How Live Chat Can Boost Search Engine Rankings
Search engine optimization is something that has been heavily researched by website owners for years, but the most difficult part of it is to stay up to date. Now before we get started, I’d just like to point out that I don’t mean that having live chat software directly boosts search engine rankings; it’s not like the algorithms search for that kind of code. However, it does massively help in an indirect way. How?
First we need to understand how search engine rankings work. Search engines make their money through ads, and through searchers using them. Following this, we can understand that search engines want to deliver content that is as close as possible to what the searcher wants. Obviously, computers aren’t psychic, so they have to tell the search algorithm what to look for. This changes over time. For example, when video become a major media source online, the algorithm started to favor video. Back when search engines just looked at the number of links to a page, they had to change the algorithm when people started just spamming links everywhere… you get the idea; the algorithm changes.
Right now, search engines look at a whole host of things, the major ones being: site age, links to the site, links to the page, bounce rate, time on page, social interaction, and links out of the page. Let’s go through these one at a time to see how live chat affects them:
- Site age – obviously, this one is pretty out of your control, and chat software doesn’t make your site older.
- Links to site – if you are the only supplier in your industry that offers live customer service, other sites will link to you. Why? They don’t want to do the work! If another site owner knows that they can just send someone to you, there’s a solid chance they’ll do it rather can go through the hassle of setting up their own.
- Links to page – think of this like a direct phone number. If someone searches “contact Acme Inc.”, they’d rather have the exact page with Acme’s information than their homepage. Similarly, you’ll find that more and more links flow to your pages with live help options.
- Bounce rate – this is the number of users per 100 that leave your page in less than 30-60 seconds. I’ll explain how live software helps with bounce rate in a moment.
- Time on site – the longer the average user spends on your site, the better. Why? Because more time spent on site tells the search engine that the user enjoys your content and finds it useful. This alone will increase your rankings. Clearly, if a client is in a conversation on your site, they are going to stay there. Additionally, each chat customer you have will decrease your bounce rate and increase your average time on site, both things that will boost your search engine ranking.
- Links out of site – this shows search engines that you don’t mind showing your users a better source rather than just trying to trap them on your site. Again, not really affect by the software.
- Social interaction – This is newer to search engine algorithms, essentially how much interaction there is across different social media. Tweets, Facebook likes, etc. all show the search engine that users enjoy your site well enough that they are actually showing it to others, another solid indication of quality content. But how does live chat affect this? Let’s go into more detail on this one, because we’re going to get a little creative.
Using social interaction in conjunction with live chat is going to give a ton of exposure far beyond boosting search engine rankings. But how do we do it?
First, announce your new live chat on all of your social media accounts. Next, add in a feature that the user can share on Facebook or twitter at the end of their chat. But why stop there? We can also take a screenshot of the conversation, blur out the user’s name, and share that for people that have similar questions. Little things like that to increase your sources of traffic, as well as your backlinks. A backlink is just a link that points to your site, whether you made it or not.
Now, just for clarity, using live chat software isn’t going to magically shoot you to the top of the rankings overnight. No matter what anyone tells you, that just won’t happen. However, it will help build your rankings faster, as well and give you a more solid hold once you’re at the top. Let’s go through an example of how to integrate the live chat feature for the most exposure and rankings boost:
- Announce that you are adding the feature 1-2 weeks before it goes live. This will allow a little bit of buzz about it, but you can also invite users to beta test it to ensure it’s working properly. Even better, ask them to share or tweet about it once they’ve given it a try!
- Next, actually add it to the site. Again, announce it on all of your social media outlets. If you’ve tested everything well, you’ll just get a decent burst of traffic that will increase your average time on site.
- Once the chat feature has been in use for a few weeks, start looking at ways to expand it. How? Like we mentioned earlier, ask users to share if the chat helped them, or use recordings of the chats to make explanation video for other customers.
- Use the chat for research. If you notice one out of every four customers is asking the same question, maybe it’s time to add a section to your site that clearly addresses it.
Keep in mind, most software companies will install the software on your site for you and test it, so most of your work will simply be announcing things on social media and (believe it or not) actually talking to your customers!
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