ChatGPT and SEO: Will It Actually Work? + How To Use It
What social media has been telling you: ChatGPT will completely change SEO! You can now rank #1 with 20 minutes of ChatGPT by having the tool write 17 million words of SEO-friendly content.
Reality: ChatGPT is still a bit clunky and, if used wrong, will absolutely not help your SEO.
This guide is designed to share if you can actually use ChatGPT to help your SEO and, if so, how to use it.
P.S – the main image you see above was created by going to ChatGPT and asking it:
I then took that prompt that ChatGPT wrote and took it to Craiyon (formerly Dall-E) and it created the strange AI-generated image above.
What Google Itself Says About ChatGPT
Well, first, Google is taking this seriously. They issued an internal code red when ChatGPT came out.
While Google hasn’t officially stated this, I’m sure that they have a team of HUNDREDS of engineers trying to reverse engineer if something was written by ChatGPT or not.
And if they’re able to determine if something was in fact written by ChatGPT, I’m sure they’re going to be meticulously scrutinizing that content.
I mean, some computer science student in college developed a tool that can tell if something was written by ChatGPT or not. If they can do it, Google can definitely do it.
Google’s Policies on AI Written Content
Spammy automatically-generated content
Spammy automatically generated (or “auto-generated”) content is content that’s been generated programmatically without producing anything original or adding sufficient value; instead, it’s been generated for the primary purpose of manipulating search rankings and not helping users. Examples of spammy auto-generated content include:
- Text that makes no sense to the reader but contains search keywords
- Text translated by an automated tool without human review or curation before publishing
- Text generated through automated processes without regard for quality or user experience
- Text generated using automated synonymizing, paraphrasing, or obfuscation techniques
- Text generated from scraping feeds or search results
- Stitching or combining content from different web pages without adding sufficient value
What’s interesting is that Google doesn’t straight up say “Chat GPT or AI generated content isn’t allowed.”
What they’re hyperfocused on is cracking down on AI-generated content that doesn’t actually add value to the user. Content that’s stuffed with keywords.
And, when using ChatGPT incorrectly, you’re essentially creating a lot of AI-generated content that won’t add value to your users. Watch out.
Let’s Think About the Goals of SEO Before Jumping Into ChatGPT Specifics
DON’T SKIP THIS SECTION! This is where 98% of people get ChatGPT wrong.
They say: “SEO is all about ranking on Google. Can ChatGPT help me rank on Google?”
That’s NOT at all what SEO is about. Totally wrong.
SEO is about ranking on Google for keywords that your target audience cares about, leading your target audience to visit your website, find your content valuable, and then take action with your company that leads to revenue.
The question is: Can ChatGPT help you do that?
ChatGPT for Local SEO - Nearly Impossible to Use It
For the sake of ease, let’s say you’re a physical therapist in Seattle, WA. And you’re hoping to use ChatGPT for physical therapy SEO.
What do you care about?
You care about, when people in Seattle search for keywords like the following, you rank:
- Physical therapist in Seattle
- Physical therapy near me
- Seattle physical therapist for sports injuries
- Physical therapy clinic
- Physical therapy for neck pain
For fun, let’s search some of these keywords into Google and see what happens. We’ll start with “Seattle physical therapist for sports injuries.” Here’s what shows up:
The very first thing that shows up is the Google Local Pack. And how do you rank in the Google Local Pack? Well, there are many factors that influence rankings but ultimately it comes down to:
- The content within your Google Business Profile
- Main description
- Main category
- Secondary categories
- Custom services in the back-end of your profile
- The quantity and quality of your Google Reviews (VERY IMPORTANT)
Can ChatGPT help you get more 5-star reviews than your competitors? No, it can’t.
Can ChatGPT choose your main category of either “physical therapist” or “physical therapy clinic” instead of messing up and putting “medical clinic” (yes, we’ve seen this error before)? No, it can’t.
Can ChatGPT write a main description of your physical therapy clinic, sharing important personalized information such as 1) you’ve been around for 20+ years, 2) you specialize in a new type of treatment for dizziness, and 3) you have 5 expert trained therapists on staff? Nope, it really can’t do that either.
Okay, let’s move on to the next part of Google’s results for the keyword “Seattle physical therapist for sports injuries.”
Okay, since we searched specifically for “Seattle physical therapist for sports injuries,” we can see that Google’s populating results for 1) local Seattle physical therapists that 2) have content on their website indicating that they treat sports injuries.
So the question is: Can ChatGPT write content for your website that lets the user know that you treat sports injuries?
Well, let’s see. I asked ChatGPT to… “write website landing page content explaining that our physical therapy clinic in Seattle specializes in treating sports injuries.”
And here’s what it spit out:
“Welcome to our physical therapy clinic in Seattle!
At our clinic, we specialize in the treatment of sports injuries. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you recover from your injury and get you back to the sports you love.
Our team of physical therapists is dedicated to providing high-quality care to help you achieve your goals. We use a variety of techniques and therapies, including manual therapy, strength training, and therapeutic exercises, to help you regain strength, flexibility, and function.
We understand that every patient is unique, which is why we take the time to thoroughly assess and evaluate your injury. From there, we develop a customized treatment plan to help you achieve your best possible outcome.
We are proud to serve the Seattle community and are committed to helping you get back to your active lifestyle. If you or someone you know is in need of sports injury rehabilitation, we encourage you to contact us to schedule an appointment.
Thank you for considering our clinic for your physical therapy needs. We look forward to helping you recover and get back to the sports you love.”
Not bad! Pretty generic… But not bad.
Let’s ask it to add more specific content about high school sports injuries, including the major injuries associated with basketball, football, soccer, baseball, volleyball, and tennis.
I asked ChatGPT: “can you add more specific content about high school sports injuries, including the major injuries associated with basketball, football, soccer, baseball, volleyball, and tennis?”
And it spit out…
“High school sports are a great way for students to stay active and healthy, but they can also be a source of injuries. Here is a breakdown of some common sports injuries associated with popular high school sports:
Basketball: Sprained ankles, knee injuries, and muscle strains are common in basketball.
Football: Concussions, sprained ankles, and knee injuries are common in football.
Soccer: Sprained ankles, knee injuries, and muscle strains are common in soccer.
Baseball: Shoulder and elbow injuries, as well as muscle strains, are common in baseball.
Volleyball: Ankle sprains, knee injuries, and muscle strains are common in volleyball.
Tennis: Tennis elbow and wrist injuries are common in tennis.
At our physical therapy clinic in Seattle, we have experience in treating these and other sports injuries. Our team of physical therapists will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to help you recover and get back to your active lifestyle. If you or someone you know is suffering from a sports injury, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule an appointment.”
Again, not bad. It’s a starting point. But to actually make this content suitable for a landing page, you’d have to:
- Reorganize it so that it’s not just a long block of text
- Expand on the injuries, as most of them are vague
- Ideally add real case studies / testimonials since users who are making a real life buying decision want to see other people that look like them getting their problems solved
That last bullet point leads to the main point of all of this…
Think About The Average User Making a Real Buying Decision
ChatGPT writes, for the most part, generic content.
If I’m a real user, looking to choose a physical therapy clinic after injuring myself on a ski trip, what I care about is:
- The reviews of the physical therapy clinic
- Finding case studies of other patients who had the same ski injury that I had
- The “About Us” page of the clinic, to see how many therapists they have and their credentials, the quality/cleanliness of their clinic, and any other personalized information about them
For the average local SEO campaign (physical therapist, lawyer, piano teacher, video production company, etc), ChatGPT can’t truly support the most important things that a user cares about when making a buying decision, such as Google reviews and case studies.
ChatGPT for National SEO
This is where ChatGPT gets a little more interesting.
Let’s use a software company that has software for video production agencies as an example.
This software helps video production agencies plan out their production schedules, from pre-production to the shoot to editing to publishing the video content.
They’re creating content on the following topics:
- How to plan a video shoot
- How to improve video pre-production
- How to schedule a lot of video shoots
This is national content. This software company can have video production agencies all over the country 1) find their content and 2) use their software.
I asked ChatGPT to create a couple paragraphs answering “What are the 3 main mistakes video production companies make during pre-production?”
Here’s what it spit out:
“Here are three common mistakes that video production companies might make during the pre-production phase:
- Failing to clearly define the project scope and objectives: It’s important to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the video and the goals you want to achieve before you start production. Without a clear direction, it can be easy to get off track and waste time and resources.
- Skipping the scriptwriting process: A well-written script is the foundation of any successful video. It helps to guide the production process and ensures that the final product is on message and on brand. Skipping the scriptwriting process can lead to a poorly structured video that doesn’t effectively convey your message.
- Neglecting to plan for potential problems: No production goes off without a hitch, and it’s important to plan for potential problems that might arise. This could include having backup equipment on hand, scouting out multiple locations in case the first one doesn’t work out, and allowing extra time in the schedule for unexpected delays. Failing to plan for potential problems can lead to costly delays and potentially jeopardize the success of the project.”
Okay, now we’re talking! This is pretty legit.
I will say, it’s not perfect and to take it to the next level, I’d love to see each section of the content above have a “real life example of this” section.
For example, maybe under “Failing to clearly define the project scope and objectives:” they can share a real-life example of a video production company they’ve worked with that assumed the project scope was to shoot a video that was designed to be used for external advertising purposes. But, they assumed wrong and the video was actually intended to be used for internal training purposes.
By sharing real-life examples, the content feels more real and helpful.
But again, not a bad start from ChatGPT
Oh, We Didn’t Even Talk About The Technical Stuff…
Yeah, SEO isn’t just about writing content and putting it on a website.
It’s also about:
- Site architecture
- URL structure
- Internal and external links
- Avoiding duplicate content
- AKA writing articles on the same / very similar topics
- Site speed
- Site authority through natural backlinks
- And much more.
ChatGPT definitely does not take any of that into consideration.
Ultimately, I’d Recommend Using ChatGPT as a Starting Point To Get You 70% of the Way There.
Remember that it’s a tool!
Play around with it. Get creative with it. Give it a bunch of different input scripts to see if the output improves.
But ultimately, don’t use it as the end-all-be-all. This is particularly the case for local SEO.
ChatGPT can’t help you get 100 Google reviews. Nor can it choose the right primary and secondary categories for your Google Business Profile. These are strategic business decisions that only a human can do.
Now, for national SEO campaigns, remember that even if you use ChatGPT to write content that helps you rank, there are real people on the other end of the screen reading the content.
For them to pull out their wallets and make a real buying decision with your company, you need to organize the content and supplement it with strategies that will make them convert.