What Happens to Your SEO if You Generate Thousands of Pages with AI?
CEO of Letterdrop, former Product Manager on Google Search
How to Do SEO the Right Way
The right way to create content is to:
Listen to your customers and identify what questions they ask
Prioritize these questions by search volume and qualitatively what you believe chance of a visitor converting might be
Write high-quality content with first-party data and unique perspectives
This is a lot of work though.
What if we turned the problem on its head?
What if you wrote ALL the content and then looked at what was generating traffic to double down on?
That's an experiment we're running at Letterdrop. Here's what we're doing.
Write All the Things: a Spray and Pray Approach to Keyword Research
Step 1: Buy a Separate Domain and Set up a Simple Blog
Do not risk creating a bunch of crappy AI content on your main domain. You don't want SpamBrain from Google to flag your site and kill your genuine traffic.
We're putting up this content on seo.letterdrop.co. It's a completely separate domain.
We spun up a minimal Webflow blog. Our content isn't going to have nice graphics or CTAs, so keep it simple for the experiment. You can clone it here for your own use.
Step 2: Generate a Couple Thousand Keywords of Interest
Use a tool like Semrush or ahrefs.
Think about what terms might generate traffic
You can also use ChatGPT to generate a list of keywords.
Step 3: Use AI to Generate Pages
You can use an LLM like OpenAI's GPT-4, Anthropic's Claude, or Google Bard to generate articles. You can use our free programmatic SEO tool to generate these pages. You'll have to use your own OpenAI key.
Step 4: Import the Pages Into Your Site
Take the output CSV and import it into Webflow.
We don't recommend uploading them all at once since you'll use up your crawl budget. Instead, batch them.
Sites with tens of thousands of pages don't just pop up overnight. This might trigger a review. Once it becomes apparent that the content on your site is AI drivel, consider yourself flagged.
Also, every site has a crawl budget. More established, larger sites have larger crawl budgets. Your brand new site can take weeks, even months, for all the links to be crawled and indexed.
Step 5: Monitor Your Search Traffic for Pages With Traffic
Install GA4 and set up Google Search Console on your new domain. Monitor to see which pages are starting to rank and generate traffic.
On, say, a weekly basis, see which pages are driving any traffic and their ranking. If something is within the top 20 pages, add it to your shortlist.
Step 6: Filter for Pages that Might Actually Drive Conversions Traffic
We just downloaded a massive list of seemingly relevant long-tail keywords and generated pages for them. With this shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later strategy, there wasn't much thought into whether someone searching for them could be a potential customer. It didn't matter very much since it only costed you a couple of dollars to generate an article.
Now, we're looking for pages that we want to try to rank for. This is going to require work — truly understanding search content, doing the research, interviewing the right subject matter experts, creating the right collateral like videos and images, and technical SEO optimization.
Each article is going to cost you hundreds of dollars, or in some cases, over a thousand dollars for deeply technical content. So you don't want to waste time and money ranking for a page that doesn't bring in new business.
Very carefully look through the pages driving traffic. For each, understand search intent and assign a Conversion Value out of 5 on how "valuable" this page is to your business. Sort the resulting pages in descending order of search volume, conversion value, and traffic. You could pretend to be more scientific about it and create a weighted score, but we're already dealing with estimated and subjective data, so further rigor doesn't make sense (feel free to do it if your boss wants to see a sorted spreadsheet to make them feel confident of your resource ask)
Step 7: Rewrite the Shortlisted Pages and Move to Your Main Domain
Write these like you would any quality content piece. Put it through a proper process to create genuinely helpful content. You can use AI to assist you with writing, but you really need a human who understands the topic to create this page. Here's a guide on how to write content that actually ranks.
Take the shortlisted pages off your old domain. You don't want it competing with you. It's also responsible not to clog the internet with more AI spam. We did this to understand what was easy to rank for. Once you've discovered that, the page no longer serves a purpose.
If you have proprietary data that's useful — think Zillow's housing listings or Zapier's integrations pages, you could safely try using the above programmatic SEO approach on your main domain. I wouldn't consider that a hack like what we're doing above.
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