The Impact of ChatGPT on Your SEO Strategy

Matt Raven discusses ChatGPT's impact on SEO strategy based on Google's February 2023 guidance.

ChatGPT is a hot topic, and for good reason. The AI-powered tool is forcing companies to rethink what content should be written by humans and what should be scribed via automation. Not surprisingly, ethical concerns surrounding ChatGPT are brimming from the boardroom to the classroom. 

ChatGPT has shaken the snowglobe vigorously in just a matter of months and left B2B marketers with a ton of questions. One that’s come across my radar: How does AI-generated content impact SEO efforts? In short, according to Google, it doesn’t — so long as you’re not attempting to manipulate rankings or results. In February, it published “Google Search’s guidance about AI-generated content,” pointing out their focus is “on the quality of content, rather than how content is produced.”

While this is relatively straightforward, there are nuances that content marketers should consider. Let’s take a look at them and explore some tips to help ensure your content — irrespective of how it’s produced — gets Google’s attention and drives long-term traffic.

Make quality content your top priority

In December’s “Helpful Content Update,” Google continued the expansion of its ranking system for rewarding quality content. Those content qualities are called E-E-A-T: experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. And this system continues as organizations figure out how to publish content using AI tools.

Think of ChatGPT the same way you’d use Wikipedia — it’s a great place to get started in terms of initial research and even formatting. However, the tool isn’t perfect, and biases, simplifications and inaccuracies could raise subject matter experts’ eyebrows. Among its limitations, ChatGPT’s training data cuts off in 2021 - making it “unaware of current events or trends” after that point. It also has no external capabilities to verify facts - meaning it cannot consult the internet, Google or any other sources to fact check. 

Bottom line — the more unique input you can insert into your content, the more Google will promote it within the search results based on their E-E-A-T standards.

Scrutinize AI-generated content for accuracy

“It’s on the Internet, it MUST be true!” We’ve all made that sarcastic remark when stumbling upon something so ridiculous that no one could (or at least should) believe it. However, many of us ‘accuracy scoffers’ may fall into the trap of plugging a topic into an AI tool and taking it at face value. Bad idea. 

ChatGPT scours the internet for generalized information that may lack the nuance and context needed to make some statements uniformly accurate in every situation. Even further, AI is created by humans, which can incorporate biases people have. 

As Google wrote in February, accuracy plays a critical role in ranking:  “On topics where information quality is critically important—like health, civic, or financial information—our systems place an even greater emphasis on signals of reliability.” Your organization has subject matter experts who can verify the integrity of AI-generated content, which will go a long way toward creating user-first content that can drive sustainable traffic over time.

AI tools are more helpful with meta tags than producing optimized content

While technical content generation that adheres to Google’s guidelines may not be AI's strength, the tools can be used to help create other efficiencies in your SEO processes.  

Once your content is complete, use ChatGPT to create various meta elements like a title tag and meta description for ideation. Here are a couple of tips to improve results:

  • AI tools will not understand your keyword strategy. Be clear in your prompts with specific phrases to use. 
  • Share specific details like character count limits to ensure you’re getting outputs that you can use or easily modify. 

We’re still in the baby steps phase of working with ChatGPT, and some of the issues mentioned above may self-correct in future iterations of the app. But for now, it’s important to lean into your organization’s expertise and to use AI-generated content only as a helpful tool — not an infallible content creator. Your Google rankings and organic traffic will thank you.

Regardless of who is authoring your content, the crucial point to remember is that it will only perform well if it’s valuable to the user first. Learn how the content smartypants at Look Left can help you transform your B2B content marketing program to ensure the right people are seeing your stuff. 

digital marketing
digital marketing strategies
search engine optimization
organic search
google helpful content update

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