ChatGPT for SEO: Ways You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use It

ChatGPT is one of the most important technological advancements of the last several decades. I firmly believe that those in SEO who fail to embrace AI tech like ChatGPT will fall behind.

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Last updated on December 19, 2023

Saying this again is going to sound dramatic, but I don’t care:

ChatGPT is one of the most important technological advancements of the last several decades.

If you’re among the many who doubt it or would like to ignore it, I advise you to do the opposite. Those who ignore ChatGPT now will one day look like those who said the internet was just a fad in the early ‘90s.

Embrace ChatGPT. Especially if you’re an SEO professional — or if you do SEO in any capacity.

Today, I’m going to show you how to take full advantage of ChatGPT and similar AI-driven technologies to level-up your organic SEO game. And I’m going to tell you what NOT to use ChatGPT for.

Let’s do this.
ChatGPT for SEO_ Ways You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use It

Google Doesn’t Care if You Use ChatGPT. Seriously.

Before we get into the various ways to use ChatGPT for SEO, I’m going to get something out of the way that’s been bugging me:
Google does NOT care if you use ChatGPT. Not at all.

First, Google has come right out and said it:
Google Doesn’t Care if You Use ChatGPT

Yes, that is a reversal of some earlier guidance from Google that said AI content was against its guidelines. But Google changes — we need to listen and change with it if we want to keep up.

So, what does Google say about AI now? I’ll sum it up: Use it to enhance your content and SEO strategy. Don’t use it to manipulate search results.


Google wants to rank helpful content. If you use AI to create helpful content, Google doesn’t care — as long as the content is truly helpful.

You know how long it took me to find the official guidance from Google saying that they don’t give a sh*t about AI? About five seconds.

That’s why I don’t want to hear this tired argument from SEO and content folks anymore: *bUt gOoGlE wILL pEnALIzE Ai CoNtEnT*.

No, it won’t. Google will penalize bad content. Or content that violates its guidelines (which actually condone AI use).

So, please, feel free to use ChatGPT to boost your SEO game. I’m about to show you how.

Ways to Use ChatGPT for SEO

I’m a tech-minded guy, so I’ve been playing around with ChatGPT since it came out. These are some of the best SEO use cases for ChatGPT that I’ve discovered so far.

Write Rough Drafts

A lot of SEO comes back to content. You have to have content in order to show up in Google results. And backlinks have to point somewhere. Content feeds the Google beast.

SEO folks know that. And they all rush to create a ton of content to get ahead of the competition.

Where we all struggle is with scale. Creating enough content at a high enough rate of speed is expensive and difficult.

But ChatGPT can speed up the process. Significantly.

Now, listen: I do NOT condone the use of AI to create content that gets published without any human oversight. That’s irresponsible.

But what I DO recommend is sharpening your ChatGPT prompt game to the point that it gives you usable (albeit rough) first drafts for simple content.

A few quick caveats:

  • ChatGPT can and will lie to you. It’s called hallucinating, and it’s what happens when the AI doesn’t totally understand the subject matter. This is why you have to fact-check the outputs.
  • Certain types of content are easier for AI to create than others. Thought leadership usually doesn’t come out well, but basic how-to content does.
  • You’re going to spend SOME time on editing this stuff. There’s no escaping that if you want to do this responsibly. But the time you save on the initial writing phase is enough to make this more than worth your time to try out.

With those out of the way, I can confirm that GPT-4 is MUCH better at rough drafts than GPT-3. So, give it a shot.

And if you don’t like what you get, don’t give up — instead, try to make your prompt more specific.

Conceive H1s, Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

One thing ChatGPT is surprisingly good at is short-form content creation. And in SEO, you run into a lot of that:

  • Keyword-optimized and attention-grabbing H1s for your content
  • Title tags that meet character length requirements, include your keyword and command attention in the search engine results pages (SERPs)
  • Meta descriptions that do the same thing

When you’re doing SEO at scale, those little short-form content tasks add up to a monster pain and time suck.

You know what I’m going to say next. Let ChatGPT do some of the heavy lifting here.

Here are some of the ideas ChatGPT gave me for H1s for an article about AI and SEO:
ChatGPT H1s for an article about AI and SEO

Not bad, right?

It does a similarly good job with title tags and meta descriptions.

(But it can sometimes mess up the character limits for title tags and meta descriptions — be sure to check those if you use ChatGPT for these tasks.)

When you find a prompt that gives you the kinds of H1s, title tags and meta descriptions you want, save it somewhere. I like to keep a notepad document with my best prompts.

That way, when I want to save time with ChatGPT, I just grab the prompt and fill in the unique bits. In seconds, I have some great ideas for short-form SEO content.

Find Seed Keywords

ChatGPT is NOT a keyword research tool. But it IS a great tool to use in the early stages of keyword research.

More specifically, ChatGPT is great at helping you find seed keyword ideas.

To catch you up: Seed keywords are the basic, very short keywords you use to find OTHER, more specific keywords that you want to target with your SEO strategy.

For example, a seed keyword for a personal injury attorney’s keyword research strategy might be “car accident lawyer.”

You’d type that seed keyword into your keyword research tool of choice (like Ahrefs or Semrush). And the tool would return more specific keywords, such as:

  • “Do I need a car accident lawyer”
  • “What does a car accident lawyer do”
  • “NYC car accident lawyer”

If you’re already really knowledgeable about the field you’re doing SEO in, you may already have some seed keywords in mind.

But if the field is new to you or you’re just having trouble coming up with seed keyword ideas, tap ChatGPT for some assistance.

Here are the seed keyword ideas ChatGPT gives me for an accountant’s website:
ChatGPT for SEO

Those are solid. Now, I can plug them into my keyword research tools to find more specific keywords I’d actually target with an SEO campaign.

Create Schema Markup

Schema markup is code that helps Google understand what your content is about. And it gives Google some good ideas about how to enhance your listings in the SERPs.

That could mean reviews stars, sitelinks, a search bar and MUCH more. All of which enhances your visibility in the results.

The problem? Schema markup is hard to create.

This is an SEO use case for ChatGPT that can save you both time and money. That’s because it is shockingly expensive to hire a dev to create and implement schema markup for you.

The thing is: ChatGPT can code. It can do schema markup. Like this:
ChatGPT can code. It can do schema markup

I just described the fictional page I was creating and asked for reviews schema. In seconds, I had this code. And it WORKS.

The AI was even helpful enough to give me instructions on how to add the markup to the page. Brilliant.

Produce Hreflang Tags

Hreflang might be one of the hardest parts of SEO. Google’s John Mueller even said so:
chatgpt-Produce Hreflang Tags

But it’s absolutely essential if you run a website that you want to rank in multiple languages.

I won’t bore or confuse you with all of the details here. Just suffice it to say that hreflang tags are complicated and numerous.

They help Google serve your content in the right language to the right readers.

Small mistakes can mess the whole thing up. And hiring a dev to do all your hreflang will cost you dearly.

But ChatGPT is free. And the “pro” version is just $20 per month.

Totally worth it. I asked ChatGPT to generate hreflang tags for my website, and it did it (flawlessly) in under two minutes.

Generate AI Image Prompts

This is one of my favorite ways to use ChatGPT for SEO. But it requires a little background to understand it.

First, images play a part in SEO. They enhance user experience, illustrate concepts, rank in Google Images and so on.

Second, generative AI is not limited to text. It can also create images. There are TONS of AI image generators on the market now.

Notable examples include DALL-E and Midjourney.

They’re awesome. But like ChatGPT, you have to know how to prompt them correctly in order to get useful/usable images.

This is where ChatGPT can help. Just ask it to give you a prompt to use with your AI image generator of choice.

I don’t know if it’s because ChatGPT and DALL-E are both AIs or what, but they communicate with one another rather well.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Give ChatGPT the article you want to generate an image for (the entire text or a somewhat detailed summary).
  • Tell it you’re going to use an AI image generator to create an image for the article.
  • Ask it to create a detailed prompt you can give to the image generator to create a great image.

I promise you: You will be shocked at how well this works. And it saves you time on image creation (or money on purchasing images).

Turn Yourself Into a Cyborg Writer

I’ll admit it: I’m a cyborg.

More specifically, I am part human, part machine when I write SEO content.

It’s a new habit for me, but it works really, really well.

You can probably tell from this article that I don’t use AI to generate much text. But I DO use it as I write.

Not so much for this article, but for some articles. Here’s how I do it:

  • I keep ChatGPT open in one of the many tabs I have open all the time in Chrome.
  • I start writing an article. I craft the outline and intro with my own human mind. I keep writing from the human side until I hit something simple that an AI can handle. It’s usually a list of places or things or something similar.
  • I pop over to my ChatGPT tab and ask it to generate the next part of the article (the simple list with explanatory bullet points or what have you).
  • ChatGPT does in 15 seconds what would have taken me 15 minutes or more.
  • I edit the output to make sure it is accurate and sounds like me.

Repeat that process four or five times over the course of a day, and you’ve saved 40 or 50 minutes (easily).

That’s valuable time — especially when you’re doing SEO.

Draft Link Outreach Emails

If you’ve never done link building before, I’ll let you in on a little secret:

While it IS one of the most exciting things in the world to get a great backlink, much of the process leading up to that moment is a grind. It can be boring, honestly.

Much of it involves drafting link outreach emails — in which you ask a website owner to link to your site.

ChatGPT doesn’t get bored. It LOVES writing those emails for me.

And it does a pretty good job.

Frankly, I wouldn’t send any email ChatGPT has written for me (for any reason) without editing it first. But still, letting ChatGPT do the writing part saves you an unbelievable amount of time.

And the results are the same: You still send out tons of link outreach emails, you get some links. You’re just less exhausted at the end of it.

Ways You Should NOT Use ChatGPT for SEO

In case you can’t already tell, I’m a big fan of ChatGPT and the recent advancements in AI. But this stuff isn’t perfect. Here some examples of what ChatGPT CAN’T do in SEO:

Perform Keyword Research

We talked about finding seed keywords with ChatGPT earlier. That’s a great way to use ChatGPT for SEO.

But that’s about as far as it goes for keyword research. In fact, if you ask keyword research-related questions to ChatGPT, it will often refuse to answer:
chatgpt-cannot-Perform Keyword Research

Other times, it will just make something up. That’s not helpful either.

So, to do your keyword research, you’ll still have to rely on keyword research tools. For now, at least.

Create Ready-to-Publish Content

I think I’ve already said this about a dozen times in this article: ChatGPT will lie to you. It places more importance on answering your question than it does on being accurate.

That’s why you can’t use it to create content that you publish without editing. You will publish false information.

On top of that, you’ll publish boring content. ChatGPT is great, but it’s nobody’s first choice as a dinner party guest. Reading a 2,000-word article written by ChatGPT with no human editing/additions will bore you to tears.

Boring, inaccurate content is NOT the kind of content Google wants to rank. Use ChatGPT to create rough drafts, but use a human (a creative one, preferably) to take the content over the finish line.

Do Competitor Analysis

ChatGPT can’t do competitor analysis for you unless you’re a Fortune 500 company (or a similarly large enterprise).

Why? Because it won’t already know all about you and your competitors. And it’s not currently connected to the internet, so it can’t go do the research for you.

ChatGPT is only current to September of 2021 — that’s when its creators stopped feeding it knowledge. So, anything that’s changed since then — including the competitive landscape you find yourself and your website in — will be over ChatGPT’s head.

Drive Comprehensive Strategy

ChatGPT is a great source of basic ideas. But for comprehensive SEO strategy, it falls short.

It just doesn’t have the creativity, wisdom and gut feelings that humans have. And from personal experience, I can tell you that those very human qualities actually matter A LOT in SEO.

ChatGPT is no human. It’s a great addition to your toolkit, but it’s not a replacement for the human mind.

ChatGPT Can’t Build Backlinks!

Ha! Of course you knew that but I get a kick out of writing it.

For SEO, Embrace AI or Fall Behind

I’m not trying to make you feel bad if you’re not using ChatGPT. On the contrary — I’m trying to help you.

That’s because I firmly believe that those in SEO who fail to embrace AI tech like ChatGPT will fall behind.

And it’ll be hard to catch up if you let yourself fall behind. AI is going to keep getting better. And you’ll keep falling further behind if you’re not careful.

So jump in now. Don’t wait. Try out ChatGPT for SEO tasks of all kinds. Do more of what works well, and do less of what doesn’t.

Before long, you’ll see: Your SEO strategy is sharper, and you’re getting results faster.

Thanks for reading this post!

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