What are Chatbots?
The idea of a computer application capable to chat with people is not new, however, it was only when Facebook started its service through Facebook Messenger in 2016 that some techies consider being the start of the chatbot trend. Chatbots are increasingly successful as a marketing tool – in a survey published on Business Insider, 80 % of senior marketers in the UK, the Netherlands, France and South Africa stated that they are either already using or preparing to use chatbots as a part of their marketing strategy by 2020. There are mainly two ways of using chatbots: more commonly as a part of a messaging app or, as a part of a website. The latter is particularly significant as in 2015, for the first time ever, the number of people using messaging apps overtook the number of people using social networking apps.
Can they Improve SEO?
Using a chatbot can improve a website’s SEO ranking, but only if it improves the consumer experience on your website. For example, if customers are returning to your website, they often have questions about a specific product or service, having a chatbot enabled on your site could be a good idea as it could save time for you and your customers– your customers won’t have to look for answers and/or try to contact you, and you will save time on not having to answer those reoccurring questions. In this situation, having a chatbot not only saves your time but also possibly money otherwise spent on customer service. And what’s more, chatbots have the added advantage of being available 24/7.
Chatbots also have the ability to build users interest and increase the time your customers stays on your website, which is one of the variables Google takes into consideration while determining the rankings of webpages. Increasingly, commercial brands seem to be looking to chatbots as a way to enhance customer relations without high ongoing costs. Sephora, a beauty behemoth, is smartly using chatbots as a part of its marketing strategy– its chatbot named ‘Sephora Virtual Artist’ was used by 4 million customers within only the first 6 months of its launch.
But, as Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, states, utilising chatbots as a role in your marketing strategy doesn’t really build your Google ranking ampler by itself. This is because chatbots need to befit your business policy and have a clear role in helping your business while availing value to your consumers. Otherwise, they are unnecessary – having a chatbot no one uses is a waste of time and money.
How Chatbots can be used to improve your SEO stats?
If you decide that having a chatbot would assist your business, there are three main points to consider in order to maximise its advantages to your website’s SEO:
- Your chatbot should add value to your services and provide value to your customers – an example of that is Sephora which allows users to try its make up by visualising their face without having to leave their house thanks to its chatbot Sephora Virtual Assist.
- Your chatbot must avail customer assistance, you otherwise wouldn’t be able to provide or it may be much expensive– an example of that is a chatbot responding to every customer enquiry 24/7, that might work especially well for businesses with international customer base due to time zone differences.
- Your enabled chatbot should be as personal as it can be and able to learn – business owners need to be concerned as chatbots are often cited of lacking empathy/understanding and therefore can create a negative impact on customers. This issue could probably be solved if the chatbot is only used to serve one particular purpose, for example giving information about service pricing, while not appearing to make a great conversation partner.
Making sure you keep in mind all the points mentioned above should set you on the way of having a chatbot that will add to your business, and therefore, your Google ranking. Chatbots can improve SEO, but only if used intelligently.