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Why startup Sage SEO is integrating that new OpenAI content-writing tool

And why founder Peter Yeargin thinks AI content generators can't (yet) replace humans.

Peter Yeargin. (Courtesy photo)

This editorial article is a part of Technology of the Future Month 2022 in Technical.ly's editorial calendar. This month’s theme is underwritten by Verizon 5G. This story was independently reported and not reviewed by Verizon 5G before publication.

Sage SEO founder Peter Yeargin knows his customers are after quick, high-ranking content that will bring clicks (and dollars) to their businesses.

He also knows there’s a future in AI-generated content.

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the last month, you’ve probably seen examples of OpenAI’s ChatGPT tool, an artificial intelligence writer that can answer questions, write you a haiku or even craft a blog post about a proposed topic.

Yeargin has been dabbling in AI content for the last year, since Sage pivoted from a Q&A business to being SEO-centric software in 2021. The startup’s customers are mostly small businesses in the ecommerce space, though it does serve some startups, too, he said.

The founder told Technical.ly he met some of the OpenAI team at Startup Grind in the spring, and found their tools to be “much more impressive” than others he’d tried. And when OpenAI released a new addition of its GPT-3 model, davinci-003, last month that incorporates human feedback, Yeargin felt he’d found the tool that would upgrade Sage.

“This was way better, and terrifying,” Yeargin said. “We were looking at it as a huge leap of capability from this model.”

You understand your customers. The AI tool does not and will never.

By the end of this year, Sage customers will have capabilities of the OpenAI davinci-003 tool integrated into the platform. Yeargin demoed it for this reporter, using a purple “AI Magic Assist” tool in the platform’s content writing space. The platform will also soon integrate its software keyword rankings dashboard into the AI-generated content.

The founder said he sees customers most likely using it to write blog introductions, create outlines for a topic or article, or for writing a portion of a blog post. Per Google Search’s recent content update, the search engine prioritizes people-first, people-written content, so he doesn’t recommend customers publish more than 20 to 30% AI-generated content.

“We recommend to use it as a tool, but you should be writing and editing your content,” Yeargin said. “You understand your customers. The AI tool does not and will never.”

About 90% of the tech lift to integrate the OpenAI tool was in UX design and customizing the front end of Sage; the actual integration of the API was easy, per the founder. (The Sage team is made up of two full-timers, an advisory board and four software developers.)

Sage currently offers three plans for its customers at $49 a month, $249 a month and $999 a month. The lowest plan offers its SEO tools like Google Search Console, the AI writing and key word rankings, while the next plan also offers its keyword research which “drives the value of our software platform,” Yeargin said. The top plans takes all those tools, plus adds four written articles a month.

While the advances in AI-generated content and writing are exciting, Yeargin said, it does give him pause at times.

“While it’s cool and crazy that AI can understand human language and the intent of human language so well, it makes me a little apprehensive to see what it can use that power to do,” the Wynnewood-based Yeargin said. ” I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, the era of ‘The Terminator,’ so this aspect of AI being something that is nascent in its capability is hard to reconcile with what I now see in the chat bot.”

Companies: Sage SEO
Series: Technology of the Future Month 2022
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