Never Automate Your Content

Some trends just won’t die. Since 2011, Google and Bing have handed down stiff retribution against those who create bulk content in an effort to fool the search engines. Automatic page generation has been around for a long time and was extremely effective before the Panda update. That pretty much killed it… or so we thought.

Unfortunately, it makes for a great sales pitch. Here are a few variations:

  • “We’ll create a new page every time someone buys a car. We’ll tag it with their name and city and people in that city will see the page in Google when they search for a car!”
  • “Our platform generates a page for every model, every service, and every part in every city within proximity to your dealership!”
  • “Your website is like a book. The more pages you have in it for Google and Bing to read, the better you’ll rank as a result!”

All of these are flat out lies. They don’t work. There are documented instances where dealer websites might have hundreds of thousands of indexed pages thanks to automation, only to see those numbers dip down into the thousands withing a few days.

Think of it like this: we’re not smarter than Google. It doesn’t matter how much research, coding, or content creation a search engine optimization team does. They won’t be able to beat Google. You don’t have to! Your goal isn’t to beat the search engines. Your goal is to play within the very simple rules that they put forth and to do it better than your competition. It’s about beating them, not the search engines. Spammy techniques such as automated page creation will always end up damaging your search results in the long run.

Can it work for a little while? Possibly. Will it eventually get caught 100% of the time? Absolutely.

Update: A question came up about inventory. I should have mentioned in the article that manual creation of pages applies to content pages only. Inventory falls under a completely different category and the search engines are aware of them.