Are you thinking of adding a chatbot to your website? Or are you simply curious as to why they’re becoming more common these days?

As artificial intelligence takes over the modern web, businesses enjoy new opportunities to attract and serve their customers. Some of these options are easier to implement than others, but the chatbot is particularly useful. This valuable tool could transform how your website functions. It could also lead to better search engine rankings, paving the path to more clients and customers — and more conversions to sales.

Keep reading to learn how chatbots work and how a search engine marketing agency could help you implement this wonderful tool.

What Are Chatbots? How Do They Work?

what is a chatbot and how does it work

Sometimes referred to as “conversational agents,” chatbots harness the power of AI to mimic human communication. These often function as a first line of digital customer service, typically handling simple tasks in order to free up real people for the most in-depth, personable interactions.

Upon greeting the customer and determining the most urgent concerns, chatbots can forward issues to live agents for further consideration. They can also ask and answer common questions or issues that don’t require more feedback from the visitor to answer. Some examples of questions chatbots are great for:

  • What services do you offer?
  • Where are you located?
  • How did you hear about us?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What are your hours of operation?
  • How can we help you today?

When this strategy is at its best, it can be difficult for the customer to determine where the robot-based conversation ends and the human-to-human interaction begins. Some chatbots allow you to add a great deal of detail and intelligence into fielding and answering certain questions.

How Do Chatbots Influence SEO?

how do chatbots influence SEO

Chatbots aren’t right for every business, but when implemented strategically, they can make a real difference with digital outreach and customer satisfaction. These qualities, in turn, have a huge impact on SEO. Key areas of influence include the following:

Extended Dwell Time

chatbots help extend dwell time on a website

Many SEO experts regard dwell time as a chief indicator for optimization efficacy. This concept involves the amount of time a given user spends on a webpage after arriving from a search engine results page (SERP). If that user spends time at a particular site and realizes that it isn’t helpful, Google will quickly determine that the user in question is not happy about the search results. Meanwhile, extended time on landing pages suggests that users are pleased with results. This can provide a significant SEO boost.

While a variety of strategies promise to extend dwell time, chatbots are among the most effective. These quickly get website visitors engaged, encouraging them to remain on your page as they discuss their concerns with the chatbot, and eventually, with a live agent. If visitors feel that their needs are being met by the chatbot in question, they will be more likely to stick around and check out areas of your website they might otherwise have missed.

Navigation and User Experience

chatbots improve navigation and the end user experience

User experience plays a huge role in Google’s evolving algorithm — and it’s bound to become even more influential in the future. While your website should be easy to navigate without assistance from a chatbot, this feature can further streamline the browsing experience to ensure that visitors get the information they need as efficiently as possible.

Keep in mind that chatbots can both help and hinder user experience. Customers will balk at abruptly appearing chatbots, which only annoy website visitors if they get in the way of other content. Placement can make all the difference; when in doubt, keep chatbots on the far right side of the page, where they can be easily found when needed but also bypassed if not required.

Improved Reputation & Scalable Solutions

chatbots can help influence and improve your reptutation

Website experiences increasingly play into customers’ perception of your business. This is particularly true for service-oriented companies, which cannot rely exclusively on quality products to keep customers happy. Chatbots deliver added convenience and even a personal touch to make the experience of navigating your website more enjoyable. This, in turn, may influence what customers think of your business as a whole — and how they review it. Ratings and reviews provide strong signals for search engines, so your efforts to achieve more positive feedback will ultimately pay off.

Live customer service can be helpful for SEO, but it has clear limitations. As your website’s scope expands, so will the need to address users’ questions and concerns. Hiring more customer service representatives can get expensive, but insufficient staffing is an even bigger problem if it causes your customers to get frustrated.

Thankfully, chatbots are infinitely scalable. As your website grows, you can continue to meet customer needs, even during peak traffic. This will ensure that your website provides clear value at all times — an essential for acing Google’s current algorithm. It will also provide streamlined service, which is worth taking into account as speed and loading time become greater considerations for search engine rankings.

Best Practices for Using Chatbots to Boost SEO

Best Practices for Using Chatbots to Boost SEO

Before you implement chatbots or tailor them for SEO purposes, it’s important to determine whether they will improve your website. If customers regard chatbots as clunky or unhelpful, this strategy could backfire. Consider how customers intend to use your website and whether they might need to seek additional information from a live agent.

Next, you’ll want to determine which chatbot approach will work best for your website. Many small businesses rely on third-party solutions, which can be customized based on appearance and conversational preferences. These are easier to use but tend to be limited in scope. As such, some businesses prefer to develop their own chatbot systems which may be preferable for handling higher-level customer concerns.

Don’t forget demographics. Chatbot users tend to skew young, although all generations are receptive to them. Preliminary research suggests that older users emphasize pragmatic attributes, while younger people enjoy using “playful and emotionally engaging chatbots.” No matter the targeted audience, it’s important to use language that resonates with core consumers while also striving for consistency. Users will be disoriented if your chatbots have a completely different tone from your typical brand messaging.

As you implement your chatbot, keep a close track on traffic, bounce rate, and other metrics to determine this solution’s impact. Be sure to also consider how your chatbot affects load time, as this strategy could actively harm SEO if it slows down your site to a significant degree. Don’t be afraid to tweak chatbot placement, conversational content, or other parameters as needed to make it as useful and convenient as possible. An SEO agency can help you determine how your chatbot impacts search engine results or whether it’s needed in the first place.

Vinci Digital: Your Resource for Modern SEO

Vinci Digital: Your Resource for Modern SEO

At Vinci Digital, we are well aware of the many cutting-edge tools and technologies that influence your search engine rankings. We are happy to help you make sense of the latest SEO opportunities so you can achieve better results with your digital marketing campaign. As a trusted SEO agency, we work closely with a variety of businesses to improve online outreach while taking the realities of today’s search engine algorithms into account.

Ready to take a step forward with optimizing your website? Contact us today to learn more about our search engine optimization services. We’d be happy to get you started with a free quote.

PS: What do you think of chatbots? Have you tried using them for your website? If so, have you observed any difference with your SEO efforts? We’d love to hear your opinion, so feel free to leave a comment below.

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci is the CEO of Vinci Digital with over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising. He partners with mid-size, established businesses as a growth and scalability consultant and strategic branding advisor as well as offering a full-suite of agency services. Gerald calls Carmel, CA home with his wife Safira and two children. He has co-authored two books, and is working on his own upcoming book titled, “Small Business Pricing Mastery – Creating effective pricing and defining value for today’s products and services.”