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Getting Started with SEO Automation

Looking to spend less time on menial tasks so you can invest more hours into analysis and learning? SEO automation helps you do just that. And chances are, you’re already using it.

Oct 27, 2023

7 m read

Wondering how you can speed up tasks essential to your website’s growth? While time will always factor into the quality of web content, SEO automation can streamline many of the most tedious aspects of both on-page and off-page optimization, allowing you to focus on more hands-on aspects. In this article, you’ll learn about SEO automation and some of the most effective tools to optimize content planning and publishing.

What Is SEO Automation?

Many SEO tasks are highly procedural, requiring you to complete the same steps each time to check keyword volume or a page’s search engine rankings. While you can do these things manually, the time required can eventually spiral out of control — especially as your project’s scale expands. Luckily, it’s possible to simplify many of these tasks through automation.

SEO automation uses software to quickly process large amounts of information, allowing you to check long lists of keywords or validate structured data across multiple pages in just seconds. Because automation tools can output data in numerous ways, they also make it easier to filter out what isn’t relevant to your digital marketing efforts, such as low-volume keywords.

Automation isn’t new. Some tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, have been around for years. However, advances in AI have led to a rapid expansion in tasks you can automate, with many companies now even using AI tools such as ChatGPT to write meta descriptions and other simple forms of content to improve productivity.

Using AI in SEO can free up many hours. However, it often fails to produce benefits when content requires an emotional connection or creative touch. That’s why it’s best to pair automation with human expertise and mainly let the AI handle the formulaic tasks it excels at.

SEO Tasks You Can Automate

You can automate many aspects of SEO, from content creation to web analytics, but automation tools handle repetitive tasks best. Fortunately, these little jobs are often also fundamentals of digital marketing. Ideal automated SEO tasks include:

  • Keyword Research: Generally, until you build enough of an online presence, it’s not worth targeting keywords with substantial volume if they also have high competition. Automation helps streamline keyword research by finding easy-to-rank terms that may still draw sufficient traffic, letting you maximize your return on investment. You can also use keyword research tools to filter the data down to certain countries, search engines, and devices and even check trends to understand how the search volume fluctuates throughout the year.
  • Backlink Analysis: The number and quality of backlinks pointing to a domain are essential metrics of off-page SEO. However, you’ll likely find it challenging, if not impossible, to track backlinks without an automated tool such as Ahrefs’s Backlink Checker. You can also use these tools to check your competitors’ backlink profiles.
  • Rank Tracking: Checking search engine results pages (SERPs) becomes incredibly tedious if you need to track many keywords. Position-tracking tools perform periodic searches, showing how your website’s rankings change over time, which can provide an excellent overall analysis of your site’s health.
  • Competition Analysis: SEO automation tools can output a lot of data about your competition, helping you understand where their backlinks come from, how they’ve structured content, and what keywords they’re targeting, among other things. However, while automation can get you the data, you’ll still need to devise strategies to use it yourself.
  • Social Media Sharing: If you’ve just published a new blog, you’ll probably want to share it immediately on your social media accounts. Automation can pull images, meta descriptions, and other information from the page, streamlining the process.
  • Image Optimization: Page loading speed is an essential aspect of SEO and a ranking factor in most search engine algorithms. Image optimization tools help ensure your site uses formats such as WebP that maximize quality and minimize image loading time. You can also automate sizing, alt text generation, and other aspects of media management.

How To Strike a Balance With Automation Tools

SEO marketing automation tools are helpful, but you shouldn’t necessarily rely on them for everything. Newer, AI-powered products can be particularly problematic if you don’t check their output because they sometimes produce incorrect information or misunderstand subtle nuances in language. These issues harm the authority you’re trying to build and reduce content quality.

Privacy is another issue you may face while using SEO content tools, as some technologies may require access to large amounts of user data to track visitor-specific SEO metrics or analyze trends. Gathering this data in a way that adheres to privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is essential to maintain your audience’s trust. Additionally, external parties may see any information you enter into ChatGPT and other AI products, including sensitive company information.

Although you should be careful when using automation and productivity tools, there are things you can do to ensure they perform as intended:

  • Choose the right tools for your specific needs.
  • Customize the settings to match your marketing strategy and brand voice.
  • Check for errors in AI content before publishing.
  • Analyze your content’s performance regularly and adjust your use of automation accordingly.

The Best SEO Automation Tools

While automation may initially intimidate marketers, it offers significant productivity gains, giving you more time to plan quality content, perform blogger outreach, and manage social media accounts. It also reduces the risk of human error when dealing with large volumes of data.

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with automation is to check out the following popular SEO tools. Try only one or a few at first to streamline the tasks you struggle with most.

ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an AI language model that can produce realistic and expressive text based on a prompt. The ability to enter just about any question or command makes the technology incredibly versatile and powerful as a content planning or creation tool, and it can also assist with market research. Many people even consider this form of AI the future of search.

Some potential uses of ChatGPT include:

  • Creating article or blog outlines.
  • Writing meta descriptions and social media posts.
  • Suggesting engaging headlines.
  • Recommending niche-relevant topics.
  • Answering FAQs.

A ChatGPT Plus subscription allows you to use the more accurate ChatGPT 4 model. It also lets you activate beta features such as plugins and the code interpreter. This allows you to produce or extract data from PDFs, spreadsheets, and graphs, or even perform many web searches simultaneously to cross-reference information.

Although you can use ChatGPT for content creation and expect fairly accurate and fit-for-purpose text, mistakes are possible. A human should always fact-check and edit AI-written content before publishing in order to fix any problems and improve quality.

ChatGPT Pros

  • Basic functionality is free
  • Simple and intuitive UI
  • Writes various forms of content
  • Plugins let you process marketing data, such as keyword lists

ChatGPT Cons

  • Makes occasional mistakes
  • Content often lacks creativity
  • Slow performance during high demand

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is an all-in-one tool that lets you automate keyword generation, backlink analysis, rank tracking and many other aspects of SEO. 

Some of Ahrefs’ unique features include:

  • Site Audit: A site audit assigns a score to each page on your website and provides actionable recommendations to improve SEO and the user experience. It can detect everything from content quality to image alt tags and broken links.
  • Content Explorer: The Content Explorer lets you search for topics within your niche that are easier to rank for while allowing you to filter based on metrics such as traffic and referring domains. It also lets you search for guest blogging opportunities and discover the topics most likely to generate organic backlinks.
  • Rank Tracker: Ahref’s rank-tracking tool measures your SERP performance over time and compares it against competitors. It provides an excellent overview of your SEO efforts while also helping you find opportunities to gain featured snippets and image rankings.

Ahrefs Pros

  • Keyword analysis, rank tracking, and competition analysis in one tool
  • Advanced features help you plan content and marketing strategies easily
  • Site audit recommends improvements to SEO and user-friendliness

Ahrefs Cons

  • Limited free functions
  • Minimal local SEO features

SurferSEO

SurferSEO is primarily an on-page content optimization tool that displays optimization recommendations during writing and editing, helping automate the creation of high-quality, rankable content. While the SurferSEO Content Editor bases many of its suggestions on general best practices, it also analyzes top-ranking pages for your keyword, providing insights into what on-page factors drive those rankings.

Some things SurferSEO helps you optimize include the following:

  • Word count
  • Titles and subheadings
  • Sentence and paragraph length
  • Content flow

While the Content Editor is one of the platform’s most powerful tools, SurferSEO also provides a keyword research tool that can help you find valuable keywords and related topics within your niche. It also has an AI writer that can design article outlines or even optimize existing text in seconds, fully automating many aspects of on-page SEO. Together, these features provide comprehensive content planning and publishing.

SurferSEO Pros

  • Data-driven recommendations based on search engine results
  • Easy integration into Google Docs and other tools
  • AI features speed up content creation

SurferSEO Cons

  • Lacks off-page SEO features
  • Over-reliance on content structure ignores other ranking signals

Semrush

Semrush is one of the most comprehensive digital marketing tools available, allowing you to manage on and off-page SEO, local SEO, social media, and advertising with one tool. Most features are available at a glance from the intuitive site dashboard, which offers a view of important SEO metrics such as search rankings, website traffic, and backlink analytics on one page.

The On-Page SEO Checker is one of the most powerful tools available through Semrush, capable of checking HTML tags, content structure, keyword density, and other ranking factors. The tool also analyzes backlink opportunities and offers suggestions to improve your site’s user experience and technical design.

Additional powerful features include:

  • Keyword Magic Tool: This keyword analyzer finds potentially thousands of related terms from a seed keyword, simplifying your research process.
  • SEO Writing Assistant: Semrush’s content editor offers suggestions to improve readability, tone, and search rankings.
  • Market Explorer: This industry benchmark tool automates market research and provides insights into your niche’s audience and major competitors.

Semrush Pros

  • Comprehensive tools for most digital marketing needs
  • Integration with Google Search Console and Analytics
  • Access to one of the largest and most accurate keyword databases

Semrush Cons

  • Learning curve to understand all features
  • Additional costs to access some tools

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider crawls the pages of your site similarly to search engine spiders, discovering any issues that may harm search visibility, such as duplicate content, robots.txt errors, and the length of titles and meta descriptions. Additionally, it can help you measure page speed and visualize the architecture of your site, showing you opportunities to improve internal linking and the user experience.

The SEO spider automates many incredibly time-consuming tasks, including:

  • Finding broken links.
  • Checking the file size of images.
  • Discovering missing header tags.
  • Identifying issues with canonical pages.
  • Ensuring each page has a title and meta description.

Screaming Frog Pros

  • Free account crawls up to 500 pages
  • Checks technical optimizations other tools may ignore
  • Helps improve internal linking and user-friendliness

Screaming Frog Cons

  • More advanced features require a yearly license
  • Only one user per license

Get the Most Out of SEO Marketing Automation

Automation tools help streamline repetitive tasks, improving your productivity while allowing you to focus more of your time on the things that require human input. However, you still need a clear strategy and direction, even when you have the best tools at your disposal.

Our SEO agency can help you get the most out of automation, pinpoint your marketing priorities, and create a plan that helps grow your online presence and authority. Sign up for a free SEO consultation to discover how we can help you reach your goals.

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