Should ChatGPT be used for SEO?

12 Jan 2023

SEO

Nick Boyle

Nick Boyle

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If you’re up to date with the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), then you’ll have heard all about ChatGPT. Developed by OpenAI, the chatbot was launched in November 2022, and has taken the Internet by storm. Viral TikToks have shown students using the bot to write essays, and some workplaces have also begun to use ChatGPT to their advantage. This begs the question – could ChatGPT become a useful tool for SEO? Keep reading to hear our take on the new AI development, and whether SEO executives should be making use of the tool.

What is ChatGPT, and how does it work?

ChatGPT is a language model that is based around GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture. It’s been trained around a huge database of conversational data, but can be used as a search engine, meaning it provides direct answers to a question as if you were speaking to a person. This differs from your usual SERP, where you would find millions of different links and websites offering answers to your questions. Instead, ChatGPT uses the text that it has studied to generate answers.

The way that ChatGPT gathers information may not be what you expect – the bot does not have dynamic access to the Internet. In fact, when asked for today’s date, the response generated by ChatGPT was “I’m sorry but I am unable to tell you what today’s date is because I am a offline AI model and my knowledge cut off was in 2021. However, I could help you with any other queries you might have.” Grammatical mistake aside (“a offline AI model” should be “an offline AI model”), the bot tells us that its information is not actually up to date, with a knowledge cut off in 2021. So, ChatGPT has access to an abundance of knowledge up to 2021, but cannot advise on information past this point. This means that any answers you generate could be out of date or incorrect, as they won’t account for developments past 2021.

Aside from providing information, ChatGPT can be used for creating content and rephrasing text. With simple prompts such as “write a blog post about X”, you can generate a complete piece of content about any topic. Of course, the accuracy of this content is debatable, since the AI collects its data from other sources on the Internet. As it is not 100% trustworthy or accurate (as seen by the simple grammatical mistake above), ChatGPT is best used to assist in, not replace, traditional content creation.

Can ChatGPT be used for SEO?

As mentioned above, ChatGPT can be asked to create content about any topic. You’re able to adapt prompts to include keywords, meta descriptions, and title tags for SEO. So, ChatGPT can technically be used to write SEO blog posts, product descriptions, landing pages, and more.

But, should ChatGPT be used for SEO?

The short answer is no – at least, not to completely write your content. ChatGPT can certainly be used as a tool for assisting in content creation, but you shouldn’t use it for actually generating text. We’ll go through some reasons why below.

Inaccuracy

Like we mentioned, ChatGPT has a knowledge cut off point in 2021. So, if you’re looking to create content that’s up-to-date, this won’t be possible using the bot. Plus, the AI chatbot has become notorious for providing incorrect answers. See this example from Search Engine Journal where the bot confidently states that a 7’1” man is taller than another 7’6” man, even after its recent update. The most reliable way to gather your information is to do independent research using a variety of different sources.

Screenshot of ChatGPT interaction that incorrectly states Shaquille O'Neal, at 7 feet 1 inches, is taller than Yao Ming at 7 feet 6 inches

Built-in biases

As with any AI, ChatGPT is subject to recreating the biases that it learns from. As there is much bias and discrimination present on the Internet, this can also be present in ChatGPT’s outputs. The content produced by ChatGPT could inadvertently include gender, racial, or other discriminatory biases that users should be aware of. It also attempts to avoid controversial or offensive topics, meaning that content may not be neutral or won’t accurately cover a topic. If you’re looking to create unbiased content, it’s best not to gather all of your information from one source – you could use ChatGPT as part of your planning, but don’t rely solely on the generated text as a source.

Watermarking

AI-generated content can be watermarked to an extent, meaning that Google and other forms of software can detect when it’s been created by AI. However, this is still a relatively new field, so the accuracy of AI watermarking isn’t entirely reliable. But, the fact that this form of content can be detected means that it could be blocked by search engines or other websites. Plus, this means you wouldn’t be able to pass off this work as your own.

Google doesn’t love automated content

In April 2022, Google took the standpoint that automatically generated content was a violation of their guidelines. However, their stance has since changed, albeit only slightly. Now, Google’s guidelines warn against automatically generated content that is “spammy” and doesn’t add any originality or value to existing content. Since ChatGPT essentially rephrases the masses of content already on the Internet, it is difficult for its content to add any significant value. This is why content written by a skilled content marketing executive will be favoured by Google, aiding your website’s SEO and providing a better experience for readers.

ChatGPT and SEO: Conclusion

To many, ChatGPT is an exciting and useful development that could completely transform the way we use the Internet. But, we shouldn’t let this overlook the value of people who are specifically trained in SEO and content creation. To successfully use ChatGPT for SEO, you shouldn’t just let the bot write your content from scratch – this could result in inaccurate, biased content that Google may consider “spammy”. The best SEO content is unique and caters to the reader’s search intent, which AI-generated content might not always be. So, when creating high quality content, ChatGPT should be limited to assisting in research and reducing some of the heavy lifting of content creation. It definitely shouldn’t be used to generate the words themselves – leave this up to experienced content writers with extensive SEO knowledge in their toolkits.

At TAL Agency, we’re passionate about SEO and all things digital marketing. If you would like to learn more from a member of our team, get in touch.

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