Can Chat GPT Choose Your Keywords?

We expect that generative AI tools like ChatGPT will end up being as useful as calculators. Just as we wouldn’t ask a calculator to do our taxes, we don’t expect ChatGPT to be able to write good blog posts. But we have been working on identifying the tasks it can help with. Rosie suggested that it might be able to come up with good lists of keywords. So we gave it a test.

You have to have the knowledge first

When we say that ChatGPT is like a calculator, we are of course recognizing that it would be most like a calculator that occasionally tells you 5 x7 = 865. There is no point in asking ChatGPT any question to which you don’t already know the answer, because it will say things that are completely false. Generative AI tools choose their next word on the basis of statistical probability, not on the basis of facts or knowledge about the world.

We had just done the keyword research for a new website we’re working on, so we gave ChatGPT lots of hints and asked for the top 10 keywords. Here is the list it gave us:

  1. Nutrition coach
  2. Certified nutritionist
  3. This Naked Mind certification
  4. Institute for Integrative Nutrition certification
  5. Professional chef nutritionist
  6. Health and wellness coaching
  7. Personalized nutrition plans
  8. Holistic nutrition approach
  9. Mindful eating techniques
  10. Culinary nutrition expertise

We also asked Bard, Google’s generative AI tool. Here’s Bard’s list:

  1. Nutrition coach
  2. This Naked Mind certification
  3. Institute for Integrative Nutrition certification
  4. Professional chef
  5. Healthy eating
  6. Weight loss
  7. Nutrition counseling
  8. Food allergies
  9. Food intolerances
  10. Gut health

Before we analyze these lists, we should point out that we already use automated tools for keyword research — have done for years. Here are some of the tools we use:

We also use first party data when it’s available. We have met people who use a thesaurus or a brainstorming session around a conference table, but when you want to know what words people tend to type into a search engine when they’re looking for a specific thing, it makes a lot of sense to ask a computer. That’s the kind of thing robots can do well.

The lists that all these tools provided (we asked them all for this test) were quite similar.

Edit the lists

Wherever you got your list, start with common sense. Toss out anything that clearly is not a good choice. We don’t know why Wordstream gave us “electric shavers ladies,” but we know right off that that will not be a top choice. We know why Spyfu included “How to be a nutrition coach,” but we also know that this is not a phrase the potential client will be using.

Go ahead and add the most obviously good choices to your spreadsheet (or whatever you use to keep track). “Nutrition coach” is on every list, for obvious reasons. We won’t waste time exploring that one further.

Now it’s time to check on the gray areas. We don’t think “Culinary nutrition expertise” makes a lot of sense, but we don’t go by gut feelings. So we checked with Google Trends. This is a tool that tells you how much people are searching for a given term. “Culinary nutrition expertise”? Nobody is searching for that term. We don’t have it on our list, and we won’t be adding it. Ditto for “personalized nutrition plans” and Bard’s suggestion of “food intolerances” — that’s a big issue for many people, but they’re not mostly looking for nutrition coaches.

On the other hand, we found that quite a few people are looking for information on gut health, another of Bard’s ideas. That’s not going to make our first list of keywords, but it’s probably worth writing a blog post on the subject for that website.

Google Ads, Semrush, Spyfu, and similar tools will all give you information on the search volume and difficulty level of particular keywords. Use this kind of data to narrow your list to keywords people actually use to look for your goods and services.

Check the competitive landscape

Many of these tools (though not the generative AI tools) will give you a hint of how much the keywords cost for ads, which can provide some insight into competition. Google Ads is of course the most accurate. Spyfu will, in a paid plan, give you a lot of information on organic competitors as well as those who are paying for ads for the keywords on your list. It will also share their rankings, and it is reasonably accurate.

These tools are a better bet than just typing the keywords in at Google. Individuals see different things on the search engine results pages (SERPs) so you can’t really tell the rankings from that.

However, it makes sense to have a look at the other websites that show up for the terms you want to put on your list. Some of the best keywords — including “nutrition coach” — will not be immediately accessible to a new website or to a new company. Keep them on your list, but plan to make them a long-term investment.

The long tail

Make sure that some of the words on that list are long-tail keywords.

Long Tail Keywords Explained

Long-tail keywords are the less popular, more specific terms that you might be able to rank for more quickly than the broadest, most generic, most popular keywords on your list. You should have a balance of both types. “Institute for Integrative Nutrition certification” is more of a long-tail keyword, but we went with “Institute for Integrative Nutrition coach” and “IIN coach,” both of which actually have more search volume. ChatGPT and Bard didn’t know that.

So how’d the bots do?

Both ChatGPT and Bard were quick to spit out their lists and neither list was terrible. Both were faster and easier than the more specialized tools, though less trustworthy. Use generative AI tools to begin brainstorming your keyword list, and be sure to do the same testing you would with a list you brainstormed by yourself or around the conference table.


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