Growth Strategy
5 minute read

How to Set Up a Self-Updating Programmatic SEO Collection

How to Set Up a Self-Updating Programmatic SEO Collection
Written by
Aaron Marco Arias
Published on
January 13, 2024

In our programmatic SEO course, we dive into psEO’s “pre-production” stages. We explore content-market fit, basic keyword strategy, and design best practices. But pSEO is not about “launching and forgeting” - unless you want content rot to reign supreme on your site.

Keeping your content updated is essential - but what if you pSEO collection’s data should be updated in real-time?

In this post, we’ll dive into how we set up self-updating programmatic SEO collections. But first - there’s something important we need to ask.

When Does a Self-Updating Collection Make Sense?

Let’s say you run a crypto trading platform, and you’re looking to capture organic traffic at scale. It may make sense to create a collection with the historical data of various coins. But this data is only useful if it’s fresh. If the collection’s data is a few days or a few weeks off, it’s unreliable and its usefulness is very limited.

If your programmatic SEO’s value relies on your data’s freshness, you should probably set up a self-updating collection.

However, before moving forward, there’s something we have to mention. A collection with real-time data will be especially valuable if that data’s either exclusive or well-contextualized. If you’re fetching your data from a widely available API, you’ll have to consider your competitive advantages under a more ambitious light.

With that out of the way, let’s move forward: What would a self-updating collection’s set-up look like? Let’s start with the basics.

A Basic Programmatic SEO Content Production Workflow

This is the option we go to when managing pSEO collections that don’t need constant updating. And it’s ideal for folks with a sturdy, versatile CMS.

To set up this type of content factory, you’ll need:

  • A spreadsheet, where you’ll compile your initial data. This will also serve as the model fields for the CMS collection where you’ll store your data.
  • A content template
  • A powerful CMS that allows you to create custom content collections & easily manage and store data with an interface that works like a spreadsheet.
Programmatic SEO Content Production Workflow

Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Once your data is ready, create a new collection in your CMS and export it.
  2. Create a second content collection, for the programmatic pieces themselves. Create a connected field so you can import values from the data collection into your programmatic pieces.
  3. Set up your content layout to display the necessary dynamic fields.

In the future, if you want to create a new programmatic page, you’ll just need to interact with your CMS.

This type of set-up works for most programmatic SEO collections. Usually, content doesn’t depricate at scale, deprication begins in certain pieces. So, if you monitor your positioning and stay on top of news that may jeopardize your collection’s relevance, you’ll be fine. This set-up is usually great, and it makes content revamping pretty easy.

How to Set up a Self-Updating Content Collection

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s see why a self-updating collection’s different.

Usually, we take one of two approaches, depending on:

  • The website owner’s technical proficiency
  • How often that data has to be updated
  • The collection’s size
Self-Updating Content Collection process

If the data has to be updated once every couple of days and the collection’s relatively small, we’ll:

  1. Create a Google sheet where we’ll compile all the collection’s data.
  2. Set-up a script that makes periodic calls to the API and replaces the sheet’s values.
  3. Create a data collection on the client’s CMS.
  4. Set-up an automation that updates the CMS automatically when the Google sheets value change.

But, if we’ll need to retrieve tons of data, or data will need to be updated in real-time, we’ll usually conect the source data’s API directly with the CMS and selectively retrieve data.

source data’s API conection with CMS

If you’re using Webflow (or any other low-code platform that doesn’t provide a back-end), you’ll need to create an API proxy. That way, your API keys won’t be exposed, and you’ll be able to set rules to prevent abusive behavior. You can create an API proxy through a service such as NoCodeAPI or through a Cloudflare Worker.

In short, if you’re using Webflow, your process would go as follows:

  1. Get the proper API key for your API of choice.
  2. Create a proxy.
  3. Connect the proxy API to your Webflow website using custom code.
  4. Create the necessary CMS fields. Don’t forget to create a field to populate each page’s specific data fetching code.
  5. Add custom code to your content template page in order to retrieve data from the API and display it within elements with specific IDs. Insert CMS dynamic fields into the code so you can retrieve the correct data for each page.
  6. Structure your content template as a series of embeds, so you can add tags with specific IDs where the data would go.

Test your set-up and go live.

De-Risk Your SEO Investment

Considering programmatic SEO but feeling uncertain? Pause before investing. Let’s first assess your website's health and see if pSEO truly aligns with your goals. Start the next stage of your SEO journey with informed decisions. Request an in-depth SEO audit today.

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