Chatbots and SEO: How can Chatbots improve your rankings

Here at Three Sixtee, chatbots, social commerce and conversational marketing are at the heart of what we do – and If you follow our resources hub you can find plenty of articles, guides and useful insights – but we do also provide SEO and SEM services, and know how important is for your business to appear at the top of Google Search Results.

Before we start, if you don’t know what a chatbot is, or think you need a little refresh on conversational marketing, I suggest you have a look at the articles below.

There are many reasons why it’s worth adding a chatbot to your website:

  • Better user experience
  • Increasing lead generation
  • Increasing sales
  • Improving customer support

And many more.

But, as an SEO professional, I came to ask myself if search engine optimisation is one of these….

Do chatbots help SEO?

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read until the end of this article, the short answer is: yes, they do help improve your SEO.

However, is the chatbot functionality itself able to guarantee a benefit in terms of SEO? Obviously, no.

The benefit rather stands in the type of conversational experience you can generate with those so, the full answer could be:

Effective conversations designed on chatbots can bring benefits to the SEO of your website

Now that we know the answer, let’s dive into how you can use chatbots as part of your SEO strategy. 

Google counts more than 200 different factors to determine rankings for a page and there are 3 main ways in which conversational bots can improve your rankings by leveraging some of these.

  1. Chatbots can help improve the dwell time (or average time on page)
  2. Chatbots can help improve the overall session duration
  3. Chatbots can help you getting positive reviews for your business, products or services

Chatbots help improve the dwell time

In recent years, Google has put more and more emphasis on the importance of providing a good user experience on websites and, even though Google has not fully confirmed, there is a general agreement on the fact that the algorithm relies on some key metrics to help determine if a website is optimised for user experience. 

One of these is certainly the page load time and, in a previous blog, we discussed this and showed how optimising images can help you speed up your website.

Anyway, among these UX metrics there is another one which matters to us: dwell time, or average time on page.

What is the dwell time?

Dwell time is the length of time a person spends looking at a webpage after they’ve clicked a link on a SERP page and subsequently left that page. 

Put simply, it measures how long you stay on a particular page when landed on a website.

For Google, it is fair to say that the more time you spend on a page, the more you are probably interested in its content or interacting with it. Hence your page deserved to stay higher in search results. 

To sum up, dwell time is a very important UX metric which ultimately became a ranking factor in Google’s search results.

How can chatbots increase dwell time?

We know chatbots can do wonders in improving the user experience on your website and certainly a well designed conversation makes users willing to spend time interacting with a chatbot and thus spending more time on a page. Easy, right?

Chatbot help improving the session duration

Alongside dwell time, there are other metrics which help measure the user experience. The overall session duration is certainly another important metric for UX and SEO. Google considers a long session duration as a good signal of quality content but users need to actively navigate and interact with the website. In other words, you can’t just leave the browser tab open for 15 minutes.

What is the Session Duration?

Session duration is the time you spend on a website in a single visit. The difference with dwell time is that session duration sums up all the dwell times in a single website visit. 

Let’s make an example.

If you click on a SERP result and land on page 1 staying for 10 seconds and then clicking on page 2 on the same website and spending 5 seconds, we will have the following metrics:

Dwell Time (Page 1) 10 seconds
Dwell Time (Page 2) 5 seconds
Session Duration 15 seconds (10+5)

However, if you landed on the website, visited page 1 and then left the website, dwell time and session duration will match.

Dwell Time (Page 1) 10 seconds
Session Duration 10 seconds

How can chatbots increase session duration?

The reason is pretty simple. As you can see above session duration is the sum of times spent on all pages. So you can design different conversations on each page which will increase multiple dwell times and ultimately boost your session duration.

Chatbots help you getting reviews on your business, products or services

For a business, the need of getting online reviews is crucial. Personally, if I am going to try a new product or service, I carefully scroll through all the reviews I can find online before making a decision.

Apart from being considered a way to trust your products and services, customer reviews are now becoming an increasingly important ranking factor.

Positive reviews are a way of telling Google that your product is trustworthy and so deserves to be featured in the top results when people search for related products and services.

Whether it is a product review on your website or leaving a positive feedback on a consumer review service, such as Trustpilot or Google My Business, the search engine algorithms are getting better in looking at these reviews and rewarding the businesses with lots of positive reviews.

How can chatbots help me get more reviews?

We know how well-designed chatbots can be very effective when it comes to driving action for users. It’s no surprise that, according to a survey, the majority of users provided positive feedback after dealing with a chatbot.

That’s why placing review links at the end of a successful chatbot conversation is a very good way to entice users to leave you a positive review.

Here are two scenarios of how you can achieve this:

  1. Your website chatbot dealt with a support request quickly and successfully. At the end of the conversation, you can link to your Google My Business Page and ask for a review.

  2. A user purchased a product on a website and ended up in a remarketing list. A chatbot can ask to review the product when the user is back on the website after some time.

Obviously, these are only two scenarios but you can get a lot more creative and design bespoke conversations to help you get more reviews.

Want to see some examples in action?

We offer free demos for Google, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp & more. Book your slot today and learn how we can help you achieve your goals with chatbots.

Or need help with SEO?

Hope you found these tips useful, but we know SEO can get more complicated than this. If you need help to stand out from the crowd in search engines, get in touch with us and learn more on our SEO services.