11 January 2023
5 mins read

Why you should be cautious using ChatGPT for SEO

Benji Hugh
Benji Hugh
Head of Performance Marketing

Over the last few months, a new product from OpenAI has been gripping & inspiring the digital community. ChatGPT is a chatbot that leverages artificial intelligence to comprehend & produce complex and seemingly human text communication.

The algorithm behind the tool is provided with large amounts of text on a given topic, to the point where it learns enough to answer almost any question on the topic. ChatGPT is currently in the “research preview” phase, allowing users to sign up & utilise the tool for free.

So, naturally I asked it: How could I use you to help with my SEO? Here’s what it came back with:

“There are many ways that I can help you with your SEO. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Keyword Research: I can help you identify relevant keywords to target on your website and in your content. This can help you attract visitors who are searching for the products or services you offer.
  2. On-Page Optimisation: I can provide guidance on how to optimise the content and structure of your website to improve its visibility to search engines.
  3. Content Creation: I can help you create high-quality, engaging content that is optimised for the keywords you are targeting. This can help you attract more visitors to your site and improve your search rankings.
  4. Link Building: I can assist you with building high-quality inbound links to your website, which can help improve your search rankings and increase the credibility of your site.
  5. Technical SEO: I can provide guidance on how to optimise your website for technical SEO factors, such as site speed and mobile-friendliness, which can affect your search rankings.”

With responses of this quality, you can easily see why everyone’s so excited about the possibilities of ChatGPT. It’s really quite incredible.

The danger of ChatGPT for Content Marketing

When testing the ability of ChatGPT, it’s tempting to prompt the bot to compose a comprehensive & keyword-rich article focused on a topic that relates to your product or service.

Here’s why we recommend against using such content on your site:

ChatGPT content may contravene Google’s guidelines

In 2022, Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller stated that automatically-generated content, which could include content from AI tools like ChatGPT, would contravene Google’s Webmaster Guidelines – now known as Google Search Essentials.

“For us it’s still automatically generated content, and that means for us it’s still against the Webmaster Guidelines. So we would consider that to be spam.”

There’s no conclusive evidence that Google is able to determine whether content has been generated by ChatGPT, however, if your site is determined by Google’s Webspam team to contain spam content and contravene their guidelines, you can expect to see some pretty detrimental repercussions.

Should your site consist of AI generated content that is detected and reviewed by Google, it’s possible that you could receive a “Major Spam Problems” or “Spam Problems” message in Google Search Console.

Major Spam Problems: In some cases this may result in the site being removed from Google Search Results

Spam Problems: It’s likely that Google will act on certain pages, and these pages may still appear in some search results. These actions will likely still impact the overall performance of your site in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

Our recommendation

Leverage AI tools such as ChatGPT to ideate potential content ideas, or if you are going to input a prompt for the tool to write content, at the very least ensure that it is reviewed in a detailed manner to ensure that the content reads naturally as if it was written by a human.

An inability to audit organic performance

If you’ve used ChatGPT, you probably know that the tool does not have access to the internet and is based on information, analyses & databases which are assumed to pre-date 2022, let alone 2023.

As such, the tool has no capability to audit the organic performance of your site.

Example 1:

Prompt: “Provide an audit of the SEO Performance of windsorborn.com over the last 12 months”

Response: “I’m sorry, but I don’t have access to any data on the SEO performance of windsorborn.com or any other website. In order to conduct an SEO audit, it would be necessary to have access to the website’s traffic data, search engine rankings, and other relevant information. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Our recommendation

Although it may be unable to audit your site’s organic performance, ChatGPT can steer you in the right direction when it comes to key indicators for analysis. Our recommendation is to have the following list as a base for analysis, before reviewing your site’s performance in tools such as: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMRush, Ahrefs & Screaming Frog.

Example 2:

Prompt: “Provide a condensed list of important elements to assess when reviewing SEO performance”

Response: “Here are the most important elements to consider when reviewing the SEO performance of a website:

  • Traffic volume and trends
  • Rankings for targeted keywords
  • On-page optimisation (including content and HTML)
  • Off-page factors (including link profile)
  • Technical issues

These elements will give you a good overall picture of the website’s SEO performance and help you identify areas for improvement.”

Leveraging new technologies for your site

At Windsorborn, we believe that AI, like other tools, can be leveraged in a considered manner to help improve your digital marketing performance. But like diving into anything new, proceed with caution.

Contact Windsorborn today to begin discussing how AI & machine-learning can improve the return on your Performance Marketing investment.

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