Search engine optimization (SEO) is a rather complicated topic, often involving a whole heap of technical jargon that can feel difficult to navigate as a newcomer. If you’re new to the world of SEO, you might find it troublesome implementing the various tactics and strategies so often discussed in the world of digital marketing. This is especially frustrating given just how important SEO is when building a successful website.
Below, we’ll give you a brief rundown on what SEO is before diving into a bit of an open secret within the industry — chatbots. Here’s the thing: to gain maximum visibility on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, simple SEO tactics alone won’t be enough. You’ll need to think outside of the box. This is where chatbots come in. Feeling confused? Don’t be! Read on, and we’ll explain all…
Your website might have world-class design and supreme usability. It could be home to some of the most innovative products around, or offer some of the best deals on the web. However, none of this matters if your site isn’t attracting any visitors. That’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. If your site has high-quality content and well-written titles that include targeted keywords, you’re well on your way to getting tons of organic traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
Organic search is a great way to drive traffic to your site because it doesn’t cost you anything. You don’t even have to pay for the click! So, if you want more people to visit your website, you need to ensure that it ranks high on Google’s search results. And the best way to do that is by optimizing your website for SEO.
SEO is a strategy that helps you get higher rankings on search engines for specific keywords. It’s all about optimizing your site so that Google views it favorably (this is also referred to as gaining ‘authority’) and consequently places it higher up in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
SEO is important for plenty of reasons, but one of the biggest factors is its cost-effectiveness. It’s a simple equation: the more visitors your website gains from organic searches, the less money you’ll have to spend on paid advertising.
SEO can _sound _complicated, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. There are various steps you can follow to increase your website’s search engine ranking. As a broad overview, these include (but are not limited to):
- Creating high-quality content. Google’s algorithm is wise to tactics like ‘keyword stuffing’ or plagiarizing content, so it’s crucial that your website is jam-packed with original, relevant, and _engaging _content.
- Adding relevant keywords to your posts. By using a keyword research tool and SERP checker you can discover exactly which keywords to target. These are the words you’ll want to include in your website’s copy — product descriptions, landing pages, blog posts, etc.
- Building links to your site. Google’s algorithm examines myriad factors when determining the authority (and thus the relative placement) of your website. This includes the number of sites that link back to your website. The more websites point to your page, the more authority it will gain. These are referred to as ‘backlinks’. Use a specialised backlink checker tool to gain a deeper insight into how many backlinks your competitors have, then aim to gain more than them.
How? One common tactic is ‘guest posting’. Here, you’ll reach out to bloggers and request to post articles on their site. If they agree, you’ll have the chance to pop a link to your site within each article — just make sure the piece is worth reading, relevant, and engaging. Spammy guest posting is frowned upon (and may even hurt your SEO efforts). Some bloggers may ask that you pay to place links on their pages — when that happens, take note of these 7 common mistakes when buying backlinks.
A(n example of Ranktracker’s web audit tool in action)
Of course, there are many more elements to consider when developing your SEO strategy, but the points above form some of the key elements that you’ll need to think about. It’s also important to note that while Google is the most popular search engine (and therefore the most discussed in the world of SEO), every search engine has different standards, and they update their algorithms far more frequently than you’d expect! The rules of SEO are constantly changing, so you need to stay on the ball if you want your site to hold its spot in the SERPs.
While SEO is unquestionably important, it can take months (if not years) before you see positive results. Your content strategy, link building, and on-page optimization may result in more organic visitors to your website, but it could be months before you see a tangible increase in traffic. But what if you could boost your SEO results _and _see a positive impact almost immediately? Well, that’s where chatbots and SEO come together.
Chatbots can play a pivotal role in your SEO strategy, but if you’re deciding on whether to integrate a chatbot on your website, there are certain factors and strategies you’ll need to keep in mind. We’ll get into these later.
Integrating a chatbot on your website has plenty of advantages for SEO – these include:
- Increased dwell time. When you implement a chatbot on your website, people won't have to fumble through frustrating searches for the information they need. Instead, they can simply ask the chatbot whatever questions they have in mind and get prompt responses. Once your users are given the information they need, they’ll likely stay on your website for a longer period of time, given that they’re now able to browse the content they came to see. Increased dwell time is a critical SEO signal that search engines take into account while ranking your website.
- Improved user experience. Implemented correctly, chatbots can help you solve your users’ pain points and increase their satisfaction with your brand. The more satisfied your users are, the more likely they are to recommend your website to their friends and family. This means more organic traffic to your site!
- Optimized website ratings. The better the customer experience, the greater your chances of garnering positive reviews and ratings in search engines and social media platforms, and this will provide a significant boost to your site’s SEO ranking. Leveraging a robust chatbot (especially one powered by AI) can thus improve both the customer experience and your SEO.
Personalized in-store service can be effortlessly mimicked by chatbots, for instance. A fully-featured chatbot can help customers view your brand as customer-centric and reliable, encouraging brand loyalty. Never underestimate the power of online reviews. Once your customers begin submitting reviews via services like Trustpilot, these will have a profound effect on your site’s search rankings.
(Image source: yotpo.com)
We’ve convinced you of how useful (and great for SEO) a chatbot can be, but how_ _do you acquire one in the first place? Well, there are two options: Build one yourself using a coding language such as Python (Codecademy has a great course on how to do this), or use a platform with no-code configuration (crisp.chat, for example). In either case, you’ll need a solid plan during implementation. As a rough guide, follow the steps below:
- Define your chatbot’s purpose. Begin by figuring out how your chatbot is going to be used by your customers. Work out the primary conversational scenarios that may take place on any given visit to your site — these will form the basis of your chatbot’s vocabulary and conversational paths. This process will also enable you to figure out how advanced your bot may need to be.
- Build on what you already have. Consult your customer service team and quiz them on the kinds of queries that they receive every day. Write up a list of common questions and use these to create a comprehensive and precise database that your chatbot can draw from.
- Configure your bot’s key queries. It’s important to focus on the basic questions you need your bot to be capable of answering. Whether you’re building a “classic” conversational agent with preset replies or going for something with a greater degree of flexibility, these level-one questions are the first elements you’ll need to determine.
- Personalize your chatbot. A chatbot with artificial intelligence opens up an incredible world of possibilities for customer relationships. The key to getting the most from your virtual assistant is to prepare it properly and monitor its development closely. The goal is to create a chatbot that your users will prefer to a human agent. It’s tough, but if you can manage it, you’ll free up your human agents to focus on more complex technical complaints. Aim to replicate the experience of chatting to a human and you’ll be well on your way to creating the best ‘bot’ for your site.
- Test, test, test. Test your chatbot in real-life situations before deploying it. Have your project team test it internally, then submit it to a panel of selected users. Training sessions will help you make sure the bot works correctly and ensure your site’s visitors won't be left disappointed and longing for a human agent’s assistance. And if you put together a fully-equipped AI chatbot, why not submit it to the famous Turing test to see how it fares?
(Image source: techtarget.com)
Well-designed and deployed chatbots can help you increase your website’s dwell time and polish your user experiences (two of the most important SEO factors). If you want to improve your search rankings and_ _receive more organic traffic to your website, integrating a chatbot is the way to go. In addition to offering those major SEO benefits, it’s sure to enhance your brand image. So with such a strong business case for the technology, why not give it a shot?