In Search Podcast: How will chat GPT affect SEO

Hello and welcome to episode three in a three-part series discussing what SEOs need to know about Chat GPT.

In this episode, we’re looking at Chat GTP prompts and how Chat GPT will affect the future of SEO. I’m joined by Julia McCoy from Content at Scale, Ellen Conning from Salience, and Alizée Baudez, SEO consultant.

In this episode, our panel explains:

  • How to write better prompts
  • What AI means to the future of SEO


How to Write Better Prompts

Ellen, what can SEOs do to better prompt Chat GPT?

Ellen: Context is always going to be king. But there’s also the initial reality of reiteration. A lot of the time when you put something through any sort of AI generative process, if you put the exact same prompt through again, you can come up with a completely different response. So I always think it’s a good idea to run through things more than once, compare what’s working with your research and the knowledge base that you have coming into it, take those bits, put them together, and then rerun through it again with that updated version of it. Reiterating down and down is still going to take you a lot less time than it would to have manually gone through and made that strategy, that process, or, as Julia said, that email string or any other sort of situation.

One of the big things that we do is a lot of content briefs, which is where we do a lot of research and analysis into an area around a whole bunch of topics to then pass on to other writers. And one of the things I’ve personally found very interesting in doing content briefs is letting iterative Chat GPT research help with the first stages of that, I then take what it produces and build on it and build out the whole brief, and also whole strategies and editorials that can come from that. But having that at the first stage just helps. And without iteration, you’re never going to be able to get to the point where you can take this, run with it, make the content, and make it work.

D: Well, context was Julian’s word at the end of the last episode and iterative is certainly your word at the beginning of this one. I love that as I think many people will be using Chat GPT by asking a question and getting an answer. Thank you very much. Okay, I’ll go and do something with the answer. But unless you hone what you’re getting, then you’re never going to get the optimum version of it.

E: Yeah, exactly. And the other thing with that is that you learn more about the program and the AI and you’ll learn that certain prompts work better with it. Especially if you’ve got the pre-training, where you created almost like a conversation with your own version of Chat GPT, you’re going to be able to learn what worked with that version and what doesn’t.

I tend to keep things quite fresh on different iterations, I do have one that I put lots of different things into and build upon that’s almost like a persona prompt that’s built over time. But I do also like to see the perspective and a fresh, different version of it just to see what different answers it comes up with. And again, you always need to fact-check. In my mind, it’s never going to fully replace the need for human interaction. I think that’s something that we all have that agreement on, it’s going to need fact-checking, it’s going to need the human touch to make it work, but it can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

D: Alizée, context, iteration, do you have an umbrella word that summarizes how you advise people to deliver their prompts?

Alizée: I’ll go with structure. Depending on the prompt, the way it thinks about the answers, and the way it redacts the answer, might not suit your need or your way of seeing things. For example, I used it to help me write in a pretty way a few bullet points I had for a proposal. And the way I structure my proposal is that I have H2 in my notion, a document that I send to my prospect or client, I have a short description of the service, and I have a detailed process of how I do this service. And that kind of justifies why it costs that much. And when I asked Chat GPT to write a short description for a service that includes this, this, and that, the result was not for me. It was not working. It was just bad. So what I did is I gave it the prompt examples of other services and how I redacted them so we’d had some sort of basis to work from. And then I said, “Here’s the structure. I want the answer to be in Markdown because Markdown is easy to copy and paste in Notion. That way I wasn’t having formatting issues, I want some bullet points for the process, I want a short description of the service that shows my expertise and how interesting what I do is. And I want a series of bullet points for this. And I want an estimated time that explains exactly why… etc… And I gave it a whole structure of how I wanted it and the formatting of the output. Because it’s easier to just copy-paste things at work and not have add headings here and there.

And it worked really well. And if you tell it how you want things to be done, it works. Going back to the assistant I created that I talked about a couple of episodes ago, it’s like having an intern to whom you have to explain how you do things. And that’s how I treat it.

D: I love that answer, so much value from all of you in terms of how you can use prompts more successfully and get more out of Chat GPT.

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What AI Means to the Future of SEO

I’d like to also get everyone’s thoughts on the future. Chat GPT and what you can do with it is evolving very quickly. So you can think of the future as in two weeks’ time, or perhaps in a year’s time. You can also think of the future in terms of perhaps the changing web, or the way that people will change the way that they actually search and seek information. Perhaps the average consumer is more likely to use an AI-powered chatbot to look for a direct answer instead of actually searching the web. So it’d be great to get your general thoughts on the way that you think SEOs need to prepare for the future and what they need to do to be as prepared as possible.

Should we go back to Julia first? What are your thoughts on that?

J: Great question. And I think it’s one we all need to take seriously if our role is in SEO. We serve clients, we do it for our own businesses, how is this going to change? So for me, the biggest question I’ve been exploring now. There’s a tool called that is supposed to represent a future model of what Google might build one day. Google may be building and they already came out with it, they put it under a project name, and they have engineers assigned. So we know that this is already in the works, a new way that search will completely adapt. But the prediction is that Google now has autocomplete and the next step to that would be auto answers, where Google is writing the answer for you, much like Bart already does, but within the actual SERP. So instead of a list of search results, you’re getting a written answer. And then weight will be placed on domain names, and you’ll get five to six domain names that will be shown along with that written answer, which, to me just reflects the quality of content according to E-A-T. All of those things aren’t going to die, they’re going to become even more important if weight is placed on a domain name that much. So we need to hustle to build our domains with content.

That’s always going to be my answer. Create a great brand, put great content out there, get your strategy right, and hire people to help you if you don’t have that because that will only help you in the future of what’s coming. But the landscape of how search will actually work is fascinating. It’s hard to predict when, or what that will look like. But I think what has done, and this was created by engineers at Open AI, is it’s given us a good prediction of where this could possibly head because Chat GPT is the future.

When Google first said you can’t use AI back in April 22 and then by the end of 2022, they were saying we never said that. Well, then you know, that Google’s going to shift with this. That’s how big it is. But what will that Chef look like? That’s the question I for one can’t wait to see the answer to.

D: Julia, you mentioned Google a couple of times there. Is Bing not going to come and eat Google’s lunch?

J: You know, Google still holds the monopoly of the world’s largest traffic source. Bing definitely made a comeback, I will say, with Microsoft’s Bing Chatbot but Google is the default. It’s also part of the culture. I would say it’s going to be hard for that to be replaced.

D: Ellen, what are your thoughts on the future?

E: Very similar to Julia, to be honest, and absolutely, with Google remaining the powerhouse. We see every couple of years these conversations that happen in the social media world, the world of SEO, and the world of just being online and engaging with people. The conversation of is this the new Google. We’ve seen it recently with TikTok with a lot of people saying that people are not going to Google anymore from that generation. We’re seeing some people saying that people are only using Bing now because of the AI chatbots that they have. But we’ve also seen this iteratively in the past, and it’s not a new phenomenon. I definitely think there are people who are moving away from Google and moving to those two platforms. TikTok obviously isn’t using, as far as we’re aware, AI in the same sort of vein as Chat GPT. But it’s still elements of what’s going to be the future. Google has very quickly turned itself around, as Julia pointed out. It’s very interesting to see how quickly their tone changed for a company like Google which is very internally secretive and always try to lead the way when that ‘lead the way’ was taken out from underneath them.

In terms of what’s going to go for SEOs in the future, I think it’s going to be a lot of adapting to it, changing our processes, but also making our lives easier to focus on the unique and individual elements of the brands that we work with. Whether we are dedicated to a singular brand or if you work across a whole spectrum of brands and different industries, it’s going to give us more time to focus on their unique angles and create content strategies that reflect them and their personality, their tone of voice, who they are, and who they want to be in the public eye. Whereas before, we’d have to spend a lot of time on the very groundwork content of the guides that you have to have to make sure that they’re evergreen and updated with elements that are going to be streamlined in the future. That’s exciting to me, you’re seeing the streamlining and the freeing of the creativity that we as SEOs can bring into the online landscape.

D: Alizée, what do SEOs need to do in order to prepare themselves and their organizations for the AI-powered future?

A: So to me, there are two different sides to it. The first is regarding search engines. As I mentioned, there are different tools. I’m not saying it’s going to be the case. But I’m wondering to what extent there’s going to be a specialization of searches. You’re going to use TikTok for lifestyle, you’re going to use Google when you’re at your desktop and you need to read a lot of things, etc. That’s just a question I have, we’ll see what happens. But I’m sure that the users are going to decide on the solution that’s best for them in the context that they’re in. I’m still not sure what this looks like but as SEOs, we will have a question to ask our clients upfront before we start a project about what you do and whether are we going to do any search engine experience optimization on Google. Or are we going to work on this across different platforms? That’s going to be a topic that I believe is going to emerge more and more.

And on the other side of it, the AI part of all of this, I’m really looking forward to having specialized AI tools we can use, ideally, locally so we don’t give all our data to a bunch of people who we don’t know who they are. But I’d love to have my own little Jarvis on my Mac, on my iPad, and on my iPhone, being able to have superpowered Siri or something like that. And that would be my personal assistant for my business and then have an iteration of this for every single client I work with. It’s duplicating the number of neurons that would be dedicated to the work I do. That seems amazing to me. And I’m really looking forward to getting to diversification of solutions that are tailored to every single SEO and their issues.

D: Great advice. And that takes us up to the end of this three-part series on Chat GPT for SEO. I’ll be back with a regular episode for the In Search SEO podcast next week. In the meantime, many thanks, Julia, Ellen, and Alizée.

And thank you for listening.

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