I recently had a conversation with another business owner who suggested I create an SEO automation tool to automate SEO. I actually hear this a lot from people and there are companies like MOZ and Majestic that make some nice tools that help with the SEO process, but as I have been preaching for a long time, you can’t automate SEO on a large scale for several reasons. You can only try to build SEO in to your own business process, which is a bit of a self-automation, that can snowball for your business. I can help you build SEO into your process, and I have done this with clients, but trying to automate SEO across clients just ends up hurting them all. Here is why.
Content is King: This has been the driving tagline for SEO since the beginning of SEO time. Your content needs to be unique and helpful to your users and should say a lot about your company. There isn’t an automated way to do this and tools that generate content for keywords create horrible content that Google and your users will be repelled by. You need unique content that helps people. That can’t be automated.
SEO is about differentiation: If you work with a company that does cookie cutter plans, all of their clients have the same processes and link profiles. The whole idea of SEO is for your site to stand out from your competitors, so if you have the same link profile as 100 other companies, that doesn’t exactly shout individuality. Even worse, if they build your site and use the same templates and styles there, you are even more similar in other factor areas. Cookie cutter SEO is just laziness by your SEO company and an attempt to “set it and forget it” and hope you don’t notice that they aren’t really doing anything for you.
Identical Link Profiles Should be a Red Flag: Moreover, if 100 websites have the exact same link profile, that shouts out to me as a major red flag for Google to punish you for “unnatural linking”. The whole concept of link building is that your links come naturally through the way you do business. Now good SEO’s will use their relationships and skills to enhance this and guide your business to make best use of this, but if Google notices large groups of companies with the same links, that is a sure sign of a penalty or at least devaluing all of those links.
Links are about strength and relevance: Since you boost your link profile from highly relevant and strong sites, those are the sites that aren’t going to allow for generic mass linking. The stronger sites are strong for a reason, and it isn’t because they allow 100 trashy links placed on their sites for no apparent reason. They are strong because they built reputation for having solid content that users want or represent a very respected entity. These sites are not going to allow “Automated SEO” companies to put links on them. The other half of this is relevance. You want highly relevant links to what you do or to your individual geography if you are a geographically targeted business. If an “Automated” company gets all of their clients links in a dental site, that only helps the dental clients in relevance. The rest don’t really make sense, or more likely, they wouldn’t be allowed to be listed. Again, “automated SEO” falls short.
So how automated can your SEO be?
Well, you still should try to build SEO into your business plan and be highly aware of SEO when you make other site related and real-world decisions. Does the latest addition to the site slow it down or cause a poor user experience? SEO is about user experience. If that new logo you added is huge and causes load time to crawl, you need to look at a different way.
Most importantly, always keep links in mind with your business relationships. This is key to “self-automating” your SEO. I worked with one company that built in to their plan to have all of their clients link back to their site and their strength took off and snowballed over the coming years to the point that they went from a smaller company to being bought out by a huge player in their industry because they were taking too much of the pot. This came from incorporating SEO into their regular day to day business plans.
I work with another client that does a lot of work with colleges and universities, which are highly respected and powerful links if you can get them. They built into their business plan to make sure these .edu sites linked to them and they took off and have an enormous presence in their industry. Bringing in a good SEO to help guide your marketing department so it is a part of the process is key. We SEO’s can then use our relationships and expertise to enhance the process even more, but any SEO who uses the same plan for every client is leading you down the path to destruction. SEO isn’t easy or everyone would rank at the top. The best companies build individual plans that differentiate you from the other sites.