How ChatGPT can help with local SEO

How ChatGPT can help with local SEO

  15 Mar 2023

ChatGPT can help with various SEO tasks. “Help” being the operative word.

It’s important to acknowledge that:

  • There’s a strong chance there are at least a few tasks you’re performing currently that ChatGPT could help you do more efficiently or effectively.
  • As AI tools improve, understanding how to get the most out of them (and how to avoid pitfalls surrounding the tools) will be a valuable SEO and marketing skill.
  • ChatGPT has plenty of issues and warts, and there aren’t many full functions you can just let ChatGPT (or other AI tools) complete without oversight.

Local SEO is no different on all of these counts. ChatGPT isn’t designed to be a local SEO tool. Many tools will perform specific local SEO tasks better than ChatGPT ever will.

But there are a lot of local SEO tasks that ChatGPT can be useful for, and some of them may surprise you. This article covers how ChatGPT can (and can’t) help in four specific areas of local SEO.

1. ChatGPT and Google Business Profiles

Local businesses can make plenty of tweaks and optimizations to their Google Business Profile (GBP). 

While ChatGPT can’t directly interface with your listing, it could help with the following:

Google Business Profile categories

A quick way to get ideas for categories is to look at what your competitors are doing. Let’s see if ChatGPT can help there:

List of business competitors

This is a pretty good list of local cheese shops nearby. Let’s see if ChatGPT can give us their GBP categories:

Google Business Profile categories
Prior to 2021, Google Business Profile was known as Google My Business (GMB), thus the use of the latter term in the prompt.

Pretty quick and impressive! Keep in mind that ChatGPT outputs are not always accurate.

The tool is “not connected to the internet, and it can occasionally produce incorrect answers. It has limited knowledge of the world and events after 2021 and may also occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content,” according to its FAQs.

So I wanted to find out how it got this information:

Google Business Profile categories - sources

Uh-oh. Again, ChatGPT is not connected to the internet.

I’ve highlighted this issue before, but if you ask ChatGPT to explain the process it used to get an answer, it will often give you a summary of how *one* might get that answer that can’t really be how *ChatGPT* got that answer.

That was the case here:

Google Business Profile categories - process summary

OK, so how did ChatGPT actually generate these categories?

Google Business Profile categories - process

It guessed! And upon closer inspection, two of the competitors ChatGPT listed don’t exist.

This highlights a significant limitation of ChatGPT for local SEO: much of the information it has access to will be outdated, so you have to take the outputs with a grain of salt.

Be sure you’re not relying on the tool for anything that would require a high degree of precision when it comes to local business information.

That said, one of the areas where ChatGPT can be helpful is idea generation (provided you’re willing to vet the ideas):

Yelp and GBP categories

Google Posts content

If you keep in mind what Google’s said about AI content and all the potential downsides, you can use ChatGPT to help create posts for your business profile.

This can be an interesting option since many local businesses have busy employees who wear multiple hats, and writing may not be a strong suit for some.

ChatGPT doesn’t currently follow the character or word counts you specify. Generally, the output will map roughly to what you ask – but if you specify 750 words, you may get 400-500.

Google Posts

Not bad! As you can see from the post, ChatGPT mentioned various types of cheeses, so you need to check. The more information you can feed into your prompt, the better the output is likely to be.

Videos

If you need video content ideas, you can ask ChatGPT to give you relevant questions for an FAQ or Q&A video:

Video - FAQs

It could help you with a script for a video:

Video - script

Products

ChatGPT can help create descriptions for your product features in GBP:

Product descriptions

Question and answers

You can also use ChatGPT to respond to questions in the question and answer section of your Google Business Profile. Again, proceed with caution here. 

This is an essential section of your profile, and ChatGPT may flat-out say incorrect things. If you have the bandwidth and can write concisely, it’s certainly better to answer these yourself.

Still, if you struggle with writing these responses and have a large volume of questions, ChatGPT can structure answers here as a starting point. Be sure you edit for accuracy.

GBP Q&A

You need to include better context in your prompt, so it can produce something usable:

GBP Q&A - response

Edit the response to match how you’d want to answer these questions.

2. ChatGPT and Google reviews

Getting as many high-quality reviews as possible is a major component of local SEO. Here are a few ways ChatGPT can potentially help.

Draft an email template to encourage reviews

Emailing customers and creating handouts are good ways to get reviews for your business.

Ensure you know Google’s specific guidelines on user reviews and that the output you create with ChatGPT complies with the rules.

(As you may have guessed from previous warnings: you do need to proceed carefully and vet the output!)

Email template for reviews

Review sentiment analysis

One interesting use for ChatGPT is to quickly surface the best or worst out of a set of reviews. This can be useful for a local business in a few ways:

  • If you get a lot of reviews, quickly surfacing the best and worst by sentiment (not just stars) could be helpful both in highlighting positive testimonials and even problems. Different customers will have varying standards regarding star ratings. Looking at sentiment may help you discover a major issue a 3-star review has or find a great quote from someone who left a 4-star review.
  • Similarly, if one of your competitors gets a lot of reviews, you can quickly see what customers love and hate about their store. This could give you ideas for enhancements to your business or what to include in your marketing copy.

If you’re using the web interface and have any volume of reviews, you’ll have to paste reviews into several prompts, as the character limit is 2,000. (You can also now remedy this through the API):

Review sentiment analysis

After that, I took all the reviews I had grabbed and pasted them into ChatGPT in ~2,000 character chunks. (You can export your reviews from your GBP account, copy-paste or scrape competitor reviews.)

Here’s the output:

Review sentiment analysis output

You’ll get some great ideas here, especially if you already have many reviews. (You could even batch all of your competitors’ reviews together to analyze.)

If this was my business, I could pull positive reviews to feature on a store poster or a testimonial page on my website. The negative reviews can point me to specific issues that must be addressed.

Conversely, if this were one competitor or a group of competitors, I would have some good takeaways, too:

  • Local cheese fans seek variety, a knowledgeable staff, and quality cheese. That may be obvious, but I can feature those things in my messaging around my store. You may find a specific item or feature pops in this analysis (e.g., having an outdoor seating area, a particular product, something unique to a competitor’s space, etc.)
  • Suppose people are frustrated with competitors’ store policies, pricing or quality. In that case, I can call out those things in my marketing copy (with a slogan or a quality guaranteed offer).

Responding to reviews

If you find yourself at a loss of what to write or aren’t confident in your English in responding to these reviews, ChatGPT can help get you started with review responses.

Here is an example of a response to a positive review:

Response to positive review

And to a negative review:

Response to negative review

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3. ChatGPT and local on-page SEO

I’ve covered how ChatGPT can help with traditional content and SEO tasks, plus some keyword research prompts you can try. 

Many of those can apply to specific local SEO tasks as well.

Topic ideation

ChatGPT can be beneficial as a starting point to brainstorm ideas (that you’ll want to vet against a keyword research tool with competition and search volume data).

I like to start with a couple of broad prompts to get some general topic ideas, like getting a sense of the top publications writing about the topic:

Topic ideation

And the types of posts they write about:

Content types

Then you can get some more specific topic ideas for your site:

Specific website topic ideas

Not bad! Again I’d now want to go through a thorough process for finding things like recipe ideas or pairing terms that my site would be able to rank for, but this is a good starting point for topic ideas.

Schema

Depending on your business type, various schema may be relevant for your site. ChatGPT can help you quickly generate the schema.

ChatGPT-generated schema can be a hit or miss, so make sure you have a developer QA’ing the code.

Schema for business

This data will be from 2021, so if things like address, phone number, or hours have changed, input this data manually or use a different tool for this purpose.

Location pages 

While you must be careful with location pages in the wake of recent Google updates, they can still be a valuable tool for local businesses if executed properly.

(Proceed carefully before cranking out many location-specific pages with ChatGPT-generated content.)

First, we can quickly get a list of towns:

Location pages

Then we can get a list of relevant terms (basically whatever we’ve determined our core keywords to be here):

Core keywords

We can ask ChatGPT to give us some points of interest for cheese fans and relevant information about our shop in relation to the town:

Location pages - related businesses

Some may be out of business or inaccurate, so I must vet the information. Still, these are great potential additions to a town-specific page about my cheese shop. At the very least, I now have ideas for types of businesses to include. 

I can also get ChatGPT to generate meta descriptions for these pages once I’m ready to get them live on my site:

Meta descriptions

Local links and citations are key signals for local search.

If you’re willing to vet the lists, you can get ideas for organizations to sponsor:

Local organizations

Awards to win or organizations to join:

Local awards

I can also use ChatGPT to get a sense of the top local websites:

Top local websites

And the types of items they write about related to local businesses:

Local website - article titles

I can see that things like openings, new offerings, and charitable donations are highlighted on these sites and might be ideas to pitch for a story.

You could also use ChatGPT to help you write outreach emails if you’re pitching stories or looking to be added to a list of resources.

If you keep in mind what ChatGPT does and doesn’t do well, I’m sure you’ll find other applications for the platform to help make your local SEO efforts more effective and efficient.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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