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ChatGPT – The End Of SEO As We Know It?

ChatGPT is currently the talk of the town – if you’re in any way involved in marketing or regularly liaise with that department, I’m sure that you’ve seen people mention ChatGPT on LinkedIn. There’s a lot of hype around it and also a fair amount of fear as people wonder whether AI can replace them at their jobs (It likely won’t) and whether it’s the beginning of the end for search engines such as Google. 

So what exactly is ChatGPT, why is there so much hype around it and how does it change SEO and marketing? Let’s dive straight in.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a lean, mean, long-format question-answering machine.

It’s an AI chatbot that interacts with users in a conversational and human-like way – It’s trained to ask follow-up questions, admit it’s mistakes and even reject requests that it finds inappropriate. 

Since it’s so incredible at interacting human-like, I thought it was only right to let it answer this question. Here is how ChatGBP describes itself:

ChatGPT's answer to 'what are you?'

It claims to be an assistant designed to help users by answering questions in a human-like manner. To date, it’s the only AI chatbot that can mimic humans so well and learn what people actually mean by the questions they ask.

Why Is There So Much Hype?

The reason for the hype is quite simple – it’s an amazing tool! The quality and comprehensiveness of the answers it provides are unrivalled. This has led a lot of people, especially within the marketing community, to speculate on how they could use it to make their lives easier. A lot of ideas have been tossed around, from automating simple tasks such as researching a topic or conducting keyword research to using ChatGPT to write content for you.

It’s easy to get caught up amongst this hype and begin to think that ChatGPT spells the end for Google but it’s important to note that ChatGPT, as good as a tool it is, it has some serious limitations (ones that the OpenAI team are very transparent about). These include:

  • It can sometimes provide non-sensical or in-correct answers.
  • It’s sensitive to slight tweaks in question phrasing – it might not know the answer to your question at first, but if you slightly tweak the wording it may be able to provide you with the correct answer.
  • Because there’s a built-in bias for longer-format answers, ChatGPT is prone to repeating itself. It seems to always want to tell you about itself and its creators.
  • Sometimes it opts to guess what the users query meant rather than clarifying with the user.
  • It’s possible that it may sometimes respond to inappropriate queries.
  • You can’t use ChatGPT to find local shops, restaurants or products. It also doesn’t present any reviews or user end feedback.
  • ChatGPT is not aware of any content that was created after 2021 so will not be able to answer some queries accurately, especially if its regarding recent events.
  • The final limitation and this one’s a big kicker, using content that is purely AI generated violates Google’s guidelines.

Using ChatGPT for AI content creation is a large reason why there’s so much hype behind this tool – considering that its answers are so human-like, it’s enticing to have it write all your content for you. Unfortunately, taking the easy route is often the wrong decision. Sure, you may get away with it for a while but eventually, Google will catch you and penalise you for violating its guidelines. Not to mention that AI-generated content won’t be better than content written by a human expert.

How Does ChatGPT Change SEO?

What’s important to highlight is that ChatGPT is a support tool, think of it like your personal assistant – something/someone that makes your life easier but it doesn’t do your job for you. From an SEO perspective, there are many tasks that we perform every day that ChatGPT can help with but it definitely won’t create content for you whilst you put your feet up and pretend that you’re working. 

While ChatGPT does offer high-quality answers, they’re still vague and lack that extra touch of knowledge that comes from having years of experience in a particular field. In its defence, content creation isn’t its intended purpose so you shouldn’t expect it to write incredibly detailed 2000-word articles. That, combined with the risk of being penalised if you use purely AI-generated content should be enough to kill your dreams of never having to write content again.

It’s actually quite scary that so many people think that AI will write high-quality content for them. On the bright side, if you’re wise enough to understand that AI content creation isn’t a good route to go down and you instead stick to the good old method of writing the content yourself, know that your chances of boosting your site’s performance have greatly increased. Those who continue to take the harder route of conducting research and writing content themselves will get better results and will stand out amongst those who are looking for easy ways out.

So when it comes to answering the question ‘how does ChatGPT change SEO’, the answer is pretty simple – from a content creation aspect, it doesn’t change anything. But it should help you get through those tedious little tasks (which always end up taking more time than you thought they would) – we’ll cover some examples of such tasks next.

Note – On OpenAI’s website, it states the following “during the research preview, usage of chatGPT is free”. This begs the question will it always be free? Or will it become a paid tool at some point in the future? If it does in fact become a paid tool, it may become harder to justify its use as there are free, albeit inferior, alternatives to each of its use cases.

How can ChatGPT help with SEO?

As mentioned earlier, ChatGPT can help with SEO by assisting with a variety of tasks. 

Keyword Research

Some people have suggested using AI tools such as this to do keyword research but I personally don’t see the point in this. After all, the process is exactly the same as using Keyword Planner or Semrush to conduct keyword research – you search for a key term, see what other related terms pop up and then select the terms that you think are best. 

However, you may argue that ChatGPT may become another tool in your keyword research arsenal and it very well may – there’s always the chance that it may find keywords that the others don’t.

Keyword Classification/Clustering 

Another use for ChatGPT could be to ask it to classify keywords based on intent or to cluster them. Whilst this could be easily be achieved with Semrush, ChatGPT is currently a free tool so this may come in handy for a lot of people who cannot afford a Semrush subscription.

Using ChatGPT to achieve this is as simple as providing it with your keyword list and asking it to classify it based on intent or to cluster the terms based on similarity. Here’s an example:

Asking ChatGPT to cluster keywords based on intent
Asking ChatGPT to cluster keywords based on intent

I must say that ChatGPT did a brilliant job clustering all of the keywords I provided it with – this would definitely save people within SEO and PPC a lot of time.

The only issue I see with doing this is that I’m left wondering how it classified those words. If I use software such as Semrush, I know that I can believe their classifications but with ChatGPT, I don’t know where it’s pulling the info from.

Rephrase Content

Likely the only scenario in which it’s acceptable to copy and paste something that ChatGPT spits out, you can use it to rephrase your already existing content (not the entire page though, just a small part of it). It may be that you have a collection of location pages that all have similar content – too similar for Google to see them as unique. You can ask ChatGPT to rephrase those pages for you to solve the issue – it’s as simple as asking and providing ChatGPT with the text you want to be rephrased. This can also come in handy if you keep having duplication issues on your site. 

 For example:

Asking ChatGPT to rephrase content
Asking ChatGPT to rephrase some content

Find Statistics Quickly

Need some statistics or an expert to back up your claim? You can ask ChatGPT to find some for you – just be sure to ask for a source and a URL so you have something to link to. Here’s an example of some statistics that ChatGPT can find you:

Asking ChatGPT to find some statistics for the average SEO campaign return
Asking ChatGPT to find statistics for the average SEO campaign return.

Including statistics and statements from experts can make your content seem more trustworthy so I would definitely recommend using ChatGPT to quickly find some whilst you’re writing your content.

Perform technical SEO tasks

Where the true value of ChatGPT lays, at least from an SEO perspective, is its ability to perform technical tasks, especially ones that require the know-how of coding. As long as you know where and how to enter the code, ChatGPT can handle the actual coding part – not only does this save you from having to write the code yourself but it’s also far more likely that the code will be correct. As anyone who codes will testify, the most frustrating part of the job is when you get the code wrong and can’t figure out why it’s not working. 

You can ask ChatGPT to generate the following:

  • Structured data 
  • HTML
  • CCS 
  • Javascript
  • Python

Build backlinks 

As we all know, backlinks to your site from other reputable sites can be likened to receiving a recommendation. To Google, it’s a great signal because if others are willing to recommend your site, it must be a good and trustworthy resource. However, receiving backlinks is notoriously hard and requires quite a lot of digital PR and outreach. 

A common method is to find popular and respected blog sites in your niche, and reach out to them – you can provide them with content ideas or perhaps new additions to their already existing blogs. ChatGPT can help you find these sites, simply ask the following:

“Recommend popular blogs that discuss [your topic].”

Final Thoughts

ChatGPT is a fantastic, and very impressive, tool that can be utilised by marketers to make their lives easier. Although, if I haven’t already made this clear, you shouldn’t use it to write content for you because you’d be breaching Google’s guidelines and the content would be of lower quality.

Don’t mistake ChatGPT for an easy way out; doing SEO the right way can often be hard work. If you’re interested in SEO but don’t understand where or how to start, consider hiring an SEO expert with over 14 years of experience – check out the SEO services I offer or get in contact to have a chat about how we can help each other.

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