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ChatGPT and SEO for your Business Website

Edible Marketing - ChatGPT and SEO

There has been a lot of media attention lately in respect of ChatGPT and how it might result in mass job losses but many small business owners are asking the question;

‘How will ChatGPT affect my business website in terms of SEO?’

So What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a next generation chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022 that produces content which is capable of mimicking human-like qualities.

Whilst there are many applications which this technology can be used for, from generating and checking software code for errors to language translation and virtual assistants, there has been much focus on how it might impact content writing jobs. This is especially true given BuzzFeed recently laid off 12% of its workforce and adopted the use of ChatGPT.

So whilst in theory, companies can now use ChatGPT to create advertising copy, marketing emails, social media posts, long-form content marketing posts and blogs in addition to general website copy, it is not without its limitations.

Crucially these limitations have an impact on ChatGPT and SEO for your business website.

It’s important to remember that the content which ChatGPT creates is based on what it has surmised about a given input or subject but it is limited to only being able to generate content from what has been written previously about that topic or subject. 

ChatGPT isn’t actually capable of original thought, reasoning, expression or creativity in the same way as humans are.

We should pay attention to what the creator of ChatGPT themselves said in respect of the abilities and limitations of ChatGPT, 

“ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”

Herein lies a competitive advantage for humans, for now.

Will ChatGPT affect my SEO rankings?

There are three answers to this question and each response relates to whether you are using ChatGPT to create content, whether you create your own high quality content, or whether you add low quality content to your website.

The key point is the quality of the content. Whilst ChatGPT can mimic certain traits of human derived content it distinctly lacks the understanding of context and as touched on above, the many things we humans take for granted in our everyday conversation.

Another limitation of ChatGPT  is the use and understanding of idioms. 

An idiom is a phrase or saying with a figurative meaning attached to it. For example, the use of “every cloud has a silver lining”, “look on the bright side of life” and “plenty more fish in the sea” are written or spoken when trying to illicit positivity in a given situation.

The inability of ChatGPT to understand and use idioms can make its content seem robotic, displaying unnatural characteristics and whilst humans are attuned to this, it is thought that these limitations could be used to detect the use of AI generated content, in its current form.

ChatGPT and SEO - Edible Marketing
‘ChatGPT and SEO’ Image Source Edible Markting

Will using ChatGPT affect my SEO rankings?

Whilst the jury is still out on this we should consider Google’s stance on content quality and in recent years how it addressed low quality content via the Panda Updates from 2011 to 2021 and the Helpful Content Update of 2022.

The aim of both of these updates was to increase the ranking prominence to reward websites that had content that was deemed helpful to the search query whilst pushing down the search rankings, or even removing entire websites from the search results altogether, those that were deemed to be of low quality that had the properties of spam, which were deemed to only be added to a website to attain search rankings.

Taking into account the past actions of Google in trying to continually improve the quality of content in Google Search it would be reasonable to expect that similarly low quality content generated by ChatGPT would get the same treatment.

As such, if you were to populate your website with low quality content generated by ChatGPT it would therefore be reasonable to expect that your Google Search rankings would not improve and over time, may actually decline.

Will my Competitors use of ChatGPT affect my SEO rankings?

As outlined above, the use of ChatGPT to create content will in time likely prove to be no different than if you were to use low quality content written by humans.

Therefore, the use of ChatGPT by your competitors should in time be no different than if they used low quality content farms for their website/s.

As the old SEO saying (and idiom) goes, ‘Content is King’.

If you are creating high quality content now that is getting a good response, positive metrics and a low bounce rate then you should continue along this path in trying to continually add value to your website.

When it comes to a successful SEO strategy, the use of shortcuts rarely ever wins out over the long term so if you notice your competitor is adding content you find to be of low quality, have faith that in time and with all other things being equal, their efforts should not be rewarded over yours.

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