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ChatGPT vs. SEO: The Present and Future State of Online Marketing and Advertising

Since ChatGPT was released in November 2022, the industries of SEO, digital marketing and content creation have changed forever.

picture of openai and chatgpt on a computer screen

While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the associated search engines like Google, Bing, etc. have long been the reigning kings for driving online visibility, ChatGPT, an AI-driven language model, has already begun changing SEO strategies. Since launch, ChatGPT has changed how businesses create online content; a writer can enter a prompt, and get serviceable content in seconds. Other tech companies have launched their own AI companions, like Google Bard, to compete with the dominance of ChatGPT.


In this blog, we'll delve into the differences, similarities, and potential synergies between the ChatGPT OpenAI specifically, and SEO. Many of these points apply to the alternate AI systems out there as well, but ChatGPT has the first-mover advantage so we will focus on them. Not a sponsored indorsement, but Brian Harnish over at Search Engine Journal has a great article discussing 11 alternatives to OpenAI, in case you want to consider other options to ChatGPT as well.


SEO: The SEO We Know

a person working on a computer with Google

SEO is a well-established practice in the digital marketing realm in 2023. It involves optimizing websites and content to improve their ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO strategies include efforts like keyword research, on-page optimization, backlink building, and content creation, among other techniques to bring individuals to your online resources. The goal of any SEO work is to enhance a website's visibility and attract organic traffic from search engines like Google, since a high search ranking can almost be considered free advertising.


ChatGPT: The Rising Star


Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is capable of generating human-like text in response to user queries, making it an ideal tool for chatbots, virtual assistants, writing, content generation, and customer support. I have seen many of my younger coworkers use ChatGPT for literally any question they have; they will enter prompts for anything from “give me a diet plan” to “write a safety talk for my next meeting”.


Comparing ChatGPT and SEO Today:


1. Content Creation

content creation process

One of the key distinctions between ChatGPT and traditional SEO is content creation. ChatGPT can generate high-quality, human-like content at scale. It is a content creation powerhouse that can produce engaging articles, product descriptions, and other materials. ChatGPT isn’t perfect though, and even ChatGPT’s best outputs need to be adjusted by living, breathing people at this stage in its’ life to optimize them.


In contrast, traditional SEO often relies on human writers, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Using experienced individuals to create content can yield great results, but it can cost your business…alot.


2. Keywords and Semantic Understanding


SEO focuses on keyword research and placement. This research and optimization takes both time and money to refine, and has to be constantly updated as humans change and refine what they are searching for.


ChatGPT's strength lies in its “natural language” processing capabilities. Its writing style allows for more natural, conversational writing; in fact it can be very difficult to tell if something was written by an AI or not. However, it is this capability that allows content created with ChatGPT to resonate better with consumers.


3. Personalization


Personalization is an emerging trend in SEO, and it's something that ChatGPT and other AI’s do well. AI-driven personalization requires understanding user behavior and preferences to deliver content tailored to the reader. ChatGPT's ability to analyze user queries and generate personalized responses make it a valuable tool for enhancing user experience.


4. Scalability and Speed


ChatGPT is incredibly fast and scalable; that cannot be denied. It can generate content and responses instantly, 24/7, without the need for breaks or holidays (and without complaining, which is a huge plus). This scalability can be a game-changer for small and midsize businesses looking to provide continuous customer support or generate large volumes of content quickly for their business.


However, while SEO might be slower, it serves a critical purpose. How does ChatGPT or other AI’s find information to recommend to a searcher? Your online content has to be formatted and optimized for search engines, but I would also argue that the same efforts you use for search engines to help your SEO are crucial for ChatGPT and other AI’s as well.


Potential Synergies


While ChatGPT/AI and SEO could be considered competitors, they can actually work together and produce great results. Here are some potential time and money-saving synergies:

google bard

1. AI-Enhanced Content: AI-generated content can be used with SEO strategies to complement human-generated content. AI’s can help generate blog posts, product descriptions, and other materials at scale (and it can help you get through writer’s block as well).


2. Improved User Experience: Personalization driven by AI can enhance the user experience, leading to longer website visits and improved engagement, which can positively impact SEO rankings. And this can lead to more conversions when people choose to interact with your business.


3. Enhanced Keyword Research: AI can assist in identifying emerging keywords and trends, helping SEO professionals stay ahead of the curve. Generally, AI is free as well, whereas some keyword search tools like SemRush and ahrefs require monthly subscriptions.


Conclusion


ChatGPT (and AI as a whole) and SEO are two powerful tools in the digital marketing toolkit, and they are not mutually exclusive. While ChatGPT offers content creation at scale and the potential for improved user experiences, SEO remains vital for optimizing content and website visibility in search results. The future could hold a collaborative, symbiotic relationship between these two forces; AI-driven content and SEO strategies working hand in hand to generate content and achieve success. As technology continues to evolve, those who adapt and find the right balance between ChatGPT and SEO will find themselves ahead of their business rivals.

the future

However, I believe AI will cause even more changes in consumer’s behavior in the future. I believe that in the future (barring legal intervention), consumers begin to go to an AI service like ChatGPT or Google Bard and instead of typing in a general request, they will ask AI for the best option. My young coworkers are a great example of this. Instead of Googling “plumbers near me” and then reviewing the search results, they will enter “find the best plumber for me” in ChatGPT, and the AI will direct consumers to the top 5 or top 10 plumbers that are selected by its’ algorithm.


As a business owner, here is the issue; if your business is not selected by the AI as a top performer, potential customers will never see it, meaning you miss out on business.


Whether you are looking to start getting more clients today, or you want to prepare for the future, we are here at seosaber to help. Get in touch with us today to boost your business online.

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