Is Google dead? This question keeps popping up all over the SEO landscape as generative AI continues to revolutionise how we approach search. But is Google really at risk of becoming obsolete? The use of generative AI in SEO brings a new dimension to the field, as it has the potential to make search engines more human-like and intuitive, enabling them to better understand user queries and deliver more relevant results.
However, the question remains, could ChatGPT and other generative AI models be the end of Google's reign as the king of search engines? In this article, we’ll explore the impact of generative AI on the SEO industry, analyse the potential risks for Google, and discuss some of the exciting SEO applications of ChatGPT.
Let’s start by exploring the reasons why Google could be threatened by the power of ChatGPT.
3 Reasons why ChatGPT could pose a threat
1. ChatGPT is easy to use
Using ChatGPT to find answers to questions you’d usually search in Google is extremely simple compared to the typical google experience. If you type “what should I pack for my Japan trip?” into ChatGPT, the result is quick and comprehensive, including tips related to the seasons and the culture. When the same search term is used in Google, you get a list of websites that need to be sorted through (not to mention a bunch of ads at the top of the results page). It’s hard to know which results to trust and which ones will have the information you need.
While Google has stepped its game up in the SERP department, showing rich results like featured snippets, videos, product carousels, etc. — the articles shown on Google are still mostly written for SEO. So, for example, if you wanted to know how much protein was in an egg and there was no featured snippet, you’d have to dig through an entire SEO-focused article to find the simple answer you’re looking for. ChatGPT, on the other hand, will get straight to the point by telling you exactly how much protein you’re getting from different sized eggs.
2. ChatGPT uses dialogue-based conversations
When you’re adding prompts to ChatGPT, the AI remembers previous points in the conversation and uses them for context around your query. Meaning, if we ask the program “which city is better for young professionals: Auckland or Wellington?”, you’ll get your answer — and if you simply add “which has better coffee?”, the program will remember that we’re still talking about Auckland and Wellington.
3. ChatGPT can write code
Need a loan calculator written in PHP for your website? Easy. Ask the AI to write it for you, and IN SECONDS it’ll deliver a simple but fully functional piece of code, that can be copied straight over to your website.
7 reasons why Google remains the G.O.A.T
It’s GOOGLE we’re talking about here — the biggest company in the world, with over a trillion dollar valuation. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why Google might not be in as much danger as we think.
1. GPT still gets facts wrong
Experts are already pointing out some of the flaws associated with the AI, saying that the results shouldn’t be taken at face value. ChatGPT doesn’t understand the difference between fact and fiction, meaning it can and will just make things up on the spot. The issue is, if you don’t already know the answer to the query you’re searching for, you’ll have no idea if it’s wrong or not — this poses a huge threat to user confidence and has the potential to break the trust of your loyal readers.
2. GPT has only been trained up to 2021
The reason ChatGPT sometimes produces false information is because it was only trained on a dataset up to 2021 — and if you ask the program, it’ll tell you that itself. However, this limitation is most likely temporary, and will be solved once they figure out how to train the AI in real time.
3. Google has a lot more data
Comparatively, Google has significantly more data to play with — in fact, it has the entire internet. There are around 1.14 billion websites on the internet, and Google has the ability to crawl and index every single one of them, adding to its huge database of information, and allowing it to accurately answer questions.
ChatGPT, however, was only trained on 570 gigabytes of data sourced from books, wikipedia, research articles, webtexts, websites, and other forms of online content — totalling around 300 billion words fed into the system. Sounds like a lot, right? Sure, but it’s not exactly 1.14 billion websites worth of data. In fact, you probably have a hard drive that’s bigger.
4. ChatGPT only provides one source of information
This could be a good thing in certain situations, but sometimes you need more. Let’s say you’re looking for a new pair of headphones for the gym, but you’re not sure which ones are the best. This is where Google shines, offering a curated list of results from a variety of trusted sources to compare, as well as reviews from people with the same goal. We all love options, right?
5. ChatGPT doesn’t include reviews
This leads to the next point — ChatGPT doesn’t have any reviews. Take the following as an example: we asked the AI “what are some things to do in Tokyo Japan?”, resulting in a list of fun activities, including “indulge in the delicious Japanese cuisine”. However, if we follow that by asking what the best restaurants are to visit, it doesn’t give you any reviews or links to the websites of any of the places mentioned — not super helpful.
6. ChatGPT lacks “experience”
Let’s say you’re experiencing issues with your skin, and need some medical advice — I’m guessing you’re more likely to trust information from a qualified medical professional? Good luck finding one of those in ChatGPT.
7. Google isn’t a fan of AI content
Another reason ChatGPT might not be much of a threat to Google is because the giant search engine doesn’t really like AI generated content. Content written by AI is actually against Google’s guidelines. But can it distinguish between human-written and AI-written content? Not yet. At least not without human intervention. However, that might change soon — Open AI (the company who created ChatGPT) revealed that they are working on a cryptography-based watermarking technology that will leave a footprint on anything written by AI.
ChatGPT SEO applications
Now that we’ve covered why Google won’t be disappearing anytime soon, let’s dive into some of the most exciting ways to use ChatGPT to level up your SEO content strategy.
1. Keyword research
You can easily use ChatGPT to help with your keyword research by simply asking it to provide a list of target keywords for a blog about [insert topic here]. The AI will spit out a great list of long-tail keywords that you could use in your article.
2. Title generation
Coming up with snappy headlines for blogs can be challenging at the best of times, but this is also made simple with the help of ChatGPT. Ask the AI to provide a list of potential titles using simple prompts like “what’s a more catchy, clickbait title for [insert working blog title]”. In seconds, it’ll deliver a number of eye-catching titles that might have taken you much more time (and brain cells) to come up with on your own. You can even ask it to include the topic keyword for that article in the title results, to ensure you’re covering your SEO bases.
3. SEO Optimisation
Using ChatGPT to ensure your content is SEO optimised is just a matter of asking the AI to provide a list of semantically relevant topics that are missing from your article, before copying your article into the prompt. It will go through what you’ve written, and generate a list of long-tail keywords that you could include.
If you sometimes need your content written in favour of one side, but ChatGPT generates a response that doesn’t quite lean in that direction, you can easily ask the AI to change the sentiment of the point made. This will prompt the AI to rewrite the point in a way that aligns more with your perspective, while still keeping the relevant information.
5. Keyword Clusters
You can even use ChatGPT to create possible keyword clusters by asking it to generate clusters or groupings based on relevancy. It’ll spit out a group of potential keywords for a topic cluster, which you can then use to cover a topic more comprehensively. This method boosts your chances of ranking on Google by going in depth, and in turn, showing that you’re an authority on that topic.
6. Optimised for featured snippets
All blogs should aim to have a section that is optimised for featured snippets — to do this, you’ll need to answer the search query in an NLP (natural language processing)-friendly format. ChatGPT understands this format completely, and can help you to write a section in seconds. Just ask it to “answer the following query in an NLP friendly format”, and it’ll generate a near perfect snippet.
7. Promote your content
Once you’ve completed the writing and optimising part of creating your content, it’s time to share it with the world. You can ask ChatGPT to write an engaging email to promote your article, or get the AI to write some posts optimised for different social media platforms, complete with relevant hashtags.
Generative AI models like ChatGPT are changing the SEO game, but Google's dominance in the search engine world is not going anywhere anytime soon. While ChatGPT presents exciting opportunities for those focused on SEO strategy, Google has already invested heavily in AI and has an immense amount of data and resources to stay ahead of the competition.
So, it’s essential to leverage the potential of generative AI in SEO, while still prioritising the tried and true SEO strategies that have proven to be effective. Ultimately, while the SEO landscape continues to evolve, it is clear that Google will remain a key player in the industry for the foreseeable future.