Author: Manick Bhan
It can be challenging to prioritize SEO, especially if you’re a small business owner (or just working on limited marketing resources). Fortunately, many common marketing tasks are becoming less time- and resource-intensive because there are now tools that can help you automate them.
While SEO automation hasn’t developed to the point where it’s completely automatic (and it likely never will), you can still automate specific duties, allowing you to also focus on other aspects of your business while still giving your search visibility the attention it deserves.
In this article, I’ll show you how SEO automation can save you time and money. But, keep in mind that these automations don’t do the job for you—they simply augment your capabilities. You’ll still need to apply your own business acumen and critical thinking to ensure that the automations you adopt actually increase your website traffic.
With that said, let’s dive into how automation can help you streamline your SEO workflow.
Table of contents:
What is SEO automation?
SEO automation is the process of using software tools to increase the speed, efficiency, and impact of everyday SEO tasks. In today’s digital landscape, leveraging SEO software and automating the more time-intensive aspects of the work is increasingly important in order to keep up with competitors—especially when you’re working with fewer resources.
It is likely that your top competitors in the search results are already leveraging these tools to increase their organic visibility and website traffic. If you want your small business to keep pace, getting to know these tools (and how to use them effectively) is an essential step for your marketing team.
Why you should automate SEO
Many SEO tasks, like content creation and link building, can be time-consuming and require the attention of multiple marketing team members. This presents a big problem for small businesses that have fewer hands-on-deck or smaller marketing budgets.
And although many marketers have a general understanding of SEO, it is one of the more technical digital marketing strategies. Less familiarity with search algorithms, web development, or ranking factors can easily cause small business owners to put SEO on the backburner.
But by automating their most important SEO tasks, small businesses can get around these common challenges. SEO automation can help you:
Save your business money, as enterprise SEO software can alleviate the need to hire more employees or outsource time-consuming tasks to marketing agencies
Save your business time and energy that would otherwise be devoted to manually optimizing each page and post on your website
Keep your website up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and strategies
Help your team set up the necessary workflows and processes to execute successful SEO strategies on a consistent basis
Altogether, these benefits of automation free up small business owners to focus on other aspects of their business—with the confidence that they will still see the benefits of SEO, like increased keyword rankings and organic traffic.
What tools do I need to automate SEO?
There are many SEO tools available to help you automate your SEO workflow. Ideally, you will want to find a software platform that can help you automate most of your SEO tasks.
Enterprise SEO software suites like Semrush, Conductor, or the one I created, SearchAtlas, combine multiple tools into a single platform so you can easily access and manage projects from the same dashboard.
But if you don’t need to automate all of the tasks listed below, there are tools available that are tailored specifically for each task. Taking tools for a test drive is usually the best way to discover which is the right choice for your business.
5 SEO tasks you can automate right now
Here are some common SEO tasks that you automate right now with the help of software tools:
01. Keyword research and clustering
Keyword research helps you understand the type of search terms that your target audience actively uses in search engines.
Traditionally, keyword research has been something of a manual process, involving compiling keywords into spreadsheets in order to cluster together relevant terms.
Keyword research also involves strategically pairing keywords together that have the most advantageous combination of metrics (e.g., search volume, cost-per-click, keyword difficulty).
Choosing the right keywords to target is the foundation of successful SEO, but finding relevant keywords with search volume and realistic keyword difficulty for your content (i.e., not so competitive that only major brands rank for that term) can be a very resource-intensive task!
How to automate keyword research
You can speed up your keyword research with the help of software.
Generally speaking, most keyword research tools work in a similar fashion: Start by entering a keyword that is related to your products/services and you’ll get a list of relevant keywords that users are typing into search engines (along with the aforementioned search volume and keyword difficulty data).
For example, when I search the keyword coffee shops in denver using Ubersuggest, the tool provided me with a list of relevant keywords along with their key metrics.
Using software, I can easily create keyword lists for each piece of content I create. And if you need to share your keyword data or analyze it further, most keyword research tools have the option to export your lists as spreadsheets.
From here, you can simply filter by the appropriate keyword difficulty, search volume, etc. to narrow down your options.
How to automate keyword clustering
Some SEO software platforms can automatically create keyword clusters for you. The way this works is that software algorithms will make recommendations based on your website, which could even enable you to maintain a strong presence in search engines without having to outsource this task to an agency or freelancer.
For example, let’s say that your small business sells golf attire. To automatically cluster your keywords, you could use a tool like:
After typing women’s golf clothes into the tool, the software identified hundreds of potential keyword clusters that I can add to my content strategy.
You can filter these clusters by search volume, traffic potential, and more. The above keyword clusters are paired together because they have a “Very Easy” ranking potential, which is important for newer websites that have not yet built up their topical authority.
Here’s a closer look at a keyword cluster:
The software paired keywords together based on their search volume, competitive landscape, total potential traffic, and relevance.
Keyword research tools like the ones mentioned above can eliminate hours of manual work. With more keywords on hand, your team can move on to creating more content faster.
02. SEO prioritization
SEO often involves a combination of strategies (like content marketing, web development, public relations, and more). So, one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face when improving their SEO performance is simply a lack of knowledge—after all, if you’re not an experienced SEO practitioner, it can be difficult to understand what you need to prioritize.
But with the help of artificial intelligence, there are now software tools that can make SEO recommendations tailored to your website and create an easy-to-follow roadmap of which tasks to complete first.
If you take advantage of these tools properly (factoring in your own business and its goals), that ultimately means less second-guessing and better search visibility.
How to automate your SEO prioritization
Simply provide your domain and your Google Search Console account, and these tools will provide a list of tasks for your marketing team to complete.
Within these tools, you can track and manage your tasks or assign them out to team members. With new tasks generated every two to three weeks, you’ll always have a roadmap to follow to keep your SEO strategy moving forward.
Keep in mind that with automation tools, you don’t want to put all of your strategic work on autopilot. A human touch is still critical to ensure that your SEO implementation aligns with your business goals.
Although the above tools are generally very accurate and great for recommending SEO tasks, there may occasionally be moments when recommendations—such as keyword suggestions or content ideas—are not a perfect fit for your business’s niche.
Simply dismiss that particular task and focus on those that are in your topic areas and clearly relevant to your products or services!
03. Topic generation and content briefs
Once you identify the keywords your target audience is using, you have to create high-quality content that matches the search intent of that keyword and has strong ranking potential.
Creating high-quality, helpful content that provides a satisfying experience for users is arguably the most time-intensive part of SEO. And if you want that content to rank towards the top of results, it will need to meet Google’s search rater quality standards, including:
People-first content (as opposed to spammy content meant to manipulate search engines)
Displaying first-hand expertise or depth of knowledge
Providing answers to users’ common questions
Covering a topic (and relevant subtopics) in-depth
Providing the user with a “satisfying” experience
When you do content creation right, you can also find ways to showcase your small business’s products, services, brand voice, and areas of expertise while providing a positive experience for your potential customer/site visitor.
How to automate content ideation
Automating content ideation can be incredibly time-saving for your marketing team. You can also use software to help you generate article or blog post ideas that have the potential to rank for your target keywords.
Simply enter one of the keywords from your cluster and these tools will generate multiple titles or topic ideas for your content.
Although you should never use auto-generated content word-for-word, tools like Copy.ai can really help you avoid writer’s block. They help you keep the flow of new content ideas going so your SEO editorial calendar is always populated.
Since tools like these are also available to your competitors, you’ll need to add your own unique spin and brand voice to the topic for the content to work for your business. Remember, if you’re creating content about the same topics as others (which is almost inevitable), you need to find a way to make your content superior if you want potential customers to choose you in the search results.
How to automate content briefs
Instead of manually putting together a content brief, you can utilize software to help you generate them faster.
Content briefs include all of the information that freelance content writers or in-house writers need to create search engine-optimized content (e.g., target keywords, optimized metadata, headers/content structure, target word count, readability level, etc).
For example, tools like Dashword can help you generate briefs based on an article title and a short description.
Other tools allow you to easily export your content briefs to Google Docs and hand them off to content writers.
Creating content and publishing new blog posts will help your SEO by increasing the total number of keywords that your website can rank for. You’ll also be signaling to potential visitors (and search engines) that your site is “alive” by publishing new content regularly.
That means more real eyes on your products/services.
04. Site auditing and issue tracking
Site auditing is the process of reviewing the technical elements of your website to identify any issues that may prevent higher rankings.
With regular site audits, you can ensure that Google has no problems finding and indexing your new pages, understands the hierarchy of your website, and knows how your web pages interrelate.
As you add new content, pages may be moved, links can break, and so on (this is especially true if multiple people work on your website).
Note: Wix automatically creates 301 redirects when you change the URL of a published page.
Some technical SEO issues that websites commonly face include:
Broken external links
Slow page speed and load times
Improper use of meta robots
All of these issues can have detrimental effects on SEO, which is why regular site audits are a must. However, some marketing agencies charge a very high price for audits, which might be tougher on small business budgets. Outsourcing the auditing process to software instead can be a major money saver for your business.
How to automate site auditing
Using site auditing software is as simple as inputting your domain and allowing the tool to get to work.
Site auditing tools like ContentKing, Screaming Frog, and SearchAtlas will crawl your website in search of SEO errors. Then, these tools will automatically notify you of the issues it discovered and on which pages those issues are occurring.
With detailed resources and guides, you can resolve the issues yourself. But in most situations, you will hand off your site audit report to a web developer so that they can address the more technical issues.
Most tools can send you automated email alerts to let you know any time an issue is detected on your website. This can help you resolve technical SEO problems quickly before they have a negative impact on your SEO performance.
Note: Wix site owners can use the Wix Site Inspection tool to audit their site’s technical health, mobile usability, rich result eligibility, and more, without having to pull data manually or leave the Wix dashboard.
05. Content optimization and updates
Over time, your target keywords may grow more competitive. Or, new research or information on your topic may come to light. Although creating “evergreen” content is essential to increase the longevity of your content, you will inevitably need to update your pages with the most accurate information available.
This is particularly true for small eCommerce businesses that may have seasonal products or periods of time when products go out-of-stock. If searchers click through to your website and see the product they’re looking for is unavailable, that doesn’t make for a great user experience (you could update the page by adding relevant links or CTAs that direct visitors to a similar, available product, for example).
As a result, the content on our websites often requires updating, adjusting, or rewriting in order to keep providing value for visitors and to keep up with the competition.
How to automate content optimization
When it comes to keeping your content fresh and up-to-date, content optimization tools make recommendations based on the top-ranking content that is currently ranking for your target keywords. These tools highlight changes that can improve your content and any new subtopics or questions people are asking in relation to the target keyword.
Tools like Clearscope, Surfer, and LinkGraph’s SEO Content Assistant show you exactly what needs updating and how to thoroughly optimize your content. Enter your web page URL and a target keyword, and they will highlight what to add to the content to improve its quality and relevance.
The more you include the software’s recommended terms and topics in your own content, the higher your content score will be, which theoretically translates to greater ranking potential for your landing pages.
SEO automation that works for your business—not the other way around
There has never been a better time to start embracing SEO in your digital marketing strategy. Many of the tools and platforms mentioned above offer free trials, allowing you to test out the tools for yourself to see how easy it is to automate your daily SEO tasks.
Automating SEO will bring a variety of benefits to your online visibility and growth, so think about where your small business might be able to start leveraging these tools right now. You may not be ready to set up more complex automation like website auditing, but generating keyword clusters and blog ideas is as simple as one click. To get started, all you need is one keyword that is relevant to your products or services.
But remember, your competitors are likely leveraging these tools already to automate their workflows and maximize their results. Waiting too long to leverage automation, or to perform more complex, high-impact tasks like resolving technical recommendations from a site auditor, can put you even further behind.
It’s easy to get intimidated by software tools that have many features and functionalities and instead stick to basic fixes. You can repair broken links on your website all day, but that won’t have the same impact as consistently publishing high-quality content that targets the keywords your audience is actively using.
Many of the tools and platforms listed in this article come with a wealth of resources, tutorials, and content that details how to use these tools effectively. Plus, software engineers like myself have worked very hard to create user-friendly tools that are intuitive to both beginners and experts.
You may be surprised at how quickly you become an SEO software super-user.
Manick Bhan is the founder/CTO of LinkGraph, a full-service SEO agency. He is also the creator of the enterprise SEO software platform SearchAtlas. With 10+ years of SEO experience, he has grown LinkGraph into an award-winning agency that works with 200+ brands across sectors. Twitter | Linkedin