Is ChatGPT the Ultimate SEO Killer?
Julie Hume
June 7, 2023

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard SEO is dead over the last 20 years. And yet, SEO is still alive and well. It seems to have more lives than my two cats put together. So is this it this time? Is ChatGPT the ultimate SEO killer? 

There’s no question that ChatGPT, with its advanced natural language processing (NLP) and predictive capabilities, will change the landscape of SEO and content creation forever. However, if it is used correctly, far from being the death of SEO, ChatGPT could be the ultimate SEO tool.

What are AI and ChatGPT?

Let’s start with the basics.  AI simply stands for “artificial intelligence,” and it refers to machines’ ability to perform tasks that require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. ChatGPT was the first AI language model to gain public attention. OpenAI quietly launched it in November 2022 and was completely unprepared for the almost immediate viral success of this geeky application.

Since then, it seems that we are bombarded with new AI tools every day. With so much noise in the space, it is hard to know which innovative applications are worth exploring and which have been churned out in a rush by developers to jump on the gravy train before it rushes by. What we do know is that if you want to generate an image of incredible interior design, a lifelike human avatar, or deep fake video evidence of your boss offering you a raise, the tools are out there.

We’ll explore some of the hits and misses in an upcoming series on our blog. However, for now, let’s concentrate on one small corner of this brave new world.

Will ChatGPT kill SEO
The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.
Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web

What Does AI Mean for SEO and Content Creation? (and creators!)

Not surprisingly, many business owners eye AI with interest. Imagine how much money could be saved if writers were cut from the budget altogether. And who needs to pay an SEO consultant when you can just ask ChatGPT for a bunch of keywords and posts?

Well, that’s an understandable train of thought, and both SEOs and writers are aware of the implications. If a machine could produce excellent, perfectly SEO-ed content at a fraction of the cost, we’d all be out of business.

ChatGPT is not Trustworthy

But—and it is a very big but—ChatGPT is not trustworthy. In one of the tests we conducted, ChatGPT invented entire buildings and their histories as iconic landmarks for a post on historical buildings.

Google’s Danny Sullivan has said that while its E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust) framework is not a ranking factor, these attributes are taken into account when assessing website quality. Personally, I take E-E-A-Ts not being a ranking factor with a pinch of salt. However, that aside, you would not use a human writer who did not produce factual content for your business, so why would you let a machine on the internet do it? That is false economy.

We know Google’s intention is to provide the best results for searchers. Sites that pad out content with inaccurate ChatGPT posts are unlikely to meet E-E-A-T markers or any other factors in their Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

Even OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, advises you not to rely on it to tell the truth in this response from their What is ChatGPT? page.

Can I trust that the AI is telling me the truth?

ChatGPT is not connected to the internet, and it can occasionally produce incorrect answers. It has limited knowledge of world and events after 2021 and may also occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content.

ChatGPT Content Can Be Repetitive and Lack Character

Companies spend millions creating and maintaining a brand image. That includes the voice and tone of their front-facing communications. An overreliance on AI can result in a distinct loss of brand recognition. Additionally, AI tools may have limitations in understanding the nuances of human language, which could result in inaccuracies or errors and an overreliance on AI-generated content may result in a loss of distinct brand voice and tone.

Unless guided with sophisticated prompts, AI-generated text can also be quite formulaic. Although the reader may not know why, there is an Uncanny Valley feeling to it – a robotic tone. In contrast, a flesh-and-blood writer infuses content with a lifetime of lived experience and emotion.

Is Using AI a Shortcut to Ranking in the SERPS?

The question asked in the title of this post implies that website owners can use ChatGPT to generate content that will be easily ranked in Google, thereby dispensing with the need to do any further work to optimize content for the internet. Logically that makes no sense. If hundreds of thousands of business owners are creating content for their financial services websites, there’s still only a tiny fraction of them that will ever be on the first page of SERPS, no matter how Google redesigns its interface.  Those whose content is optimized to meet Google’s guidelines are the ones that will be delivered to seachers.

What Does Google Think of AI-Generated Content?

In guidelines issued in February 2023, titled, Google Search’s guidance about AI-generated content, they warn that using any automation, including AI automation, to produce content is a violation of its spam policies. However, they acknowledge that not all AI content is spam. Their goal, as mentioned above, is “to reward original, high-quality content that demonstrates qualities of what we call E-E-A-T: expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.”

Speaking of Prompts

Whether we like it or not, Artificial Intelligence (AI), has arrived and it’s not going away. Many industries will be affected and some jobs will even cease to exist in much the same way as automation replaced the work of many manual laborers in the 70s and 80s. Look at the sweeping changes to employment that happened after the advent of the internet. How many of you have even heard of a telex , never mind had to pass messages through a telex operator. 

But then again, website designers, internet marketers, ecommerce stores or online payment gateways were you familiar with back in the day? Just as new roles replaced older ones after the internet revoluutiuon so new roles evolve to take advantage of the opportunities brought to life by AI.

One of these is prompt engineer, as described in a Times Magazine article titled, The AI Job That Pays Up to $335K—and You Don’t Need a Computer Engineering Background:

Prompt engineering is now considered one of the hottest tech jobs as companies look for ways to help train and adapt AI tools to get the most out of new large language models, which can provide results that are not always correct or appropriate.

Whether or not this role will continue to garner such eye-watering salaries once we all become more familiar with AI tools remains to be seen. Grab it while it’s hot!

Embrace the Tools

Interestingly enough, although ChatGPT has caused such a stir in the content creation community recently, it is not the first or the best of the tools that exist for creating SEO content. We can look at a few options of SEO-specific content creation tools at a later date. For now, let’s simply recognize that we are on the edge of a cliff and our backs are to the sea. AI is here, and likeit or not, it is here to stay.

As SEO professionals and content creators, we must embrace AI tools and adapt our strategies accordingly. Use them to brainstorm, to create images and video, to assist in making all aspects of our work.  But don’t forget that they are there to help humans work more efficiently. They are not replacements for the human experience. Not yet, anyway. 😉



Julie Hume

Julie Hume

Julie is a rescuer of lost sites. She finds joy in the climb – helping a site rise from the ashes of oblivion to the top of page one in search results. With more than 30 years of experience, she’s our SEO whisperer, ever on the cusp of new algorithm releases and tools.


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