The launch of ChatGPT has sparked intense discussion around how this new AI capability will impact search engine optimization (SEO) and content creation. As an SEO professional, We have been experimenting with prompts for ChatGPT and Claude to evaluate the opportunities and limitations of these tools. In this post, I’ll share some insights on how conversational AI may affect SEO based on hands-on testing.
Testing SEO Prompts for ChatGPT
ChatGPT displays impressive natural language capabilities, but can it create optimized content? I tested various prompts related to SEO topics and tasks. Here are some examples and key takeaways:
Asking for a Specific Word Count and Keywords
Prompt: “Write a 300 word blog post about local SEO optimization tips and strategies. The post should include the keywords local SEO, Google My Business, and GEO-targeted content.”
ChatGPT Response: ChatGPT generated a blog post at the requested length highlighting local SEO best practices and including the target keywords.
Takeaway: ChatGPT can follow instructions for word count and keyword inclusion, important for SEO content.
Requesting a Specific Outline Structure
Prompt: “Provide an outline for a 1000 word beginner’s guide to technical SEO with the following sections – Introduction to technical SEO, Crawlability tips, Indexation tips, Page speed optimization.”
ChatGPT Response: ChatGPT created an on-topic outline with the requested section headers.
Takeaway: Outlining helps create structure before drafting content, and ChatGPT can provide outlines based on prompts.
Asking for a Meta Description
Prompt: “Write a meta description under 160 characters for a page about SEO audits.”
ChatGPT Response: ChatGPT generated an appropriate, concise meta description focusing on the topic.
Takeaway: ChatGPT can create optimized page-level metadata like meta descriptions on request.
Generating Listicle Content and Headers
Prompt: “Write a list article with 5 tips to improve your Google Ads performance. Include H2 headers before each tip.”
ChatGPT Response: ChatGPT produced a properly structured listicle with useful tips and descriptive headers.
Takeaway: The AI can take high-level direction like “write a listicle” and produce well-organized content accordingly.
Prompt: “Review the website performance and technical SEO of example.com versus example-2.com, then provide recommendations on how Example 2 can improve their technical SEO.”
ChatGPT Response: Unfortunately, ChatGPT does not have the capability to actually analyze real websites or provide in-depth strategic recommendations. The response included generic technical SEO advice.
Takeaway: Unlike real SEO tools and experts, ChatGPT cannot evaluate actual sites or data to provide strategic recommendations. It can offer general educational advice based on prompts.
Some prompts for Claude.ai.
Prompt: “Claude, provide 3 potential headings and subheadings to add more detail about optimizing AI-generated content.”
Claude: Here are 3 potential headings with subheadings for optimizing AI-generated content:
- Carefully Craft Prompts to Guide the AI (Subheadings: Be specific with word count, topics, keywords; Provide examples for desired tone and structure; Limit to focused tasks)
- Rigorously Review and Edit AI Drafts (Subheadings: Check accuracy of technical details; Improve flow and organization; Make language more natural sounding; Add original analysis and citations)
- Iterate Content Over Time (Subheadings: Compare performance data on AI vs. human content; Identify gaps to improve through prompts; Regenerate and optimize in multiple iterations; Increase AI content gradually)
Prompt: “Claude, give me 2 new subheadings and key points about humans collaborating with AI tools like yourself for SEO.”
Claude: Here are 2 potential subheadings with key points about human-AI collaboration for SEO:
- Determine Appropriate AI Integration Points (Key points: Focus AI on repetitive tasks like outlines and drafts; Maintain human control over strategy and high-value writing; Apply AI to complement each human team member’s strengths)
- Provide Ongoing AI Coaching and Feedback (Key points: Monitor AI-generated content quality closely; Give clear periodic feedback to improve prompts over time; Guide AI tools collaboration as virtual teammates)
Prompt: “Please provide a final summary paragraph to wrap up this post.”
Claude: Here is a potential concluding paragraph summarizing key points from the post:
While AI tools like ChatGPT are rapidly evolving, human expertise remains essential for strategic SEO success. Forward-thinking SEO professionals will test and selectively integrate AI capabilities like Claude to enhance productivity, without compromising on strategy and engagement. With rigorous processes, collaboration between humans and AI can elevate SEO content above the limitations of both. By combining human creativity and emotional intelligence with AI’s scalable work output, the future of SEO looks bright.
Crafting Engaging, Human-Sounding Content
While ChatGPT can create topic-relevant content, the tone tends to sound formulaic and robotic. I tested asking for a more conversational, engaging tone:
Prompt: “Write a 500 word blog post offering beginner tips for link building in a friendly, conversational style.”
ChatGPT Response: The content it generated did have a slightly more casual tone with some extra explanatory details, but still lacked a truly human-sounding voice with original wording and humor.
Takeaway: The AI’s limitations become apparent when trying to emulate human creativity, personality, and emotional resonance in writing. There is still an underlying roboticness in the language.
Generating Ideas for SEO Content
Given its knowledge limitation, ChatGPT struggles to provide innovative ideas for new SEO content topics. Even when prompted, the suggestions it offered were very broad like “keyword research” or just spun previously given information.
Unique ideas require creative problem-solving that AI currently lacks. The value lies in crafting the content itself, not ideating what topics and angles to cover.
Creating SEO-Optimized Content from Scratch
To further test ChatGPT’s content capabilities, I gave a complex prompt asking it to write a comprehensive, SEO-optimized blog post from start to finish:
Prompt: “Write a 2000 word SEO tutorial about optimizing images for search engines and accessibility. Include headers, alt text examples, JSON-LD markup samples, and actionable tips formatted in a conversational style. Target the keyword phrases ‘SEO images’ and ‘image optimization’. Make the post engaging, well-researched, and technically accurate.”
ChatGPT Response: What followed was an admittedly well-organized post touching on relevant points at proper length. But a closer read revealed thin content that glossed over technical details. The writing felt formulaic and lacked the depth of an expert. It included no data, expert quotes, research citations or real-life examples. The conversational tone missed the mark as well.
Takeaway: While able to loosely mimic the structure of a good SEO content, ChatGPT fell short of creating a truly compelling, comprehensive, engaging tutorial. There are still major gaps in subject matter knowledge and writing skill.
Should SEOs Worry About Losing Business to ChatGPT?
Our testing revealed that while ChatGPT can create topic-related content of decent length and structure, there are still serious limitations around optimization, expertise, original ideation, and engaging, human-sounding writing. AI may be able to supplement certain content creation tasks, but cannot fully replace the strategic value of an SEO content professional.
Opportunities to Use ChatGPT for SEO Tasks.
While more advanced than expected, ChatGPT is not yet a threat to skilled SEO content writers and strategists. When used appropriately, conversational AI like ChatGPT offers opportunities to augment humans rather than replace them. Possible applications include:
- Generating basic content drafts that still require heavy editing and optimization
- Providing broad topic overviews or outlines to build upon
- Using as a flexible “content assistant” that can be directed on-demand to produce rough drafts, lists, and repetitive or basic content
- Having it paraphrase existing content to get new ideas and jumpstart writing
- Testing different prompts to make AI content better complement unique writing styles and voices
The Benefits of AI Assistants Like Claude for SEO Teams.
Tools like Claude provide a more strategically valuable alternative to ChatGPT since they are specifically designed for SEO. Claude enables generating content outlines, headlines, and meta descriptions on-demand based on target keywords. The AI assistant also provides website analysis to recommend optimizations.
Claude can serve as an SEO advisor and content producer within a human team. It augments human capabilities for certain repetitive tasks like initial content structures, titles, metadata, etc. But for core strategic analysis and engaging copy, SEO experts are still essential. Claude is an aid rather than a replacement.
How Will ChatGPT Impact SEO Content Quality?
If low-quality AI-produced content gets published en masse, it could make attracting engagement and rankings more difficult for everyone. But because of its limitations, ChatGPT content on its own is unlikely to perform well or outrank expertly optimized pages.
Search engines will continue improving their algorithms’ ability to weigh expertise, authority, and quality signals to surface original high-value content. For SEOs focused on creating strategic, engaging content, ChatGPT poses little threat currently. Maintaining rigorous optimization and writing processes will be key differentiators.
Evaluating and Optimizing AI Content for SEO.
When incorporating AI like ChatGPT into content creation workflows, take steps to maximize quality:
- Provide detailed prompts with keywords, structure, tone, length to direct the AI
- Have humans review, vet, and edit any AI drafts before publishing
- Ensure final published content meets expertise and authority standards
- Use Claude or other SEO-focused AI to optimize and enhance content
- Monitor performance in Search Console to compare metrics on human-vs-AI content
- Refine processes based on measured search ranking and engagement
AI should not replace human oversight and judgment, but augment content teams when applied selectively.
The Future Impact of AI on SEO.
Looking ahead, further advances in AI data processing and language skills may allow tools like ChatGPT to complement SEO experts more meaningfully. But human strategic thinking, creativity, and emotional resonance will remain vital to engaging and converting searchers.
AI will force SEO professionals to focus on high-value quantitative analysis, qualitative assessment, strategic recommendations, and purpose-driven content only humans can provide at the highest levels.
Rather than be threatened, forward-thinking SEOs should start testing and integrating AI judiciously to enhance – not replace – their skill sets. Content supplemented by Claude and discerning human editing is superior to wholly AI-generated pages. Neither fully manual nor fully automated approaches alone are ideal – the future is human-AI collaboration.
Based on our hands-on experiments, ChatGPT currently lacks key skills needed to replace human SEO professionals, but shows potential for assisting with certain content creation tasks. Tools like Claude designed specifically for SEO provide more strategic value.
Instead of AI elimination, savvy SEOs will focus on AI integration – selectively applying language models to complement in-depth human expertise. With rigorous oversight and iteration, AI and SEO can work together to offer both scalability and customization for comprehensive search optimization.
The future remains bright for SEOs who evolve their skill sets and processes to capitalize on AI’s opportunities while maximizing high-impact human contributions. Testing tools like ChatGPT will prepare teams to incorporate AI judiciously rather than be disrupted by it. By augmenting SEO experts rather than automating them away, conversational AI can provide strategic advantage.
The next phase of search requires increasing collaboration between AI tools and SEO professionals. Neither will fully replace the other. As Claude says, “The best solution is teamwork.” By combining strengths, humans and AI can accomplish more together than either could alone.