9 activities that save you time and money

A frustrating part of SEO is doing the same things over and over again, but that’s where automation comes in.

SEO automation is the process of using software to perform repetitive SEO tasks that you previously performed manually, saving time to work on SEO strategy and execution.

In this article, I’ll show you nine automated SEO tasks you can implement quickly.

1. SEO Report Creation

Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) is often used by SEOs and agencies to automate SEO reports.

The main benefits are that you get data immediately in any desired time frame and the ability to view it in a comprehensive dashboard. Most SEOs pull data for reporting from multiple sources (e.g. Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Ahrefs). So having everything plugged into your Looker Studio is incredibly convenient.

Looker Studio report example

There may be a steep learning curve, but the time spent learning will pay off in the long run when you don’t have to manually piece together reports.

Click on the following links to learn more about Looker Studio and its Ahrefs, Google Analytics and Search Console connectors.

2. Receive alerts on traffic drops and peaks

You can automate alerts to notify you or your customers when their website traffic decreases or increases. Sudden drops could be a sign of getting hit by Google updates, but traffic spikes could also be bad news in cases where you start getting a lot of irrelevant traffic.

Automatic traffic alerts in Universal Analytics

Here’s how to set up automatic traffic alerts:

  1. Go to Google Analytics
  2. To select Admin > View Column > Custom Alerts > Create a New Alert
  3. Apply to any or all websites you manage
  4. Choose a period and who to send alerts to
  5. Select “Medium” and choose “organic” for “Matches exactly”
  6. Choose to notify when “sessions” are down more than 20% from the previous week

Then set another alert for rapidly increasing organic sessions.

For GA4 users, select reports, view all insights, and create and customize one of the suggestions shown below to get notified of any anomalies on your website.

Automatic Traffic Alerts in Google Analytics 4

Most technical SEO problems are unexpected, so you should have a way to detect and fix any issues as they arise.

To do this, set up Site Audit by Ahrefs to regularly review your website for these issues. You can also do it for free in Ahrefs Webmasters Tools.

Running scheduled scans in Site Audit by Ahrefs

After crawling your website, you will see a list of issues:

Ahrefs site audit report

Then you can expand each issue, check its details, see how to fix it, and finally click through to the affected URLs:

Details of the issue in Site Audit by Ahrefs

When you see the list of affected URLs, you can check the file Lost from the filter results card and turn on Show Changes. What you will get is a list of URLs where the issue has been fixed since last time with details about the change.

Changes to URLs affected by Ahrefs Site Audit

4. Get regular keyword rank updates

Not ready to start using Looker Studio to automate your entire SEO report? You can still receive important SEO data on a regular basis, such as keyword tracking.

It’s easy. Open Ahrefs Rank Tracker and list the keywords you want to track. You can track it in multiple locations and add tags for segmentation.

Adding keywords to Ahrefs Rank Tracker

You’ll see data for these keywords in your Rank Tracker dashboard, but you can also trigger regular emails with weekly keyword reports:

Ahrefs Rank Tracker Automatic Email Report

Whenever you post new content, you simply add its primary keyword to Rank Tracker.

5. Keep track of the backlinks you’ve won or lost

For those working on an awareness or PR campaign, you can turn on backlink alerts for each of your projects in the Ahrefs dashboard.

Automated backlink notifications in Ahrefs

You will receive a regular email report on the backlinks you have won and lost (because recovering lost links is a great link building tactic).

Both options save you time from checking the file manually Backlinks report too often.

6. Get recommendations for content updates

There are advice everywhere telling you to update, refresh or rewrite your old content regularly.

But which pages should you update or completely rewrite?

After installing the Ahrefs SEO plugin for WordPress and running the content check, you can see the underperforming pages and the suggested action.

Here is a step-by-step guide for installing the plugin and running the content checker:

  1. Search for the Ahrefs plugin, install and activate it
  2. Connect the plugin to your Ahrefs, Google Analytics and Search Console accounts
  3. Allow Ahrefs to access the data and continue
  4. Make sure you are linking to the correct sites and continue
  5. Read the content checking options and press “Run content checking”
  6. View the report after it’s completed

In the example below, we see 77 pages analyzed in the audit. Here’s how I reviewed them:

Step 1: Go to the “Under-performing” tab and view the pages (not in the top three) that should be updated to improve the position of the target keyword in Google.

Ahrefs content audit underperforming pages report

Step 2: Go to the “Non-performing” tab and see the pages (not in the top 20) that would need to be rewritten to get into the first page.

Ahrefs content audit non-performing pages report

Since the recommendations are based on the accuracy of the target keyword either extracted by Yoast or auto-suggested, you should make sure it is correct. Confirm or change the keyword for each audit page.

Step 3: Click “Export to CSV” and provide the audit to your team or client with instructions on how to rewrite or update these pages.

7. Automate internal linking for better PageRank flow

Adding relevant internal links helps users and Google bots navigate your website better and rank your pages higher on Google. But the process of manually searching for opportunities to add new links and actually adding them is tedious.

The Internal linking opportunities The report in Site Audit by Ahrefs suggests new links between web pages by looking at the top 10 keywords each page ranks for.

Internal linking opportunities report in Site Audit by Ahrefs

It’s great to use as an addition to paid WordPress plugins, like Link Whisper. It can also give you suggestions about internal links but more importantly, help you add them with ease. Clicking a button versus editing each page separately can be a huge relief.

Link Whisper also offers an auto link option for fully automated linking. But it’s far from perfect, so you’ll probably be better off working some more. Here’s a good video overview of the plugin to learn more:

8. Optimized for fast image loading

Large webpage images are one of the main culprits that can slow down your pages. Here’s how to automate them by optimizing them.

You can automatically reduce image file size while maintaining quality by bulk uploading images using tools and plug-ins from TinyPNG or Imagify.

Screenshot of the Imagify WordPress plugin

Once images load, it uses caching and lazy loading to delay displaying an image on a web page. This can improve page loading speed and user experience.

WP Rocket allows users to select the “lazy load” option to activate lazy loading.

Screenshot of WP Rocket slow loading

9. Clustering to improve keyword research files

A keyword cluster is a group of keywords that are relevant to each other. They are great for:

  • It helps you navigate through thousands of keywords that you have identified in your keyword research.
  • Giving you ideas on how to structure your website, pages and content.

Unsurprisingly, you first need a comprehensive keyword research file from a tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. You export your keywords and process them with a keyword clustering tool like Keyword Insights.

In this example of business ideas, the report proposes:

  • A content hub on “small business ideas”.
  • One of 40 pages within that hub to create, which is “creative ideas for business.” You can see all related keywords that the page is targeting in the keywords column.
Sample keyword clustering report

These reports are great for planning your content with your team or clients, but take them with a grain of salt. Always use your own judgment in determining the groups and pages you want to create.

Final thoughts

SEO automation saves you time and money by automating repetitive tasks like reporting, site auditing, ranking updates, and more.

When you automate these tasks, you can focus more attention on what matters: driving traffic to your site.

Do you have questions? ping me on Twitter.

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