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How to use ChatGPT to uncover keyword variations other tools miss (prompts included)

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ChatGPT has a massive database of words and phrases that we can leverage for SEO with the right prompts. 

This article will show you how to use ChatGPT to uncover keyword variations people use when searching or describing a page topic. 

These words and phrases are often not found using traditional keyword tools, so this could be your new secret keyword weapon.

Adding variations of your page’s main keywords

I like using ChatGPT to generate variations of a page’s primary keyword phrase or targeted query.

Adding these variations helps the page reach more people looking for the same information but searching differently. It also increases an article’s semantic relevance. Almost every time I do this process, I see a bump in search rankings and traffic.

This approach is encouraged in Google’s SEO Starter Guide :

I was delighted that Google suggested using Google Ads Keyword Planner and Search Console here. I’ve used both for years with really great results. 

But as good as these free keyword tools are, they don’t reveal every possible variation or alternative for each word in a keyword phrase.


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How I prompt ChatGPT for keyword variations

Here’s an example of this multi-prompt process so you can better understand how to implement this for your pages. (Experiment with refining these prompts to see if you can get a better output!) 

Example keyword phrase: ‘drones for beginners’

First, break down your search phrase one word at a time. 

Then ask ChatGPT for variations or alternative words people commonly use to describe the same thing. 

I’ll walk you through the very first word in detail.

Keyword variation: ‘drones’

Step 1: ChatGPT prompt: 

  • List 20 common ways people refer to something as “drones.”

Step 2: Copy the list to your preferred note-taking tool. 

Step 3: Go through the list and use your human brain to remove any words or phrases that wouldn’t make sense to use in the context of the topic. 

I often cut out around 10 to 20% from this list. If there’s not enough, I’ll sometimes prompt ChatGPT to list 20 more ideas.

Step 4: Pull up the article to be improved and perform a search. Copy and paste the first word or phrase from the list to see if it’s on the page. 

Side note: I recognize this step can be a bit laborious. This is why I built my own internal tool that enables me to paste a body of text in one box and a list of words and phrases in another and upon submission, it will highlight which words and phrases are found within the text and which are not. Unfortunately, I can’t find a simple tool online that does this. If you do, let me know.

Step 5: Add the missing words and phrases within the page. 

Keyword variation: ‘beginners’

Step 1: ChatGPT prompt: 

  • List 20 common words and phrases people use to describe someone who’s a “beginner.”

Steps 2–5: Repeat the instructions above. 

The full keyword phrase variation: ‘best drones for beginners’

You can also take the primary concept from the main keyword phrase and ask ChatGPT to generate some words and phrases people may use to describe it. 

In this example, the prompt for this would be:

  • List 20 common ways people refer to someone who’s a “beginner at flying a drone”

Then add the best words and phrases we’re missing from the page.

Identify words and phrases the searching demographic may use

This next prompt depends on the specific keyword phrase a page is targeting. 

The goal here is to identify the demographic or user persona of the searcher and get a list of words and phrases they may use to describe the main topic.

In the example, the demographic is a “beginner.” This will be different for most topics.

A page might target other demographics such as age, gender, location, disability, stage of life, parent, etc.

More practically, this could be a 50-year-old man, iPhone owner, boater, skier, new mom, first-time homeowner, college graduate, expert, doctor, gardener, etc.

For this example, the prompt is:

  • List 20 ways a beginner at flying drones may describe a drone and being a beginner at it.

The best results from this example

Here are some great unique words and phrases ChatGPT generated for me going through this example:

  • newbie
  • greenhorn
  • first timer
  • beginner-level
  • starting out
  • no prior experience
  • first-time pilots
  • easiest
  • easiest drone to fly
  • drones for newbies
  • entry-level
  • most forgiving
  • user-friendly

I was curious to see if any of the top 3 ranking pages in Google include any of these words and phrases. After checking all three, the top-ranking page included the most from this list. 

I don’t think they’re ranking solely because they’re including more of these words. But I believe it combines that plus many other little factors. 

Best practice for adding missing word variations

Do not just randomly add these missing word variations anywhere. Consider adding them to existing sentences that might be a bit vague. It’s a perfect opportunity to boost its contextual relevance. Other times I write a new sentence, often with the help of ChatGPT.

For this example, a vague sentence could be:

  • In order to make it onto this list, each of these had to be equipped with a productive feature portfolio and solid construction.

A better sentence that includes a variation of one of the words within the main keyword could be:

  • In order for a drone to make it onto this list, it had to be durable and user-friendly for our novice tester.

There are two things I want to point out about the new sentence:

  • I added the word “drone” to it, boosting its relevancy and making it more NLP-friendly. The subject of the sentence is clearer.
  • I added two words or entities that are related to a beginner: “durability” and “user-friendly.” As you can imagine, someone who’s never flown a drone before will likely crash it a lot. But maybe a lot less if it’s user-friendly.

I believe sites that include several variations of the main keyword tend to have higher rankings in search. 

Whether doing this intentionally or naturally, including these variations will result in an article that’s more comprehensive, helpful and relevant to the searcher.

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


ChatGPT has a massive database of words and phrases that we can leverage for SEO with the right prompts. 

This article will show you how to use ChatGPT to uncover keyword variations people use when searching or describing a page topic. 

These words and phrases are often not found using traditional keyword tools, so this could be your new secret keyword weapon.

Adding variations of your page’s main keywords

I like using ChatGPT to generate variations of a page’s primary keyword phrase or targeted query.

Adding these variations helps the page reach more people looking for the same information but searching differently. It also increases an article’s semantic relevance. Almost every time I do this process, I see a bump in search rankings and traffic.

This approach is encouraged in Google’s SEO Starter Guide :

Different keywords

I was delighted that Google suggested using Google Ads Keyword Planner and Search Console here. I’ve used both for years with really great results. 

But as good as these free keyword tools are, they don’t reveal every possible variation or alternative for each word in a keyword phrase.


Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.


How I prompt ChatGPT for keyword variations

Here’s an example of this multi-prompt process so you can better understand how to implement this for your pages. (Experiment with refining these prompts to see if you can get a better output!) 

Example keyword phrase: ‘drones for beginners’

First, break down your search phrase one word at a time. 

Then ask ChatGPT for variations or alternative words people commonly use to describe the same thing. 

I’ll walk you through the very first word in detail.

Keyword variation: ‘drones’

Step 1: ChatGPT prompt: 

  • List 20 common ways people refer to something as “drones.”

Step 2: Copy the list to your preferred note-taking tool. 

Step 3: Go through the list and use your human brain to remove any words or phrases that wouldn’t make sense to use in the context of the topic. 

I often cut out around 10 to 20% from this list. If there’s not enough, I’ll sometimes prompt ChatGPT to list 20 more ideas.

Step 4: Pull up the article to be improved and perform a search. Copy and paste the first word or phrase from the list to see if it’s on the page. 

Side note: I recognize this step can be a bit laborious. This is why I built my own internal tool that enables me to paste a body of text in one box and a list of words and phrases in another and upon submission, it will highlight which words and phrases are found within the text and which are not. Unfortunately, I can’t find a simple tool online that does this. If you do, let me know.

Step 5: Add the missing words and phrases within the page. 

Keyword variation: ‘beginners’

Step 1: ChatGPT prompt: 

  • List 20 common words and phrases people use to describe someone who’s a “beginner.”

Steps 2–5: Repeat the instructions above. 

The full keyword phrase variation: ‘best drones for beginners’

You can also take the primary concept from the main keyword phrase and ask ChatGPT to generate some words and phrases people may use to describe it. 

In this example, the prompt for this would be:

  • List 20 common ways people refer to someone who’s a “beginner at flying a drone”

Then add the best words and phrases we’re missing from the page.

Identify words and phrases the searching demographic may use

This next prompt depends on the specific keyword phrase a page is targeting. 

The goal here is to identify the demographic or user persona of the searcher and get a list of words and phrases they may use to describe the main topic.

In the example, the demographic is a “beginner.” This will be different for most topics.

A page might target other demographics such as age, gender, location, disability, stage of life, parent, etc.

More practically, this could be a 50-year-old man, iPhone owner, boater, skier, new mom, first-time homeowner, college graduate, expert, doctor, gardener, etc.

For this example, the prompt is:

  • List 20 ways a beginner at flying drones may describe a drone and being a beginner at it.

The best results from this example

Here are some great unique words and phrases ChatGPT generated for me going through this example:

  • newbie
  • greenhorn
  • first timer
  • beginner-level
  • starting out
  • no prior experience
  • first-time pilots
  • easiest
  • easiest drone to fly
  • drones for newbies
  • entry-level
  • most forgiving
  • user-friendly

I was curious to see if any of the top 3 ranking pages in Google include any of these words and phrases. After checking all three, the top-ranking page included the most from this list. 

I don’t think they’re ranking solely because they’re including more of these words. But I believe it combines that plus many other little factors. 

Best practice for adding missing word variations

Do not just randomly add these missing word variations anywhere. Consider adding them to existing sentences that might be a bit vague. It’s a perfect opportunity to boost its contextual relevance. Other times I write a new sentence, often with the help of ChatGPT.

For this example, a vague sentence could be:

  • In order to make it onto this list, each of these had to be equipped with a productive feature portfolio and solid construction.

A better sentence that includes a variation of one of the words within the main keyword could be:

  • In order for a drone to make it onto this list, it had to be durable and user-friendly for our novice tester.

There are two things I want to point out about the new sentence:

  • I added the word “drone” to it, boosting its relevancy and making it more NLP-friendly. The subject of the sentence is clearer.
  • I added two words or entities that are related to a beginner: “durability” and “user-friendly.” As you can imagine, someone who’s never flown a drone before will likely crash it a lot. But maybe a lot less if it’s user-friendly.

I believe sites that include several variations of the main keyword tend to have higher rankings in search. 

Whether doing this intentionally or naturally, including these variations will result in an article that’s more comprehensive, helpful and relevant to the searcher.

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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