ChatGPT for SEO: Comprehensive Guide to Maximize Benefits and Minimize Pitfalls
As experienced SEO experts who have been dabbling with AI for years, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to using AI in content creation.
ChatGPT has a lot of potential, and as it stands today, it is useful for a few SEO-related tasks. However, the reality is that it’s not a magic bullet (at least not yet) and there are some serious pitfalls to be aware of.
But don’t just take our word for it — we’ve also scoured Google’s official guidelines, along with our own candid experiences and those of other marketers, to give you the full story on using AI tools like ChatGPT for SEO tasks like content writing, keyword research, meta tag optimization, and more.
- Demystifying Google’s Guidelines for ChatGPT and AI-Generated Content
- ChatGPT For SEO: How to Make AI Your SEO Sidekick (and What to Avoid)
- Frequently Asked Questions About Using ChatGPT for SEO
- Can AI-Generated Content Rank Well in Google?
- Do You Have to Disclose That Your Content Is AI-Generated?
- Can Google Tell That Your Content Is AI-Generated?
Demystifying Google's Guidelines for ChatGPT and AI-Generated Content
AI-generated content is all the rage these days, but does it pass the Google test? And does having it on your website help or hurt your search engine rankings?
Why Google Gives the Green Light to AI-Generated Content
With the prevalence of AI tools like ChatGPT, Google has had to adapt its content guidelines to address the growing amount of machine-generated content.
And so far, the overwhelming message is that high-quality content is high-quality content, whether it was produced by humans or AI.
The top priority for Google is to deliver searchers with useful and relevant information, regardless of the method used to create it. The focus is on the end product, not the process.
The fact that a piece of content is AI-generated won’t give it an edge in Google’s eyes. However, it won’t be penalized for that reason, either. Quality and relevance are what matter most, and Google has specific guidelines for what makes content high-quality.
To sum it up, Google’s stance on AI-generated content is clear: quality is what matters, regardless of the production method. You should, therefore, prioritize generating high-quality content that meets E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trustworthiness) standards and offers value to users.
“Our focus on the quality of content, rather than how content is produced, is a useful guide that has helped us deliver reliable, high quality results to users for years.”Danny Sullivan and Chris Nelson of the Google Search Quality team
If ChatGPT helps you do that, you’re golden.
If you’re using it to game the search engine algorithm…you could be in trouble.
AI Content Creation: Best Practices According to Google
With the use of AI-generated content on the rise, Google has issued guidelines to help creators ensure that AI-generated content meets the search engine’s requirements for quality and relevance:
- Write for people, not search engines. Produce helpful, reliable, people-first content that demonstrates the qualities of E-E-A-T.
- Always have someone on your team review all AI-generated content for accuracy and quality before it goes live.
- While not strictly required, it helps to include AI or automation disclosures for content where someone might question how the content was created.
- If you do choose to disclose the use of AI, don’t use the author byline of your content to do that, even when an AI tool is the primary author.
- Never use AI to produce content that mainly exists for the purpose of manipulating search rankings.
- Never use AI to ‘spin’ content stolen from other sources.
1. Aim For E-E-A-T with AI-Generated Content
E-E-A-T is all about showcasing your dazzling expertise, first-hand experience, unshakable authority, and rock-solid trustworthiness to cement your credibility and win over your audience.
It’s one of the main criteria Google uses to evaluate whether their search ranking systems providing helpful, relevant information. While these criteria don’t directly impact rankings, Google states outright that they offer invaluable insights for content creators looking to thrive in Google Search.
By understanding and adhering to the principles of Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trustworthiness, you can better assess the quality of your own content and make informed adjustments to boost its performance.
Embracing E-E-A-T will not only improve the quality of your AI-generated content, but also help you align with the underlying factors that contribute to better visibility in Google Search.
In a nutshell, think of E-E-A-T guidelines as your secret weapon to success in Google Search, whether your content is crafted by humans, AI, or even better, a powerful combination of the two.
2. AI Writers Need Human Reviewers
While AI offers a powerful tool for creating content, it’s essential to have someone review and refine AI-generated content for accuracy and quality before you hit Publish.
Human review plays a crucial role in catching any errors or inaccuracies that AI may have overlooked, ensuring that the content truly provides value to users. This vital step guarantees that your content is useful, relevant, and trustworthy, aligning with Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines.
3. Add AI Disclosures Where It Makes Sense…
When it comes to generating content with AI, transparency matters. Disclosing the use of AI in your content creation process ensures that users understand how the content was crafted. This transparency not only builds trust with your audience, but also helps address any concerns they may have regarding the accuracy or trustworthiness of AI-generated content.
Being open about AI’s involvement in content creation also demonstrates a commitment to honesty and integrity, which can further enhance your brand’s reputation.
4. …But Save Bylines For Human Writers and Editors
While AI can be a valuable asset in content creation, Google recommends that the author byline credit the human contributor(s) who ultimately ensures the end product’s quality and accuracy, not the AI itself.
Instead, disclose AI usage within the text to maintain transparency and foster trust. This way, your audience remains informed about AI’s role in content generation while acknowledging the essential human oversight that guarantees the content’s value and reliability.
5. Use AI to Write for People, Not Search Engine Algorithms
Leveraging AI only for the purpose of manipulating search rankings breaches Google’s guidelines and can result in penalties. The primary objective should always be to create high-quality, valuable content that addresses users’ needs, with search engine optimization as a secondary focus.
AI can be a powerful tool for content creation, but it’s essential to use it ethically and responsibly. The key is to harness AI’s potential to enhance your content’s quality, readability, and relevance, rather than using it as a shortcut to game the SEO system.
By prioritizing genuine value and user experience, you’ll not only adhere to Google’s guidelines but also foster trust and credibility with your audience, ultimately leading to better long-term results in search rankings and online visibility.
6. Do Not Use AI to 'Spin' Content from Other Sources
In the realm of SEO content writing, ‘spun content’ refers to a black hat SEO tactic where you copy existing content from other sources, swap out a few key words or phrases with synonyms, and present the end result as ‘new’ content, with the goal of banging out a large volume of content using the lowest possible time and effort. The resulting content is usually lazy, hard to read, and generally unhelpful, not to mention that it’s pure plagiarism.
Although Google has gotten very good at detecting and penalizing spun content, ChatGPT and tools like it make spinning content easier than ever, so it’s a never-ending arms race. That said,
Using AI to ‘spin’ or copy content from other sources explicitly goes against Google’s guidelines on original and high-quality content creation and can result in an SEO penalty that is hard to remove.
Your focus should always be on generating distinctive and valuable content that provides value to users, rather than sneakily stealing content for the sake of manipulating search rankings.
ChatGPT For SEO: How to Make AI Your SEO Sidekick (and What to Avoid)
Right now, there’s no shortage of misinformation circulating the internet about the use of ChatGPT for SEO. These misconceptions tend to stem from misunderstandings of either ChatGPT’s capabilities, or of SEO itself.
To set the record straight, we’ve conducted thorough research and gained hands-on experience in this domain, leading us to develop a set of recommendations for using ChatGPT for SEO.
In this section, we’ll share the practical applications of ChatGPT for SEO, drawing from the hands-on experience of our SEO experts. These insights are based on what has actually worked for us — we don’t include anything here that we haven’t personally tested.
We’ll tell you what works, and outline the best practices to ensure the content you craft with ChatGPT adheres to Google’s guidelines for high-quality and original content.
1. Streamline the Creation of Schema Markup
One of the ways you can use ChatGPT for SEO is simplifying the process of creating Schema Markup. Schema Markup is a type of code that is added to a website’s HTML to provide search engines with more information about the content on the page. This additional information can include details about the author, ratings, reviews, and other relevant data that can help search engines better understand the content and display it more effectively in search results.
ChatGPT can be used to create Schema Markup by generating content that includes the necessary information for Schema Markup.
By using ChatGPT to create Schema Markup, you can save time and effort that would otherwise be spent on manually generating this content. Additionally, using ChatGPT ensures that the content is generated in a consistent and accurate manner, which can help to avoid errors and inconsistencies in the Schema Markup.
However, it is important to note that ChatGPT should not be relied upon solely for creating Schema Markup. It is still essential to have a human review the generated content to ensure that it is accurate and meets the necessary guidelines for high-quality content.
2. Optimize SEO Elements for Better Visibility
ChatGPT can be a valuable ally in brainstorming essential SEO elements like headlines, headings, meta descriptions, and meta titles. These components play a crucial role in optimizing web pages for search engines, ultimately enhancing their visibility in search results.
Leveraging ChatGPT for brainstorming can save time and effort, as it rapidly generates multiple options for each element. For instance, when creating a captivating headline, simply input basic information like the content’s topic or focus, and ChatGPT will present a list of potential headlines.
Similarly, ChatGPT can be used to generate ideas for headings, meta descriptions, and meta titles. By providing some key information about the content, ChatGPT quickly offers options that can be refined and optimized based on SEO best practices.
However, it’s important not to rely exclusively on ChatGPT for generating these elements. Human input and oversight are crucial for ensuring that the generated options are accurate, relevant, and in line with SEO best practices.
Additionally, remember that SEO is more than just keywords and rankings; headlines, headings, meta descriptions, and meta titles should also be engaging and compelling for human readers.
3. Quickly Craft Summaries, Tables, FAQs and Lists for Blog Posts
Featured Snippets appear at the top of Google search results, providing users with concise answers to their questions and often increasing click-through rates.
By incorporating structured formatting like bulleted lists, tables, FAQs, and summaries, you make it easier for search engines to understand and extract key information from your content, increasing the likelihood of winning a snippet.
Using ChatGPT for these elements also promotes consistency and accuracy across your content. By employing the same tool for these elements, you can maintain a uniform tone, language, and style, resulting in a more cohesive and professional-looking website.
4. Find a Starting Point for Broad Keyword Research on Unfamiliar Topics
Keyword research is crucial for optimizing your content for relevant search terms, ultimately enhancing its visibility in search results. ChatGPT can be a helpful starting point for conducting broad keyword research when you’re dealing with topics you don’t know much of anything about.
However, It is absolutely essential to note that ChatGPT does not have direct access to any metrics like keyword volume, difficulty, or SERP features. To obtain this information, you’ll need to use a dedicated keyword research tool or service. So you’ll need to plug the keywords you get from ChatGPT into another tool to see if they have actual value.
With that in mind, Tom Demers over at Search Engine Land has written an excellent article about how to use ChatGPT to find keyword ideas. We’ve tested this method and found it’s a great way to brainstorm jumping-off points for more in-depth keyword research using tools like SemRush.
5. Perfect for Snippets, Limited for Long-Form Content
ChatGPT shines when it comes to generating bite-size snippets of text for various contexts like landing pages, social media posts, and blog articles.
However, if you plan to use ChatGPT for bigger blocks of content, there’s a few important caveats to consider:
- Repetition: ChatGPT tends to repeat phrases within the same chat, resulting in robotic and formulaic content that puts readers to sleep. Right now, repetition is one of the single biggest tells for AI-generated content.
- Loss of Focus: Like a copywriter without their coffee, ChatGPT is prone to lose focus in long-form content, since it doesn’t actually know the overall purpose or intention of the text. You’ll start seeing a lot of unfocused or even incoherent passages.
- Lack of Natural Flow: Unlike skilled human writers use a variety of proverbial tools to boos readability: jumping between long and short sentences, breaking paragraphs into digestible chunks, cracking jokes to take the edge off, and sharing personal anecdotes to create a genuine connection. ChatGPT can do a decent job.
To make the most of ChatGPT’s potential, use it as a starting point for content and then refine the output with human expertise and creativity.
From our experience, the best approach is to think of ChatGPT as a brainstorming partner that helps you break free from the stifling grip of writer’s block. The next time you’re staring at a blank page, try plugging your ideas into ChatGPT — you’ll get an instant output that can help get those creative juices flowing. Once you’ve got a starting point from ChatGPT, you can take the reins and refine, expand, or build on the output to create a piece that truly resonates with your audience!
Frequently Asked Questions About Using ChatGPT for SEO
Yes, and here’s why: Google uses the same ranking factors for AI-generated content as it does for human-generated content. However content is produced, Google recommends that you aim to produce original, high-quality, people-first content demonstrating qualities E-E-A-T.
To create content that meets these criteria, Google recommends thinking in terms of the Who, How, and Why of content production:
- “Who” refers to the author or team responsible for creating the content. Include bylines that link to more information about the author, their expertise, and other content they have created. This helps establish credibility and authority.
- “How” refers to the process and tools, such as ChatGPT, you use to create content. Be transparent about the use of automation, its benefits, and its role in the content creation process. This builds trust with your audience and enhances the credibility of your content.
- “Why” refers to the purpose of creating content. Focus on producing high-quality, people-first content that meets the needs of users, rather than content aimed solely at manipulating search results or generating clicks.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to provide users with the most helpful and relevant content when they conduct a search.
To date, there haven’t been any reliable wide-scale tests conducted comparing the ranking of human-written versus AI-generated content in search engines like Google. Most examples found online are individual experiments that may not be directly comparable. There are individual examples of AI-generated content that has done well (like BankRate’s content), and content that has not (this experiment using a site with entirely AI-generated content), but the examples are so different that they’re not comparable.
The key takeaway is that Google’s ranking factors focus on the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the content, regardless of whether it is human-written or AI-generated. The main objective is to produce original, high-quality, people-first content that demonstrates Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
No, but there are times when you should seriously consider it. According to Google’s official developer blog, AI or automation disclosures are useful for any content where someone might wonder about the content creation process.
However, Google also notes that giving AI an author byline is not the way to do that. Instead, it’s important to be transparent about the use of AI in the content creation process, while also giving credit to the human authors and editors who were involved.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to disclose that content is AI-generated is up to you…at least for now. However, with the rapid advancement of AI technology and the increasing concerns surrounding AI-generated content, it’s possible that regulatory changes or platform-specific guidelines might require transparency in the future.
By proactively disclosing the use of AI in your content creation process now, you can stay ahead of potential future requirements and show your commitment to transparency and honesty with your audience.
Benefits and Drawbacks of AI Disclosure
- Provides transparency and builds trust with your audience
- Gets ahead of potential platform-specific or legal requirements in the future
- Bias against AI-generated content can create a perception that your content is less credible or trustworthy
- May raise ethical questions about the use of AI in content creation
- Reveals your content creation methods to competitors
Most likely. Back in November of 2022, Google software engineer Duy Nguyen said that Google has “algorithms to go after” those who post AI-plagiarized content. So, it’s safe to assume that Google can detect AI content.
And that makes sense. As a search engine, Google’s primary goal is to deliver high-quality, relevant, and useful content to its users. They’re continuously refining their algorithms to ensure that low-quality, plagiarized, or manipulative content is not rewarded with high rankings in search results.
Google invests heavily in machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve its search algorithms, so it is reasonable to assume they can identify and take action against AI-plagiarized content. However, this does not mean that all AI-generated content is inherently bad or penalized by Google. As long as AI-generated content is high-quality, original, and adds value to users, it can still perform well in search results.
The key is to use AI tools like ChatGPT responsibly. Aim to create content that caters to your audience’s needs and adheres to Google’s guidelines. By doing so, you can harness the power of AI to improve your SEO efforts while avoiding potential penalties or negative impacts on your search rankings.
A Balanced Approach to AI-Generated Content
While ChatGPT and other AI tools have their place in the world of SEO, they are no substitute for good writing, thoughtful content creation, and a strategic approach to SEO.
As with any tool, it’s important to use ChatGPT wisely and in line with best practices to avoid negative consequences for low-quality content or plagiarism. Remember that AI-generated content is not a magic bullet, and it’s up to you to ensure that your content meets the same standards of quality, relevance, and usefulness as any other content you might create.
Our team of SEO experts is ready to help you with your content creation and overall SEO strategy. We understand the importance of producing high-quality, original content that adheres to Google’s guidelines and offers value to your target audience.
If you’re interested in learning more about our services and how we can help you succeed in your SEO efforts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We look forward to working with you!