You want to scale up a concept with programmatic SEO. Perhaps it's purely to build a high-traffic site and earn ad revenue. Or perhaps you're trying to generate incremental organic SEO traffic at scale using proprietary data and digital sawdust?
In the new world of generative AI, we're facing an upcoming deluge of content. Programmatic with generative text and imagery will unseat boring old sites. There will be a new baseline of quality. Mediocre is now easy. New insights and new data unseen on the web will reign supreme. This will make humans ideas, writing, ideas, and concepting more valuable than ever.
High fashion and trends will be more creative and interesting as AI will allow for any sort of new trend to be instantly proliferated and geo-adjusted for the local culture and manufacturing supply chain.
Business data will be easier than ever to digest. Annual reports will be analyzed by AI in seconds. HFT bros will fight AI bros for the best trading strategies to generate alpha and build AI-powered alpha generating machines.
Threads, Twitter, Tik Tok, Meta will continue to be shaped be AI. Elon has shut down the scrapers, he may see a future where AI means that walled gardens are ever more valuable. Word and news events will spread like wildfire even faster than war zone drone footage currently is.
Satellite imagery will become ever more available, valuable and accessible than ever. Anyone can track their house in real time. There may be a future reality where we have Nest Cams in the sky on satellites. Soon we will need to add anti-satellite protection domes on our households – much like we do solar panels to protect against prying eyes. It's a natural evolution from the Ring cam.
Anyways, I say all that to lay the groundwork for how generative AI will transform much of the content on the internet. So these programmatic SEO concepts below will open up new worlds and shifts in the industry. On the internet, the winners win at such a more dominant scale. So we recommend deploying to a niche and a strategy that agrees with your timeline. If you have $10 million and just until the next funding round to show massive growth, your strategy will be fundamentally different from a marketing team deploying $1 million over the next 4 quarter to achieve objectives. And fundamentally different from the team deploying $100,000 to catch up to a competitor in an internet-centric business model within 6 months.
Level 1 – Scaling up Simple Concepts
These examples use simple data sources to generate thousands of pages to answer simple queries. These sites use existing 3rd party and governmental data sets and APIs to provide the data for their sites. They may use some level of ad-libs content, human-written content, or AI-generated content on their pages.
These ideas are good for beginners and those trying to just get their feet wet in programmatic SEO. These often use simple data sources for simple search results, although a lot of them. As you can imagine, the easier to start these up, the easier they are to replicate, so there's less of a moat.
Oi! That is one bloody ugly site! But you know what, it fulfills a need and rakes in 250,000 visitors from SEO a month (perhaps up to 1-2 million). And we'd estimate a few thousand in beer money a month from ads.
Wow that design is horrible, but they are winning.
Level 2 – Scaling up Combinations
Level 2 programmatic SEO sites combine multiple data sources to generate new combinations of data and give a complete picture.
DataUSA.io from Datawheel and Deloitte Digital is fascinating. It's super useful, cool, but what I can tell it's a demo for Deloitte, showing their prospects what they could do?
No advertising, no CTAs, purely informational points to it being purely a selling tool.
It aggregates tons of demographic and political data for cities, and aggregates the data on geo pages with a good UI. I really like this site and aspire to build something similar inspired by their framework one day!
Level 3 – Software, SaaS, Financial Trackers, Marketplaces, and Aggregators
At level 3, these companies turn their valuable proprietary data and/or sawdust and/or marketplace
Coinbase is interesting. Their main business model is their crypto trading platform. Their massive organic SEO traffic to crypto pricing landing pages is an amazing acquisition and retention channel, in a very high value, dynamic environment, but it's not the end all be all.
As such, it's strategies are at the cutting edge of implementation of SEO and product best practices, and they have done well to align product and SEO.
They are limited by the number of coin listings and the number of searches. So unlike some more infinite models seen later, they lack the UGC component that accelerates the compounding flywheel affect that is possible.
Its valuation is around $20 billion in July 2023, but that is no being primarily driven from programmatic SEO content.
Would Amazon exist just fine without Google search or any other search engine? Yea they could actually. They could survive off of brand awareness, email marketing, word of mouth, social networks, and paid ads just fine. But also optimizing their millions of page at scale is also. Amazon does actually transcend multiple levels here, as they also allow sellers to set up and sell pages at scale, thereby removing additional work for Amazon employees to do. Case in point, some of the highest-ranking sellers on Amazon manage their own Amazon SEO, Google SEO, and sponsored ads to drive users to their own product pages, of which Amazon gets a cut. So automatically, new pages are being added and removed at scale, decoupled from Amazon hiring new employees or not.
As a web OG, Ebay built and owns the online auction space. Amazon tried to compete on auction and shut it down. Ebay has won, so far. The beauty of this model is that users add and remove auctions with no additional work needed by Ebay, just like Amazon. Ebay is a platform and aggregates the majority of auction demand. Users also optimize their own profiles, as they are incentivized to, and Ebay gets the cut. Would Ebay still exist without programmatic SEO? Yes.
Level 4 – Programmatic UGC Content is the Main Business Model
What if you could create thousands of new, trending, evergreen, landing pages on a daily basis from your users themselves?
Pinterest is perhaps the best example that almost has the same scale as Google. They have millions of passionate users who are building out landing pages on a daily basis for Pinterest, who dominates search and image results in Google, leading to a close to $20 billion valuation as of July 2023. It's interesting to compare Pinterest vs Coinbase in this regard, as they have similar valuations. When it comes to programmatic SEO, Pinterest uses it as a core driver of their business model, and it is more complex than Coinbase's in a way. Coinbase's moat isn't in it's content as much as it is in it's proprietary Crypto technology, exchange, and apps.
Would Pinterest still exist without programmatic SEO? Yes, to a great degree, however, SEO is a massive component of their traffic, at 24%.
Pinterest gets more than double the share of its traffic from organic search than Twitter, for example.
Twitter, a classic example of a social network, where it entirely exists because of its users.
Recently Twitter has begun blocking crawlers from it's content in July 2023. The jury is out if this is a permanent change, if so Twitter will completely kneecap itself from Google organic SEO traffic, and thus no longer have any programmatic SEO value. Will Musk change course? We shall see.
Tik Tok has recently got really good at SEO. They've exposed much of their content to Google search results, and I've personally found them ranking well for some searches.
Obviously social networks derive most of their value from users just being inside their walled garden. Savvy social networks may choose to release the data and allow it all to be fully indexed in Google, like Tik Tok, Pinterest, and formerly Twitter did. It may be a temporary strategy to open the attack surface area and acquire as many users as possible, before closing up again. I could see Tik Tok closing at some point, although if they don't make all their own decisions, they may have alternative purposes and funding compared to traditional social media.
Level 5 – Programmatically AI Generated Synthetic Content
Like Tesla's autonomous driving goal of getting to full self-driving, deemed level 5, I imagine level 5 programmatic SEO being the highest level, akin to Google itself.
Google is one of the most valuable companies because it has created complex algorithms using ML, NLP, LLMs, and AI to produce the best search results.
With the help of human architecting and reinforcement and fine-tuning, Google has unleashed the infinitely scalable algorithm that generates millions of search results per day. They are only limited by the number of searches humans are doing per day (robots too now) and their own physical data centers.
Will OpenAI find some way to release all of their knowledge on the web at once and become an alternative source to Google?
Will OpenAI generated unlimited synthetic content on their own?
This is the bleeding edge of tech, so we don't know how this plays out yet.
Last Updated on July 10, 2023 by Joe