Wondering how Chat GPT will impact SEO work? We explain the risks and rewards of using Chat GPT across a range of SEO activities.
It’s safe to say that Chat GPT has been a central talking point within SEO circles since its launch in November 2022.
While many commentators are excited about the new possibilities it opens up for the online marketing industry, others are wary of its potential misuse and associated risks.
In this post, we’ll discuss the extent to which Chat GPT might facilitate the work of SEO professionals and consider under what conditions its use should be avoided.
Let’s start with some basics.
Chat GPT is a groundbreaking AI-powered chatbot developed by Open AI. The software generates human-like responses to user prompts, sourcing answers from its extensive corpus of training data.
Think of it as a general-purpose AI assistant.
Here are just a few examples of what Chat GPT’s AI language model can do:
Since Chat GPT’s launch, some people have speculated that advanced AI tools will soon displace search engines like Google—thereby making SEO obsolete.
One of the main arguments is that search engines just aren’t as convenient as Chat GPT. Google generally requires you to choose and click a result to get the information you want, while Chat GPT gives you a direct, tailor-made response to your prompt or query.
Of course, whether these functional differences will eventually lead advanced AI chatbots to replace search engines remains to be seen.
But a more immediate concern for SEO pros is: how can you use Chat GPT to become more productive? What kind of SEO tasks can you offload to the tool? And what applications should you avoid?
These are the questions we’ll turn to next.
Below, we’ll look at some popular SEO use cases for Chat GPT and see where the risks and opportunities lie.
Chat GPT can be a useful source of keyword ideas, providing numerous keyword variations around any topic you choose.
For example, here are some long-tail keyword variations it suggests for ‘smoothie makers’.
And, of course, if you want to drill deeper into specific subtopics, you can simply add a follow-up promptly.
However, it’s important to realize that Chat GPT doesn’t currently have real-time access to information on the internet. This means its keyword suggestions don’t necessarily reflect real-life search demand, and any search volume data it provides will likely be inaccurate.
So while you could definitely use Chat GPT to supplement your keyword research, it’s best to stick to professional keyword research tools to build complete, data-backed keyword lists.
You can also use Chat GPT to gather research material and formulate outlines for your content.
Whenever your goal is to create a comprehensive piece of content, it’s easy to overlook some important ideas that your piece should cover. Chat GPT can save you from trawling through existing online material by providing a breakdown of the main topics and subtopics you should address.
For example, here’s an outline that Chat GPT recommends for an article titled ‘How to use a smoothie maker.’
Once again, however, it’s best to use Chat GPT as a source of inspiration and gap-filling when planning content instead of relying on its output exclusively.
Even though the software pulls its suggestions from a vast pool of data, this data is nevertheless limited and includes existing web content. In most cases, you’ll want to create content that provides readers with insights they can’t find elsewhere, which invariably requires expertise and creativity on your part.
Now we move onto the most contentious topic regarding Chat GPT and SEO: content writing.
Given Chat GPT’s impressive ability to churn out reams of convincing text on any topic, it’s understandable why some brands are thrilled at the prospect of using AI for quick and convenient content creation. Why bother hiring human writers when Chat GPT can achieve the same results for free?
Indeed, even Google seems to suggest that AI-generated content isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Instead, the issue is content designed to manipulate search rankings—whether written by a human or machine.
So why might SEO professionals hesitate to use Chat GPT for content creation?
First, it’s important to keep in mind that Open AI readily admits that Chat GPT has some significant limitations. These include issues we’ve already discussed—like the fact Chat GPT pulls information from a fixed dataset—in addition to problems relating to in-built bias and nonsensical responses.
Such limitations mean that content generated by Chat GPT will sometimes contain factual inaccuracies and, in effect, plagiarised material. Clearly, publishing this kind of content could significantly harm your brand’s reputation. For example, in January 2022, Futurism.com revealed that tech company CNET had published several stories containing blatant errors, seemingly written by Chat GPT.
But are these concerns severe enough to say you shouldn’t use Chat GPT to write content? After all, doesn’t most SEO content just regurgitate what’s already out there? And couldn’t mistakes contained within AI-generated content be corrected with appropriate editorial oversight?
Perhaps. But editing AI-generated content for accuracy may be more trouble than it’s worth, particularly for specialist topics where errors are more likely to arise. Also, we all know that one of the best ways to achieve high rankings is to publish genuinely valuable content—content laced with expert insights, personal experiences, unique perspectives, and original ideas. You can’t get that from Chat GPT.
But let’s suppose your AI-generated content does manage to rank well. The question is: will anybody get value from reading it? Will it provide anything new that can’t also be found in a similar AI-generated article? If not, the organic visitors you attract will be unlikely to convert, and your poor engagement metrics will eventually cause you to fall further down the search results.
In short, we advise against using Chat GPT to create publication-ready content. By all means, use the tool to help organize your thinking and gather research, but don’t use it as a replacement for human creativity or quality assurance.
Headline writing can be a surprisingly time-consuming process. You have to pen several variations just to discover one that draws the reader in, adequately describes your content, and makes use of your target keywords.
Fortunately, Chat GPT can help with brainstorming headline ideas. You can even ask it to write headlines in a certain style, like ‘persuasive’, ‘shocking’, or ‘humorous’.
Here are some suggestions for some ‘enticing’ headlines for our ‘How to use a smoothie maker’ article.
As ever, you should apply your own human judgement to Chat GPT’s suggestions and tweak them as necessary.
While Chat GPT is no substitute for a professional human editor, it can help proofread your text for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, clunky wording, and stylistic inconsistencies.
For example, if you’re struggling to articulate an idea clearly or concisely, you can ask Chat GPT for some suggestions.
Here, we asked Chat GPT to rewrite a sentence as if it were explaining the concept to a 10-year-old.
We’ve seen that Chat GPT can be an extremely useful tool for eliminating much of the grunt work involved in running SEO campaigns. It can save you a ton of time by automating menial tasks like generating headlines, gathering keyword ideas, and creating content outlines.
But the tool is poorly suited for genuinely creative, value-added activities like content writing. After all, Chat GPT cannot innovate. Unlike humans, it won’t come up with original insights that let you outshine your competitors.
Don’t get us wrong: Chat GPT is extremely impressive. When you use it wisely, it can be an incredible source of inspiration and critical feedback. And as the technology continues to evolve, there are bound to be new and better ways it can help with SEO and content marketing tasks.
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Published on 04/11/2023 by Padrig Jones.
Padrig Jones is a freelance copywriter for B2B SaaS and marketing companies, specialising in writing thought-provoking, traffic-generating long-form articles. A former agency-side content marketer, he has over nine years of digital marketing experience and holds a master's degree in decision science. When he's not behind the keyboard, you can probably find him practising the drums or enjoying a walk around his hometown, Cardiff.
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