When a client asked me if I thought the ChatGPT tool would put me out of a job, I decided to experiment. The experience was fascinating – so am I scared?
Experimenting with ChatGPT
Using the Conversational Interface, one of three ways to use the tool, I asked it to find local tourist attractions for an article about Portugal holidays. It spewed out the results in record time and excitingly, the content was well written; smooth, accurate, engaging and easy to read.
Four more queries later, a distinct top-and-tail pattern emerged. You get an introductory paragraph followed by a series of headers, each with content under it, then a closing paragraph. The raw content is pretty formulaic. The more often you use ChatGPT, the more familiar the results become and the more bland it feels. It contains calories but they’re empty calories. It’s a bit like ultra-processed food. It’s all a bit ‘meh’.
Will ChatGPT content get factored into Google’s algorithm?
After a few more sessions I realised I could probably spot ChatGPT’s content and delivery style a mile off. And if I can do it, search engine algorithms should able to pick it out too, as long as they’ve written it into their algorithm.
While there are plenty of tools designed to help humans identify AI content, so far it doesn’t look like Google is taking ChatGPT into account when deciding how to index and rank pages. But in future, I predict it will. It depends whether Google decides it’s a good thing to flood the internet with raw AI-generated content that isn’t anywhere near as good as human-generated stuff.
Fast facts to check before you start writing
ChatGPT gives you the facts, and while most of the time they’re right, sometimes they’re not. I did find mentions of a cable car that doesn’t actually exist in real life, a useful lesson proving we should take the output with a common sense pinch of salt. In fairness, ChatGPT does recommend you check.
An awesome information-finder
Is ChatGPT better than old-school ‘spun’ content, or content written by people who’s language skills aren’t that great? Undoubtedly. It is streets ahead. But to me, as someone interested in words and the way they’re used, there’s something crucially human missing. It’s hard to put a finger on, yet it’s surprisingly powerful.
In the meantime, as a simple information finder, ChatGPT is pretty good. Getting the bare facts in seconds makes a solid framework to add value to with fine details, descriptive passages, quotations, product and service information, opinions, creativity, the science bit, and that vital human touch. Oh, and let’s not forget on-page SEO. All this turns a bald, thin ChatGPT article into something useful and interesting.
Not scared, just excited
On balance, I’m not scared. ChatGPT offers a useful shortcut to the facts to check, then transform into something inspiring that perfectly suits the brief and context. Shakespeare it ain’t!