In Search Podcast: SEO & ChatGPT


Welcome to the first episode in a special three-part series within the In Search SEO podcast, looking into what SEOs needed to know about Chat GPT. I’m joined by Julia McCoy from Content at ScaleEllen Conning from Salience, and Alizée Baudez, SEO consultant.

In this episode, our panel discusses how to use ChatGPT for SEO, including:

  • What SEOs need to know about ChatGPT
  • Using prompts to train the AI

What Seos Need to Know About Chat GPT

Julia, let’s start off with you. What do SEOs need to know about Chat GPT?

Julia: When it comes to Chat GPT, what’s crazy is this is the world’s fastest adaptive technology. That’s one thing that we have to keep in mind when it comes to whether should we even use this. Which is a question we’re still asking. And the answer to that question is yes. This is a phenomenon we will probably not see again until the next iteration of AI comes out. So Chat GPT is going to affect content in general, especially SEO, for the foreseeable future. And the question we should be asking is, how will we adapt to it?

So how can you adapt? Start by learning how to use it. Learn what prompts to use, test it yourself, and always double-check the output. Put it through significant human review. But what I’m seeing and what we’re seeing, especially in my work at Content at Scale, doing 40 to 50 million words a month, all AI-written and all for SEO, is that you can use AI to write content. Google has now said very clearly, in their Search Webmaster Guidelines, that AI is not going to be a reason you get penalized. That’s not the reason you should worry about rather does this satisfy E-A-T which is all about human experience, expertise, trustworthiness, and authority? Those are human ingredients still, we need to add those in. But using AI as the baseline and Chat GPT to help us write content five to ten times quicker is the direction we need to head in as SEOs.

D: Alizée, Julia has shared that it’s the fastest-ever adapted technology. And she also shared that what we have to do is adapt as quickly as possible. I assume you agree with us? And what are your thoughts on what SEOs need to know about change? GCP?

Alizée: I totally agree. My initial thought thinking about this is that you have to take it into your own hands. I’ve seen resources to learn prompts and people sharing a bunch of prompts. And that’s super useful to kickstart things. But I’ve had the best experience during trial and error because nobody has the answers right now. It’s changing every 10 days and we’re having a new update to Chat GPT. It’s changing all the time. prompts are evolving, people are getting creative. So it’s good to get insights from others but trying it out is always the best solution for me.

And people should remember that it’s not replacing Google yet, as is. It’s just a chat interface and a language model that is absolutely impressive. SEO isn’t going anywhere and SEO is still not dying. Sorry, we’ll still be here in a couple of years. No worries about that.

D: I remember I used to do presentations on SEO one-on-one. And I took screenshots of blog posts saying SEO is dead starting off in about 2004. So every single year you get that. Yes, it’s still not dead. You just have to adapt. And I think that’s the keyword of the day. Ellen, what are your thoughts about what SEOs need to do now, to become aware of what they can do with Chat GPT?

Ellen: I’m very much aligned with what the other two have said about it. 1) Taking it into your own hands and learning about it, but 2) not being afraid of using the resource and the sheer scale that is behind it. The other thing to bear in mind is that a lot of the time if you’re not using Chat GPT-4, you are behind a set time cut-off. So any information that you do get, verifying it and making sure that it’s correct is important. But also to go back into what does well in SEO. What’s providing new content? And that’s being an expert voice. And so using resources like Chat GPT and other AI resources to help streamline your research process whilst also double-checking to make sure that everything that it’s coming up with is correct. saves so much time in the day to day life.

I do content strategy, that’s a large part of what my role is and what I do on a day-to-day basis. And I got started literally from a journalistic background of researching yourself, depending on the time, even if it’s just the content brief, spending a good amount of time researching all the elements of it, to put it together. Chat GPT, for an SEO of any level, is going to streamline your base-level research and give you more time to find that unique angle that makes you stand out and will naturally rise you through the ranks.

D: And Ellen, Alizée, also mentioned that the way that she gets started is just by trial and error. Is that the way that you would recommend someone to get started as well?

E: Yeah, absolutely. I am a huge believer to go ahead and give it a try. And if it’s not exactly how you want it to be at the first time, give it another go until you get closer to what you want. Or perhaps maybe realize that’s not going to produce exactly what you want from the thing. There are so many other resources online, there are loads of different prompt websites. You see them all the time and discussions about hacking Chat GPT and all the hacking problems that you see which I’ve had dubious success about if they work in standard Chat GPT, I won’t lie. But the big thing is to get your hands in, give things a go, refine and write and rewrite, and see what works for you and for what you’re doing for your element of SEO, because everyone’s approach to SEO is naturally going to be a little bit different anyway. So make it work for you, don’t try to walk around it if that makes sense.

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D: And in terms of dipping your toes in, I dipped my toes in to actually ask Chat GPT what it thought that I should ask you as part of this discussion. So my prompt was, “I’m going to record a podcast episode on Chat GPT for SEO. What questions do you think I should ask my guests?” And I said in brackets that my guests are SEO experts. And in response, it said, “Here are some questions you may want to consider asking your SEO experts about Chat GTP for SEO, starting off with how can Chat GPT be used to improve SEO and about ten different suggested questions. So I shared all the questions that it shared with me as part of that response. So it’d be good actually, first of all, to get your thoughts on maybe the question that I asked, and perhaps is there some better way that I could have formed the question or maybe prepared it beforehand before asking the question? And secondly, in terms of its response, is there any particular question that you would like to provide an answer to? Alizée, can I go to you first?

A: I liked the questions. But I found they were very Chat GPT-styled. Quite generalistic. We could have replaced Chat GPT for SEO with probably any other digital marketing topic. They weren’t super focused. The way I would have phrased it now that I’ve played with it quite a bit would have been to give it more context up and foremost. So the way I do it nowadays, especially when I even created a conversation that I called Jarvis, which is my Freelancer systems, to help me draft proposals and help me with client work. So what I do is start with adding context saying, “I’m a freelance SEO consultant, I need help with this and that and first of all, how can I make the most out of our collaboration on this topic?” And usually what I get is a bunch of questions from Chat GPT about the topic. So in that case, you would say, “Well, I’m recording a podcast with digital SEO experts about AI in Chat GPT. What information do you need at the beginning of this conversation so I can get the best result?” It might ask how old is your podcast. What length are the episodes? Can you give me a bit of background about each of the guests? What’s your experience with AI tools? Things like that. You answer all of those and maybe the results would have been a bit more precise in terms of the questions asked. That would have been my methodology but it is still really good.

D: I absolutely love that methodology. In fact, I love the question, what information do you need so you can get the best results? I just wanted to emphasize that for the listener because if you are ensured that you’re providing Chat GPT with all the information that requires to provide the optimum answer, then that’s a head start for you compared with your competitors.

Ellen, did you have any thoughts on the initial prompt?

E: Just a few. I think it’s a great starting point as I’m a big advocate to jump in and give things a go. A lot of what I found successful with using Chat GPT and the like is by refining down the questions. So instead of just giving a sentence or two, not quite training it to the level of incredible detail that Alizée has gone through and I’m definitely going to be borrowing some elements of that. But it’s giving it a very structured prompt of it. For example, in this instance, I would lead with the “I’m going to record a podcast question or podcast episode based on Chat GPT for SEO.” And I would phrase the questions with things like, “Can you come up with questions based on a number?” Like, “Can you come up with five focus questions with a focus on these areas? Can you avoid a passive voice in these questions? Can you make sure that there’s no overload of jargon within these questions, and separate them into subheadings, potentially with little descriptions underneath them.” That way, you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck from the single prompt, and then you can refine those down over time. As a test in an experiment, it’s a great place to start.

And in terms of the questions that it came up with, they’re very interesting questions. I think that they covered the scope of what people would want to know about it on an entry-level and getting a little bit more in-depth of it. It’s just that you would then take each of those questions and almost refine them down further. If, for example, you’re going to make a series of little blog posts, or if you’re going to do a longer series of podcast questions about it. That’s my perspective.

It’s a new bit of tech, and it can be daunting just to begin with. And sometimes just going simple is the best way to get started.

D: Absolutely. And Julie, what are your thoughts on the initial prompt?

J: Well, I thought Alizée’s advice was brilliant because I’ve seen people do something that they call persona building inside Chat GPT. And they literally train Chat GPT, one person spent four hours doing this. And they train it on the background of everything before they ask it to do the task. Essentially, context is better content. The more context you give about what you want from it, the better results you get.

I was training my husband yesterday to use this tool. He’s been anti-AI in general, it’s like pulling teeth, but he’s finally using it. And he’s like, “Okay, I want to tell it to write an email.” And I say, “Well, we can’t just say that.” So we did a little bit more but we didn’t go as deep as Alizée because he would have probably run the other way. So what we did was, here’s my client, here’s her situation, and the client’s name is Kim. We’re building a website for her business named Austin Alliance Group. And her question is, “Will these fonts show up on mobile?” How do I best answer this? That’s two sentences. It’s super simple.

I think this is a good approach for people that are not sure about how best to approach it. If you want the more advanced route, do what Alizée said. I don’t think any of us can improve on that, she was brilliant. But if you want to just get started, just give it a very simple prompt.

Sometimes, if I’m short on time, and I know I can’t give it a lot of context, what I’ll do is I’ll rely on it for the ideation which can save so much work. The questions that it gave you to ask us were actually well written. That fact alone is hard to do and that takes brain space. If you were paying a writer, that’s like an hour of their time. I see just how far we’ve come to be able to get that in a second so that alone is brilliant and a reason to use it.

Then what you can do is take those questions and make them more personal. That’s something I see that could be done from the questions you got, which were as the others did say a little bit more generic. You can take that and make it a little bit more personal to the journey of that person or what you know about them and that’ll give you more of a hook for the audience who may be listening because they know one of the panelists or because of the hook of your actual episode title. So there are ways you can do it that’ll better hook the reader than the more generalized way that Chat GPT wrote it. But I’m telling you, I celebrate what Chat GPT did in a minute because that’s hard to do. I’m a writer. It’s crazy how far we’ve come.

D: Let’s dive into the questions that Chat GPT provided as suggestions that I should be asking in the next episode of the Rank Ranger podcast.

And thank you for listening. Check out all the previous episodes and sign up for a free trial of the Rank Ranger platform over at rankranger.com.

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