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Unlocking the Power of ChatGPT for SEO Content Creation

The release of ChatGPT in November 2022 has had marketers abuzz. Will ChatGPT make human writers redundant? Will it eradicate the need for editors? Will it lead to pages and pages of dull, identical content? Here’s what you need to know about how to strategically use ChatGPT to create compelling SEO content your customers will love.

Mar 2, 2023

12 m read

Having used AI tools to generate content — and then subsequently rewriting those same pieces — I came into the “AI vs. real writers” conversation thinking there was no way ChatGPT was going to create good content.

And I was wrong.

Is it good enough to replace your writing team? Absolutely not. But it does seem to be the best AI tool we currently have access to. 

If you want to maximize your time and integrate ChatGPT into your SEO content creation process, read on. I’m going to share what ChatGPT is, its pros and cons (these are important!), and tips for seamlessly integrating ChatGPT into your content engine in a way that helps you get where you want to go faster.

(If you’re wondering whether ChatGPT was used to create this post, the answer is… at the bottom of this article.)

What Is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a powerful language model developed by OpenAI. It’s currently available for free or with a paid account.

ChatGPT uses the Generative Pretrained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) machine learning model to generate text. It’s been trained on billions of words and phrases, which allows it to generate new text similar in style and content to the input text. That means if OpenAI failed to “teach” ChatGPT about AP style or physics, then ChatGPT wouldn’t be able to format text in AP style or discuss Einstein’s theory of relativity. 

Pros & Cons of Using ChatGPT for SEO Content Creation

I asked ChatGPT, “What are the pros and cons of using ChatGPT for content creation?” Here’s how the AI tool responded.

Pros of using ChatGPT for content creation:

  • Speed: ChatGPT can generate content quickly, which can be useful for meeting tight deadlines or producing large amounts of content.
  • Consistency: ChatGPT can generate content that is consistent in tone, style, and quality, to maintain brand voice across a variety of channels.
  • Scalability: ChatGPT can generate an unlimited amount of content, making it an attractive option for organizations looking to scale their content production.

Cons of using ChatGPT for content creation:

  • Quality: While ChatGPT can generate content that is of high quality, there’s still a chance that the output may not be up to the standards of human-written content.
  • Creativity: ChatGPT can generate content that is informative, but it may lack the creative flair and originality of human-written content.
  • Personalization: ChatGPT may struggle to generate content tailored to a specific audience, as it lacks the emotional intelligence and empathy of a human writer.
  • Context: ChatGPT may not have enough context to generate content that’s relevant and appropriate for a specific audience or subject.

Having used the tool to create content outlines and generate blog posts, I agree with its self-evaluation. Overall, ChatGPT can be a useful tool for content creation, but it should be used in conjunction with human oversight to ensure the highest quality output.

One con it didn’t note, though, is how it hasn’t received additional data since September 2021. Since it doesn’t have the most up-to-date dataset, ChatGPT could easily provide misinformation or incomplete information.

Screenshot showing ChatGPT saying its knowledge cutoff is Sept 2021

Thus, anyone looking to integrate AI tools into their content marketing strategy must be willing to implement some safeguards and assess the risk of potential misinformation. Now, in the SEO or marketing space, that risk is pretty small. But if I needed to create content about Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics, I probably wouldn’t use AI tools to generate the content itself. Rather, I’d use it to create an outline or refine wording.

You may have noticed the pros and cons text above is slightly stilted — and that’s with some minor edits to remove redundancies. From all the AI-generated copy I’ve read, it’s clear an editor is a must-have if you want to use AI tools. Sure, someone can program in all the right grammatical rules, but AI-generated content often lacks style and uses repetitive language. Even Grammarly doesn’t make the best grammar suggestions — there are plenty of times I’ve rejected a suggestion because an edit would alter the meaning of a sentence. If you want to use AI content and don’t have an editor on your team, I recommend looking for one.

What Does Google Say About AI-Generated Content?

Search engines want to provide users with a great search experience and connect them with the information they want to find. Google itself has stated that it doesn’t matter if this content is AI-generated — as long as the content wasn’t created with the express purpose of manipulating search results. Approach content creation with a people-first mindset and focus on what your audience wants to read about to avoid a manual penalty.

How To Get Great Content From ChatGPT

Now that you have a good idea of what you can expect from ChatGPT content creation, here’s how to start generating AI content that helps you meet your content marketing goals.

0. Integrate With Your Existing Workflow

Where in your content creation process could you use support? Do you struggle with ideation? Is creating an outline like pulling teeth? Are your writers at capacity? 

Get the most from ChatGPT by integrating it into your existing content creation workflow. Use it to help you come up with exciting topics, structure an outline, enhance phrasing, or create metadata.

1. Identify Your Audience

AI is all about inputs. To get quality content, you need to feed the tool quality info. Start by identifying who the content is for. Are you targeting parents of elementary school students? CEOs of Fortune 500 companies? Small-business owners? Who your audience is will impact everything about your content, so nailing this down is critical.

2. Define Your Goals & Objectives 

Clearly define what you want to achieve through the content generated by ChatGPT. Are you looking to inform or persuade? Do you want people to take a certain action?

For example, let’s say my audience is parents of elementary school students and I want them to understand how my app will help their kids with social-emotional learning.

3. Clarify the Use Case

Determine what type of content you want to generate with ChatGPT, such as blog posts, product descriptions, or FAQs. 

Example: To convince parents to check out my app, I want to create an informative blog post about app-based learning and its benefits.

4. Determine the Tone & Style 

ChatGPT can generate content in a variety of tones and styles. If you don’t have brand voice or style guidelines, you may want to work on some before integrating AI into your workflow. Once you know the tone you want to convey, share it when prompting ChatGPT so that the content it generates suits your brand.

For my blog post, I want a friendly and informative tone. 

So far, my prompt looks like this:

Create an outline for an informative blog post about the benefits of app-based learning to convince parents to check out the XYZ app. Use a friendly and informative tone.

5. Provide Context 

Provide as much context and information as possible to ensure the content ChatGPT generates is relevant and accurate. Try to be as specific as possible — unless you’re brainstorming and want general ideas that you can then drill down on.

For my app, let’s say I want five different benefits that relate to children ages 6 through 11. This helps narrow the scope. Since my app is for elementary school students, I don’t want ChatGPT to look at the benefits for app-based learning for high school students. I also want to limit the number of benefits so the piece isn’t overwhelming.

Now I have a complete prompt:

Create an outline for an informative blog post about five benefits of app-based learning for children ages 6 through 11 that convinces parents to check out the XYZ app. Use a friendly and informative tone.

Screenshot showing how to ask ChatGPT to create an outline for an article

6. Always Review AI-Generated Copy 

While ChatGPT can create quality content, it’s still best to have someone review and edit the content to make sure it meets your standards and aligns with your objectives. ChatGPT itself states it may generate content similar to existing content, so review and edit generated content to ensure it’s original and unique. Run a plagiarism check as an additional safeguard.

By following these steps, you can use ChatGPT as a powerful tool to generate quality content that aligns with your goals and objectives while still maintaining a human touch.

Using ChatGPT for SEO Content Creation

You can integrate ChatGPT into your content process in a variety of places. Here are a few that I’ve had success with — and some caveats.

Brainstorming

Ask an artificial intelligence tool to brainstorm? Ok, ideate may be a better term in this scenario, but the process is similar. If you don’t yet have a clear idea of what topic you’d like to cover, ask ChatGPT. 

Screenshot of using chatgpt for seo content ideation

Here, I’ve asked a general question to find topics concerning AI content generation. The responses, thus, are general, but they make a good jumping-off point. Since Google also uses NLP, and my target audience is interested in ranking well on Google, I decided to ask additional questions about NLP. 

Screenshot of using chatgpt for content ideation

When I asked ChatGPT, “What don’t most people know about NLP?” it provided five list items that I could easily incorporate into a helpful blog post on what NLP is — and what it isn’t.

Takeaway: Start with a general question to find a suitable topic for your niche, then drill down further with the help of ChatGPT and your knowledge of your audience to determine the right angle.

Keyword Research

AI can help you quickly generate content. But if you want to drive organic traffic to your site with your new content, you need to do keyword research to understand how your target audience will find your content.

Screenshot of using chatgpt for SEO keyword research

You can use ChatGPT to generate a list of related keywords based on a seed keyword or a topic. However, it can’t fill you in on search volume, keyword difficulty, search intent, word count parity, or link-building needs.

As of this writing, ChatGPT can’t access Google. OpenAI hasn’t updated its data since September 2021 — which means if you rely solely on ChatGPT for keyword research, you could miss trending topics, crucial information, and context.

Use a keyword research tool or hire a keyword research service to complete your keyword research. This is critical for ensuring any content you create meets your customers’ needs and will help them find your business.

Takeaway: Use ChatGPT as a starting point for keyword research to help highlight semantically related terms. Use a keyword research tool to analyze search volume, keyword difficulty, and search intent before embarking on content creation.

Content Generation

With topic and keyword research in hand, you can now ask ChatGPT to create an outline for your article or page. How you frame your request matters. To fine-tune your process, play around with ChatGPT to better understand how to ask it for what you want.

For example, I asked about the types of outlines it can create. I recommend asking this question yourself to pinpoint which type of outline you want before moving forward.

Screenshot of asking Chatgpt for content outline possibiities

Or, just tell ChatGPT what your goal is and ask what kind of outline you need.

Screenshot of asking ChatGPT what type of outline to create

Once you have your outline, paste it into a blank document and edit it to meet your needs. Are there things you don’t want to discuss that you can strike out? Points you want to make that aren’t included? 

Once you feel confident about your outline, you can ask ChatGPT to create the article or landing page copy for you. 

Now, I’ve hit a few roadblocks at this point. I’ve been using ChatGPT for a month, and during that time, OpenAI has updated the tool twice, leading to differences in output quality. It’s also been overloaded with users throughout. This has led to ChatGPT only generating partial pieces of content. However, it has a bit of a “memory,” so when asked to continue writing, it can. 

Takeaway: Start with an outline and edit it until it’s just right. To create a post, share the desired tone, style, and word count. If there are issues creating long pieces, paste in the outline a chunk at a time and ask ChatGPT to write smaller segments.

Optimizing Content

ChatGPT can also help you optimize AI-generated or human-created content. 

For example, you can ask ChatGPT to add keywords to an existing piece of content or to include them in a new piece. Be clear on the keywords you want included and their frequency. Check that they’re incorporated naturally and that your content still reads well.

When creating content with ChatGPT, you can provide a list of keywords. ChatGPT will then attempt to use these keywords in the right context to generate the content.

ChatGPT can also create optimized page titles, meta descriptions, headers, and alt tags. This is actually one place where ChatGPT shines. If you feel like you just can’t write another word about your topic but still need to create a meta description or even a title, ask ChatGPT to create it for you. 

For best results, tell the platform what your content is about and ask for multiple iterations. For example, for this piece, I would say:

“Please provide me with 10 titles and meta descriptions for a blog article on how to integrate ChatGPT into SEO content creation.”

Screenshot of asking Chatgpt for content — asking for title and meta descriptions

Similarly, you can use ChatGPT to help you create social media posts promoting your content. Tell ChatGPT what your post is about and ask it to generate descriptions of a particular length for your chosen social media channel.

Takeaway: Clearly state keywords and frequency when asking ChatGPT to include them in text. Double check that the keywords appear naturally.

Monitoring Performance

One thing ChatGPT can’t help you with is monitoring the performance of your content. If you choose to use AI-generated content, it’s critical that you track how well it performs. 

Yes, you should track the performance of all your content, but since Google has specifically mentioned that it doesn’t like AI-generated content created for the sole purpose of manipulating search engine results pages (SERPs), it’s important to track how your AI content is ranking and whether its publication has had an impact on your other content. If it appears your content is losing keyword rankings, you may need to remove and further revise affected content.

Takeaway: Track the performance of your content to make sure you aren’t penalized for AI-generated content. While Google doesn’t forbid AI content, it’s still wise to check.

Issues With ChatGPT for Content Creation

My content creation efforts haven’t been without travails.

I have found that, in some cases, ChatGPT just doesn’t comply with my requests. For example, I asked for a 2,000-word blog post and it gave me around 700 words. There have also been days where the servers were overloaded and I couldn’t access ChatGPT at all. 

I’ve also encountered egregious repetition. Think, “X is important because X is needed for Y. Thus, X is very important.”

In terms of style, I’ve noticed many pieces follow a basic essay formula — the five-paragraph essay we learned in elementary or middle school. This seems to be the source of a lot of the above-mentioned repetition since the intro basically says, “I’m going to show you A, B, and C.” The paragraphs are A, B, and C, and then the conclusion generally starts with, “In conclusion, A, B, and C.” Perhaps better prompts could remedy this and lead to more engaging content.

Ultimately, ChatGPT is a free tool that’s been made available to the public so OpenAI can gather more data, so issues like those above are the price of admission. The paid plan promises better access (no more waiting room haikus), but I imagine it will still have issues when it comes to content creation since you’re paying to get to the front of the line, not for a better tool.

To help you make the most of ChatGPT, I’ve put together 50 writing prompts — and a free downloadable.

Resources for SEO Content Creation

We have a library of posts ready to support your SEO content creation! Check out the following posts to see how they can supercharge your content process.

How Much of This Article Was Written by ChatGPT?

If you’ve read to this point, you may be wondering how much of this content was AI-generated. For full transparency, I asked ChatGPT to create an outline for this post, share the pros and cons of using ChatGPT for content creation and how to do it, and provide some title and meta description selections. 

I deviated from the outline because it failed to capture everything that I wanted to cover about using this tool for content generation. I’ve edited the pros and cons it provided and expanded on the “how-to” guidance, but I haven’t used anything verbatim since the copy would feel stilted if I did. 

However, the title and meta descriptions ChatGPT generated were excellent. I ran them all through Grammarly’s plagiarism checker and got the thumbs up, so if you clicked through because of the page title or meta description in SERPs, that was all ChatGPT.

The Future of Content Creation?

Machine learning models will evolve and get better with time. As content marketers, it’s crucial that we stay on top of technological change and learn how to incorporate innovative tools to improve and enhance our workflows. At the same time, we can’t get distracted by the shiny new tech on the block. I hope this piece helps you integrate ChatGPT into your current process in a way that supports your goals. Download our free ebook for additional support with your content creation process.

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