Programmatic SEO for SaaS: Step-by-Step Implementation (2024)

SEO & Content Marketing
Last Updated: January 2, 2024 15 min
Justin Berg
Justin Berg

Founder of Rock The Rankings

Programmatic SEO, or pSEO for short, is arguably the most powerful product-led growth strategy in 2023.

With the introduction of AI onto the scene, as well as other powerful data scraping and enrichment tools, there’s never been a better time to leverage programmatic SEO than now.

For those unfamiliar – pSEO is a powerful method that addresses the growing amount of search traffic by publishing landing pages on a large scale.

This approach enables businesses to create a bunch of SEO-optimized web pages at once, using existing data and pre-programmed rules. 

Examples of pSEO within the SaaS space include:

  • Zapier’s integration pages that target {software} integrations and {software1} {software2} integrations
  • BirdEye’s business listing landing pages that target {company name} reviews as well as branded searches, simply {company name}
  • Wrike’s templates targetting category-specific templates by function {function} templates as well as more granular underneath each category {function JTBD} templates
  • Better Team’s job description pages targetting {job description} queries, with a clear CTA to post a job across 100 job boards in a matter of seconds.

In this article, we’ll dive into the topic of Programmatic SEO, and step-by-step how you can start to build and implement a pSEO strategy that compounds organic growth and drives real business impact.

Prefer to follow along by watching a video with a live example? Check out the video below 👇

Why There’s Never Been a Better Time for Programmatic SEO

Programmatic SEO is nothing new and has been around for years.

The reason it’s become a hot topic and many SaaS companies are jumping on the bandwagon to implement pSEO strategies is due to the access to new tools, including CMS platforms like WebFlow, and the wide availability of data scraping tools like Clay that help to build a pSEO solution at a minimal cost.

Only a few years back, you’d likely require an entire team of engineers, designers, and the like to properly build a working solution.

For example – we’re implementing a pSEO strategy with Simple Testimonial using a team of two, and no more than a few hundred dollars to scale a 10k+ page set to start that we have high expectations for when it comes to driving conversions in the coming months.

This is all thanks to the advancement of AI, crawling tools, and WebFlow which allows us to build and manage this with minimal time, and minimal cost.

Our Programmatic SEO Toolset

Here are the core tools we’re using in our tech stack to make our programmatic efforts happen:

  • WebFlow as our CMS
  • Clay for data scraping and enrichment
  • AirTable for housing data
  • Zapier for connecting AirTable to WebFlow

With the combination of these tools to start, that’s more than enough to get the job done in many cases.

For companies that can already support pSEO with their current CMS or custom-built solution, and have the existing data sets – it’s more a question on the strategy and execution side, vs. choosing the right tools.

Sure, there are use cases for pSEO where other tools will help to fill in the gaps when it comes to content and data scraping – depending on your use case.

But in the majority of cases, as well as for clients we’re working with – these are what we’re leveraging to get the job done.

In the case of enriching data with AI and machine learning, we’re testing and using a few other tools with great success in scaling large page sets that rank – but, we’ll save those findings for another article and discussion.

The Core Fundamentals of Effective Programmatic SEO

There are a few core fundamentals that programmatic SEO must adhere to for it to be effective, meaning actually driving compounding growth, and resulting in the desired users’ actions.

Before we dive into the step-by-step, I want to nail these few items down first.

Here are some key fundamentals to keep in mind when implementing programmatic SEO:

1. Content Accuracy & Relevancy

Content accuracy is crucial for effective programmatic SEO.

Programmatically created pages must provide accurate, useful, and up-to-date information to users.

Inaccurate content can lead to poor user experiences and can damage a site’s reputation, as well as degrade search rankings.

Zapier’s a good example of providing content accuracy with their integration pages:

Every single page displays relevant information about the different actions and triggers – which is exactly what the user wants and needs to know when landing on the page.

Does this integration solve my problem, and integrate and complete the actions I need to be completed?

Remember – we’re creating a large page set here – oftentimes tens or hundreds of thousands of pages – and if those pages are of low quality, this can certainly degrade the organic performance of other SEO-related efforts made in the past.

2. Content Depth

Programmatic pages should provide comprehensive information rather than just scratching the surface.

This is important for both search rankings, but also to ensure that users actually take action, or convert.

Content depth will also help to establish a site as an authority on a particular topic, which can lead to higher rankings in search results.

Birdeye’s business listing pages provide a deep dive into not only basic information about the business but also:

  • Business Description
  • Business Contact Details
  • Reviews collected across platforms, i.e. displaying all Google Reviews in full

This is an example of building content depth to the page.

This is where third-party data sources usually tend to come into play, which we’ll cover later on in this article.

The goal and idea is not just to write a few words, but rather to find a scalable pattern and way to create content depth that provides value.

Leading into our next core principle.

3. Scalable Patterns

You must be able to create landing pages at scale, without sacrificing quality or accuracy.

This requires the use of templates, automation, and other tools to streamline the process of creating landing pages.

We’re not creating these pages one-by-one, rather, we will:

  • Focus on using a singular template for a given page set
  • Focus on feeding in one or multiple datasets to populate the page, and refine and enhance the content and data as needed

Here’s a breakdown of some of Better Team’s top organic pages from their pSEO efforts around “{job type} job description”

If the pattern breaks, then it’s not scalable nor is it a good fit for this exercise.

4. Providing a High-Quality Experience

Finally, a high-quality user experience is essential for effective programmatic SEO.

I can give tons of pSEO page sets from SaaS companies that rank and drive traffic – but I’m more than certain they don’t convert – and a big reason for that is the overall page and user experience is poor.

  • Dated designs
  • Poor experience across devices
  • Lack of clear CTAs

Our page sets must be well-designed, easy to navigate, and provide a seamless experience for users.

This is always the case, regardless of the page, and the same goes for our pSEO content pages.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the step-by-step on getting going with your pSEO strategy.

Programmatic SEO Step-by-Step Setup & Execution

Step #1: Seed Phrase Ideation

The first step in building your programmatic SEO strategy is researching potential seed phrases to target.

Remember – pSEO should be scalable in nature, so we’re looking for terms based on a seed term where we can add modifiers to the end of the query:

Seed term + modifier

Where to start with ideating seed terms?

Ask yourself:

  • What are your potential customers searching for that is related to your product?

Common examples of seed phrases in the SaaS space include:

  • Integrations: {software 1} {software 2} integration – “ClickUp + Slack Integration”
  • Templates: {task} template – “OKR template”
  • How-to questions: how to calculate {metric} in {software} – “how to calculate employee overtime in Excel”
  • Competitor comparison: {product1} vs. {product2} – “PipeDrive vs. HubSpot”
  • Branded search: {company name} pitch deck or {company name} reviews etc.

These are only some of the more obvious, starter examples.

The deeper you can go, the better.

Think about what your customers would be searching for that map back to your product, and how you could leverage those searches in a pSEO fashion.

Wrike has created the perfect example of that, being a project management software by focusing on templates:

This works as follows:

  • User searches for a template type in Google – i.e. “action plan template”
  • User lands on Wrike’s landing page
  • User enters their email to access the template
  • User directly signs up for Wrike, and has access now to the template within Wrike’s solution

Powerful stuff.

Against popular advice, I’d actually recommend against starting by using popular keyword research tools – and put yourself in the shoes of your customer and try to brainstorm and ideate out potential head terms.

This will take some time – build a list, and then it’s time to think about validating those terms, which we’ll cover in this next step.

Step #2: Validating Your Seed Phrase

Before diving into the landing page structure for programmatic SEO, it’s crucial to validate your seed phrase.

To validate your seed phrase, and whether the juice is worth the squeeze:

  1. Competition Analysis & Difficult to Rank: Examine the SERP (search engine results page) for the head term and relevant modifiers. Look at your competitors’ websites, their backlinks, and the content they provide. Are you on the same level roughly when it comes to your overall link profile? Can you build out better content and serve a better user experience than competitors in the SERPs?
  2. Modifiers & Scalability: Identify primary and secondary modifiers that can be added to your head term. How many permutations can you make from your seed keyword? Realistically, you should be able to generate at least a few hundred to a thousand pages using your seed keyword.
  3. Google Trends: Analyze the Google Trends data of your chosen head term and its related modifiers. This step helps to ensure that your head term and its derivatives have a consistent and growing interest level among searchers.

We don’t talk about search volume in the context here of validation, as it’s a dated metric and generally, you won’t find any reliable data on searches per month.

If you have a deep understanding of your customer base and know what they’re searching for and what will bring value to them, you should rely on this for your initial seed phrase generation, compared to dated metrics such as search volume.

Additionally, these are some good questions to ask about your seed phrase to ensure its a good choice:

  • Can our seed phrase with the relevant modifier have hundreds to thousands of permutations?
  • Are we able to create pages that will provide value and answer search intent?
  • Are we able to rank for these keywords, and will these keywords result in the desired conversion action?

A good way to test the waters is to first release and index a smaller page set for a given seed phrase, give it some time to rank and drive traffic – see if there’s interest and conversion, and then scale the entire page set.

If you’re using an existing pSEO strategy where there are competitors in the SERPs, and you already know the demand is there, you can skip on down to start building ou the landing page and content you need to get this page set ranking and converting.

Step #3: Landing Page Template Creation

Creating your landing page structure should include building a page that is easy for search engines like Google to crawl and index, as well as that provides a great user experience as well as content depth and accuracy.

Depending on CMS you’re currently using, or if you’re custom-built the process for building-out landing pages will vary.

If you’re looking to go all-in on building out pSEO strategies for customer acquisition, WebFlow is hands down the best solution for accommodating all of your needs – from design to architecture:

The following items would make up a great pSEO landing page:

  • SEO Power Factors: Naturally hit on your seed keyword and modifier within the meta title, meta description and H1 of the page.
  • Breadcrumbs: Provide internal linking for search engines, as well as users to easily navigate the page structure
  • Headline + Value Prop: If you’re looking to drive an action
  • Social Proof: Include social proof elements on-page, including video testimonials and review
  • Heading Hierarchy: Build content around a clear, logical hierarchy including H1, H2s, H3s, etc.
  • Content Depth + Accuracy
  • CTAs: Both below, and above-the-fold
  • Rich Snippets

Again, your template is going to vary based on the use case – but these are some of the core factors your landing page should include.

Outside of the landing page itself, you’re going to want to build an architecture that supports internal linking, i.e. a “hub” page (or pages) where your pages can live and that helps search engines to crawl and index the content – as well as in many cases, to provide a great user experience for navigation purpose.

Step #4: Populate The Data

Populating your data is going to be highly dependent on the CMS, as well as what data sources you’re using – i.e., whether those are internal data sources you already have, or if you require scraping or third-party data to build out your page’s content sections.

We always highly recommend building on WebFlow, as there’s a clean way to go about importing and managing data sets.

If you’re sourcing data from a third party to build components of your pages, the process looks as follows:

  • Data sourcing and enrichment via a tool such as Clay
  • Data upload into a tool like AirTable
  • Connecting AirTable with Zapier, and then to WebFlow
  • Connecting your CMS collections and architecture within WebFlow to AirTable via Zapier

Additionally, AI-based content can be extremely effective for populating content on programmatic pages.

Don’t rely directly on ChatGPT for the output, as it’s generally poor – you’re going to want to use and leverage a trained language model where you can give it specific inputs, and get high-quality outputs to hit on high-grade content quality across your pages.

Step #5: Crawling & Indexing

Naturally, we’re talking about large page sets when it comes to programmatic SEO.

Expect it to take quite some time for all pages to get indexed, based on your existing crawl budget and how many pages you’re attempting to index.

Google Search Console will be your friend here when it comes to monitoring the performance of your pSEO datasets:

Search Console will allow you to monitor crawling and indexing performance, as well as keeping an eye out for issues that could arise when it comes to getting your pages actually listed in Google’s search results:

The crawling and indexing process can be improved by:

  • Manually submitting pages to Google Search Console for indexing, starting first with your hub page(s)
  • Building internal links and allowing for a clear crawl map to your hub page(s)
  • Linking to your hub page(s) from the header or footer of your site navigation
  • Building links to the hub page(s) to push down link value to all pages within the hub

If you have priority pages, i.e. pages where the assumpt that a certain grouping or pageset of your pages will perform better than others, it can make sesne to “drip” them for indexing, meaning:

  1. Push these pages live first
  2. Submit them for manual indexing via GSC
  3. Review GSC for them to be indexed
  4. Proceed on to pushing live the rest of your non-priority pages

This will ensure these pages get indexed first, versus getting pushed down the priority list when it comes to indexing and rankings.

Step #6: Refine

After you click publish, and push your page set live – the fun doesn’t stop just here.

pSEO efforts should be refined over time to ensure optimal performance when it comes to quality traffic and conversions.

  • A/B testing headlines and CTA placements
  • A/B testing titles and descriptions
  • Improvements around internal linking and navigation experience
  • Off-page SEO and link building to the programmatic pages

Depending on the data set size, within the first few weeks, to months you should have a better understanding of SERP placements and can start working and improving these page sets over time for further performance.

Final Thoughts

If you’re not capitalizing on Programmatic SEO, you’re missing out.

There’s generally a use case for almost every product, and there’s still tons of opportunity to drive high-quality traffic by leveraging the power of tools that weren’t previously available in the past years.

Programmatic SEO is now available to everyone, thanks to the tools we spoke about in this article, and will give you an upper hand in building a quality SEO strategy to outrank and outperform the competition.

Need help building and executing a winning programmatic SEO strategy? Rock The Rankings has worked with dozens of SaaS companies to build out winning pSEO strategies that scale quality traffic, and drive conversions. Book some time below to connect, and let’s see how we can work it into your customer acquisition strategy.

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