by Bob Sakayama
12 December 2014
Take Control Of Your Automated Systems
Automation is everywhere. But because it operates seamlessly in the background most people take it for granted and ignore it.
We will do the opposite, because for us, it's a powerful asset. Allocate resources to build specialized automated tools to manage the data that informs optimization efforts. Good tools can reveal flaws, unknown strengths, opportunities - information that should be acted on.
Enables The Management Of Large Systems
Automation enables our efforts to scale. From a search perspective, there are a number of important objectives. If not already in place in the cms, we need to create systems we can use to improve the existing optimization with global instructions - everything from newly introduced tags, schema markup, alt tag discovery, etc. We want the ability to tweak the system as soon as we see a problem or an opportunity.
Another objective of automation is keep the system compliant. The system should guarantee uniqueness before updating any attribute (title tag, description meta tag, filename, etc.) that needs to be unique. This is critical when the contributors are on different continents, or if the number of contributors is large. You can't rely on people's memory to keep a site compliant.
Not Without Risk
While it is possible to achieve huge success in the search with automated processes, many once high ranking sites using automation to drive targeting over a large number of categories have recently crashed and burned. They were ranking well in multiple geo areas because of templated content, which Panda detected, and gave them a rude awakening. Templated content can still be effective - use more variables, and use a dynamic template, one that is also comprised of variables. Sometimes, rather than attempt to automate complexity, it's cheaper & safer to use writers - it's the recommended thing to do if you've been Pandalized.
We've seen many times automated pages being created that were both redundant and in large numbers. When a large store dropped a brand, over 100,000 products dropped off the site. Then automation created 100,000+ redundant pages with only "The Product Is Not Available" posted on each. Easy fix - keep the product info on the page as well as the new message.
Whether it's filename nomenclature management, sitemap creation, redundancy checks, or the assignment of noindex instructions to conserve PR, automation in the service of SEO is now a given. You cannot possibly manage the number of factors in play at the enterprise level without some dependence on automated tools and processes designed or retooled specifically for your enterprise.