Does ChatGPT Belong on Your Marketing Team?

ChatGPT has become the topic of conversation everywhere. Whether you’re at work, doing the school run, or scrolling on Twitter, you’re almost guaranteed to hear the phrase ‘ChatGPT’ at least once a day. Some people are applauding the software, calling it a miraculous feat of artificial intelligence, but not everyone is quite so enthusiastic about it. Marketing teams are sceptical about ChatGPT and how it will affect their job security, largely because it’s being touted as a free replacement for SEO strategists and content marketers. So, what’s the deal? As one of the UK’s leading SEO agencies, we thought we’d weigh in.

ChatGPT - The Brains
January 17, 2023
10 mins to read
ChatGPT - The Brains
What is ChatGPT how will it impact digital marketing, if at all? More to the point, can it really replace human marketers and still succeed on Google? We delve into the capabilities of ChatGPT, how search engines are likely to respond to AI-written content, and whether the software has a place on marketing teams at all.

What is ChatGPT?

A company called OpenAI recently released the third version of its generative pre-training transformer software (GPT), aptly called GPT-3.5, but known colloquially as ChatGPT. It can do all sorts of things, such as:

  • Write a CV or cover letter
  • Tell jokes 
  • Explain complex topics in layman’s terms 
  • Solve maths questions 
  • Provide life advice, including on relationships 
  • Write songs or poems 
  • Write code and figure out issues with code
  • Write content such as essays, blogs, and landing pages

The software was built using reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF). Essentially, the software was pitted against humans who had a conversation with the AI. The humans pretended to be both chatbots and humans in order to best train the AI to predict what will happen next and what an appropriate response would be. It’s a bit like predictive text, but it’s far more clever and finely tuned, and that’s thanks to proximal policy optimisation.

To make ChatGPT a cut above the rest, proximal policy optimisation was brought in to smooth over the cracks. This involves taking conversations between humans and chatbots, choosing random AI-written responses in those conversations, and tasking humans to rank the responses most appropriately. This further taught the AI what the most appropriate responses are from a human perspective.

Pair the above processes with the fact that the AI consumed more than 570 gigabytes of text and has 175 billion parameters, this tech essentially read almost everything that is readily available on the internet to learn the right and wrong answers to things. From history to science, languages to how-tos, ChatGPT knows a little about a lot. 

The RHLF and proximal policy optimisation make it possible for ChatGPT to relay the information it has learned in a humanistic way. The responses aren’t clunky or robotic; there’s an emphasis on open dialogue and mirroring how real humans would converse. This is unlike any other AI model on the market at the moment, and this is why so many people are quaking in their boots.

ChatGPT - The Brains

ChatGPT and marketing: what can it do?

It’s clear that ChatGPT has a seemingly endless list of things it can do, but what can it do specifically within the marketing sphere? Well, the number one thing it can do is write content, and this is what has got so many marketing teams in a muddle. 

Content creation

You can input a set of instructions and ask ChatGPT to make content out of it. Whilst the content might be relatively coherent and make use of keywords, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best content ever. Due to the fact Google has a pretty staunch anti-AI/bot stance, it’s unlikely that any auto-generated content will actually make it through the net and get to the top of Google. 

In April 2022, John Muller, a Search Advocate at Google, spoke out on AI content. He said: “ For us these would, essentially, still fall into the category of automatically generated content which is something we’ve had in the Webmaster Guidelines since almost the beginning.”

He went on to say, “My suspicion is maybe the quality of content is a little bit better than the really old school tools, but for us it’s still automatically generated content, and that means for us it’s still against the Webmaster Guidelines. So we would consider that to be spam.”

This ties in nicely with Google’s shift in focus to creating human-centric content that isn’t just geared to please the algorithms. So, from what we can tell, Google will be treating any AI-generated content the same way it treated spun content back in the day: harshly. Don’t go firing your SEO copywriting agency just yet – they’re still the key to getting to the top of SERPs!

Content briefs/structure 

The content of an article can’t be written by AI, but you can certainly use it to generate a content brief or article outline. ChatGPT can scour its data to find what structure other well-ranking articles have adopted and give you ideas. You can also use it to come up with article titles. This is where copy teams can use ChatGPT to take some of the planning out of their articles, allowing them more time to effectively craft outstanding content. 

Keyword planning 

Another key aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to pull keywords for SEO almost instantaneously. Typically, it can take SEO strategists hours to find relevant keywords to target in campaigns, but ChatGPT makes light work of this. It has a wealth of knowledge and data at its disposal that it can pull at a moment’s notice, taking the hassle out of research. 

Now, much like content writing, this isn’t to say that ChatGPT is going to start taking over human jobs. Due to the fact there is a margin of error with AI, and the fact that not every piece of content needs to be SEO-focussed, strategists are still needed to sift through the data and think outside the box. What ChatGPT can do, though, is make it easier and less time-consuming for strategists to do their job by giving them a decent starting point. 

Meta descriptions 

The actual text of an article can’t be written by AI (not if you want to please Google, that is), but there’s nothing to say that meta descriptions can’t be. One of the main advantages of ChatGPT is that it can summarise articles in a simple and short way, and this is exactly the role of a meta description. If you’re running a technical SEO audit on your site and see that there are umpteen pages without meta descriptions, using ChatGPT to auto-generate meta descriptions can be incredibly efficient and time-saving, and one of the main ways you can use this tech to your advantage.

Does ChatGPT have a place in marketing teams?

So, does ChatGPT have a place in your marketing team? As mentioned, there’s no risk of this new AI software nabbing any copywriting or strategy jobs, largely because doing so would go directly against the things Google holds closest in terms of ranking factors and user experience, but there are ways ChatGPT can be weaved into marketing teams as a valuable employee, so to speak. 

“While Google remains steadfast against the use of AI generated content within search results, that doesn’t mean you’ll be penalised for leveraging tools for productivity. 

“The use of third-party software to build better marketing campaigns has always been an important part of getting better results, and services like ChatGPT are no exception. Through intelligent prompts, marketers can absolutely take advantage of AI to produce outputs like keyword research, content briefings, topic ideas or even build programs to help streamline internal processes, all without facing penalties or risking decreased visibility within marketing channels.”

  • James Speyer, SEO lead, The Brains

Final thoughts

There’s a lot of food for thought with ChatGPT, but our final verdict is that, for now, it’s more of a marketing tool than a marketing replacement. With this in mind, if you need assistance with anything SEO or digital marketing related, contact us today. Unlike ChatGPT, our Brainy experts haven’t digested everything that’s on the web, but we do have decades of combined experience and a proven track record in getting our clients to the top of SERPs. Talk to us to find out more.

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