Search engine optimization can drive brand awareness and build credibility for your business among your target audience. But it's not secret that an effective SEO driven strategy requires considerable expertise, time and effort.
Wouldn't it be easier if you could instead, automate the bulk of SEO tasks to primarily focus on extracting results?
With the rapid ascension of artificial intelligence in content marketing, SEO automation might just be the answer to scaling your SEO strategy without the associated costs, and in a fraction of the time.
What you will learn
- How to automate SEO tasks like keyword research, content creation and keyword optimization to scale your SEO strategy
What is SEO automation?
SEO automation is the practice of using software to automate key tasks of an SEO workflow with the goal of improving a website's organic search rankings. This can include tasks such as keyword research, content creation, on-page optimization and SEO audits.
As your content marketing efforts increase, it would be nearly impossible to optimize each blog post manually.
Instead, SEO tools can help you automate tasks for these pages.
This could involve automating keyword research to identify relevant keywords for each product, automating on-page SEO to ensure each product page is optimized for its target keywords, and automating technical SEO audits to identify and fix issues that could impact search engine rankings.
Automating SEO tasks can be beneficial for a number of reasons, such as:
With the amount of content churned out today, especially with the rapid advent of AI writing tools, scale is essential to successful SEO performance. As a website grows, managing different SEO tasks manually can become increasingly challenging.
Several SEO tasks involve repetition that can be automated instead to significantly reduce the time spent on these tasks, allowing greater focus on more strategic aspects of SEO.
Research and Analysis
Automated tools can collect and analyze large amounts of data quickly, providing valuable insights for tasks such as keyword research or SEO reporting.
Automating tasks can help website owners adapt quickly and stay ahead of or on par with competitors with larger resources.
SEO automation can quicken repetitive tasks at scale, which would otherwise take a lot of time if done manually. This can allow you to focus on more strategic aspects of SEO, like keyword optimization and link acquisition, instead of drowning in Excel sheets and Kanban boards.
Automating SEO isn't new and businesses have likely been using automation with SEO tools to some extent in bits and pieces.
But partially using AI to automate the odd SEO task won't make a significant difference to your content workflow.
Instead, let's take a look at how you can use SEO automation tools across all stages of the search workflow, instead of just individual tasks.
How to automate SEO in X steps
We'll use the example of writing an article for a gardening blog post in our SEO workflow. We'll leverage AI for SEO tasks beginning from keyword research, all the way to writing and optimizing an article for search engines.
1. Use AI for keyword research
SEO performance is grounded in selecting the most realistic topics for your website.
Unfortunately, picking the right keywords for your website isn't as straightforward as choosing topics that your audience is interested in, and are relevant for your business.
You must consider keyword difficulty, search volume, potential traffic and the competition.
The most popular advice you will find is to look for search topics with low keyword difficulty and high search volume.
While this is definitely true, you can bet that your competitors are doing this, leaving very little room for such opportunities.
A more efficient approach to draw organic traffic is to create content hubs that signal your topical authority to search engines.
Here's how to automate keyword research to find relevant content ideas for your blog.
- Log into Surfer Keyword Research Tool
- Enter a broad keyword and select your target country
- Click Create Keyword Research
For example, let's say I have a website about gardening tools. I could pick a category like "shovels" but I want to go broader and use the search term, "gardening tools."
In a couple of seconds, Keyword Research suggests 146 keyword ideas for new blog posts on my gardening website.
Potentially, I now have 146 blog posts that I can write.
Depending on how you're using AI for SEO, that could be enough content for a couple of weeks, or months.
I'm going to start with the keyword "essential tools for gardening" at the buyer's informational stage according to Keyword Research tool.
Clicking on a cluster tile reveals additional keyword metrics like the monthly search volume, potential traffic and relative keyword difficulty for my domain.
In comparison, manual keyword research for an entire website can take weeks, and must be revisited often.
Not to mention taking off duplicates, and ensuring you're not mistakenly indulging in content cannibalization.
Surfer suggests semantically related keywords to help you boost topical authority, so you don't have to spend time analyzing which keywords to cluster together to form content hubs.
2. Automate content outlines
Creating content outlines can help you write blog posts faster, whether you're creating them yourself, or outsourcing content. They can also help ensure that your writers cover essential talking points and build a content layout that you approve of.
Click on the Create button once you've selected a keyword tile.
The tool take a few seconds to analyze the search intent and keywords for your topic using natural language processing models.
Click on the three dots menu and navigate to Open Content Editor.
Inside Content Editor, click on Insert outline (headings) if you'd rather write the article yourself instead of using Surfer AI to create a draft.
Surfer will analyze the top ranking pages for your search query to generate an outline that you can edit.
If you'd rather automate the SEO writing process, click on Generate an article.
You will be presented with several options to select from, to customize your content.
Follow these steps to generate an outline that Surfer AI can then use to write an article for you.
- Select the tone of voice
- Check the box saying "I would like to review the outline in the next step"
- Select the most relevant organic competitors
- Click Create outline
Surfer AI will generate a content outline based on the preferences you provided. It will look something like this.
Take a couple of minutes to review the outline and edit any headers so the generated article follows your chosen content layout.
3. Generate complete article drafts
Click on the Let's write button once you're satisfied with the content outline to let Surfer AI take over and write your article's first version in a couple of minutes.
When done, you will find a complete article inside Surfer's Content Editor that is based on the outline that you provided.
The articles Surfer AI writes also includes highlights at the top, and a summary and FAQs at the bottom, to help you convey helpful information to your readers at a glance.
Surfer AI wrote my article with 2753 words that consist of 24 headings and 51 paragraphs in about 15-20 minutes. It even has a fairly decent Content Score on the first attempt.
The AI article is good enough to publish but we suggest spending some time editing your AI content for readability, and to verify facts and statistics for your readers.
4. Include relevant keywords
Even though Surfer AI's keyword optimization can be pretty robust, it's good practice to ensure that your content editing process includes inserting keywords that are relevant to the primary topic.
Browse through the Terms panel on the right where you will find a list of recommended keywords and their frequency for your target keyword.
Focus on those that are suggested on top because they're arranged in order of priority.
To automate the inclusion of relevant keywords in your article instead, click on the Insert terms feature for Surfer to suggest keyword insertions in the body of your article.
You will be presented with keyword placements within sentences that you can approve or reject.
Surfer will suggest keyword placements within sentences in your article, and ask for you to approve or reject them.
On the right panel, you can see the complete list of terms and their status based on whether you accepted or dismissed the recommendation.
Click Save when you're done.
5. Audit published content
Google's preference for fresh content means that optimizing content isn't just good practice, but a necessary part of the SEO content writing process.
Most websites will need a couple of weeks or months before they see the true potential of their content performance.
It's a good idea to frequently audit your published pages to uncover low lying opportunities, or fix issues that can help your pages rank higher.
An SEO automation tool like Surfer Audit can help you audit your URLs and find areas of improvement.
- Head to Surfer Audit
- Enter the page URL and target keywords
- Select the country, device preferences and check the Sentiment box
- Click Create Audit
Surfer Audit will analyze the following aspects for the page, and offer recommendations that you can fix:
- Content Score
- Internal links
- Terms to use
- Word count
- Exact keywords
- Partial keywords
- Page structure
- Title and meta descriptions
- Technical SEO
- Missing backlinks common to competitors
For example, Surfer Audit tool suggested to improve the Content Score of a blog post that I wrote sometime ago and wasn't ranking well. I edited the score to be higher than all the top ranking pages for my target keyword.
And began climbing the rankings soon enough, as seen here in Google search console.
Automating your article audits can help save you tons of time in analysis, that you would rather spend on optimizing content.
Tools like Google Analytics can help you track your content marketing goals and report back on how well your web pages are performing, or need improving.
- In the article, we discussed using SEO automation for keyword research, automating content outlines, generating complete article drafts, including relevant keywords, and auditing published content
- SEO automation is the practice of using software to automate key tasks of an SEO workflow with the goal of improving a website's organic search rankings. This can include tasks such as keyword research, content creation, on-page optimization, and SEO audits.
- Automating SEO tasks can be beneficial for a number of reasons, such as scalability, time-saving, research and analysis, and gaining a competitive advantage.
- SEO automation can quicken repetitive tasks at scale, which would otherwise take a lot of time if done manually. This can allow you to focus on more strategic aspects of SEO, like keyword optimization and link acquisition.
- Automating your article audits can help save you tons of time in analysis, that you would rather spend on optimizing content.
SEO automation is a powerful strategy that can improve your website's organic search rankings while saving time and effort. We've discussed the SEO automation of the content publishing process here but there's more you can achieve with SEO reports like keyword rankings, rank tracking and broken links.
Automated SEO tasks for keyword research, content creation, and on-page optimization can significantly help you improve productivity and scale up your SEO strategy without having to stretch your team or content expenses. As the online content landscape continues to evolve, embracing automation will be key to staying competitive and achieving your SEO goals. Remember, the goal is not to replace human expertise but to augment it, allowing you to focus on delivering better results.