APIs are the biggest open secret in SEO! They allow us to expand the range of possibilities by easily accessing data from different sources or offering them to different tools. SEO professionals with a variety of technical skills often use APIs to enrich strategic reports, discover information, or even reduce errors and reduce implementation time by automating workflows. Let’s take a look at the various strategic benefits of SEO APIs.
Automate your reports
One of the most common uses of APIs in SEO is report automation. SEO professionals often have many tasks to manage and very little time they can spend on time-consuming reports. That’s why APIs can be useful in this case!
The foundation of APIs in search marketing is Google Analytics. Most tools on the market offer a direct connection to Google Analytics, built on the Google Analytics APIs. But Google also offers marketers, not just software developers, APIs dedicated to automating reports .
E.g, The Google Analytics Embedding API lets you allows you to easily create and embed a dashboard on a third-party website in minutes. Or, the Google Analytics spreadsheet plugin allows you to easily access, view, share, and manipulate your data in Google Spreadsheets. Finally, Google Analytics SuperProxy allows you to publicly share Google Analytics reporting data.
To go even further than using Google Analytics, the different methods involve a bit of Python, other APIs, and Google Spreadsheets. These methods could help companies that cannot afford to hire a data researcher or invest in a business intelligence (BI) tool to automate their reporting.
For example, this great post demonstrates three concrete examples of what extracting data from a platform with an API and processing this dataset with Python looks like.
Lastly, if you are an SEO professional, you probably have a crawler to analyze your website data. Although these tools are a life-saving tool in terms of time saving and analysis, you may feel limited with the dashboards they offer. If so, you can use the file API crawler to extract data from the tool and go beyond what is currently available.
Now that we’ve seen how to use APIs to automate your reports, let’s see how these same APIs can allow you to collect more and more data.
Increase the amount and width of the data
Another significant advantage of using APIs in SEO is their use to increase the amount of data for reporting and analysis. To do this, you’ll only need a few APIs, some Python code, and some determination.
A simple example is use Google Analytics API or Google Search Console. If you work in SEO, you have probably complained about the limit of 1000 lines of information. But this limitation, in part, only applies to the web interface. For work with API instead of interface , you can take advantage of more data on the site.
For another more complicated example, suppose you want to automatically monitor your Lighthouse score for a set of URLs in a report. This article highlights a simple way to optimize your reporting workflows directly in Google Spreadsheets using Lighthouse API , Google Cloud Run and Appscript. It’s very useful because it allows you to have data for different URLs in one place, accessible to multiple people, which is quite unique.
This example is specific to the Lighthouse, but the same methodology could be used for others machine learning algorithms .
If you are an SEO professional busy maintaining a presence on social networks, we recommend that you automate part of this process. However, current tools for automating social media posting, such as Buffer, have limitations. For example, most do not automatically post to Instagram and do not post certain media formats. Well, that’s what you can get by using your APIs.
This post shows how you can go a long way in customizing your automated posts on your social networks with Buffer API and a little code, either text or visual. With this process, you will be able to access data and functions that are not available with the most common tools.
Now you know that it is possible to increase the volume of data analyzed and automate your reports through APIs. But what if you have to cross-reference specific data?
Combine data from different sources
With APIs, you can combine data from different sources and cross-analyze the information. This is especially useful for guidance content creation .
Content creation takes care of many basic SEO elements on the page: article structure, keyword placement, meta tags, title tags, alternate text, titles, and more. These elements and their main KPIs often need to be cross-referenced to audit or create a content strategy. Here APIs can become an important asset, helping to distribute data between multiple sources and tools.
Take, for example, an SEO professional who tries to find the core performance of your website content. To do this, you can cross-analyze your website data using CMS API and Google Analytics data. In this process, you will use the CMS API to extract data from each content URL that you want to analyze, along with its release date, as shown below:
You can then combine this data with content and daily sessions from Google Analytics and collect all of this key information into a Google spreadsheet to calculate the «normal» number of sessions per day after publication. The complete methodology is available Here .
Other uses of cross-analysis can simply be meant to give you better information, providing context for data. For example, finding correlations between page elements that could be ranking factors and the actual page rankings of your site will help you determine which SEO projects could have the greatest impact. To do this for each page on your website, you’ll want the APIs to simplify and automate the collection of information: page data for each crawler URL, ranking information provided by Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools, information about organic traffic from an analysis solution, etc.
Connect the tools to produce a workflow
APIs offer an additional main advantage to SEO goals: connecting different tools to create workflows .
This opens up a whole range of previously inaccessible possibilities. What SEO professional has never dreamed of automatically detecting and submitting new URLs to search engines? So far, for most search marketers, sending URLs to search engines is a manual process that can take some time. However, it is possible automate this task allowing SEO crawlers to share information, through their APIs, with Bing and Google, using search engine APIs. This way, lists of new URLs found by an SEO crawler can be automatically sent to search engines, eliminating manual steps. This workflow allows search engines to schedule a new crawler for these pages and index them faster.
API-based workflows , as in the previous example, use the information obtained by one tool as an input for action in another tool. Any case you find copying and pasting results from one tool to another is probably a good candidate for using the API to create a workflow.
Maybe I should consider alerts developers by creating Slack tickets or messages when new HTTP error status codes are detected by a trace or other tool. You may have sought to automate the creation of article tags in CMS based on frequently searched terms in the Google Search Console to create topic centers and strengthen your internal sign-in strategy. Or you may be able to collect keyword or backlink information from a tool like SEMrush to complete content summary information for your writers. These are just a few examples of short SEO workflows in which APIs can provide great benefits.
What kind of SEO professionals use APIs?
The answer to this question is very common in SEO: it depends! Some methodologies that use APIs are accessible to all SEO professionals with a minimum of basic technical knowledge, even to those who do not necessarily know how to code. In fact, if you’re an SEO professional who doesn’t use the API yet, you’re probably using it a tool that consumes them for you .
Some of the more advanced processes presented in this article are better suited for multiple data-based profiles, such as data scientists, data analysts, or business intelligence analysts. Others can be implemented by anyone or simplified with the help of connectors for Google Data Studio, services such as Zapier or platforms such as Dataiku or Tableau Software.
Why should you use APIs in your SEO process?
In any case, one thing is for sure: in the coming years, the SEO field will see the emergence of automation practices in the way we obtain, process and use SEO data. Although we often hear more about machine learning, NLP, and programming languages such as Python, APIs are the means by which these elements can work with the data they need. The role of APIs in this process, which we could call «SEO Data», is indispensable.
But as we saw in this article, APIs produce results, whether you work with these more advanced SEO data processes. From reports to growing volumes of data, cross-analysis and new workflows, APIs open up new possibilities for automation and connection in SEO. They make it much easier for SEOs to obtain data, report on it, and close gaps in workflows where data is transferred from one tool or format to another.
This makes it possible not only to save time on recurring tasks, but also to access data that would otherwise be inaccessible. This in turn helps you, as an SEO professional, to spend more time and effort on strategy, allowing you to find the levers of success for your SEO process. APIs provide an opportunity that continues to evolve due to the talent of pioneering experts and the developments offered by the tools used in the SEO community.