When the research preview for OpenAI’s Generative AI, ChatGPT (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) landed in November 2022, the corporate and tech world went into a frenzy. I thought to myself, should this be among my SEO Copywriting tools?
Within days, ChatGPT was being heralded as the next major advancement in computing and technology – it could generate entire essays, write machine code, produce poems with each letter in alphabetical order, and for marketers, “improve productivity.” Just like Neil Postman portended in the 1980s, any innovation in communications technology is like a Faustian bargain; what it can give it must also take away.
SEO Copywriters were sweating bullets; “this thing can write 5,000 words while I’m stuck around 500 odd? My days are numbered!”
In Everett Rogers landmark Diffusion of Innovations, innovations such as improved tomato farming in South America led to the demise of many smaller tomato farms simply because they could not afford to leverage the new equipment, unlike bigger farms. ChatGPT is not expensive – the v3.5 is free for the public to use with the more advanced v4 behind a paywall for a modest fee.
So how do I learn to work with AI instead of trying to pretend it doesn’t exist?
Using AI As One of Many SEO Copywriting Tools
Having used ChatGPT to improve my own productivity, I must admit I have been left wanting.
ChatGPT needs to be trained (prompted) to produce results. A Generative AI doesn’t “know” anything – it crunches numbers and probablilities, broken down into what’s known as tokens, and produces a human-readable result based on “learning” the probabilities of certain word orders or sequences in words and letters. If you ask a Generative AI what colour the sky is, it will look at information about the sky (rather, will search for the string “sky”) and its colour and weight up what the answer is by how many times “blue” is mentioned in its database – thus the sky is blue.
Generative AI isn’t foolproof – in fact, OpenAI states that ChatGPT can and will get things wrong. ChatGPT is trained to give you an answer, even if it is incorrect, incoherent, or made up. This is known as AI Hallucination.
Even Google’s 2018 paper on Natural Machine Translation stated “systems are susceptible to producing highly pathological translations that are completely untethered from the source material.”
ChatGPT even states in their blog:
“ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers. Fixing this issue is challenging, as: (1) during RL training, there’s currently no source of truth; (2) training the model to be more cautious causes it to decline questions that it can answer correctly; and (3) supervised training misleads the model because the ideal answer depends on what the model knows, rather than what the human demonstrator knows.”Introducing ChatGPT, OpenAI blog
If an AI hallucinates even once per 1,000 words generated and an SEO copywriter doesn’t know where the error is, it can take just as long to write the 1,000 words than to vet each individual sentence for factual inaccuracy.
In fact, I’ve written 500 word blogs in the same amount of time that it takes to prompt ChatGPT to a satisfactory degree, fact check the copy, and edit to make it sound less “robotic.”
In fact, AI generated text misses a crucial ingredient of “elite level” SEO content: Experience.
Google’s E-E-A-T vs Generative AI
The best of the best content that Google ranks higher than the competition needs to hit high levels of three ranking factors:
- Expertise – someone who is considered an expert on the subject matter; such as a mechanic talking about car repair.
- Trustworthiness – Whether other people have found this mechanic trustworthy and used their information with good results; they have high standing in the community by way of backlinking or
- Authoritativeness – other automotive experts refer to this mechanic as someone who knows their stuff.
In December 2022 (around the same time ChatGPT debuted!) Google added their fourth plank to the mix: Experience.
Does the author of the topic have any real world experience with the subject matter at hand? Has this mechanic actually worked on cars?
An AI cannot have experience with anything because, well, it doesn’t experience the world directly like a human can. It just crunches numbers and follows whatever existing information already exists (and it has trouble doing that to a certain extent.)
Though an SEO Copywriter may not have direct experience, it can leverage that by conducting independent research and interviews with people that have experience.
With that in mind, should AI be among SEO Copywriting tools?
Reducing Repetition – Case Study
Where AI shines as part of a suite of SEO copywriting tools is reducing the time taken to complete repetitive tasks that don’t require higher-level analysis or research, such as coming up with article outlines or subject lines for A/B testing.
Savvy (who I work closely with as a client) says that it’s improved productivity when it comes to crafting subject lines for emails and briefing SEO copywriters such as myself.
When they conduct keyword analysis to gauge search volume for any given topic, they use the information from that to generate headlines or outlines. Afterward, they then tweak or brief writers. They do this instead of writing outlines that can take half an hour or more; ChatGPT and other AI can do this in a matter of minutes.
The personal computer revolution in the 1980s accelerated certain repetitive or time-intensive tasks such as calculations using spreadsheets or processing documents. AI has penetrated further into this realm by reducing the time to complete some – but not all – creative “labour” tasks.
When I conduct interviews with clients to understand their business, I use an AI transcription service that will transform what’s said into text. It can do this with 90% accuracy and turnaround a 10-minute conversation in about five minutes. Transcribing this myself would take at least an hour at the outset.
As a copywriter, I am no designer. I am a subscriber to Midjourney and use it to generate images based on my prompts. The header image in this article was generated by Midjourney using a few keywords and phrases.
dystopian scene | photorealistic | dark scene | glowing blue and green lights in a server room | futuristic | in the style of the Wachowskis --style raw --ar 16:9
This of course could be used to guide an artist to draw or create something original – it is good enough to create something for illustration, but would never replace the nuance and creativity of a real person. (Oh, and if you want the AI to write any sort of text? Forget it!)
AI Is Here To Stay
Although AI is here to stay, it may take some time before it completely replaces the creativity and experience of a human writer or creator – perhaps it may require a computer with a magnitude of processing power greater than itself before that happens.
In the mean time, SEO copywriters and creatives can harness the potential of AI to automate certain tasks, assist with repetitive tasks that don’t require analysis or research, and improve productivity in other areas such as accounting or simple coding. In this instance, it should definitely be one of many SEO copywriting tools.
Want to leverage your own SEO Copywriter with high levels of EEAT for your site? Contact me today!