The dark art of search engine optimization could be next in line for software-powered automation — potentially putting hundreds of thousands of ‘SEO consultants’ out of a job.
At least that’s the scenario sketched by RankScience, a YC-backed startup just graduating from accelerator’s winter 2017 program, whose software-as-a-service automates the process of running thousands of A/B tests in order to identify which changes will improve the Google ranking of customer webpages in organic search results.
“Ultimately that’s who we do see ourselves replacing,” says founder Ryan Bednar of the humble human SEO consultant who spends their days eyeballing scores of dashboards to try to identify beneficial tweaks. But whose days of gainful employment could be numbered if manual analytics can be overtaken by automation.
“It is an industry that I think we can disrupt,” he continues. “Humans are tweaking and measuring and changing, and software is really where things are going — and we think this is the start of that.”
So the pitch is: goodbye SEO dashboards and specialized in-house staff; and hello Video Production Studio subscription software for automated testing and continuously optimized web pages. RankScience claims an average boost to organic search traffic of 37 per cent within three months, arguing such gains are a substantial step up from the competition — albeit it only has “a couple of dozen” customers at this point.