Manual SEO means carrying out the SEO work by hand for example submitting your website to the directory one by one. Automated SEO means you are letting the software do the SEO work. Many webmasters are attracted to SEO software because it speeds up the process for example with a single click of a button, the software can submit your website to hundreds of directories. There is no SEO software that can help you to get #1 ranking, the promise that is made by many companies who just want to push the sales of their products. Whether your website rank on the first page or not depends on your knowledge. Manual is always better then automated SEO because you have complete control over the SEO strategies and you can make sure they are being carried out according to your plan. With manual SEO, you can also choose where your site is getting the backlink.