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August 8, 2016

Can You Automate Your SEO Strategy?

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Photo Credit: Augur Marketing via flickr

“Good software can take all the technical pains away, but in no way can any software ever take away the content development task, or the real marketing side of things. . . It’s just not that simple.”

Joost de Valk, founder and CEO of Yoast

Search engine optimization can be a time consuming, energy draining, resource-absorbing endeavor. Yet it is a necessary undertaking to be found through search engines. Studies have shown that roughly 64 percent of all Web traffic comes from organic search.

As a business owner, you don’t have the hours upon hours to dwell over keywords, content creation, link building, and so forth, on top of the daily activities of running a company. Since SEO can be so all-consuming, many have tried to automate their SEO strategy. But can it be done? And, if so, can it be done well?

The short answer is yes, it can. The more complicated, and more accurate, answer is that SEO cannot be fully automated and achieve the same results as those attainable by a human being.

While an attempt to fully automate search engine optimization will ultimately backfire, there are certain aspects and functions that can be managed by SEO bots to help you free up time that is better spent elsewhere.

Let’s start with the bad news: Here’s what you cannot, and should not, attempt to automate in your SEO.

The Irreplaceable Human Touch

There is no set formula for SEO success. Yet, there are certain aspects of optimization which will help achieve the desired effect; if they are managed correctly.

The first is user experience, or UX, of a website. If you are building or optimizing a website intended to be visited by people, it needs human insight to be truly effective. Things like reduction of bounce rates, time on site, and nurturing leads through the sales funnel requires human analysis. There are, of course, tools to assist, but the decision-making process needs human intervention to be successful.

Development of marketing strategies is another SEO element that you cannot put bots in charge of. Gathering target audience insights, constructing marketing plans and messaging, and strategic planning all tap into human emotions to get consumers to engage with a campaign. Automation services and software are simply not capable of understanding human emotion and, therefore, make poor marketers.

The same goes for PR. Public relations is all about human-to-human connections. Creating personal connections with bloggers, journalists and those who can help you acquire guest posts, features, and backlinks requires manual work and effort.

In a digital environment littered with content, content marketing is another aspect that needs a person to manage and oversee. You, or a content manager, need to create compelling and useful topics, write engaging materials that touch on human pain points, and obtain proper placement to get your materials seen.

For some things, there is just no replacement for a good old-fashioned human efforts. For other things, however, bots are just what the doctor ordered.

Time Saving Software

While you cannot automate certain things like link building, there are plenty of aspects to SEO where you can allow bots to hold dominion.

Keyword research and ranking analysis is a big chore, and one place where software rules supreme. SEMrush is one such service that helps to monitor keyword rankings, estimate keyword difficulty, compare domains and many other time consuming tasks. Functions like these are best left to methodical and logical machines.

Backlink tracking is another requirement of SEO that is better suited to the talents of bots. Tracking all of the sites that link back to your pages and determining domain authority can eat up a massive chunk of time and is liable to drive you crazy in the process. Thankfully, tools like Majestic are available to save you time and your mental health as it handles much of this analysis for you.

If you have a substantial blog or conduct lots of A/B testing, you might end up with duplicate content on your site that could hurt your rankings. Instead of sifting through all of the content, you could employ sites like Siteliner to help you detect any carbon copies along with other useful data. Or you could always set up a Google Search Console account — it will notify you of any duplicates.

Conducting website audits could be next to impossible without software to help you along. It can take countless hours to sift through potentially broken links, conduct keyword density analysis, and so on.

Additionally, competitive analysis is another SEO ingredient that can be, and should be, left largely in the “hands” of machines. Software is able to conduct a much more thorough and accurate investigation. Once again, SEMrush is a spectacular tool to leverage.

Not every aspect of SEO is able to be fully automated because much of it requires knowledge, experience, and the ability to reach people on an emotional level through content. Certain automation services can, however, offer business owners and SEOs a way to gain deeper understandings in less time, which then can be invested in the creative process and other optimization strategies.

If your SEO strategy is intended to help your site and content reach people, then it needs to be managed by people; at least partially. Save yourself from the inevitable disappointment of failure that will surely come through trying to automate things that aren’t meant to be handled by machines. Also, save some time and energy by relieving yourself from more menial tasks that bots are capable of handling on their own.

What are some of your favorite tools that automate portions of SEO? Do you think that SEO will ever be fully automated in the future?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile

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