Dave has officially wrapped up a successful second series of SEO Climb. This month, like the rest, he covered some hot topics like whether or not you should hire an outside SEO (search engine optimization) provider, how ChatGPT and other AI tools impact SEO, the best ways to perform keyword research, and whether you should continue optimizing for keywords for which you are already ranking well. That’s a lot of information and you’re not going to want to miss out. Want a quick recap? Check out what Dave had to say below.
Should I Hire an Outside Provider to Take Care of My SEO?
When looking to implement an SEO strategy on your website, you may come across the question of whether you should handle it in house or hire an outside provider. In SEO Climb Episode 8, Dave explained that there are a few important considerations to make when deciding: time, money, and knowledge.
If you don’t have any extra time on your hands, the answer is that you don’t have time to build or implement an SEO strategy. If you are looking to keep your efforts in-house, you will then need to look at hiring one, two, or even three people for an in-house team. Can you afford that? You’re looking at about $230,000 a year.
If you have time and want to do it yourself or have the money to hire an in-house team, you then have to think about what your knowledge, experience, and capacity really looks like. Even if you can afford to hire an SEO specialist or team of professionals to handle your SEO, how do you truly know if it’s working or how well the strategies are mapped out? Without a background in SEO yourself, it’s impossible to accurately analyze data and determine whether the efforts they are making are doing good for your business.
What does this all mean? Well, nine times out of ten, you should probably be hiring an outside SEO provider. Coming from an automotive marketing company, that might seem like a cash grab, but it’s truly not. Time and time again we have seen auto dealers try to do SEO on their own, attempting to mimic what they see in other places, copying their competitors without success. The only way to be successful with SEO, though, is to have a crafted strategy that helps you meet your goals as an individual business. There certainly are some dealerships that can do this and be successful, but it takes a lot of time, money, and background knowledge to do so.
Will ChatGPT or Other AI Tools Impact SEO?
ChatGPT: We’ve all been talking about it. It’s changing the way people think about technology and even how we work. SEO is not immune to these new thoughts and potential changes. While AI doesn’t have the ability to strategize and execute SEO, it is a great tool that you can leverage to improve the efficiency and organization of your SEO.
We’ve talked about this topic quite a bit in our more recent blog posts, but it’s important enough to restate that ChatGPT has some pitfalls that you need to be aware of before utilizing it as a tool for anything, especially SEO. Right on the homepage of ChatGPT, there is a list of disclaimers. This list states that the platform can and will provide information that is incorrect, meaning you shouldn’t rely on it for content without reviewing and editing it carefully. In fact, ChatGPT has “hallucinations,” where it begins making things up when it doesn’t have an answer. Dave talked about his experience with this and shared his story in SEO Climb Episode 9:
“I once had ChatGPT write a piece about the 2023 Ford Mustang Dark Horse. The result? It thought I was asking it to write a fictional story about an anthropomorphic Ford Mustang whose name was ‘Darkhorse.’ Now, remember… it wasn’t that it was trying to lie to or deceive me. It’s just because ChatGPT’s data set is too old to know anything about that model since it was released two years after that data set was last updated. So it just made something up, sent the response through, and said, ‘Here you go, Dave. Happy?’”
So, ChatGPT has its qualms. But that’s not to say it’s good for nothing. You can use the AI tool to organize data sets, write drafts or outlines of content (that you heavily edit and change), write code snippets, and even do some basic keyword research. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, ChatGPT and other AI tools aren’t going to replace SEO professionals, but SEO professionals who utilize these technologies to advance their practices will replace those who do not.
What Are the Most Effective Ways to Perform Keyword Research?
In SEO Climb Episode 10, Dave covered some of the most effective ways to perform keyword research. While we use a number of paid tools when it comes to keyword research, Dave focused on one that is free for anyone to use. Can you guess what it is? Yup – ChatGPT.
Now, you will need to go into this with some general topics you’d like to cover. In the episode, Dave used the Volkswagen Tiguan as his example. Once you have the general make, model, or location you want to focus on, you can head to ChatGPT to help you expand your list of potential target keywords. Let’s stick with the Tiguan example.
You can head over to ChatGPT and type in the prompt “List ten keywords related to the Volkswagen Tiguan for use in SEO.” When doing so, Dave got a general list that began with some too-basic, throw-away keywords like “Volkswagen Tiguan” and “Tiguan SUV.” The list got more specific as it went on and had keywords like “Tiguan Features” and “Tiguan Specifications,” which are more specific and getting closer to what we want. From there, Dave refined his prompt to “List ten longtail keywords related to the Volkswagen Tiguan for use in SEO” and got some really great ones like:
- Best Compact SUV for family trips – Not only does this get away from the Tiguan-specifics, but it can easily be integrated into content, will help you pull in traffic from people looking for a real answer, and is even a great headline!
- Volkswagen Tiguan vs Honda CR-V, a detailed comparison – This is a great pull by ChatGPT because it helps us understand what other models buyers are considering when thinking about the Tiguan. Content about this will be extremely useful for those looking to compare the models and gives the VW dealership an opportunity to represent the places the Tiguan shines.
So long as you take the time to craft and refine prompts until you get a solid list, ChatGPT is a great place to start your keyword research. Even further, the tool can be used to help build content topics and outlines to help kickstart that effort. Free does not get much better than this. If you are looking to work with a tool that gives more detailed information, such as search volume and keyword ranking difficulty, you will need to sign up for a paid tool like SEMRush, Moz, or Mangools. But if you’re just starting out and trying to get some baseline keywords and topics, ChatGPT is definitely the way to go.
Should I Continue Optimizing for Search Queries I am Already Ranking For?
Finding and optimizing keywords that you aren’t currently ranking for is often the main focus of keyword research or content creation. But are there times you should continue optimizing for search queries you are already ranking for? Dave gave everyone’s favorite answer in SEO Climb Episode 11: “It depends.”
If you are in a large metro like Chicago or Cincinnati and there are a lot of same-brand dealerships within close proximity, you almost certainly have to continue optimizing for keywords you rank well for in order to hold your high-standing rankings. Otherwise, you’re at risk of your competitors taking over the market.
On the other hand, dealerships in more secluded areas that don’t have so many close competitors may be able to write one piece of high-quality content and continue ranking well for years. Either way, you should always continue monitoring to make sure your rankings are standing firm. When considering whether or not you should continue optimizing for keywords you already rank for, it really depends on your competitive landscape and market.
That Concludes Series 2 of SEO Climb
The September SEO Climb episodes were full to the brim with important information. To recap: If you have the time, money, and knowledge to do SEO in-house, you can, but in most cases, it’s a good idea to find a marketing partner for assistance. ChatGPT and other AI tools have and are going to continue having an impact on SEO; learning these technologies can greatly improve the efficiency and organization of your efforts. There are many tools you can utilize for keyword research, but ChatGPT is a great free way to start. And finally, there are cases in which you should continue optimizing for your high-ranking keywords.
With that, this is the conclusion of SEO Climb Series 2. You can always go back and watch previous episodes or find monthly recaps on our LinkedIn, Facebook, or even right here on the Wikimotive website. Plus, there is a new video series coming your way very soon, so stay tuned!