In 2020, chatbots have become one of the fastest growing business communication channels. While automated conversations proved themselves efficient in terms of engagement as well as customer service, many marketers started to pay attention to the possible chatbot SEO (Search Engine Optimization) effects.
It’s no longer 2012, and SEO isn’t as simple as keyword stuff and getting spammy backlinks from less than reputable sources. In 2021, successful SEO is all about complex continual, and diligent technical and content adjustments.
It needs your constant attention. If you wish to stay in the game, that is.
Chatbots, besides all the user engagement and quick support, can prove useful to your SEO.
Here is how...
What are Chatbots?
In short, a chatbot is a question answering and content distributing system that can be leveraged to improve a user's interaction with your site.
They primarily rely on simple if-this-then-that rules or Natural Language Processing (NLP). They are considered one of the most useful tools to help your business grow, evolve, improve user satisfaction, and increase profits.
Now you’re clear on what chatbots are, let’s see how they can help with your SEO game.
How Does a Chatbot Help a Website With SEO & Content Success?
1. Improve User Experience
The biggest advantage a chatbot can provide is improving user experience. Signals of good user experience and engagement are not only an SEO ranking factor but also directly correlate with conversation rate. Interacting with a bot is simple not to mention it feels much more natural, especially if the interaction is happening on mobile.
2. Personalize the Site
You can use a chatbot to understand the users’ needs and wants. Analyzing the user-bot interactions, you can make adjustments to your website and tailor it to their needs. A more personalized website could lead to users spending significantly more time on your website. Such a decision shouldn’t be made lightly, and there will be plenty of pros and cons to consider, including the level of customization that you wish to carry out.
3. Help Users Find What They Are Looking For
One of the main purposes of a chatbot is to help users find what they need, provide a quick resolution to their requests or lead them to the right product. Of course, you’d hope that the Google search result they get served with would answer their question. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Having a chatbot will mean that they can get an answer to their question even if they’ve landed on a page which doesn’t immediately answer their initial query. The bot is there to prevent the bounce and by asking a few questions, delivering the content the visitors came for. In this case, it acts as a friendly and intelligent search box.
4. Collect Data
One indirect way that chatbots can help SEO is by collecting data from user interactions. By analyzing the logs of a chatbot, you can do several things.
For example, by looking at frequently asked questions you can create a list of content and keyword ideas that are likely to generate more traffic for your website. For example, if you run a camera blog and someone searches for a specific type of lens you don’t stock, then you can do some research to determine if you should.
Additionally, you could come up with content ideas to attract organic traffic and links to your websites.
5. Improve Dwell Time
Dwell time is the amount of time a user spends on a search result after a click. Specifically, how long a user spends on your website after they have found it on Google. Though not a confirmed ranking factor, many prominent figures in the SEO industry believe that it is. Of course, belief isn’t enough, so they have also carried out experiments to prove that this is the case. The theory behind it is straightforward, the more time spent on a site, the more pleased you’re with the results and the website’s quality.
As mentioned above, a chatbot can help you find more information on a website, which means more time spent on the page. Plus, the conversation requires active participation sending clear and tangible signals of engagement.
You can use this fact and sneakily increase dwell time by introducing short (but acceptable) wait times by adjusting the chatbot’s typing emulation settings. This is something that services such as online file minimizers have done over the years to provide them with better rankings.
6. Encourage Returning Visitors
A secondary effect that chatbots can have is to increase returning visitors to a website. Since people like the result, find it informative and useful while enjoying their experience on the website, they are likely to come back for it. For example, if a programming website had a chatbot to help with coding issues, then the person would likely come back more. In fact, we would love to see Stack Overflow implement such a system and see how it affects them.
With the same theory as laid out in relation to the dwell time, the higher the rate of returning visitors, the more likely it will affect your ranking.
Page speed is vital to SEO, that’s for sure. It’s one of the factors that’s confirmed to be true by the ever secretive Google. What remains unclear is how strong the correlation is and where there is a limit. In our professional opinion, and based on our research, it’s important to keep it in the top 10-25% of websites, but aiming for 100/100 on different page speed tools is a waste of time.
Unfortunately, chatbots, especially in the typical widget format, can have a slow-down effect on your average loading speed. Therefore, when choosing a chatbot maker, make sure the tool offers assistance and support in regard to SEO.
For example, Landbot builder offers an option to help you keep your website speed to the minimum when using a live chatbot widget. All you need to do is tick the “Improve SEO performance” option:
Once you do so, the code you need to copy-paste to your site to activate the chatbot will be updated and your bot will start loading only after:
- The cursor moves (desktop)
- The screen is touched (mobile/tablet)
So there you have it, the pros and cons of using a chatbot to boost your SEO and content strategy. While the conversational approach to SEO is not perfect, it definitely opens doors to unexplored opportunities to increase user engagement on your website. So, if you haven’t yet, we’d recommend creating a chatbot for yourself by closely monitoring the results.