How to build a programmatic SEO growth channel

Programatic SEO is when you find a strategy that allows you to target a very large quantity of niche keywords in a category, then build a system generating landing pages for each at scale.

What does the company do?

Airbitics helps Airbnb hosts invest in, and manage short-term rental properties. For those purchasing a property to use as a short-term rental, Airbitics helps simulate the kind of money that could potentially be earned. Once your Airbnb property is up and running, the tool helps optimize listings to be the most competitive, as well as pricing to earn the most money.

A $150/month fee gets you access to:

  • The Dashboards of 5 cities you choose

  • 12 months of historical performance data, of up to 100,000 short-term rentals

  • CSV export, Weekly data updates, Guest demographics, Booking lead time, and Airbnb income estimator

👨‍👨‍👦‍👦 Target Audiences

Airbnb hosts.

📝 Briefly describe the growth project

What is Programmatic SEO?

Programatic SEO is when you find a strategy that allows you to target a very large quantity of niche keywords in a category, then build a system generating landing pages for each at scale.

As an example (that is NOT this story), say you have a productivity tool. You can take a repeatable phrase like “best productivity app for [insert activity]”, where the activities might be things like building habits, product managers, writers, etc. It’s a potentially endless list that you could optimize for.

How does Airbitics use Programmatic SEO?

The idea initially came from keyword research. Shivam and his team found a term people were searching for in specific locations – arbitrage.

Airbnb arbitrage is the practice of taking out a long term lease or rental period, and renting out the property for a higher price on a short-term basis.

One can see why the concept is so popular. It allows you to make income as an Airbnb host without purchasing a property. It’s illegal in many locations, as some cities set strict rules about ownership with Airbnbs. Many places require you to own the property as a minimum, and some even require it to be your primary residence. Still, the rules differ and opportunities are out there to be found, turning the search results themselves into an opportunity.

After having success with an “Airbnb Arbitrage in New York” article having a lot of search results, they started to create articles for each city. Then they moved on to similar variations, like “Airbnb rules in New York”. They turned this into a programmatic approach that they could apply to each location as well.

🚀 How does programmatic SEO generate growth?

The concept is the same as any SEO strategy. Use content to target people searching for your solution on Google. It’s about as wholesome as traffic generation gets when it comes to marketing. The difference with programmatic is doing this at scale with niche landing pages, which also allows you to scale from scratch quite quickly.

📈 How has it gone so far for ?

Airbitics went from Zero from 20k visitors in 4.5 months, astonishingly fast growth for SEO!

They also went from around 1-2 sales a week (coming almost entirely from the founders network) to 20 signups and 4 sales a day. Over a 1500% increase!

😍 Why is programmatic SEO a great growth channel?

SEO itself has remained one of the most important growth channels for several decades now. People still go to Google to solve most of their problems quickly, making it a problem-solving growth channel (the best kind!). You’re not incentivizing anyone to sign up, and you’re not paying to push a message in front of someone’s face.

SEO provides more value to people the more targeted it is. Someone searching “Airbnb information” could be looking for almost anything. But someone searching for “Airbnb arbitrage in New York” is obviously looking for something specific. The programmatic aspect allows you to do this at scale. If done correctly, people arriving on your page should be ready to purchase.

🤔 Downsides to using programmatic SEO

In order to succeed at programmatic SEO, you must first be able to optimize a standard SEO piece. If you are just getting started, this might be difficult. After all, you don’t want to scale a system that you aren’t sure will work yet. Building dozens of trash landing pages won’t do much.

Using this method also requires you to create a lot of content. You can either do this manually or technically (see the how-to section below).

🏗 How to build your own programmatic SEO system

Step 1 - Keyword research

First you need to find the template term you’ll be targeting. Shivam and his team built a scraper for the Airbnb community center to see what key-phrases are appearing most in the forum. This is where the hosts (i.e. their targets) are asking questions and getting more information. They found the topics were repeatable.

Look in forums, communities and groups related to your product niche audience. If you are targeting Digital Nomads, see what questions are asked in nomad subreddits. If you are targeting new parents, check specific forums and Quora questions. There are tons of places to look. If you can build a scraper like the Airbitics team then great, but you can also look manually.

You can also use standard keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, but note that this will give you general information, not just what your niche is searching for. Terms like “Airbnb arbitrage in New York” don’t get a ton of hits because it’s so niche (and that’s the point!). But you can still use these tools to check how competitive each term is.

Step 2 - Creating your content

Write your first “article” as an information resource more than a blog post. And write it yourself. Make something that will work as a template you can share with writers. Test this yourself. Make it easy on them to create. Ideally it’s mostly a research project you can outsource.

Once you have this, use sites like UpWork or Fiverr to find the writers. If you need language specific pieces, you can also post on LinkedIn for contractors. Eventually you want to build a team of freelance writers that you trust to create good quality content quickly. You can create this content yourself, but it’s cheaper and easier to outsource.

Step 3 - Getting the articles to rank

Google loves it when people spend more time on a landing page. If they are searching for a solution and DON’T go somewhere else after your blog, Google knows that it’s good. So the goal is to get people to stay a long time on the blog and not go anywhere after. Think about what unique thing you can give that no one else will.

Some tips for getting your articles to rank:

  • Transcribe the blogs into Audio and put on the top of the blog so people keep the page open listening.

  • Think about content formats that keep people on the page:

    • Comparisons

    • FAQ’s

    • Audio snippets

    • Calculators

  • Write info blogs for a 5-year old (short words, simple and easy to understand, etc

    • Think about things that don’t take a lot of words, but people will spend a long time using

    • Solve the problem easily!

  • Add a lot of Buttons and open fields

    • Get people to interact with the blog. This is very different from a CTA that will lead away from the page

    • Think of your landing page like an application

      • In normal blog you just scroll, you don’t interact. the only interactions are CTAs. People don’t like this, and it also redirects them to someone else.

      • ex: Airbitics invented a short term rental calculator to insert into the geo-targeted email capture.

You can follow Shivam and his growth work on LinkedIn!