Start Linking

Now that you have thousands of pages dangling all around, you need to stitch them together through one point---A pillar page. This approach makes crawling easy for search engine bots and also creates a traffic funnel directly to the hub.

Also, interconnect each page to one another. There should be a hierarchical and well-structured tree between all the pages. At the same time, proactively canonicalize every page. If you don’t, search engines like Google will choose one as the original page and redirect traffic from the rest to it.

After launch, invest in SaaS link building and channel a number of quality backlinks to all the pages. That will boost their SEO score and trust, which is essential for good ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Find out more ways to boost search rankings and your SEO score in our SaaS SEO guidebook.

Index On Google And Other Search Engines

Pushing out thousands of pages, whether once or gradually, adds to your crawl rate and slows indexing. Sometimes, search engines might not even crawl your pages at all due to:

  • No sitemap.
  • Robot.txt blocking.
  • Redirect and/or 404 errors.

Whichever the case is, use the Google Analytics tool to see which pages are indexed or not. For those that are not, Google will tell you why.

First, fix them. Remove robot-txt where indicated and create sitemaps if they are absent. Properly redirect broken pages.

Sometimes, your pages might remain unindexed despite hitting no red bars. In this case, manually index them and wait for a day or two.

In order to reduce your crawl load, you can exclude irrelevant web pages from crawling or indexing.

Track And Update

Programmatic SEO is not a do-and-leave thing. You’ve got to:

  • Track your page performance.
  • See which pages are redundant.
  • The ones receiving the least traffic.
  • The ones that need improvement in one way or the other.
  • And the pages that are doing beautifully well.

This data will tell you what’s lacking in your strategy—which could just be a basic SEO oversight like meta tags, title or 404s. Also, analyze each metric you’re tracking and figure out ways to improve them.

7 Major Tools To Do Programmatic SEO

Programmatic SEO is 90% automated, and that’s why it is “programmatic.” Some of the tools you’ll need to pull a successful pSEO strategy off include:

Webflow: Low/No Code CMS

To design page templates, or create thousands of pages, any CMS will do. However, Webflow excels in helping users create custom databases, which you can use to populate your template’s data fields. Moreso, it is a no/low code platform, which means you can deploy all your pages even without a good knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Clay: Web Scraper

If you prefer to scrape data from third-party sites to populate your data sets before exporting them to Airtable or directly to Webflow, then Clay is a great option. The platform offers powerful data integration and manipulation capabilities, allowing users to pull in data from various sources, process it, and create automated workflows without needing extensive coding skills.

Zapier: Workflow Automation Platform

programmatic seo for saas with zapier

Zapier is a full-fledged workflow automation tool. But its main offering is the ability to integrate almost any software with another. You need it to connect your existing data and management systems like Airtable and Clay together. That makes it easy to transmit scraped data into Airtable’s database. Zapier can also link Airtable directly with Webflow to aid easy and direct export to the CMS

SEMrush: Keyword Research Tool

I used SEMrush quite a number of times in this article to analyze competitors’ seed phrases, check for search volumes of certain keywords, and pre-validate existing terms. Most importantly, SEMrush can help monitor your website’s traffic growth, analyze backlink profiles, and flesh out technical errors that could affect each page.

Jasper AI: Content Writing Tool

In case you prefer AI to populate your pages with content, specialized writing automation like Jasper make the cut. Unlike ChatGPT, Jasper is well-optimized and trained to provide brand-specific content based on prompts. It can also give content suggestions wherever necessary or rewrite your existing content.

Google Analytics: Performance And Analytics Tool

It’s essential to track each page’s performance, whether it’s indexed or not, and whether anything affects individual metrics. The best and most free option for this is the Google Analytics tool. GA can also show you new search queries people are using even before they get to SEO tools like SEMrush.

FAQ

What Are The Benefits Of Programmatic SEO?

Programmatic SEO helps you cover a wide range of search queries with individualized pages and ensures your website shows up. This search engine optimization strategy boosts search results, traffic generation and, in turn, lead generation. For a SaaS business, more leads mean more sales. SaaS SEO consultants and SEO agencies also implement this strategy to build a brand’s authority in the market, especially when dealing with a new startup.

How To Use AI In Programmatic SEO

Programmatic SEO deals with data. That’s what AIs know how to handle best. You can use AI programs to analyze these data and provide bias-free suggestions on how to use them. Certain artificial intelligence tools like Barden and Jasper also excel in content creation, a bit of internet scraping, and keyword research. 

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