ChatGPT and SEO and Digital Marketing: What You Need to Know


Like you, we at Know Agency are learning about and testing ChatGPT. Discovering how it works, how it may help us be better at what we do for you, and learning what its limitations are.

In this blog I answer your questions about ChatGPT and help you understand how this tool can be used in SEO and digital marketing.

In fact, Vicki wrote a personal blog about ChatGPT and what it means for your content and her career. I really want you to read Vicki’s blog as well – it cuts to the heart of why ChatGPT is such a hot topic.

As you use ChatGPT, keep in mind what OpenAI says about their tool:

ChatGPT Welcome Warning

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that responds to questions or prompts in a conversational and human way.

Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is built on GPT 3.5 a large language model (LLM).

A large language model is trained to predict the next word in a series of words.

Here is how ChatGPT explains ChatGPT:

What are Potential Use Cases for ChatGPT?

Here are some potential use cases for ChatGPT:

  1. Customer service: trained to answer customer questions regardless of time or day of the week.
  2. Personal assistant: trained to help schedule meetings, create to do lists, set reminders, etc.
  3. Social media moderation: trained to moderate online communities, respond to questions, and to provide customer service.
  4. E-commerce: trained to help customers browse online, answer questions about products, and provide recommendations based on customer preferences and purchase history.
  5. Industry research: understand customer behavior, potential trends, and competitive opportunities.
  6. Education: help research a topic, explain complicated topics in plain language, or as an e-learning assistant that answers questions.
  7. Research and analysis: examples include brainstorming topics, analyzing complex data sets, creating outlines, or finding online resources.

The key with each of these is that it takes inherent knowledge about the task to train ChatGPT to do what you need it do to. ChatGPT is a tool – a tool that has the potential to help people who are good at what they do, be better at what they do.

Here’s what Stephanie, our Digital Account Manager says about ChatGPT and using it for project management:

ChatGPT has the potential to help project managers with task prioritization, or simplification of more complex problems, data and information for easier decision making. The program could help present information in a way that is manageable, understandable and usable in project planning.”

Can Content Created by ChatGPT Be Identified?

Yes content created by ChatGPT can be identified.

Google can identify ChatGPT-generated content. Google also says they consider AI-generated content to be spam. Here is the official Google statement on auto-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

And in the latest update to the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google provides this guidance on auto-generated content:

Creating an abundance of content with little effort or originality with no editing or manual curation is often the defining attribute of spammy websites. One way to do this is to use “auto-generated” content.

Pages and websites made up of auto-generated content with no editing or manual curation, and no original content or value added for users, should be rated Lowest.

OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT is developing digital watermarking to help Google and other search engines identify AI-generated content.

Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist employed by OpenAI wrote on his website:

My main project so far has been a tool for statistically watermarking the outputs of a text model like GPT.

Basically, whenever GPT generates some long text, we want there to be an otherwise unnoticeable secret signal in its choices of words, which you can use to prove later that, yes, this came from GPT.

We want it to be much harder to take a GPT output and pass it off as if it came from a human.”

Additionally, tools such as Orginality.AI can identify ChatGPT-generated content.

What About ChatGPT Content and YMYL Content?

Google has very high expectations for any content that may impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people or the welfare or well-being of society. Google classifies these topics as Your Money or Your Life (YMYL).

In its latest Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google has clear statements about YMYL content:

For most pages, the quality of the MC can be determined by the amount of effort, originality, and talent or skill that went into the creation of the content. For informational pages and pages on YMYL topics, accuracy and consistency with well-established expert consensus is important.

The key words here for YMYL content and for anyone thinking of using ChatGPT to create this content are: accuracy, effort, originality, and talent or skill. Google says:

  • Effort: the extent to which a human being actively worked to create satisfying content.
  • Originality: the extent to which the content offers unique, original content that is not available on other websites. If other websites have the similar content, consider whether the page is the original source.
  • Talent or Skill: the extent to which the content is created with enough talent and skill to provide a satisfying experience for people who visit the page.
  • Accuracy: for informational pages, consider the extent to which the content is factually accurate. For pages on YMYL topics, consider the extent to which the content is accurate and consistent with well-established expert consensus.

In other words, do not use ChatGPT or any other AI tool to create your YMYL content.

Here is what ChatGPT told me when I asked it for an outline for a 1,000 word blog about the issues of using ChatGPT for YMYL content:

Can I Rely on ChatGPT for All of My Content?

Do not rely on ChatGPT for your content for these five reasons:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Tone of voice
  3. Personality
  4. Quality
  5. Plagiarism

It’s also important to remember that ChatGPT is not aware of any content published online before 2021. ChatGPT is not a search engine – it is not a replacement for Google.

What you can do, is use ChatGPT to help you brainstorm ideas, breakthrough writer’s block, explain complicated topics, collate information, or draft outlines.

But, before you jump into this, consider what Kevin, Know Agency’s COO/Partner says about ChatGPT and content:

It can help in creating an outline, brainstorming ideas or even creating a first draft – but these do come with caveats. Trust and accuracy are big flags for me.

Be very careful about the subject matter – ChatGPT can be useful for straight answers to questions when thought leadership or interpretation is not the goal.

We know ChatGPT has built-in biases and that it is prone to providing false information. Every piece of content you ask ChatGPT to create has to be reviewed.

Google, Content Quality, E-E-A-T, YMYL, and ChatGPT

  • Google places a huge priority on content quality.
  • Google has very high standards for YMYL content.
  • Google values content that demonstrates experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust (E-E-A-T).
  • Google has strict guidelines on spam and auto-generated content.

Your readers expect and want content that speaks to them. Content that feels like it is written for them. Content that is based on knowing your audience and understanding their challenges and goals.

Your readers visit your website and subscribe to your blog because they value your experience and expertise. They trust you to give them accurate and truthful information. Your online reputation is built on your content.

Your readers want more than a regurgitation of facts, mission statements, and statistics. People want your insights, anecdotes, quotes, and analysis of industry trends and themes. This is the content people read, share, and remember.

ChatGPT cannot do this for you. Yes, you can use ChatGPT to brainstorm ideas or draft content outlines. But the writing needs to come from you.

3 Pros of Using ChatGPT for SEO and Digital Marketing

  1. Content Brainstorming – sometimes you just don’t have an idea for your newsletter, social media post, or blog. ChatGPT can help spark your creativity and find ideas to get you started.
  2. Research – often we end up turning to the same resources for information. ChatGPT can be used to find new sources and collect information in one location. But remember to carefully review the website and verify the E-E-A-T of the content and author.
  3. Technical SEO – use ChatGPT to help you with tasks such as generating schema markup, creating XML sitemaps, generating robots.txt and Hreflang tags, and more.

4 Cons of Using ChatGPT for SEO and Digital Marketing

  1. Prompts – ChatGPT needs detailed instructions or prompts to generate useful information. This is particularly important when using it for SEO data analysis and technical SEO. Read The Art of ChatGPT Prompting: A Guide to Crafting Clear and Effective Prompts.
  2. Accuracy/E-E-A-T – ChatGPT has built-in biases and does not have knowledge of current events or events prior to 2021. This raises red flags for Google search quality raters who are reviewing your content for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust.
  3. Content Quality – never copy and paste ChatGPT-generated content onto your website, blog, newsletter, or social posts without reviewing it for plagiarism, duplicate content, grammatical errors, and accuracy. Remember that Google places a high priority on effort, originality, and accuracy when evaluating content quality.
  4. Personality – no one wants to read bland, boring content and this is what ChatGPT gives you. Use ChatGPT to break-through writer’s block or to help you find new topics – but don’t rely on it to write your content. Your readers want to know what you think, know, and understand – not ChatGPT.

Moving Forward with ChatGPT

Ultimately, ChatGPT is a tool.

Just as we use tools like SEMrush, BrightEdge, and GA4 to understand search intent and keywords, perform competitive analysis, and identify content opportunities – ChatGPT also has a role in SEO and digital marketing.

I will give Vicki the last word on ChatGPT and your content:

Give your readers the type of content you want to read. Ask yourself if you would be happy reading a blog written by an AI-tool. Would you trust the information and the brand? Would you still have a personal connection to the brand?

Tread lightly with ChatGPT. Use it – but test and verify the content. Don’t rely on it. You and your brand cannot be replaced by artificial intelligence.”

I want to hear from you – how are you using ChatGPT? Maybe you’re using it to brainstorm product and brand names, to help you plan and review your website, or to help you outline your brand, tone of voice, and style guides.

About the author
Jane Phelps is the CEO and co-founder of Know Agency, a specialist in organic search and paid search marketing expertise and leadership for health and wellness brands. Jane started Know Agency in 2010 focused solely on the nutritional supplement space. With her hands-on experience working in the health and wellness space, Jane is a public speaker and conference presenter at industry trade shows, networking events, and conferences on search and digital marketing strategies for wellness and nutrition brands. Jane and her team are instrumental in creating results for leading companies including Pure Encapsulations, Garden of Life, Learning Tree, Avocados From Mexico, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Jabil, and many start-ups and entrepreneurs.


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